Can You Scuba Dive If You Can’t Swim?

Last Updated: February 8, 2023

Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities on almost everyone’s bucket list. We’ve all seen beautiful shots of life under the sea; the colorful fish, the beautiful corals, and much more!

Other than this, we’ve also seen a lot of travelers post pictures and videos of them scuba diving in various places.

This makes us all want to experience the thrill and joy of scuba diving once in our lives. It may have seemed like a farfetched dream a long time ago, but here’s the good news. Almost everyone can enjoy scuba diving now. That is, everyone who passes the basic swim test.

So, what is the swim test? Why is it mandatory? Do you need to know how to swim to scuba dive? Find all your answers by reading this article till the end.

Let’s answer the main question first.

Can You Go Scuba Diving Without Knowing How To Swim?

scuba divers swimming

The short answer is no. Well technically speaking, yes. But, to go scuba diving you need to get your license. And the scuba certification will be given to you only when you pass the basic training, which of course includes swimming.

You will need to show all the basic swimming essentials. You also need to swim 656 feet (200 meters) in a swimming pool in order to get your certification.

This is done to ensure your safety while you go scuba diving.

Why is Swimming a Necessity?

Swimming is crucial in scuba diving because this will ensure your own safety. Scuba diving is extremely risky when compared to other sports. This is because we are not used to an underwater environment.

If you know how to swim, you will find it much easier to reduce the risk of drowning. Some people naturally have a fear of the water. By knowing how to swim, you can eliminate that fear and enjoy a safe scuba diving session.

Professional divers also know how to save their oxygen levels while diving. When you know how to swim, you can also train yourself to use oxygen when needed.

Why Should We Learn How To Swim?

If you are a person who would like to go scuba diving but does not know how to swim, here’s a list of reasons why it’s essential.

Safety Reasons

The first and probably the most important reason is for your own security and well-being. Knowing how to swim will minimize the danger of getting an injury and keeping you away from any trouble.

By learning how to swim, you will also know basic but useful techniques that might come in handy while you are diving.

Boost Your Confidence

In order to have a good experience while scuba diving, you need to be confident about yourself and the environment you will be in.

A good instructor will help you learn everything you need to know about scuba diving beforehand so that you will be prepared for it.

Conservation of Air

If you want to stay underwater for a longer period, you need to learn how to manage your oxygen levels effectively. It also depends on how deep you will go and your level of fitness.

A person who is new to scuba diving will use up their oxygen more quickly than a professional, experienced scuba diver. Learning how to swim underwater will also help give you an insight into how much oxygen should be used at what depths.

How Far Should You be Able to Swim

One need not be an accomplished, professional swimmer in order to go scuba diving. However, you will need to swim at least 656 feet in order to try this out.

Are There Any Particular Strokes That You Should Master?

If you plan on taking swimming lessons just to go scuba diving, you don’t have to master every stroke in the book. Although, you will need to learn the basic strokes. You can start by learning how to stay afloat and slowly move towards learning how to stroke properly.

Scuba diving experts suggest learning breast stroke as it is the easiest to learn and requires very little of your energy.

Learning how to stay afloat on water is another essential thing needed when you’re learning the basics.

This is relatively easy, and your instructor might start you off by swimming using just the hands. Once you have mastered this, you can learn how to stay afloat by making use of your legs.

There is no need for you to be scared or nervous as your instructor will provide you with a floatation device. This will help you during the first few classes, or you can use this until you are confident enough to do it on your own.

How Often Will You Be Swimming Once You Start Diving

The amount of swimming that you will be doing in scuba diving is actually very little. Most of the swimming that you will do is with the fins.

The only actual swimming that is done during the entire process is during the dive.

In your swim class, your instructor will teach you how to dive gently. Other than that, the instructor will also teach you how to ascend and descend.

This is required during the dive (as you will be diving into the water) and when you are done exploring the depths of the sea (as you will be ascending back to the boat or buoy).

The majority of swimming will only be done with your fins, and this makes it easier to navigate and move around.

How Much Will The Lessons Cost You

The prices and cost of diving courses largely depend on the size of your party. Private courses are comparatively more expensive than group classes.

In a way, a private class is better as the benefits here are clear. The swimming instructor will only have to focus on your performance. You can go at your own pace, and you also won’t have any distractions.

Group classes work well too, as they instill the feeling of all the learners as a team. All the people in a group will be able to motivate each other. You will never feel alone, and you might just make a few new friends.

Is Fitness Essential in Scuba Diving?

While the fitness element is not mandatory, it certainly helps if you are fit and healthy in general. Being fit can help you stay underwater for a longer time when compared to a person who is out of shape.

You do not have to be a fitness freak in order to scuba dive. You just need to be healthy enough to have a long, pleasant diving experience.

How Can You Experience The World Underwater if You Don’t Want to Swim

If you still feel nervous about swimming and have second thoughts but still want to explore underwater, there are some great scuba diving alternatives just for you.

Submarine Rides

Submarines are a great way to experience the underwater world if you are afraid to scuba dive. They give you a somewhat similar experience but without the masks or oxygen tanks.

This option is usually best suited for people who are physically impaired or have health concerns that stop them from scuba diving. They are also suited for people who have a fear of water. And who knows, maybe this experience will help them get over their fears.

Underwater Resorts

Technology these days has evolved so much that people have begun building resorts underwater. These are a perfect alternative for people who do not wish to dive but still want to experience the world underwater.

These resorts usually have big, strong glass windows or walls through which you can see the beautiful scenery.

Glass Boats

Resorts also have another way for you to experience what is underwater by making use of glass boats. Unlike typical boats, these boats have a glass floor which allows you to see through them and into the ocean.

Final Thoughts

If you are someone who wishes to experience the joy of scuba diving but does not know how to swim, you must definitely learn the basics of swimming. You may question, “Is it really worth it?” The answer is yes, it absolutely is!

Scuba diving can really open your eyes to the beauty of the underworld. You will see everything from colorful corals to vibrant and different types of fish. You can also explore caves and take a look at any shipwrecks. It is an absolutely wonderful thing to experience.

That being said, it is also necessary to take the required precautions and be careful, especially if you are a first-time diver. If you follow the safety rules, there’s nothing for you to worry about.

All that is left for you is a fun time under the sea.

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