15 best practice tips to become a confident senior scuba diver

As a Scuba Woman who began her scuba diving adventure at the age of 55, I have found being a Senior Scuba Diver both fulfilling and challenging. Throughout my scuba diving journey, I have discovered that exploring the underwater world can be a remarkable and life-changing experience. Relish in the joy of rediscovering your youth underwater and become a Confident Senior Scuba Diver by following my 15 best practice tips for scuba diving.

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #1 – Know your Diving Limits

There is a difference between pushing boundaries and being out of your depth – know your diving limits. Develop a healthy, confident mindset. Rationalize and work through any fears you may have. (You can still breathe underwater if your mask comes off!)

Meditation can help keep you centered and calm and improve breath control. Never feel pressured or rushed. Take the time needed and feel prepared before getting into the water. Some nerves are natural and ok, but you should not feel panicked. Say no to a dive if you feel compromised mentally or physically.

A Scuba Woman in a wetsuit, walking through water carrying fins and mask
Empty Nest Diver

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #2 – Know the Dive Briefing

Agree on maximum depth, dive time, when the dive will turn, where you are going, who will lead the dive, and what you will likely encounter. Know what to do if you are separated, what to do if you experience strong currents, meet nesting triggerfish, etc. Ask questions and raise concerns. Knowledge helps keep you safe – know the dive briefing.

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #3 – Complete checks

Always check your equipment, know your buddy’s equipment, and complete a buddy check. Revise hand signals and communicate with your buddy early and often. Communicating early means potential issues can be recognized and averted. Completing checks with your buddy will ensure you both feel confident.

The bow of a dive boat looking towards a white sandy beach

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #4 – Conserve air

Look at your air gauge regularly, and remember to check on your buddy’s air. Performing a controlled descent will help conserve air. Knowing the percentage of air you use at different stages of a dive enables you to adjust your dive accordingly. If you are using more air than previous dives, you may steady your breathing, change kicking styles, move up in the water column, or shorten the dive.

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #5 – Complete a buoyancy check

Perform a buoyancy check on entering the water and establish neutral buoyancy at depth. Neutral buoyancy helps conserve air and protects both diver and the environment. Scuba divers can inadvertently break coral or damage marine life by continually adjusting their buoyancy. Enjoy the experience of being weightless in a vast ocean, or feel as if you are flying when doing a drift dive.

A scuba diver, two fish and a pinnacle

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #6 – Recognize your buddy’s gear

Know the look, shape, and color of your buddy’s snorkel, wetsuit, and fins, so there is no confusion underwater. Remember, water is approximately 800 times denser than air. This means colors are absorbed quickly and disappear. We no longer see red at 4.5m, orange at 7.5m, yellow at 10m-14m, and green at 22m. White is easy to see underwater.

A scuba diver removing fins inderwater while holding the boat ladder

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #7 – Revise your PADI training

Revise the 5-point descent and 5-point ascent regularly until it becomes second nature. It is essential to understand the physiology of diving and refine techniques.

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #8 – Ascend slowly

Ascend slowly – no more than 9 meters (30ft) per minute. Follow your smallest air bubbles and watch your computer. Complete a safety stop as directed by your computer, usually at 5-6 meters (16-20ft) for a minimum of 3 minutes.

Two scuba divers performing a controlled descent

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #9 – Never hold your breath

Never hold your breath. When we dive, the volume of our lungs changes as we encounter different amounts of pressure at different depths. Breathing continuously allows air to always escape rather than expand and potentially rupture our lungs or send air bubbles into our bloodstream. Steadily inhaling and exhaling also helps to keep us calm and to conserve air.

Holding your breath can cause severe lung damage; always breathe slowly and consistently.

A puffer fish

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #10 – Always return with spare air

Confident Scuba Women regularly check their air gauges and dive computers. Dives should be timed to ensure all divers surface with at least 50 bar (725 PSI) of air. A good rule of thumb is to allow 1/3 of the air for the dive out, 1/3 for the return, and 1/3 for safety.

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #11 – Be a prepared dive buddy

Try to find a shared rhythm together so you have your own space but are still close by. Always know where your buddy is; if you observe any unusual behavior, check they are ok. Never be more than a few fin kicks away in case of an emergency. Enjoy sharing what you see with your buddy and compare experiences when back on land.

Diving is a buddy sport – if the equipment is too heavy or the boat ladder is too difficult, admit it and ask for help. After all, we are Senior Scuba Women. Enjoy scuba diving for the buddy sport it is.

Two anemone fish

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #12 – Take only photos

Never touch marine life or take coral and shells as souvenirs. Once confident with your buoyancy, grab your camera to capture the picturesque world you are diving in. I love my GoPro as I can point and aim while remaining in the moment.

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #13 – Remember your trim

Like buoyancy, trim can be positive, neutral, or negative. Ideally, for most of your dive, your trim will be neutral – your body parallel to the bottom in a horizontal position. A Scuba Woman with neutral trim should move forward effortlessly without changing depth. A Scuba Woman with positive trim (head higher than feet) will move upward. Negative trim (head lower your feet) will move you downwards with each fin kick.

Try hovering to practice maintaining a neutral trim and adjust your weights accordingly. Correct trim complements a Senior Scuba Diver’s buoyancy and helps conserve both energy and air.

An eel in the foreground with a scuba diver in the background

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #14 – Enjoy being a Scuba Woman

Remember to simply enjoy the unique experience of being underwater. Take a moment to float quietly and appreciate all that surrounds you. Look up and down and always out to the blue – be thrilled by your underwater odyssey. Senior Scuba Women are privileged to have adventures under the sea. Bring the enjoyment of being a Scuba Woman ashore and live a sustainable lifestyle, protecting our oceans.

Confident Senior Scuba Diver Tip #15 – Scuba Strong Lifestyle

Integrate strength and cardio training into your daily routine. Yoga and Scuba complement each other wonderfully. Yoga will help build strength and flexibility and enhance your underwater meditation experience. It is also great for breath control.

Think about your diet. The more clean and unprocessed foods you consume, the more your body will thank you and will respond by getting Scuba Strong.

It’s Never Too Late -TAKE THE DIVE WITH TANYA – Helping Women Dive Confidently

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Published by emptynestdiver

Learning to dive in my fifties has been a great adventure, I am a senior scuba diver but young at heart.

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