Are you considering learning how to dive but can’t find the upper age limit on getting certified? What you might find is a minimum age limit of 8 years old for a PADI Bubblemaker Program or 10 years old for Junior programs, but there is no upper age limit on scuba diving. Minimum age limits are in place as diving has some inherent risks and children need to be of an age where they can understand the dive theory component, and react to situations responsibly rather than impulsively. So, if you are interested in trying scuba diving, your age won’t be a barrier!
Taking up scuba diving a little later in life does come with some considerations – and it has some significant benefits too! Read on to find out more from us and from PADI Diver Tanya Dredge who completed her PADI Open Water Diver course at age 55…
1. Health and Fitness
Regardless of age, anyone who wants to try scuba diving needs to be in good health and have a reasonable level of fitness. In some countries, a medical statement from your doctor is required for all ages to confirm that you are medically fit for diving. In other countries there is a diver medical questionnaire, and a doctor’s approval is only required if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. The diver medical, asks those over 45 years old to answer questions regarding cholesterol levels, familial history of heart attack and lifestyle habits.
Generally speaking, if you are in good shape without any medical health issues, you will be good to go – and dive in!
2. Healthy, Low-Impact Exercise
If you are not someone who enjoys going to the gym, diving is a great way to maintain your fitness level. As a form of exercise, diving is low impact compared to walking or jogging. Those who have stiff joints may be granted relief by virtue of the weightlessness you experience when underwater.
If you want to keep diving then the key is maintaining your overall fitness level – regardless of what age you are!
3. Meet People and Go Places
Getting out and meeting new people who have a shared common interest isn’t always easy and it doesn’t get easier with age.
If you develop a love for scuba diving, you won’t just be embarking on a new hobby, you’ll also find a new tribe! Scuba divers of all ages are generally people who like to be active, enjoy being outdoors, have a love of travel and a passion for the ocean. You’ll meet new people on dive trips, holidays and in many areas there are local dive clubs that hold social events, gatherings and local beach clean-ups.
Being outdoors, socializing and being physically active are all well known for helping us to stay energized and feeling youthful.
By Tanya Dredge: “PADI dive shops provide an even playing field….and buddies! We all receive the same training, have to perfect the same skills and then we all continue to learn. Diving with the PADI dive shops connects you to a wide range of people – different shapes, sizes, ages, genders and ethnicities. I have made some great long-term friends and sometimes just friends for the day. Inclusivity for all.
The inclusivity of diving is one of the reasons, I love the sport. As a middle-aged woman I have been made to feel insignificant, self-conscious and embarrassed about my body. For someone who is not an athletic person, is uncoordinated and not strong, sporting activities can be quite daunting and I often feel small, stupid and inconsequential. I can honestly say I have never been made to feel that way diving. The PADI diving community have been supportive, generous, uplifting and empowering. I feel I have been embraced – cellulite and all”.
4. Discover a Whole New World
When you start scuba diving you’ll literally be diving into an entirely different world. It’s not just the stunning coral reefs and incredible marine life that will blow you away, it’s also how you can move differently, see, hear and even communicate differently.
When you’re underwater, be prepared to experience a sensory overload of colour and life. The excitement of spotting a fish that you haven’t seen before, watching an ancient sea turtle swim by, or a majestic manta ray swoop down from overhead. These are all incredible first-time experiences and there will be many more to come!
5. Discover a New You
By Tanya Dredge: “We all travel through our lives differently, taking different paths with different priorities. Many women in their 50’s are where I am. We have raised families, pursued careers, accumulated “things”, had health challenges, dealt with family crises and then we arrive here. Mid 50’s with a moment to breathe and knowing ourselves slightly better than we did at 18. We know ourselves but sometimes it’s hard to know where we fit. We are wanting healthier bodies, to have more fun, to challenge and stretch our boundaries. We are wanting to be ourselves not just someone’s mother, wife, teacher, employee, boss. Finding that space can be difficult but I have found it in diving. I have found it in the exhale.
That first moment as I breathe out and slowly descend not just underwater but also deeper within. I have found me in that release. Found me in the first inhale as I transition to another world; free of the weight of gravity and my daily responsibilities. I have found space in that pause between breaths, where I move neither up nor down, neutrally buoyant, still, complete”.
6. Boost Your Self-Confidence
Scuba diving is a lot of fun, but it’s not without challenges when you are learning. For divers of all ages there are often components of the PADI Open Water Diver Course that can cause anxiety before you try them. PADI courses are designed for divers of all ages and abilities by utilizing a building block method of teaching. The skills are broken down into manageable steps with each paving the way for the next. When you successfully complete the skills that initially made you nervous, you’ll feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Most divers also find that after completing their Open Water Diver courses they generally feel an increased sense of self confidence in their daily lives too!
7. Just a Number
We hope that you’ve seen now that age is just a number when it comes to scuba diving. It’s not just Tanya that has taken the plunge, each year more and more people in their 50’s and over are becoming new PADI Divers. Take a look at Jacques Cousteau who continued to dive until his death at the age of 87!
By Tanya Dredge: “I am part of a growing number of women around the world starting their dive adventures later in life. Hopefully I can inspire woman my age to step out of their comfort zone, challenge themselves, have fun, be themselves, makes great friends interact with nature and welcome the inclusivity of scuba diving. I hope you find your niche because I have found mine.”
Article from PADI BLOG