Written Exam

Now it's time to bone down and study about scuba diving. We suggest you go with a course that gives you several weeks to absorb the dense lectures and book readings on various topics such as buoyancy, diving physics, and depth and time limits. At the end of your course, you will be required to take a written test. You must pass it to become certified Here's a few quiz questions that are similar to what you might be asked:

I-- A diver, while ascending, should always:

a) hold his/her breath b) exhale c) breathe normally d) any of the above, it doesn't matter

II-- For every ___ feet of depth (in salt water) gauge pressure increases by 1 atmosphere.

a) 22.4 b) 66 c) 14.7 d) 33

III-- Match the situation to the law of physics that best explains it.

a) Decompression sickness
b) Decreased tank pressure after a "hot fill"
c) Air embolism
d) Nitrogen narcosis
e) Floating or sinking

1) Boyle's Law
2) Archimedes' Principle
3) Dalton's Law
4) Henry's Law
5) Charles' Law

Answers: I) b, II) d, III) a-4, b-5, c-1, d-3, e-2

Granted, these were some tough questions, but scuba diving is a tough sport. In addition, you'll need to know how to use your dive tables like the back of your hand (that is, calculate surface interval times for multiple dives and how much time you need to give yourself before increasing or decreasing your depth). For more in depth (no pun intended, ha ha!) information on diving and the skills you need to get certified, please refer to these texts: (1) Clinchy, R.A., Egstrom, G., Fead, L. Jeppsen's Open Water Sport Diver (5th Edition). Mosby - Year Book, 1992. (2) Barsky, S. Adventures in Scuba Diving (NAUI). Mosby - Year Book, 1995.

Swim Test

While you are reading and studying, you will also be taking swimming pool training dives. And, believe us, there's nothing that builds more character in a person than learning what is at the bottom of ye olde publick swimming hole. Most U.S. based scuba diving agencies have a 200-yard minimum swimming requirement (300 yards for the YMCA) for certification. There are also survival/safety requirements that will be tested in the pool such as treading water and tired diver tow (dragging a tired swimmer to "shore"). What's important about the training dives in the pool is that it's your opportunity to suit up and get familiar with all the equipment in a contained and supervised setting.

The final step on your way to being a scuba diver is to try an open water dive. This is when all your hard work in the classroom and pool is finally put to the test. You will be required to pass a series of five open water dives in a lake, quarry, ocean or other large body of water. You will be asked to perform some of the following skills and more:

  • Set up and check your equipment and your buddy's equipment (don't be fresh)
  • Know your hand signals
  • Plan the dive
  • Ascent and descent: controlled and normal, with and without reference (boat)
  • Mask: clearing and removal
  • Snorkel: clearing
  • Buoyancy: pivot, hover, donning and doffing B.C., manual inflation B.C.
  • Regulator: clearing and recovery
  • Octopus: use and ascent
  • Cramps release
  • Tired diver tow
  • Navigation: compass surface and compass navigation

So you wanna be a scuba diver, and now you're closer to being one. That's enough time spent on your computer reading about it. Follow the simple steps we've outlined here and dive in! Who knows, maybe you'll be the one to find Atlantis. Maybe not.