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Diving Myths

       
               
 
Myth #1-- Scuba diving is a life threatening, high-risk, dangerous. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Diving is not a competitive sport but an adventurous outdoor leisure time activity. And while accidents may happen, they are far less common, according to the National Safety Council statistics, than in such other outdoor activities as snow mobile or skiing. In fact, divers experience far fewer injuries than participants in most outdoor leisure activities.
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Myth #2-- Sharks and other Dangerous Marine Animals. The greatest danger facing scuba divers is a probability of sunburn. Jaws, The Deep, and other underwater fiction notwithstanding, sharks and moray eels are not dangerous animals. Most divers have never seen a shark, and those who have were inevitably captivated by their beauty -- not threatened by them. Sharks should be respected -- not feared and not molested. The species of sharks usually encountered by divers -- grays, nurse sharks, sand tigers, bull sharks and rarely, hammerheads -- are typically shy and unwilling to approach. Most other species are not aggressive. Only the extraordinarily rare Great White, usually found off the south coast of Australia, should be considered seriously dangerous. While we're on the subject, moray eels are shy and graceful creatures that rarely leave their caves; many have been befriended by divers. And sting rays don't sting unless stepped on.
 
 
 
   
   
 
Myth #3-- Only powerful swimmers and outstanding athletes can learn to dive. Scuba divers do need to feel comfortable in the water, and they do need to know how to swim, but more than that is unnecessary. No need to be a Tom Selleck. In fact, even physically handicapped people are learning to scuba dive. Thanks especially to new equipment, diving has become both physically easy and remarkably safe.
 
     
     
   
 
Myth #4-- Men only; women can only watch, This is so far from the truth it's unbelievable. This is a carry over from the days of "Sea Hunt" and Jacques Cousteau. There have always been women divers -- including Mme Cousteau. Diving is both mental and physical. Nationwide, almost as many women as men are enrolling in diver training programs.
 
 
 
Myth #5-- Oxygen Nope, that's compressed air in those tanks, not oxygen. Just ordinary air, compressed, filtered, and pumped at an inspected and certified pure air station.
 
     
 
Myth #6-- Diving is only for rich folks. It costs very little to start. All you need at first is a pair of fins, mask, snorkel and boots. The total investment is less than a pair of court shoes and a tennis racket. Other equipment needed during the course will be provided by the diving school. What's more, high quality rental equipment is available at most diving specialty stores. For those who become fully involved, diving costs are similar to those for golf or snow skiing -- and you don't even have to join the country club.
 
   
   
   
 
Myth #7-- The 1000 foot dive. Leisure diving typically takes place in the 10 - 100 foot range. Most experienced divers know that the best diving -- the most interesting sights and most photography -- are typically found above 30 feet. There is rarely reason to go deeper than 90 feet. Few leisure activity divers ever go deeper than 130 feet.
 
     
     
   
Myth #8-- The two hour dive. Deep dives around 100 feet, must be terminated after 22 minutes because of decompression requirements. Even shallow dives, above 30 feet which have no limit, rarely last more than an hour. While experienced divers may have sufficient air to stay down longer, they usually get hungry and head back to the boat or shore for a snack.
 
     
     
     
   
Myth #9-- The Bends! The Bends! Watch out for the bends! Yes, divers can get "the bends." More correctly know as decompression sickness, the bends results from violating well understood and documented physiological limits. Originally called "caisson disease," decompression sickness was first noticed in construction works building the Brooklyn Bridge. The disease is now easily avoided by following procedures thoroughly researched by the U.S. Navy.
 
     
     
     
   
Myth #10-- You make a mistake underwater, you gonna die! The underwater world is a foreign realm. Humans are welcome there, but only as visitors, and only as long as we obey the rules. It is not a hostile environment, just a different one, and the human body is remarkably forgiving. One of the challenges of diving is learning and living within the rules. They are violated only at great risk, but fatalities or even serious injuries are extremely rare. Diving is actually one of the safer adventurous leisure activities