4 Fun Scuba Diving Alternatives You Schould Try

Last Updated: February 15, 2023

When you want to enjoy an underwater adventure but don’t have the desire, training or certification for scuba diving, there are several options available.

These are SNUBA, helmet diving, BOSS and semi-submersible submarines. All of these offer unusual yet amazing deep sea experiences.

Check out these great scuba diving alternatives below and explore a whole world of marine adventuring. There are many benefits to each of these options, but there are some cautions as well. Regardless, they all provide a perspective of the ocean you can’t get anywhere else.

Fun Scuba Diving Alternatives

alternatives to scuba

  1. SNUBA (Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Aparatus) – the best mix of snorkeling and diving
  2. Helmet Diving – no certification required
  3. BOSS (Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter) – perfect for zipping around underwater
  4. Semi-Submersible Submarine – the driest alternative to scuba diving

1. SNUBA (Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus)

SNUBA is an acronym for “Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus.” This essentially mixes scuba diving with snorkeling but you don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles in terms of equipment. You won’t have to get a BCD or have a heavy tank weighing you down.

What’s great is you aren’t restricted to shallower waters as is the case with snorkeling. You don’t need any certification but you will need a thorough demonstration before you go SNUBA diving. Usually, a qualified and certified instructor will give you a 15-minute discussion about safety and another 15 minutes to demonstrate how it works.

Equipment & General Mode of Operation

But, you will require certain pieces of equipment such as fins, a regulator, a SNUBA harness, weight belt and diving mask. Plus, you should have solid swimming skills. On the upside, however, you don’t have to worry about breathing in water like you do with a snorkel.

A hose connects to an air tank sitting on a floating raft that also links up to your regulator. This attaches to the harness, which not only allows you free reign in the water but it also doesn’t float around. You have a limit to how deep you can go, which is around 19½ feet (6 meters).

2. Helmet Diving

helmet diving

Another fun alternative to scuba diving is helmet diving. As the name suggests, you simply put a helmet on and get into the water. This is ideal for those who can’t swim well or don’t like snorkeling. You don’t need any special equipment or a suit, just the helmet.

But, because of the confined nature of the helmet, those who are claustrophobic should not do this. Also, for the fashion-conscious, it does make you look a little like old black-and-white science fiction or deep sea movies from the 50s and 60s.

Equipment & General Mode of Operation

This helmet comes in the shape of a bell and it rests on your shoulders while covering your head, ears, nose, eyes and face. But, there’s a window so you can see everything in front of you. The air supply comes from a raft that floats on the water’s surface.

The beauty of helmet diving is that everything stays dry inside the helmet, even when completely submerged in water. This allows people to wear their glasses, eye contacts and even some jewelry in the ocean. You can go to a max depth of around 9¾ feet (3 meters).

3. BOSS (Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter)

breathing observation submersible scooter

One of the latest advancements in marine technology is the BOSS! Also known as a Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter, it’s an underwater scooter with a helmet and an air tank. This is one of the best things for people who can’t swim at all.

It’s great for searching coral reefs, shipwrecks and other subaquatic explorations. You can travel in any direction you want and you can exit the water as quickly as you entered it.

Equipment & General Mode of Operation

Just like with helmet diving, a helmet secures over your shoulders and head that pumps in air directly from the scooter. Helmets for the BOSS are a bit different but a little more fabulous than for helmet diving. They are transparent, which means you can get a total 360 view of your environment in the ocean.

The only warnings are that people who have pressure sensitivities or are claustrophobic should not use one. Additionally, be careful for others you’re traveling with who are also on a scooter so as to avoid an accident.

4. Semi-Submersible Submarine

semi submersible submarine from inside

For those who don’t really like swimming or getting wet, a semi-submersible is a great alternative to scuba. You stay completely dry but still can enjoy the marine life in the ocean. This is simply a small submarine you board. There are ones you can rent and there are larger ones commandeered by a professional tour guide.

While this tends to be a bit pricier than the other activities, you can travel much deeper into the water. Most semi-submersible submarines can often go as deep as 246 feet (75 meters). This is because of the controlled pressure changes inside the cabin.

Benefits & Pitfalls with a Semi-Submersible Submarine

A bonus to being in a submarine, though, is the ability to speak with others and you can sit down. With SCUBA, SNUBA, BOSS or helmet diving, you have to rely on various signals and sign language to communicate with other people. Plus, sitting isn’t a real possibility due to buoyancy in the water.

There are no real dangers or warnings associated with taking a submarine like this. However, some people do report how cramped the conditions can be if the submarine seats are all booked. This means you may not get to see as much of the ocean as you’d like.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which scuba alternative you pick, you’re sure to have some fun. Whatever you do, ensure you observe all safety measures and make sure you exercise caution. This is especially true with other underwater adventurers as well as other life forms in your immediate proximity.

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