Kids' Scuba Diving Questions and Answers
SCUBA DIVING EQUIPMENT
LEARNING TO SCUBA DIVE
IS IT FUN SCUBA DIVING?
SCUBA DIVING SAFETY
TYPES OF DIVING WE'VE DONE
SCUBA DIVING DANGERS, ATTACKS AND INJURIES
SCUBA DIVING EQUIPMENT
Why aren't you taking your underwater scooters on this trip like last year?
1) Only small planes fly to the smaller islands in Tahiti. We are always carrying lots of luggage, and we would not be allowed to bring them with us on the plane.
2) The diving around the atolls is often in passes through the reefs. The ocean water moves very fast through the cuts in the reef. When we dive here we go with the current, called "drift diving". In these currents we will be moving a lot faster than we would on our underwater scooters. Also, the water moves so fast that our scooters could not go against the current.
Mrs. Brown, how heavy is your air tank?
Mrs. Brown: That depends on whether you mean on land or underwater. On land the air tank weighs about 35 pounds (16 kilograms). Underwater the air tank weighs about 8 pounds (3 1/2 kilograms). The air tank weights less underwater because the air tank is hollow with air inside and this makes the air tank lighter.
Mrs. Brown, why doesn't your knife get rusted?
Mrs. Brown: My diving knife is made of special stainless steel that doesn't rust.
Mrs. Brown, can you eat underwater with your knife?
Mrs. Brown: I don't but Mr. Brown does sometimes.
Mrs. Brown, do you cut anything down there?
Mrs. Brown: Yes. I like to cut up sea urchins underwater to feed the fish.
Where can you get a pair of flippers?
The flippers we use are special scuba diving fins. Our special scuba diving fins can be bought at scuba diving stores. You can buy ordinary swimming fins at most sporting goods stores.
Where did you get the scuba diving equipment?
The equipment came from a company called AQUA LUNG . AQUA LUNG makes scuba diving equipment. This company was started by Jacques Cousteau. AQUA LUNG is the oldest and largest manufacturer of scuba diving equipment in the world. AQUA LUNG is in California, near where we live. Some of our scuba diving equipment we bought from scuba diving stores. Most of our scuba diving equipment was donated to us by the AQUA LUNG. AQUA LUNG is the world's oldest and largest maker of scuba diving equipment. We bought our underwater camera equipment from camera stores.
Click here to visit the AQUA LUNG web site and see all the scuba diving equipment they make.
How long does it take you to put on all your equipment?
In the Caribbean Sea the water is very warm and we don't need to put on a thick wet suit like we do in when we dive back home California. In the Caribbean Sea, it takes us about 3 minutes to put on all our equipment. In California the water is cold and we have to put on a thick wet suit. In California, it takes us about 10 minutes to put on all our equipment.
How do you fill up your tanks?
How do you fill up your bicycle tires? We fill up our air tanks the same way. Belize Aggressor II has a great, big air pump (called a compressor), that runs on a big motor, and pumps air back into our tanks.
Is the air tank heavy?
That depends on whether you mean on land or underwater. On land the air tank weighs about 35 pounds (16 kilograms). Underwater the air tank weighs about 8 pounds (3 1/2 kilograms). The air tank weights less underwater because the air tank is hollow with air inside and this makes the air tank lighter.
Does your back hurt when you take off the air tank?
No, because underwater the tank is very light. As soon as we get out of the water we take off our air tanks so we don't have to walk around with them on our backs.
How did you take the pictures?
We took the underwater pictures using special underwater cameras. Our special underwater cameras are made so water doesn't get inside of them. Our cameras work just like regular land cameras. Our underwater cameras use the same kind of picture-taking film land cameras use.
Where did you get your underwater cameras?
We got our camera from a big camera store that sells all kinds of camera equipment. Anyone can buy an underwater camera. There are special stores that sell scuba diving equipment were you can buy underwater cameras. Some camera stores also sell underwater cameras.
Did it cost a lot of money for the equipment?
The scuba diving equipment we used for our expeditions is very expensive. Together the mask, fins, wet suit, tank, regulator, air gauge, buoyancy compensator, knife, and computer, would cost over $2,000 dollars for each of us. Each underwater scooter costs about $2,000 dollars. Each underwater camera and flash costs about $2,000 dollars.
Mr. Brown: When I first started scuba diving I didn't have very much money, so I borrowed equipment from my uncle. While I was going to school I worked for AQUA LUNG. I was able to buy equipment for a very low price while I worked there.
Why don't you go in a two person submarine?
A submarine makes it harder to work underwater. In a submarine you can't easily get out of it to touch and look at things close-up. Someday we may use a submarine to explore places deeper than we can safely go scuba diving.
LEARNING TO SCUBA DIVE
When did you start going scuba diving?
Mr. Brown: I have been a scuba diver for 30 years.
Mrs. Brown: I have been a scuba diver for 22 years. Mr. Brown taught me how to scuba dive on our honeymoon.
How did you learn how to dive?
We learned how to dive by taking scuba diving lessons.
Did someone teach you to how dive or did you teach yourselves how to dive?
You can't teach yourself how to scuba dive. We took lessons from a scuba diving teacher.
Mrs. Brown, did you teach your husband how to scuba dive?
Mrs. Brown: No. Mr. Brown was a scuba diving teacher before I was. It was Mr. Brown that first taught me to scuba dive when we got married.
Did you enjoy it the first time you went in the ocean?
Mr. Brown: I had no trouble learning to scuba dive. It is easy to learn to scuba dive where it took lessons. I learned in a calm, shallow, warm fresh water lake in Florida. My first ocean dive was in California and I enjoyed it.
Mrs. Brown: I had no trouble learning to scuba dive, but I was nervous on my first dive in the ocean. Now I feel very comfortable and don't get nervous at all when I go scuba diving.
What do you have to learn to be a diver like you, Mrs. Brown?
Mrs. Brown: To be a scuba diver you have to know how to swim. When you take scuba diving lessons you learn to breathe underwater and get the water out of your mask. You also learn how to use your buoyancy compensator (BC) to float or sink in the water. You will learn how water affects your senses when you are diving. Most importantly you will learn what you have to know to dive safely. When you get to be 12 years old you are old enough to learn how to scuba dive. If you'd like to try scuba diving, look in your telephone book for skin diving or scuba diving stores. They can tell you all about the scuba diving lessons that they give. Even if you can't scuba dive right now you can still explore underwater just by putting on fins, a face mask and a snorkel, and putting your face in the water. For your information I am enclosing a booklet on snorkeling and scuba diving.
How old do you have to be to be a scuba diver?
When you get to be 10 years old you are old enough to learn how to scuba dive. The reason you have to be 12 years old is that you will be using the same equipment as the adults use and if you are too small it may not fit properly. You will also be taking the same underwater and written scuba diving tests as the adults. You must be old enough to have the maturity to listen carefully and follow directions exactly. You must also pay close attention to your instructor without being distracted by playing around underwater.
Can you tell me how to become a scuba diver?
When you get to be 10 years old you are old enough to learn how to scuba dive. If you'd like to try scuba diving, look in your telephone book for skin diving or scuba diving stores. They can tell you all about the scuba diving lessons that they give. Even if you can't scuba dive right now you can still explore underwater just by putting on fins, a face mask and a snorkel, and putting your face in the water.
How do you learn to swim?
If your city has a community pool they may offer swimming lessons there. If you have a YMCA near you, they usually have swimming lessons. You could also look in the phone book for swimming schools.
How much are diving lessons?
Scuba diving lessons can cost from $150-$300. Sometimes you can find a class that costs less at a local college or YMCA. After you learn to scuba dive you can buy or rent scuba diving equipment. If you join a scuba diving club you may be able to borrow scuba diving equipment. If you have all your equipment scuba diving can be very inexpensive. If you dive from the beach all it will cost you is about $2-$3 to get your air tank filled. Scuba diving can be very expensive if you want to go diving in other parts of the world. If you study to become a scuba diving instructor or a marine biologist you can get paid to go scuba diving. We used to get paid to take people scuba diving when we lived on an island in the Caribbean Sea. (We lived on the island of St. Lucia. Can you find St. Lucia on a map or a globe?)
IS IT FUN SCUBA DIVING?
Is it fun going scuba diving?
Yes. Scuba diving is lots of fun. It's fun to feed the fish. It's fun to look for weird-looking fish. It's fun to try to figure out what the fish are doing. It's fun to explore sunken ships. It's also lots of fun to zoom around on our scooters.
What's it like to scuba dive?
It is like being Superman. We can fly. We can pick up things that are usually too heavy to pickup out of the water. When you get to be 10 years old you are old enough to learn how to scuba dive. Even if you don't scuba dive you can still explore underwater just by putting on a face mask and putting you face in the water. In our other Ocean Adventure school assembly programs we bring special scuba diving equipment to your school and talk about how we use it.
Do you like to go to the sea?
We like going to the sea. Most of all we like going scuba diving. When we go scuba diving we can see many of the animals that live there.
SCUBA DIVING SAFETY
Do you like to go scuba diving by yourself?
We swim together. We never scuba dive alone. It is more fun to dive with another person to show things to or they can find things to show you. Diving with another person is also safer in case you need help with something while you are diving.
About how long does it take to dive down to 50 feet?
It depends on how fast you want to go. If you wanted to put on a heavy weight belt you could dive down to 50 feet in about 5 seconds. Normally it will take us about 30 seconds to dive down to 50 feet.
Have you gone down 1,000 feet before?
No. That is too deep for scuba diving. We would have to be in a deep diving submarine to go that deep.
How deep can you go when you go scuba diving?
The deepest a person can go scuba diving is about 300 feet (100 meters) down underwater. If a person goes deeper than that the pressure can actually make the air poisonous to breathe. For safety we try to not dive deeper than 150 feet (50 meters).
How far can you go without doing something to your body?
Every time a person goes below the water something happens to their body. Every time you go in the water there is water pressure pushing on your body. The water pressure squeezes all the air spaces in your body such as your stomach, intestines, lungs, mouth, throat, sinus cavities, and inside your ears. As you go deeper and deeper underwater there is more and more water pressure pushing on your body and its air spaces.
Mr. Brown, how far could a person go into the ocean or sea because if you go in the middle of an ocean or sea the pressure would squeeze your neck?
The water pressure is squeezing your neck and the rest of your body, too. You won't feel the pressure squeezing your neck, or most other parts of your body, because your body is mostly water. Our bodies are really just big bags of water with our skin keeping the water from running out. If you ever got a cut a licked the blood where you got cut you may have noticed that it tasted salty. That is because the water in our bodies is like seawater. The water pressure pushing on our water-filled bodies will not change our bodies or make us feel any different if we are in shallow or deep water. The thing we notice is the pressure squeezing the air spaces inside our bodies. Scuba diving equipment automatically adjusts the air pressure inside our bodies so it is the same as the outside water pressure pushing in on our bodies. When the air pressure inside our bodies is the same as the water pressure on the outside of our bodies, the air spaces in our bodies don't get squeezed. That is why we can go scuba diving in deep water and not feel squeezed.
Click here find out more about how being underwater can affect your body.
How far can you go before the pressure gets too high?
As long as the pressure inside of our bodies is the same as the pressure on the outside of our bodies, the pressure won't bother us. Right now the record dive for a person is over 2,000 feet (610 meters) down. This was done using special diving equipment that prevented the air from becoming poisonous.
How deep can you go till you might blow-up?
You could blow up by going deeper because the pressure is pushing in on you, not out.
How far have you gone down?
The furthest underwater we have been scuba diving was 200 feet (60 meters) down. We were exploring shipwrecks that were sunk by a big volcanic eruption.
How deep can you go underwater?
If you are in a special deep diving submarine you can go all the way down to the bottom of the ocean. The deepest known part of the ocean is the Mindanao Trench, east of the Philippine Islands. (Can you find this place on a map or globe?) The depth here is 35,800 feet (11,000 meters).
TYPES OF DIVING WE'VE DONE
Do you like the taste of saltwater?
No. We always leave our scuba diving mouthpiece in our mouth when we are in the water so we don't get saltwater in our mouth.
Have you ever gone on a night dive?
Yes. We go on night dives whenever we have the opportunity. We love going on night dives. We can see things at night that we would never see in the day.
SCUBA DIVING DANGERS, ATTACKS, AND INJURIES
Have you ever gotten hurt underwater?
Mrs. Brown: One time a moray eel bit me by accident. It was a tiny moray eel. It bit my finger as I moved my hand by the hole it was hiding in. The moray eel let go as soon as he bit when he realized my finger was not a fish. Even though the moray eel bit into my finger its teeth were so tiny that I didn't need a bandaid for my finger.
Mr. Brown: One time I was hurt when I accidentally brushed my legs up against a fireworm. A fire worm looks like a fuzzy caterpillar. If you touch a fireworm it burns worse than getting burned by fire coral. Where I touched the fireworm on my legs it burned all day and night. After that it was numb on my legs for two weeks.
Has anything chased you before?
Yes. We get chased by fish all the time when we go diving. Little fish sometimes try to scare us away from their area by chasing after us and biting the hair on our head or biting our wet suits. Fortunately the fish that bite us only have little tiny teeth and don't hurt us. It is funny to watch them attack us as they try to scare us away.
Have you ever been bitten by a fish?
Yes. We get bitten by fish all the time. Fortunately the fish that bite us don't have big, sharp teeth. Sometimes we get our hands and fingers bitten by the fish when we are feeding them. When the fish bite us they usually don't even scratch our skin. The worst that happens is that being bitten by the fish is like being scratched by sandpaper.
Have you ever got attacked by a shark and electronic eels?
No. The sharks are scared to come close to us. You are probably thinking of electric eels. There are no such things as electronic eels. Electric eels only live in fresh water rivers and don't go into the salt water oceans.
Is it scary sometimes?
No. It has always been lots of fun for us.
Have you ever been in danger underwater?
No. We always dive together and obey all the safe diving rules.
Perla Sza: Do you get in trouble?
Mr. Brown: Sometimes I get in trouble with Mrs. Brown. Sometimes Mrs. Brown gets cold from being underwater so long and wants to get out of the water and I don't want to get out of the water.
What do you do if you get in trouble underwater?
You bang on your scuba tank so your diving buddy will come and help you.
OTHER SCUBA DIVING QUESTIONS
We want to know if scuba diving is important and is it easy?
Yes and yes. Scuba diving allows us to study animals in their environment, without taking them out of the water. Scuba diving is important for anyone who would like to explore the underwater world. Scuba diving is also important for the military and industry. Scuba diving is so easy almost anyone can do it. There are even scuba diving classes for people in wheel chairs.
Mrs. Brown, have you found a lava rock before?
Mrs. Brown: Yes. When we lived in the Caribbean Sea we lived most of our time on the island of St. Lucia. (Can you find St. Lucia on a map or globe?) St. Lucia was made from volcanoes. Some of the beaches on St. Lucia were black because the sand was actually ground up volcanic ash and lava rock.
Mr. Brown: On this expedition we will be seeing lots of lava rock. We should even see an erupting volcano with red, hot molton lava!
Have you ever ate something under the water?
Mr. Brown: Yes. Sometimes I will eat things underwater to surprise people because most people don't think you can eat underwater. I have eaten some scallops and a banana underwater.
Do you drink soda pop under the water or do you come up on the boat and eat?
Mr. Brown: I usually come up on the boat to eat and drink soda pop. Sometimes I not only eat, but I also drink sodas underwater. When I drink sodas underwater I only drink them out of glass bottles. You can seal your lips around a glass bottle underwater, but you can't seal your lips on a soda can.
When you are scuba diving do you ever have to kill anything underwater?
No. We've never had to kill anything when we were scuba diving.
Mr. Brown, have you ever killed anything?
Mr. Brown: Yes. Sometimes I kill sea urchins. I will often chop up a sea urchin with my knife to feed the fish underwater.
How come when you are high up colors are like yellow, pink, and orange, but when you are low the colors are green and blue?
The white light we see from sunlight is actually all the colors of the rainbow mixed together. Sunlight is energy and different colors have different amounts of energy. In water, light moves slower than in air. As sunlight goes down in the water more of its energy gets absorbed the deeper it goes. The colors with more energy go deeper in the water and the colors with less energy can not go as deep. Going from less energy to more energy the colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue. Going down underwater by 10 feet (3 meters) most of the red is gone, by 15 feet (4 1/2 meters) orange is gone, and by 33 feet (10 meters) yellow is gone. Deeper than 60 feet (20 meters) the colors you see are blue-green or blue-gray.