Today's guest author, Jacob Mojiwat, is passionate about the ocean and water sports. Currently he is sharing the wonders of diving in malaysia with others. His website, asiadivingvacation.com has comprehensive information about Asian dive locations such as Sipadan Island and the area dive resorts to help diving enthusiasts plan unparalleled scuba diving vacations.
For any trip that you take with your family, proper planning can make the difference between a wonderful, relaxing family vacation and a trip that is at best a hassle and at worst a nightmare. When
it comes to planning a scuba diving trip, this is even more true. With a little planning, though, you and your family can be submerged in a trip you will never forget! Here is a short checklist to help keep you
on track before you leave:
- As you would with any vacation, start with the nuts and bolts: where will you go, where will you stay, and, if you are traveling internationally, what passports, visas, and/or permits will you need? To take my favorite dive destination, the island of Sipadan, as an example — you will certainly have a glorious experience, but you will need to plan ahead to get dive permits,
because only a limited number of divers are allowed on the island each day. No one can stay overnight on Sipadan – you will have to plan to stay on a nearby island, and arrange for boat transportation to Sipadan for your dive.
- People often expect to learn to dive on vacation – I really don't recommend this. Do you want to spend your vacation memorizing safety rules (which are quite important) and learning how to use your equipment, or do you want to spend it underwater, seeing everything there is to see? It is well worth taking the time to make sure that all the potential divers in your family are
certified before you leave. Take a course together – a good one will take you several weeks. The certification course will also give you the chance to talk to other divers who may have visited the
destination you have in mind, and hear about their experiences. If you are beginners, choose a beginning dive site as your vacation spot, and save the more advanced sites for when you have a
little more experience under your belt. A cave or shipwreck dive is not for a beginner, no matter how fascinated that beginner might be!
- Be sure that you pack all personal diving items. You will need a mask, fins, and snorkel for every member of the family who will be diving – and even for those members who may be sticking to snorkeling. You will probably want to rent the rest of your equipment once you get there, or better yet, go out with a scuba tour group at your destination. You'll save money on baggage overage fees, and have the benefit of an experienced guide who knows the area. Choose a place to stay that offers diving amenities such as a secure locker in which to store your
gear, and a rinsing area.
- Consider what the nondiving members of your family are going to be doing while you are diving. Have you chosen a destination that has plenty of nondive amenities as well as beautiful dive locations? If you are bringing children under the age of 12 along, be sure that your hotel or resort offers childcare – your under-12-year-olds won't be diving. Older children, just like the
adults in the family, should be certified as divers or as Junior Open-Water divers before you leave, if at all possible. If you do decide to dive without becoming certified first – if, for example, you are not sure yet that you want to go through the certification process – find a dive outfit that specializes in taking noncertified divers on dives. You may want to try PADI Discover Scuba or NAUI Try Scuba
- Be sure that your insurance plan covers travel and includes dive accidents. If it doesn't, arrange for travel insurance with Travel Guard, DiveAssure, or some other travel insurance company recommended by your insurance carrier or your travel agent.
- Make safety your number one priority. Once you reach your destination and are ready to dive, remember to follow all the safety tips that you learned in your dive certification course. Remind your children to do the same. If you are an uncertified diver diving with a professional tour dive leader, be sure to follow that person's instructions about safety assiduously. Don't let your wonder at all the beauty around you make you so excited that you forget about your own safety. When in doubt, just get out! But when you're in, let the fun begin.
Finally, in your gear, be sure to include at least one underwater camera. Diving is a wonderful way to relax with your family. You'll feel your everyday tensions melt away. And that's something you'll want to capture on film, if you can!