Planning and booking a holiday for a family can seem like a whole different ball game than booking for one or two. The impact of travelling as a family unit can seem far more challenging, especially, if in a previous life you were an adventurous single SCUBA diver. Oh for the joys of diving, the freedom of underwater travel, the sights of majestic marine life are maybe now just a distant dream.
Well stop and think again. Diving doesn’t have to just be for adults; in fact diving is a fun family activity and children just love it. The Red Sea Diving College has some excellent PADI programs designed specifically for children to get them started with an emphasis on fun. We also have a whole heap of child friendly kit; mini tanks (8lt & 10lt), light weight regulators, and children sized BDC’s, wetsuits, masks and fins.
Remember that children have than uncanny ‘no fear’ attitude and the ability to soak up knowledge quickly if it is presented in the right way. Diving is an ideal sport; it encourages your child’s natural curiosity for learning in a fun and safe way. Once your child has taken their first breaths underwater, there will be no stopping them, they will be swimming with the fish and eagerly wanting to learn more.
Children can have their first SCUBA experience at 8 years old. PADI have a special program called the ‘Bubblemaker’ which is done in a maximum of two meters of water in ‘confined water’. ‘Confined water’ basically means in swimming pool like conditions. Naama Bay with its sheltered, shallow waters is an ideal location and your child gets to see fish as well.
Children 10 years old and older can sign up for a PADI Discover SCUBA program. This is a one day activity which is also available for adults. A few fun skills are practiced and then it’s off diving to a depth of six meters with an Instructor. This program does not give a certification.
Most children love the idea of collecting certifications; it gives them a sense of achievement and definitely a story to tell when they go back to school. The first certification in the PADI system is the Junior SCUBA diver and/or the Junior Open Water diver. The idea is that the courses are in modules so there is no pressure put on the child to finish. The can start with the 2-3 day SCUBA course and if they love it, can easily continue to the Open Water certification. This will keep them occupied for five days and at the end they will be able to dive with an adult to a maximum of 12 meters.
The beauty of the SCUBA educational system is that each year when they have summer holidays they can continue to learn; improving their skills and confidence whilst having fun. There are so many speciality courses to do from underwater naturalist to treasure hunting search and recovery.
The Advanced Open Water course can be started at 12 years, and for mature children the Rescue course can also be taught, although many Instructors would recommend the child being a little older as it is quite strenuous and potentially a serious subject.
Learning to dive as a child is a fantastic and fun experience. Forget about it being a serious sport for adults only. Underneath the surface there is a colourful, educational playground, just waiting to be discovered by young eyes. Just catching the smiles on their faces after they have dived, says it all, and once you are all qualified divers you can enjoy many future dive holidays together.