Scuba Diving Essay Research Paper Scuba diving

Scuba Diving Essay, Research Paper

Scuba diving is a sport in which you can lose yourself to the beauty of

the underwater world and escape gravity for a short time. You can wander

among kelp forests or swim with sleek noble sharks. You can find a

fortune in Spanish ducats or lose yourself in the beauty of the underwater

realm. Some may say though that diving is an extreme sport and that it is

too risky for anyone, it’s just for the wild hooligans. Scuba Diving is

a safe and enjoyable hobby despite the small risk involved. Haven’t you

ever wondered what it was like to swim with the fish? Or see why all of

those people would want to were all that funny looking gear and go under

the water?

The going below the water is little like being above the water.

While underwater there are forces and laws that dictate how your body will

respond to being under so much pressure. The first rule regarding the

pressure water puts on the air spaces in your body is Boyles Law. It says

that as the pressure increases on a given mass of gas the volume will

decrease. This rule explains the popping sensation you fell when you go

up in an air plain and the squeeze you feel as you go under water (The

Skin Divers Bible 37, 41). Another law is Dalton’s law of partial

Pressure. It says that pressure of mixed gasses is equal to the pressure

exerted by the individual gas. So if a mixture of gas is say 5% carbon

dioxide then it would account for 5% of the total pressure of the gas,

because of this law the concentration of harmful gasses must be less when

you are under water otherwise you can be poisoned or experience the

effects of the gas that would only occur at a higher concentrati!

on at sea level (47). And the last major law that governs you while

underwater is Henry’s law. It simply states that you can dissolve more of

a gas into a liquid at higher pressure and the opposite when you release

some of the pressure. It is like when you open a bottle of pop, the gas

and pop are pressurized to carbonate it and when you open the bottle

bubble’s form, because the pressure isn’t great enough to hold it in (48).

The first thing to consider when weighing the risk of Scuba diving

is how good is the instruction that you need to become certified to dive.

There are several major certification courses and most are recognized

world wide. The following is An overview of the kind of training you will

receive through the PADI Scuba diving certification course, most all

diving certification courses are similar in content and requirements for

certification. The first you learn is how to use and wear Scuba equipment

(PADI Open 50,108). Some of the other skills are that you should never

hold your breathe, how to operate the Scuba equipment, and proper

technique for entering the water all of these basic skills and several

other will be taught to the students by an instructor who has been trained

to teach the skills effectively and to determine wether you are competent

to Scuba dive. As you progress through the class you are taught in a

classroom setting for about half of the time and then the !

other half of the time is spent in a swimming pool where the students can

master the necessary skills for diving without having the pressure and

risk of being in the open water.

Near the end of the class the students begin to dive in the open

water with the instructor so that they become acclimated to being

underwater in conditions that are not as secure as say a swimming pool.

With the instructor along side the student the student’s fears are quelled

and the student is safer, because if anything were to go wrong the

instructor would be right there to remedy the problem or to assist the

student to the surface. During the open water dives the student

demonstrates to the instructor that they can handle the conditions and

that the can perform the skills that they have been taught. Some of the

skills that would have been mastered at this point are. How to breath

from a buddies spare regulator, in the unlikely event that you should run

out of air and how to help your buddy if they run out of air. How to

clear water out of a flooded face mask (176). Then show that how to

disassemble and maintain the Scuba Equipment you use (246). Most

importantly yo!

u get time to look around and enjoy a realm that most people have never

before seen, and while you are underwater you can see it up close and


Even though the training to get certified as a Scuba diver is very

thorough there are a few risks that even the most seasoned diver runs

into. Some of the problems include decompression sickness, stress, the

squeeze, and the uncontrollable elements. The most common problem for

most divers is a pain in their ear, sinuses, or teeth. This phenomenon is

known as the squeeze, and it occurs as a result of the increased pressure

of the water pushing in on the tissue in air filled cavity such as the

middle ear and sinuses. This affect is caused Boyles law or that as the

pressure increases the volume decreases, so the lower volume pull at the

soft tissue causing pain (13-19). The pain caused by the squeeze can

often be excruciating, but it can easily be remedied by equalizing the

pressure in those airspaces. Equalizing can be done in several ways. The

first is closing your mouth while plugging your nose and then gently

blowing out. Another technique is that of closing your nos!

e and then swallowing or you can do it is by pushing your jaw forward and

then yawning or swallowing (The Ears). These work well but to avoid the

intense pain of getting the squeeze it is not recommended that you dive

while you have a cold or your sinuses blocked. One other type of the

squeeze is one that occurs when there is a air space under a tooth,

although this form is very rare to get when you do get it causes mind

numbing pain that can last until you can get to the dentist and have the

pressure relieved (PADI Open 13-19).

One of the biggest causes of death while Scuba diving is something

that could well be avoided, it’s name is stress. In the years between

1976 and 1988 nine-teen percent of the deaths were directly linked to

stress and panic. Most inexperienced divers can become panicked, because

they do not recognize the symptoms of stress before they culminate into

full blown panic (”High Anxiety”). Stress comes in two major forms one

being physical stress and the other psychological stress. Physical stress

isn’t a tough one to detect, it is simply when you are exerting yourself

at a higher level, when you are in harsh conditions such as being in cold

water, being sick, or any number of things that affect you physically.

Psychological stress on the other hand is not so easy to detect. It has

more subtle ways of sowing itself and can be caused by things that are

real ore that you have made up in your mind, such as thinking that the

weed touching your leg is actually the boggy monster tr!

ying to pull you down in tho the menacing depths of the water. Some

contributing factors to stress can be beliefs that a person holds or

attitudes that they have. No matter what the cause of the stress it can

lead you to a state in which your mental acuity and concentration are

diminished. This can be a deadly situation to be in if and when an

emergency arises. Stress can also lead to one of the major underwater

killers a panic attack. Panic can be triggered by anything and a persons

stress level is directly related to the likely hood that a person would

panic. When someone panics the begin to fixate on specific things and

stop thinking rationally, the person often reverts back to their primal

survival skills and abandons their good sense and training that could save

their life (PADI Rescue 7-10).

Although stress is one of the divers worst enemies it doesn’t have

to cause accidents. Their are ways to detect stress, and when you know

you are under stress you have all the more power over yourself. You can

avoid stress and stressful situations, believe it or not, and some of the

ways this can be achieved is by diving within your experience level, keep

your training up to date, avoid situations you are unprepared for or

cannot handle, and lastly if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it (11-12).

Following those guidelines will keep you out of trouble, but if you do

feel yourself slipping into a panic situation STOP! and breath, think

about what you are doing, and then act (”High Anxiety”). With those tips

most people should never have a problem with panic.

Another problem that can affect anyone who dives is Decompression

Sickness or the bends. Decompression sickness is when the nitrogen in

your blood forms little bubbles, because the pressure you were under is no

longer strong enough to keep the nitrogen in your blood. Even though

anyone can get decompression sickness, very few people do if they follow

the tables that tell you how deep you can go and for how long.

Decompression sickness can also be brought on by flying too soon after

diving. Some of the signs of DCS (decompression sickness) are a blotchy

skin rash, favoring an arm or a leg, collapse, staggering, and

unconsciousness. There are also symptoms you could look for in yourself

such as dizziness, unusual fatigue, pain in the arms legs or trunk of the

body, and shortness of breath. There are several factors that can greatly

increase your susceptibility to DCS. One being anything that impairs your

bodies circulation of blood such as age, injuries or illness, dehyd!

ration, and alcohol. This occurs because less circulation means you body

isn’t as effective at taking the extra nitrogen you absorb while diving

out of your blood stream. Another contributing factor is the amount of

fat you have in your body, because the fat cells are what the nitrogen

dissolves in. So, more fat means more nitrogen in your body which in turn

means more chance to get DCS (PADI Adventures 76-79).

Two other common risks while diving are dehydration and

overexertion. Dehydration can occur more quickly while underwater,

because you breath very dry air from the Scuba tank and your body makes

more urine, as a result of the pressure. If you haven’t had enough water

to drink you may become dehydrated and then be more susceptible to

decompression sickness and you will have more stress on your body (”The

Dangers”). Overexertion is another harmful thing while you are

underwater, because you become tired, stressed, and breathing can become

labored. Those symptoms can culminate into a panic which is the last

thing you want to occur underwater (PADI Open 77,154).

Nitrogen narcosis is also a danger while diving, but is not

usually felt by begging divers, because it only starts affecting you at

about one hundred feet. Nitrogen narcosis is also known as rapture of the

depths, getting narked, and the martini affect. The last example explains

the affects nitrogen narcosis has one you. It says that diving to one

hundred feet is like having one martini and every thirty or so feet after

that is like having another martini. Nitrogen narcosis is also like

drinking in that each person is affected differently (PADI Adventures


While diving you are bound to see many fish and animals, and who

wouldn’t want to see them that is one of the biggest draws of diving.

Although the creatures you meet may look beautiful doesn’t mean that they

won’t hurt you if you touch them or attack if provoked. With few

exceptions all the animals that you meet underwater would rather not even

go close to you, but if you do make the creatures feel like they are being

attack they will usually fight back with painful and even deadly

consequences (PADI Adventures 208-211).

With all the mystic surrounding the sport of scuba diving many

people would never dream about taking a class to get certified, and those

people don’t know what they are missing. Those people that would never

consider diving most likely have only seen the dangers and risks of

diving, but they have never really looked into the safety precaution and

quality of the instruction needed to go diving. I hope that anyone who

had previously decided against Scuba diving reconsider their choice,

because they are missing out on some awe inspiring views and spectacular

adventures. If you do nothing else in your lifetime at least take an

introductory class to Scuba diving. It may just show you how safe and

enjoyable the sport actually is.


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