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First time open water diving in the UK

Discussion in 'New to Scuba Diving' started by HenryHippo, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. HenryHippo

    HenryHippo New Member

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    Hi :)

    Joined up as I want to know if there are any places in the UK that will let you open water dive on your first dive?

    Asking as I really want to see fish / nature in the wild and I don't want to have to go through pool training first

    Thanks
     
  2. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    I think all training is confined water first of all, this could be a pool or a sheltered bit of lake or sea. Where abouts are you? Obviously the nearer you are to the sea the more chance you'll have of doing it in the sea.
     
  3. HenryHippo

    HenryHippo New Member

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    I'm just west of London but happy to drive as far as Scotland if need be

    I've seen first time scuba diving in the sea on holiday (Spain), just wondered if it is the done thing in the UK too
     
  4. Mako-JD

    Mako-JD Active Member

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    Hello.
    I believe that vivarian quarry has a large cage in the water to train in.
    Cant think of anywhere else that has an alternative to a pool

    http://viviandivecentre.com
     
  5. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    I think Wraysbury (local to you) and Vobster Quay (Somerset?) both have a confined water area. Both of these are old quarry's so freshwater but both have fish.

    I don't know what your options are for doing it in the sea.

    On the course you don't really have lots of time for sightseeing, you are doing different skills and need to be watching the instructor. I'd maybe just do the course and then once qualified go looking for fish.
     
    VintageGt likes this.
  6. HenryHippo

    HenryHippo New Member

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    Thanks guys. Seems there isn't really a "turn up at the beach, take a 30 min introduction and then head out into the sea with an instructor" option in the UK then :(
     
  7. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    No and even if there was, do you think that would be the safest way to learn?

    What you are describing is probably more like a try-dive or discover-scuba. These are little taster sessions. To get properly qualified takes a bit longer (not necessarily a lot longer). I think you can do this in as little as 2 weekends (I did evenings and 1 weekend I think). Even abroad it's not a one day thing.
     
    #7 jb2cool, Aug 20, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  8. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    That's definitely more of an 'abroad' option in warm, clear, benign conditions such as you'd see in the Mediterranean.

    UK waters aren't clear nor warm and the tides don't really make it benign either.

    However, there are some very calm sheltered places which *might* allow a discover scuba experience. For example Swanage pier. Give "Divers Down" a call and see if they can do this. The pier's in the sea and is shallow with small tides and might just allow this kind of activity.

    Most discover scuba diving in the UK is done in enclosed waters, such as the diving quarries/lakes


    UK sea diving is generally diving on wrecks which we have a lot of due to our pugnacious nature. Loads of exceptions to this though, diving with seals in the Farnes; drift dives (floating in the current); or shore diving.
     
  9. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    Even in nice warm clear waters, your suggestion is not without risk. Diving is a wonderful thing to do but, without notice, it can turn nasty. I was in Barbados this year when somebody under instruction forgot all his training and climbed out of the water coughing blood as he had damaged his lungs. He was quite shallow when the problem occurred and had five different options of continuing the dive or getting to the surface safely.
    My advice is to take a little more time, get the first qualification, after which you will be able to see the fish and wildlife comfortably and safely. If this involves doing stupid drills in a pool and learning theory, suck it up - these are taught for excellent reasons. You've got the rest of your life to dive, there's no hurry.:joyful:
     
    VintageGt and StuartM like this.
  10. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Any overseas try-dive is done in sheltered water a definition that also includes swimming pools,
    so the location chosen should match the benign conditions and thus safety of a pool.

    Very few locations in the UK come under that banner and even when they do the time-window
    where temperature makes it acceptable is very narrow. Either side of that window additional
    exposure protection is needed over complicating and adding to the risk.
     
  11. puddle fish

    puddle fish Well-Known Member

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    Mulberry divers in Selsey may but with the uk weather and tides you maybe waiting a while to complete your training if you only want to do it in the sea.
     
  12. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    I was in the channel last night not far round from Newhaven. We had one fairly newly qualified OWD with us doing his first UK sea dive. I think he did pretty well, seeing as visibility was a whisker off 1m. You could barely see the torch light from your buddy at more than an arms length. It was NOT the kind of conditions you would want to learn in.

    The water round the UK can be absolutely fantastic. It can also be bloody awful and it's hard to know what you'll get! Go abroad or go to a lake to get you started... Once you're used to it, you can start to actually enjoy diving in plankton soup, but it takes most people a fair while...
     
  13. NickPicks

    NickPicks Active Member

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    If you just want to go for a swim with the fish, Wraysbury's website says "Our Discover Scuba Diving sessions take place at Wraysbury Dive Centre, so your not staring at the bottom of a swimming pool but actually swimming with fishies."

    They're even in West London for you.

    http://learntodive.co.uk/where-to-start/dip-a-toe-in


    If you want to do it in the sea, then Divers Down at Swanage say their "Discover Scuba A 3hr “try a diving experience” conducted in the safe waters under the pier."
     
  14. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    If you're just looking for a try dive / discover scuba type thing then this is by far the best bet. I reckon you'd be exceptionally disappointed to pay out for a hand held dive around an inland quarry (even if they do have a couple of freshwater fish)
     
  15. pitdiver

    pitdiver Active Member

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    In comparison to this Mrs PD did all her in water training in Egypt (Sharm). That is confined water, open water then straight into AOW all in the same week. We have had somewhat heated discussions about this in the past whether it is the right way or not, but it suited her. However she is somewhat exceptional.
     
  16. snowman

    snowman Active Member

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    Pretty sure Scapa Scuba do "Try Dives" on the Blockships in Scapa from their Facebook posts - Would be worth trying them.

    I did my 'Try Dive' in the ''Blue Lagoon" near Latchi in NW Cyprus - Maybe treat yourself to a long weekend?

    Would I be diving today if I'd done it in a swimming pool? I doubt it to be honest!

    M.
     
  17. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    :) We stopped doing try-dives about 5 years ago :)

    These days we sign people up and give a full refund if they don't like it on the first pool training session.
    Cuts down on expensive pool sessions and gets students in-training quicker.
    Fallout rate is less than 5% (1 in 20) :)
     

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