A Quick Guide to Scuba Diving in Berkeley, California

Clare Louise

While Berkeley, California is known for the University of California Berkeley, it’s also a great place to go scuba diving. Weather in Berkeley averages around 70 degrees Fahrenheit all year which makes it a great place to explore the outdoors as well as plant and fish life underwater.

There are other benefits to scuba diving such as:

  • Mental stability – If you’re looking for an alternative way to increase your mental well-being, scuba diving is a great solution. They say people who have a lot of stress or are under a lot of pressure should have a fish tank in their homes because looking at an aquarium relaxes our minds. Scuba diving is like having a million tanks without the responsibility of cleaning and feeding fish every day.
  • Blood circulation – As you explore the unknown underwater your body’s blood circulation increases as well. For those who have poor circulation issues, scuba diving is a great alternative form to physical therapy that you can do on your own.
  • Stress reduction – After a long day at work or a stressful day watching kids and running errands, you may notice your stress levels have risen. One way to cure this is through scuba diving. Water is known to have calming effects on our mind and being underwater is no different.
  • Concentration – Being underwater does not give you a free pass to forget that you need to concentrate on what you are doing and where you are going. In fact, you need to be very aware of your surroundings which in return helps your mind practice the skill of focus.
  • Lowers blood pressure – It’s been proven that those who scuba dive have a lower chance of passing due to stroke or heart attacks because as your body warms up underwater and your breaths are shorter, your blood pressure decreases.
  • Muscle strength – Both with swimming and scuba diving your muscles work against the water which increases your muscle strength. Typically, when you’re in the water you do not feel the force or resistance your muscles are giving you because the water is working to keep your body cool unlike when you are at the gym.
  • Skin healing – Have you heard people mention the healing benefits of seawater? Many spas are now offering facials and body soaks that use seawater to help heal scrapes, scratches, acne, and scars. That’s because seawater helps your body cleanse to remove any infection or impurities and then increases your blood circulation so your body fights to cure/heal.
  • Personal connection with nature – One benefit you may not think about is the personal connection you make with nature as you are in the water. Often, we overlook how coral, fish, and plants are living creatures that live in the water. By understanding they are no different than domestic animals and plants, you may start to rethink how personal choices affect water and nature.
  • Feeling free – For the majority of individuals, you’ll spend countless hours inside an office setting or indoors with friends and family. This alone creates a feeling of isolation and captivity. By getting a little time outdoors, underwater, and in a large open space you allow yourself to feel free.
  • Travel and exploration – Scuba diving gives you a way to travel to new depths and explore new places that you can’t see on land. Psychologists say everyone should travel and get out of their normal elements to increase mental well-being and scuba diving is a great way to accomplish this.

If you end up loving scuba diving in Berkeley, you may want to research other places you can scuba dive and take an excursion or professional scuba classes.

Scuba diving gear

If it’s your first-time scuba diving or you’re doing it while on vacation, you are likely renting your equipment but if you fall in love with the adventure and want to further your passion more permanently, it’s a good idea to purchase your own gear.

Here’s where you can purchase scuba gear around Berkeley:

To properly be ready for your scuba adventure, you’ll need to wear a swimsuit or trunks with a full-body scuba rash guard, flippers, eye goggles, and have a breathing tank. If you want to keep your hair out of your face, you might consider wearing a swim cap or pulling your hair back in a ponytail.

Wetsuits and rash guards come in various thicknesses based on how cool the water is going to be so you may want to test the water temperature before you purchase your suit to make sure you get one that will keep you warm.

Here is a list of the top wetsuit brands:

Do you need a scuba diving license to go?

Like in most places, you will need to get a license or go through an instructor-led class before you enter an underwater adventure. This class will help you be prepared when you enter the water, teach you how to use your gear, show you how to properly dive into the water backward, and give you instruction on what to do should you encounter a dangerous species.

Precautions you should take while scuba diving

Even though Berkeley weather is nice all year, the water beneath the surface will be colder,  deeper than you’re used to, and inhabit plants and animals that aren’t always safe. Therefore, it’s important you take precautions while scuba diving to ensure you have a safe trip. Here are the top 6 precautions you need to take while scuba diving in Berkeley:

 

  1. Don’t hold your breath – With scuba diving you’re wearing a mask to help you breathe properly underwater so you should never hold your breath. Holding your breath can put unnecessary pressure on your brain that can cause ruptures or even drowning.
  2. Don’t ascend too deep too fast – Just as important as breathing properly, ascending into deep water too fast can cause you to drown. Ascending should not exceed more than 30 feet per minute.
  3. Check your equipment before you get in the water – When you scuba dive, your equipment is all you have to rely on while you’re in the water, therefore, it’s important you check your equipment thoroughly before you use it while underwater.

You can check your equipment by testing the tank and task to make sure it works properly and you can test your wet suit by wearing it in the water and making sure there are no holes.

Aside from checking your equipment for breaks or tears, you will want to make sure you’ve been trained on how to use the equipment and also that you can easily hold the weight and swim.

  1. Be in shape – Scuba diving sounds like a fun adventure but if you’re not in shape, it can become a dangerous one. To get in shape for your dive, be sure you’re exercising regularly and eating healthy for at least 60-90 days before your trip so you have adequate time for your body to adjust.
  2. Be cautious of the area – If you have not done research on the are you are scuba diving in, you’re not going to be informed enough to go diving there. Instead, you should reschedule your dive until you’ve spent time researching the area and feel comfortable where you’ll be.
  3. Don’t dive alone – Scuba diving may seem like an easy thing to do alone but it’s a dangerous one. There’s an old saying that says if you dive alone you die alone and that’s typically true for scuba divers. When you go with a group, you have a group that can help should an emergency arise. Plus, you also have others you can share your memories and experience with.

Scuba diving is a great experience that will make memories for years to come as long as you are properly trained and ready to go underwater. Exercise precaution, get the proper gear and check the water and surrounding areas after you get your license to ensure you’re 100% comfortable with where you’ll be. Most of all, have fun!

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