Do I Need to Know How To Swim to Scuba Dive?

Swimming and diving?It may be that you do not know how to swim, but you feel that great curiosity about the secrets that the bottom of the sea hides.

Knowing how to dive is the most effective way to meet them, but to become certified as a diver you may think that you need to have all the skills of swimmers.

Here we will answer this and other questions.

swimming and diving

Do you need to know how to swim to dive?

A direct answer is no, diving is not strictly necessary.

But we want to expand this answer a bit more for you to consider.

If you don’t know how to swim, you can still scuba dive as much of your ability to stay afloat and move underwater depends on your scuba gear and not your swimming skills.

But, on the other hand, to obtain certification as an open water diver, one of the conditions is knowing how to swim.

swimming and diving

Learn more about open water certification here

Why do you have to know how to swim to dive?

The summarized reason why you must know how to swim to dive is your safety.

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The fact that you dive for the first time without knowing how to swim can cause you some insecurity and stress.

A swimmer’s familiarity with the aquatic environment allows him to take advantage of positive buoyancy without depending on his equipment, control his breathing and use his body effectively to move in the water.

If possible, it is preferable to know how to swim because at the end of the dive there are times when the exact point of extraction is not reached and the diver needs to swim a little distance to reach the boat.

swimming and diving

In your diving course, even if you don’t know how to swim, you will be taught neutral buoyancy control, breathing with the regulator equipment, the oxygen device and the use of fins underwater. You will already have the experience with the aquatic environment when you dive.

How well do I have to know how to swim to dive?

It is not necessary to know how to swim to dive, but there are small swimming training sessions in the pool and immersion in the sea, supervised by diving professionals.

It is very important to have the swimming tool in your diving experience with which you can save unforeseen events, such as losing your equipment, changing direction, approaching another diver or knowing how to stay afloat in case your vest stops working.

The most basic diving course is called Discover Scuba Diving recognized by PADI which is without certification.

The Open Water Diver Course is the course that grants certification.

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Learn more about Open Water certification course here


If you don’t know how to swim you will have limitations on what you can do, such as the places you can explore and the type of diving you can practice.

Not knowing how to swim, you will only be able to dive in a controlled environment.

If what you want is only to learn to dive without that implying that you go to open water, you can dive with the trained professionals in the pools.

For this reason, the certifying agencies require that you know how to swim, because safety and trust are necessary in the experience.

People with disabilities can also obtain a diving certificate, but with special conditions, such as medical clearance and adaptation measures to meet the training requirements.

Comfort and confidence underwater

There are times that non-swimmers do not feel comfortable near the water and the feeling is worse when thinking that they must submerge and this can become a problem while diving.

They may have thoughts of drowning or encountering predators and other reasons.

This situation limits the enjoyment of the experience, and may compromise your safety and even that of those who dive around you.

Know how to swim to face emergency situations.

In general, diving is safe; but there is always the possibility that there is some kind of problem under the water.

For example, in the event that the equipment has problems, the diver may need to discard the equipment to be able to reach the surface on their own.

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And being on the surface, you must also be able to stay afloat as long as necessary until the boat or vessel picks you up.

Situations like these further underscore the importance of knowing how to swim when diving.

In short, is it necessary to know how to swim to dive?

No, it is not necessary. If you don’t know how to swim you can try scuba diving, in swimming pools and in shallow water under supervision. But, knowing how to swim directly benefits you in terms of safety, enjoyment and reaching places that non-swimmers will not be able to visit.

If you don’t know how to swim, don’t let this prevent you from diving either.

You can opt for the introductory diving courses to have an approach to this sport, but it is better that you take the swimming classes because it is very likely that later you will want to take the adventure of diving in the open sea.

Being a good swimmer greatly helps to have an unforgettable experience in the diving adventure.

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