It’s amazing how frequently you meet divers. I’m not sure if it’s a common haircut we all have or just the fact that we all look consistently dehydrated. But, chances are, if there’s another diver in the room, you’ll end up talking bottom time soon enough.
But, who is a diver? Personally, I tend to be pretty inclusive. I take anyone from the kid who builds a makeshift snorkel from bamboo reed to the teenager seeing how long he can stay underwater by breathing off of the bubbles in the Jacuzzi to the hardcore double-cylinder, helix-backplate, seven regulator with multiple redundant backups tec diver. To me, it’s like a party and, as long as you’ve dunked your head in the bathtub, you’re in the club.
Not so for everyone, however. The diver I happened to meet in an airport lounge is what I will politely call…a dive snob. I’m sure you know the type: he thinks snorkelers aren’t good enough to be on the same boat and tec divers are nothing but grouchy, underwater nerds. I always think it’s a strange attitude, but after chatting a while I found out the source of insecurity.
He wasn’t certified.
I know, that’s heresy to some and applauded by others, but I found it curious why someone wouldn’t get certified. He was certainly a diver – after more than 15 Discover Scuba Diving Experiences it’s hard to call him anything but a diver. The bluff and bravado was simple overcompensation. But that didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t certified. To me, that’s like driving without a license for 25 years – you probably won’t get stopped and cited…but it can happen at any time. So, with that said, here’s what I used to convert my newfound friend to the ranks of officially certified divers:
- You won’t ever have to justify why you should be treated any different than all the other
newbie Discover Scuba Diving participants.
- Divemasters no longer try to hold your hand – literally – underwater.
- You can explore the underwater world with your dive buddy at your convenience.
- An open water diver certification is a true achievement – something you can be proud of.
- You’ll meet other divers and find out about dive destinations – where only certified divers can go.
- It’s great cocktail party conversation.
- It’s like joining an international adventure club (secret hand gestures optional).
I’ll be honest; I was getting on a plane and have no idea if my new friend ever did continue on to earn his certification. And, when I really think about it, he’s still a diver in my eyes. But, I just can’t help but think that he’s limiting himself and what he can do. After all, they say that you never look at the world the same way after your first breath underwater. But, imagine how different you look at the world when you take your first breath underwater as a certified diver. It’s like taking the training wheels off or your first solo landing – it’s a sense of freedom and accomplishment you can never forget.
Contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort to take advantage of being an officially certified diver.