Scuba Diving: Key Terms

Get familiar with the following basic concepts and vocabulary and you will have taken a significant first step toward proficiency in dive travel sales.

TYPES OF DIVES
Drift dives: Currents carry divers over reefs, with little or no effort on the diver's part.

Shore dives: Divers walk into the water from the beach to practice their sport and see underwater sights close to shore.

Wall dives: Divers descend from a boat to explore steep underwater cliffs that reach hundreds or even thousands of feet below the surface.

SCUBA GEAR
Buoyancy compensator (BC)/buoyancy control device (BCD): Inflatable vests maintain neutral buoyancy, so divers suspend in the water easily at any depth.

Depth gauge: Indicates depth of a dive and the deepest a diver has descended during a dive.

Dive computer: Records factors such as the depth of a dive, time in the water and tank pressure, helping divers calculate the time remaining for a safe dive, recommended ascent rate, etc. It's usually located on a console or the wrist.

Exposure suits: Include dry suits, used in especially cold water; wet suits, worn in moderately cold water, and skins, thin jumpsuits for use in warm waters or underneath wet suits.

Pressure gauge: Monitors how much air remains in a diver's tank.

Regulator: Attaches to air tank and controls air flow for breathing.

Snorkel: J-shaped tube and mouthpiece that allows a diver floating on the water's surface with his or her face submerged to breathe without an air tank.

Weight belt: Belt with a quick-release buckle and lead weights that counteracts a diver's buoyancy.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS
Dive certification: Dive training is available at a variety of levels, including one-day introductory courses, full-certification programs and advanced special-interest programs. Basic dive certification usually requires about 30 hours of instruction.

This includes academic learning either in a classroom or using a CD-ROM or video; confined-water training, usually in a pool, to try out equipment and underwater breathing; open-water dives, and a written exam.

C-Card: Short for certification card, this is proof that an individual has completed a dive certification course. Legitimate dive operations limit participation to individuals who present their C-cards, which agents should remind dive travelers to bring along when they travel.

Log book: This is a record of divers' underwater experience. Agents should also urge dive clients to bring their log books, since some dive operators may check a diver's log to assess his or her skill level.

Two-tank dive: A two-tank dive is actually two separate back-to-back dives, each with one tank on the diver's back; divers take a short break between dives.

TRAVEL CONSIDERATIONS
Air travel limitations: Divers must wait 12 to 24 hours after their last dive before flying, since flying with residual nitrogen in the blood can cause physical problems. However, it is fine to dive immediately after flying.

Excess baggage: Agents are advised to find out how much equipment their clients plan to carry and check with airlines about surcharges and restrictions.

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