Scuba diving Overview

Overview

Scuba diving is the act of diving into the ocean or a lake.
Some people enjoy it as a hobby, while others do it for commercial or water rescue purposes.

There are many things you need to know when scuba diving.
While scuba diving is generally safe, the possibility of getting into unexpected trouble is not zero.

If you're thinking of going scuba diving in Japan or elsewhere, we've prepared a list of things you should be know when scuba diving.

What Is Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is the practice of diving while wearing a piece of equipment called a scuba.
Scuba stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
It consists of a cylinder filled with air and a regulator based on the depth of the water.

The amount of time that can be spent underwater is affected by the depth of the water, the diver's lung capacity, and various other factors, so each person is different.
The speed at which each person learns scuba diving also varies.

Types of Scuba Diving

There are several types of scuba diving.
It is important to know the differences between them when you go scuba diving in the future.
Let's take a look at the different types of scuba diving.

・Recreational Diving
Recreational diving is scuba diving where you dive to a depth of 30 meters or less.
It is also called a "fun dive" in Japan.
With special training, it is possible to dive to a depth of 40 meters.

・Technical Diving
Technical diving is scuba diving where you dive at depths of 40 meters or more.
Technical diving also involves diving in caves or into sunken ships.
Compared to recreational diving, the scope of activity is broader, and safety must be taken into account.

・Commercial Diving
Commercial diving is scuba diving for commercial purposes, such as undersea research.
In Japan, a diver's license is required for commercial diving.
Even outside of Japan, you must have a certification determined by the country or region you are diving in.

How to Scuba Dive

There are two types of scuba diving: Experience Diving and Certified Diving.
It's important to understand the differences between these two types of scuba diving.。

Here we'll explain the differences between experience diving and certified diving for those who want to try scuba diving in Japan.

・Experience Diving
Experience Diving is a diving experience where you receive a short lecture on diving before actually diving.
During the experience, the instructor will operate the equipment for you.
It's important to note that you can't get a certification when experience diving.
That being said, you'll have to listen to a lecture every time you take part in a dive.

・Certified Diving
Certified diving is defined as diving with a license.
Unlike experience diving, divers can operate their own equipment and also swim around freely underwater.
It requires the knowledge and skills required of a certified diver.
You must take a diving course and have a C-card issued to you.
There are a variety of instructional organizations that issue licenses.

Organizations That Teach Scuba Diving

Here are 5 organizations that are working to promote scuba diving in Japan.

・PADI
PADI is an organization that has a network in more than 180 countries around the world.
They have offices in places like Japan, the United States, etc.
They offer world-standard curriculum so that as many people as possible, from beginners to professionals, can enjoy scuba diving.
It is said that more than 60% of all divers have been issued a C-card from PADI.
They also routinely check the quality of their training programs.

・NAUI
NAUI is an organization that has held diving instructor courses in the United States since 1960 and established the first scuba diving instructional organization in the world.
NAUI is based in the United States, Europe and Asia, and is dedicated to the promotion of scuba diving.

NAUI is unique in that they offer a number of courses based on a variety of knowledge and skills.
The content of the academic courses vary by course.
When applying for a course at NAUI, you have to make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements.

・BSAC
BSAC is a scuba diving instructional organization founded in 1953 in England.
It operates on the basic principle that safety takes priority over everything else.
They offer courses to suit all levels of divers.
They also offer courses for divers who want to acquire more knowledge and skills as a diver, as well as instructor courses.

・SSI
SSI is an instructional scuba diving organization founded in the United States in 1970.
It is based in Fort Collins, Colorado.
It works to promote scuba diving around the world through free diving science campaigns.
It features more than 60 different programs in more than 40 languages.
It is also known for its digital training materials.

・CMAS
CMAS is a federation of underwater activities with federations in 160 countries around the world.
CMAS is short for World Underwater Federation in French (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques).
Its headquarters are in Rome, Italy.
・STARS
STARS is an instructional organization that provides technical scuba diving-related instruction and issues C-cards.
It is unique in that it provides free instructional materials on the internet 24 hours a day, in languages all over the world, in accordance with ISO (International Standards Organization) standards.

Where Can I Enjoy Scuba Diving in Japan?

Scuba diving can be done all over Japan!
Here are some diving spots for those looking to enjoy the waters of Japan.

・Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki Island is an island in Okinawa Prefecture.
It is known as one of Japan's leading dive sites.
It's easy to see manta rays thanks to the crystal clear waters here.

・Miyakojima
Miyakojima is a remote island in Okinawa Prefecture.
It offers beautiful coral reefs as well as schools of tropical and migratory fish.
The Demon King's Palace (魔王の宮殿) and a dive site called Snake Hole are popular here.

・The main island of Okinawa
Many divers enjoy scuba diving on the main island of Okinawa.
The diving spot called the "Blue Grotto" is famous for its sparkling blue waters.
One of the features of this dive spot is that it offers a plan to experience feeding fish.

・Izu Oshima Island
Izu Oshima Island is a dive site in Tokyo.
The island is home to approximately 1,000 species of fish and 400 species of crustaceans.
You can also see groups of hammerhead sharks here.

・Hachijojima
Hachijojima is an island in Tokyo with cobalt blue waters.
It's also a good place to see sea turtles.

・Shirahama
Shirahama is a dive site located in Wakayama Prefecture.
It is known for its temperate zone fish as well as tropical fish and coral.
The waters are affected by the Kuroshio Current and are very clear.

・Cape Ashizuri
Cape Ashizuri is a diving spot in Kochi Prefecture.
It is said to be the southernmost cape in Shikoku, and it's said that you can feel the roundness of the earth from the observation deck.
You can see migratory and tropical fish that have arrived on the Kuroshio Current as well.
The clear waters are a selling point here as well.

・Yakushima
Yakushima is a diving site located in Kagoshima Prefecture.
It is also known for being the winner of the National Fish Species Research Contest, which was held three years in a row in Japan.
It's also very common to see sea turtles at Yakushima as well.

Take in the Beauty of Japan's Waters

Each ocean has its own unique appeal, so be sure to find the place that suits your goals the most.
At the very least, we recommend checking the cost and content of tours, as well as when diving season starts and ends to avoid problems.

At the very least, we recommend checking the cost and content of tours, as well as when diving season starts and ends to avoid problems.
It's also important to know the reputation of the dive shop or diving school that is offering a course.
Not only in scuba diving, but also when snorkeling and enjoying water sports, you are required to pay attention to safety measures to avoid accidents.

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