For divers there is no question of why scuba dive, only how, when and where will my next dive be.

So where does this enthusiasm come from? Are there underlying motivations for people to engage in scuba diving? There are so many recreational activities out there.

People are passionate about golf, climbing, curling, bowling, tennis, swimming to name a tiny fraction. Furthermore they appear just as passionate about their sport.

There is however something that “drives” divers to dive more. In other words a deeper sense of enthusiasm for the sport.

Why Scuba Dive you ask? Well let’s dive right into it.

A good starting point would be to look at PADI’s four E’s. We have Education; learning new skills. Then there is Experience; experiencing something new and sharing it with others. Further we have Equipment; learning how to use dive equipment and rely on it. Lastly, but importantly we have Environment; learning about a new world and what we can do to preserve it.

The company’s passion and pride is evident in their video below. This was released to celebrate their 50 years of commitment to diver education. Watching it sure sends a few chills down your spine!

The Science

Could there also be a scientific reason people love diving so much?

Researchers Balvinder Kler and John Tribe published Flourishing Through Scuba: Understanding The Pursuit of Dive Experiences. In this study they go into extraordinary detail as to why scuba divers so passionately pursue their sport. They conclude that divers pursue the “good life” by gaining meaning and fulfillment through education and personal growth.

The researchers refer to eudaimonia as concept that fuels divers’ passion. Participating in diving leads to long-term satisfaction and happiness. This is due to a continuing pursuit of positive experiences. And this in turn leads to a “good life” or happiness. This is why divers sometimes express that they just “need” to dive. Because they know that diving leads to new and positive experiences as well as personal growth. As a diver you get the opportunity to constantly improve your knowledge and skills in something you are passionate about. There are constant new experiences that enrich a diver’s well being.

Why Scuba Dive

Diving offers many possibilities for education. First we have to face fears, learn new skills and later we continue to improve our skills and reach new boundaries. All the while learning about ourselves and a whole new world we barely acknowledged was there before.

Why Scuba Dive

Our planet is 70% water, yet we cannot survive in that medium unassisted for very long. Scuba diving makes this possible. Divers can comfortably survive for extended periods of time underwater. Because of this they can discover marine life they never knew existed before. Even just acknowledging the marvel of engineering with every breath enriches a diver’s sense of well-being.

Something for everyone

Diving offers so many different potential avenues for participants to pursue.

Training
Educating ourselves is always a positive experience, because we are learning something new. We push ourselves outside our comfort zone. Diving education starts with the Open Water certification and continues with the Advanced course. But from there the sky is the limit. You never have to stop learning in diving as there are so many ways to expand your knowledge.

Community
Furthermore, divers form new friendships through the sport. Shared experiences intensify friendships. Traveling in the pursuit of diving makes it very easy to make new friends as you already share a common interest. Experienced divers thrive on introducing new divers to the underwater world. In turn new divers feel welcome when experienced divers assist them.

Travel
Travel is known to be a positive experience by expanding knowledge through new experiences and cultural emersion. Divers often consider more new travel destinations simply because there is “good diving” there. The curiosity alone can be satisfying. We like to seek out new dive destinations and even plan trips and holidays with other diving friends.

Environment
Too often divers are faced with the environmental deterioration on otherwise pristine reefs. This can lead to them becoming more active in preserving the environment. For example they might start to change their own habits to be more environmentally responsible or even inspire others to take action.

A few more reasons to try diving

Serious Leisure
Serious leisure is a term used to describe activities that promote recreating or rediscovering oneself, through enrichment, social connections and a sense of belonging. Diving invites everyone to participate, no matter what level and encourages continuing growth through education and shared experiences. Diving requires specialised knowledge and training that once completed creates a sense of belonging.

Exploration
We all have a sense of curiosity and exploration within us. For example taking a walk in a forest we have never been in before can create a sense of enrichment once we have taken the walk. Diving combines training, and relying on equipment and procedures to pursue such an exploration. Even on a “bad dive” where we “saw nothing” we still shared an experience with other divers. Poor visibility or torrential rain for example can add to the adventure and forge an ever stronger bond between dive buddies.

Escapism
We all want to truly escape sometimes. A lot of people find this escapism or inner peace through meditation. I for one believe there is no better form of escapism than diving. There are no phones, no internet and you can only communicate essentials with hand signals. You focus on your breathing (meditation) and monitor your gauges as well as your buddy (being in the present). Furthermore you do all this in an incredible environment full of colour and amazing creatures.

Conclusion

In short, diving is a pursuit of the “good life” and achieving happiness by engaging us in positive experiences. It helps us grow as a person and enriches our life. On top of that we have a choice in how we engage with scuba diving. Do we become a nudibranch fanatic? Or maybe we could attempt to dive every dive site in the world? What if we continued to train until we eventually train others? Do we stop there? So instead of why scuba dive, maybe we should be asking why not scuba dive?

Further Reading
5 Reasons to try diving Sairee Cottage Diving
10 Reasons to be a scuba diver PADI
Flourishing Through Scuba: Understanding The Pursuit of Dive Experiences Balvinder Kler & John Tribe
Eudaimonia Wikipedia

Lionel

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