Taking off for a winter sun holiday? No doubt you’ll want to make the most of every opportunity that comes along. And what is a beach holiday without getting in the water? Exactly. If you’re the type of person who can’t lie on a sun bed all day then scuba diving must be the ultimate sea going thrill. It’s not something you’d ever consider in the UK ( for obvious reasons) but on a winter sun holiday, when the air temperature is 28 degrees and the sea temperature is 20 degrees or more, who could resist?
Of course diving can be dangerous so there are going to be a few hoops to jump through before you can swim with the fishes. Firstly – and most important – is your travel insurance. Will yours cover you for diving? Some policies will have exclusions, others will limit the depths to which you can go and some will specify that you always dive with a reputable operator (and why wouldn’t you?). World First Travel Insurance policies will cover you for diving up to 30 metres, providing you dive with an approved and qualified operator.
Diving with medical conditions
If you intend to dive you’ll be required to fill in a form whenever you dive with a PADI Certified Dive Centre. This is a declaration of your health and your physical condition. If you have a medical condition you’ll need to get this signed by a Doctor to say you are ‘fit to dive’ before you can get anywhere near the water. You may be able to do this at the resort where you are staying but of course you’ll pay - about Euros 35 in the Canary Islands for example – so you’ll save a few quid by popping along to your GP for a letter that says you are ‘fit to dive’ before you go. Alternatively you can download the PADI fit to dive declaration here to see what levels of health they will expect.
Getting a taste of the sea
Dive centres are really keen to get people in the water so there will more than likely be a bunch of options to get you started. Taster sessions or beginner’s programmes will usually take a few hours and will involve a little classroom work, some shallow water training and then a dive to about 10 metres. If you are unsure about whether or not you’ll like scuba diving or just want to try it, this is the way to do it.
However, if you want to dive straight in you can do a PADI Open Water Scuba Diver Course. This course takes longer (four or five days) and involves more theory and four or five dives to about 18 metres as well as shallow water training. Once you are qualified, your PADI certificate will allow you to dive anywhere in the world. It’s a great way to spend your holiday, especially if you aren’t the sun bed type. And you get a certificate at the end of it! From here you can then go on to do all sorts of further qualifications including Dive Master, Underwater photography and Night Diving.
Checking the small print before you go
As said before, it’s vital to check that your travel insurance will cover you for scuba diving and what depth you will be able to dive to. A World First travel insurance single or annual multi trip policy will automatically cover you for diving up to 30 meters if you are qualified. So don’t forget to check before you go. Otherwise you’ll find yourself with more time on the sun bed than you might have bargained for.