The waters of Florida and the Caribbean may look inviting to scuba divers, but there are some risks that they need to be aware of. Scuba diving in Florida is restricted largely to saltwater environments, whereas much of the Caribbean offers tropical freshwater diving conditions. Here are some tips for scuba divers who are interested in exploring these attractions in Florida.
#1. Not all Florida waters are well scuba dived
Florida has some of the most beautiful diving areas in the world, but divers need to be aware that not all of them are equally well-suited for safe diving. For example, scuba diving in Florida at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is popular because of the number and variety of fish and other aquatic life that can be found in the waters. This makes it a very comfortable and safe place for divers to explore. However, other Florida waters are not as well suited for diving simply because they lack reefs or other structures on which there is abundant underwater life.
#2. Scuba diving at night can be dangerous
Dive shops in Florida often encourage divers to explore the waters at night. This is a perfectly acceptable activity as long as divers are properly equipped with lights and other necessary equipment, especially surface supply equipment. Unfortunately, these requirements aren’t always met by scuba divers who choose to dive after dark. This can result in injury or death to divers who lose their light supply or surface support and are unable to find their way out of the water.
#3. Rescuing others can be dangerous too
Scuba diving in Florida is sometimes accompanied by the desire to help other divers. This means that many scuba divers carry some form of first aid equipment on them during dives, including CPR masks. Unfortunately, this equipment is not always necessary, and it can even be dangerous to use on divers who are in need of assistance. Rescuers can get into trouble trying to assist those in distress without knowing what kind of problems they may have been unable to diagnose from a distance.
#4. Wrecks can turn into dive traps
Wrecks are some of the most popular scuba diving attractions in Florida. However, many divers become trapped inside wrecks because they enter them without doing a proper inspeciton first. Divers need to make sure their regulator is working before entering a wreck and that there isn’t too much sediment or debris inside that could clog a regulator. Scuba divers also need to be aware of how deep they are going inside a wreck and what the maximum depth is that they can handle.
#5. Having good buoyancy control is very important
One of the most essential skills for safe scuba diving in Florida is having good buoyancy control because this helps divers avoid hitting the top of the water and disturbing sediment. Divers need to be able to move slowly through the water, stop at any point they want, and begin again without causing waves or other disturbances that could harm marine life.
#6. Use surface supply equipment
Divers who are exploring Florida waters should always use surface management equipment, including reels, surface supply hoses, and lift bags. These are essential instruments for helping divers exit the water safely with their equipment in good condition. Without these tools, divers run the risk of getting lost or trapped inside their scuba equipment.
#7. Know how to use your dive computer properly
Scuba diving computers are an excellent tool for helping divers plan and track their underwater explorations. However, this is only true if they are used correctly. Divers need to understand the full extent of how dive computers work and then use them to their fullest extent. Diving with a faulty or improperly set up dive computer can easily lead to injury or death for scuba divers who don’t understand how these instruments work.
#8. A safer way to explore shipwrecks
People assume that diving inside a wreck is the only way to explore a shipwreck. This is a dangerous assumption that often leads to divers getting lost inside these wrecks and putting themselves in danger as a result. There are other ways of exploring these historical sites without going inside, including using current or wind readings from the surface to plan out where the wreck would have been located so it can be found from the outside.
#9. Don’t touch the corals
Coral reefs are some of the most beautiful features of Florida’s oceanic environment, but they also serve an important purpose for marine life in the area. Scuba divers should avoid touching or moving too much any coral reef they encounter because these organisms can break apart with even minimal amounts of pressure and disturbance. Divers can damage these reefs and kill the organisms living inside if they touch them too often or with too much force.
#10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Too many scuba divers go into the water without knowing how to properly use their equipment, which is why it’s so important not to be afraid to ask for help if it’s needed. Scuba diving instructors are there to help people learn how to scuba dive safely, and most of them will provide their services free of charge when they come upon new divers at the pool or beach.
#11. You don’t always need a guide
Many Florida scuba diving locations are considered “undiscovered,” which means that it is still possible to find some shipwrecks or reefs that have not been mapped yet. While this makes scuba diving more exciting, it also raises the risk of getting lost inside a wreck or reef because these places are so unmapped. It is usually better for divers to stick with guided tours and known locations because these are safer options.
#12. The risks of scuba diving Florida’s waters
Scuba diving in Florida is considered to be one of the most dangerous areas for divers in the world. However, this does not mean there aren’t ways to reduce the risks involved with scuba diving. Divers need to make sure they purchase the right equipment, follow all of the safety precautions available, and make sure to ask for help when they need it. All scuba divers run the risk of injury or death if they do not take these steps, even if they are experienced divers.
#13. The importance of knowing how to rescue your dive buddy
If you’re diving with a partner, it’s important to know how to quickly and efficiently rescue them if they get into trouble. Without the proper training for this type of situation, divers run the risk of putting themselves in harm’s way while trying to help another person. Rescue training helps you learn how to properly assist a struggling diver without risking your own life or getting injured during the process.
#14. The benefits of using a dive computer
Using a dive computer is one of the best ways to ensure you stay safe while scuba diving, especially if you are new to this activity and do not have much experience with it yet. These helpful devices tell the diver how deep he or she is, which allows them to avoid getting into dangerous situations. Divers can also use these computers to track their depth during the dive, which helps them ensure they are not exceeding their own personal limitations for this activity.
#15. The number one safety rule of scuba diving
The most important thing about scuba diving is making sure you avoid any type of injury or damage to your own body. Scuba diving is not meant to hurt the diver, which means every scuba diver has to be careful while under the surface. Safety equipment like dive lights and tanks are only effective when they are used correctly, and divers should check everything several times before jumping into the water to ensure that nothing was left behind or broken in the equipment.
#16. Scuba diving is the only way to appreciate Florida’s coral reefs
Florida’s coral reef ecosystems are considered some of the most important in the world, and they can be seen on guided scuba diving tours throughout the state. Divers cannot explore these or any other underwater areas on their own or from a boat because it puts them at risk of being lost or injured while trying to get close to the reefs.
#17. All scuba divers should be CPR trained
Many of Florida’s scuba diving accidents are caused by panic, which is why it’s important for all divers to learn how to keep their composure during any type of dangerous situation that may arise. In fact, it is a good idea for all scuba divers to be trained in CPR and first aid because they may have to help a diver who’s struggling or injured with these skills.
#18. Why Florida has not considered a good diving spot for beginners
For new divers, Florida can be one of the riskiest spots in the world. There are very few scuba diving operators that cater to beginners, and the reefs and wrecks found in this state can be too difficult for new divers to explore. Coupling this with Florida’s notorious currents only makes matters worse because it increases the risk of injury or death for anyone who isn’t an experienced diver.
#19. Why you should pass up certification courses
Passing a certification course is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for scuba diving so you know exactly what you’re getting into and learn how to stay safe while under the surface. This is especially important if you want to pursue advanced training and start exploring deeper areas. Without passing a beginner’s course, there’s no way to move on to more complicated dives that might involve deeper waters and new equipment.
#20. Why experiencing the Florida Keys by scuba diving is a once in a lifetime opportunity
Scuba diving allows beginners and experienced divers alike to experience and explore places they otherwise would never get the chance to travel to or see due to physical limitations. For example, the Florida Keys are one of the best places in the world for beginners to start scuba diving because they offer calm waters and shallow reefs. However, this is also why experienced divers avoid it since there aren’t any deep wrecks or challenging environments to explore.
#21. The only way to get around underwater
Scuba diving is the only way to navigate and explore most underwater areas because it is so challenging for humans to hold their breath and swim. Underwater currents, varying depths, darkness, and other factors make swimming around difficult and require special equipment like scuba gear and dive lights.
#22. Depth limits and how they are determined
Every diver has a maximum depth they can explore safely before their bodies become negatively impacted by pressure. This is why it’s important to understand what type of diving you want to do and how it will affect the maximum depth you can go down. For example, Florida is a great place for beginner scuba divers who are only interested in exploring shallow reefs because the state has no maximum depth for beginning divers.
#23. The only way to explore wrecks in Florida
Florida’s most popular dive sites are its many historic shipwrecks because they offer tourists an up-close look into the state’s rich maritime history. Wreck diving is an extremely dangerous activity, however, that requires all scuba divers who participate to be very well trained and experienced because of the extreme depths they go down to explore these shipwrecks.
#24. Why Florida is not a good location for an introductory scuba diving course
Florida can be among one of the most dangerous places in the world for new divers who aren’t properly trained and equipped, which makes it a poor location for an introductory scuba diving course. As a result, it is highly recommended that anyone interested in learning more about the sport first take basic classes to understand how scuba works and what types of equipment you need before heading out to Florida’s waters.
#25. The only way to explore most reefs
While you can snorkel to explore most shallow reefs, there are some places where scuba diving is the only way to reach them because of how deep they go. This is especially true for any reefs found near shipwrecks since these areas tend to be extremely dark and uninhabitable without proper equipment. As a result, you’ll need to become at least an intermediate level scuba diver if you want to explore the reefs surrounding Florida’s famous shipwrecks.
#26. Why you can’t snorkel at most of Florida’s top dive spots
Snorkeling is one of the best ways for beginners and casual divers to explore local coral reefs, but it’s not an effective technique when it comes to exploring larger shipwrecks because it only allows you to see the surface of the water. This is also why you’ll need to become at least an intermediate level scuba diver before being allowed to explore a shipwreck, which requires a significant amount of training and practice before going out into deeper waters.
#27. What type of diving in Florida is best for a weather-related vacation
The best time to go scuba diving in Florida is in the early summer or fall months when there are less storms and hurricanes that can interfere with your trip. This means you’ll want to avoid going during the summer because of how crowded it gets with swimmers, divers, and snorkelers, which significantly increases your chances of injury.
#28. Why do most beginning scuba divers start in Florida
As previously mentioned, Florida is a great place for beginner scuba divers because there are no depth limits that would prevent them from exploring its shallow reefs and shipwrecks. This makes it an extremely popular location for new scuba divers because it offers them an incredible amount of freedom to explore without needing extra training.
#29. What type of diving is best for the beginning scuba diver who wants to explore shipwrecks
As previously mentioned, beginner scuba divers should start their career in Florida because there are no depth limits that would prevent them from exploring its shallow reefs and shipwrecks. While diving is not all about those two activities, those are the best places to start as a beginner because they give you an incredible amount of freedom to explore without needing extra training or equipment.
#30. The ideal time for divers to visit Florida
The best time for scuba divers to visit Florida is during the early summer or fall months when there are fewer storms and hurricanes that can interfere with your trip. This means you’ll want to avoid going during the summer because of how crowded it gets with swimmers, divers, and snorkelers, which significantly increases your chances of injury.
If you’re ready to try something new, scuba diving in Florida is a great place to start. As long as you follow these tips for safe diving, you should have an enjoyable time exploring the waters and seeing the sights.