Aquatic Adventures Children and Scuba Diving Specialists in Northern Virginia
Family Scuba Diving Vacation:
When I was single I would go on a scuba diving vacation where ever I wanted and when ever I wanted. Now that I am married and have children I have to plan my vacations around my children. When they were little my wife and I would take them everywhere we went. We would take turns diving, one of us would go out on the dive boat and the other would take the kids to the beach or pool – then we would switch.
Once my children reached school age we could only take them on a trip during the summer vacation or during the Thanksgiving break from school. Again my wife and I would take turns diving and taking the kids snorkeling. Since we are both PADI Scuba Instructors we were careful not to push them into Scuba diving. They learned to snorkel and loved it, especially since they had their own child size mask, snorkel and fins. When they were older and asked us to teach them to dive we did so. It was “their idea not ours.”
Training Children to Scuba Dive
Once the decision was made to teach my children to scuba dive the first question would be where to have them trained? For us it was a not an issue, since we are both Scuba Instructors, we would do the training ourselves. Children, however, cannot expect to use adult equipment and learn without problems. Properly fitted equipment designed for children is a must. Since we own our own Dive Center we ordered a buoyancy control device or BCD designed for children and a regulator specially fitted with shorter hoses and a child’s mouthpiece. We also fitted each of them in their own wetsuit. If children get cold they will not enjoy the experience and will not want to dive. We now have several of each of these in rental for training children.
The Boys Scouts of America now has a Scuba Diving Merit Badge in addition to a Scuba BSA patch. The Girl Scouts of America has an Interest Participation Patch for a Scuba Diving Pool Experience. The Boy Scouts also have a summer camp called Sea Base that offers snorkeling and Scuba Diving for Scouts and Scouters (adult Scout parents) accompanying them. There is even a Scuba Diving Merit Badge for Boy Scouts. If you are a non diver consider taking the course with your child. It is something fun and exciting to do together. If you learn to Scuba dive with your child can be a real bonding experience. It is also something you will do together long after your children have grown to the age where they want to be with their friends.
If you decide that this is something worthwhile for your family, start by selecting a Dive Center that is “into children.” Make sure that they have equipment specifically fitted for the adolescent diver. Ask questions. Not all Scuba Instructors have the patience necessary for younger divers. Those who have children of their own or who are involved in Scouting often make the best Scuba Instructors for children. Once they are certified consider getting them their own Scuba equipment. Most resorts do not have children sizes of equipment in stock. Making do with adult equipment can be very difficult for anyone, especially children. The extra expense is well worth it if your children develop a love for diving and if you consider the extra safety factor.
Take a little time and you and your children are in for a life time of fun and adventure.