Fear of Deep/Open Water

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Downing

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I was really nervous on my first boat dive. Until then, all I had done was shore dives, including my OW cert dives and then a few cenotes with a local instructor while we were on vacation in Playa del Carmen. By the time we got to Cozumel, my wife wasn't feeling well (yes, Montezuma's revenge), so I went to the boat by myself. This was a number of firsts for me: a boat, no instructor, and no one I knew on board. I had maybe ten dives under my belt.

I still remember going over and over in my head all the stuff I had learned in class as we were motoring along to our dive site. Everyone else appeared to be relaxed, so I didn't want to show how nervous I was. When it came time for me to stand up I was terrified I was going to topple over as I had never walked on a boat with all my gear on before. I shuffled my way to the back of the boat, did a giant stride into the water, relied on my training and had a great time.

Having gone through that experience made me a better diver. I actually prefer boat diving now, although I still do a shore dive every now and then. I gained a lot of confidence by being self-reliant with no instructor to watch over me. And I certainly don't mind diving with a group of strangers--they're just friends I haven't met yet. I've done a bunch of boat dives since then under the same conditions and haven't thought twice about it.

I really think you just made yourself a better diver by having a bad experience. You're analyzing what went wrong and how to address the issues. Next time it's bound to go better, and you'll get a true sense of accomplishment.
 

KevinHoward

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Been there, done that, have the scare to prove it, lol.

Sounds like you came out on the good side of things. Remember though, the dive masters are there to make your experience as good as it can be. There is nothing wrong with telling them you new and you haven't done a boat dive before. They will step up and help out.

I had my sons down in Cozumel for Christmas. Both are typical teenagers with the attitude to go along with it. They both certified in November but had not ocean/boat experience before and did they ever get an awakening. Good thing too. Now after a bunch of dives and a more humble attitude they are progressing. Things are becoming more automatic for them with every dive they log. As with just about anything technical in life, practice practice and then practice some more.

Have you looked into the Cozumel Invasion coming up in June? That might be a great opportunity at a very reasonable price to crank out a bunch more bottom time.

Kevin
 

Bogie

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You can get a scopolamine patch (transderm patch) from a doctor for sea sickness.

Start out slow with lots of shallower dives until you feel more comfortable. I dive mostly from shore and can choose my depth from 20 feet to over 100 feet.
 
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as a old boat captain-dive instructor i would have many cases of people getting seasick on their first dive out,,, and i agree with all the above in trying to ease the seasickness....once you feel good you are in better shape to dive,,,

so take a pill in advance like the day before and then another one hour before the trip leaves the dock and also get a little more time in before your next boat trip.
 

Herk_Man

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Actually, your best option is this. Go to Bonaire and discover the world's best shore diving. My wife has the same issues. Doesn't like to descend in deep water to a bottom she can't see. But when she can do a shallow descent along the bottom from the shore, she is frequently amazed at the fact that I have to keep her from exceeding her maximum recreational depth. If you spend a week doing 2 dives a day, finish off the trip with a boat dive. I think you'll be amazed at how easy it is once you are comfortable.
 

fjpatrum

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I still remember going over and over in my head all the stuff I had learned in class as we were motoring along to our dive site. Everyone else appeared to be relaxed, so I didn't want to show how nervous I was. When it came time for me to stand up I was terrified I was going to topple over as I had never walked on a boat with all my gear on before. I shuffled my way to the back of the boat, did a giant stride into the water, relied on my training and had a great time.

I don't want to harp on you but this paragraph is precisely how accidents happen. I'm a new diver but I've been teaching "extreme" sports for nearly 15 years now and the one rule I have for anyone and everyone, newbie to gray-beard is if you are nervous about something speak up! If you're nervous, make it known to the more experienced around you. It may be reasonable nervousness that you overcome, or it may be the beginning of a hellacious panic attack when you're at 45 feet. If you don't discuss it with people around you, they won't be able to "prepare" to help you or pay extra special attention to you. Discussion of your concerns, pre-dive, should be one of the first things you do. As the saying goes, "plan your dive, dive your plan". This includes things you're nervous about and discussion of them with your dive partner and or dive master.

Off my soap box now.
 

MauiScubaSteve

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I'm a new diver but I've been teaching "extreme" sports for nearly 15 years now and the one rule I have for anyone and everyone, newbie to gray-beard is if you are nervous about something speak up!

While I'm not saying not to speak up when nervous, I have a hard time thinking of boat diving "Cozumel" as sport, much less "extreme" sport. :rofl3:

Many non-divers have made successful Cozumel boat dives, so how "extreme" could it be? :idk:
 

motorref

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As a new diver, I find posts such as this both interesting and a little disconcerting; I was very fortunate to have been able to do my cerification in the Bahamas (OK, I planned it that way!) where the water was crystal clear to the bottom, even on our deepest dive of 100'.
I know that it made my wife (non-diver/won't get wet) much more comfortable to be able to see where I was going from the boat, even on the days I was diving with sharks.
If you feel that lack of visibility may have been a factor, perhaps talking to your dive buddies and LDS to find dives that have that clarity might help?
My 20 and 21 y/o daughters both want to get certified (that's why I went through it first), and this brought up a great point for me to consider for them - thank you for that!

KevinL
 

myscubastory.com

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Hey there. As an instructor myself I would recommend going with an instructor or divemaster that puts you at ease.

A lot of the fear before a dive can be 'controlled' by talking with a good dive leader. They will put the options on the table for you and remind you how small the risks are compared to the fun and memories you'll get! Make sure this dive professional also leads your dive! You will feel so much better!

Its happened to a lot of my students and customers!

Regards,
 
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fjpatrum

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halemanō;5675649:
While I'm not saying not to speak up when nervous, I have a hard time thinking of boat diving "Cozumel" as sport, much less "extreme" sport. :rofl3:

Many non-divers have made successful Cozumel boat dives, so how "extreme" could it be? :idk:

It wasn't my intent to imply diving is an "extreme" sport, but many people consider it such because of the possibility of death, however remote.

My point was in potential "high stress"??? environments not voicing your concerns or telling those you are with that you're nervous about something is a bad policy. Anyone can thumb a dive for any reason. Better to do so before the dive (if necessary) than to have an emergency because you are nervous and panic.

Even better is to voice your concerns and then discuss them so that you can still participate in the dive and have less nervousness because you trust your buddy understands the situation and hopefully, if they aren't nervous, have been able to calm your concerns.
 

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