At what age can a child be engaged?
There are no uniform standards, there are recommendations, and there is an objective assessment of the child’s capabilities, which the instructor must give. In some cases, parents are advised to wait six months to a year, and then come again. It can be traumatic for parents to hear that their child, “the most-most,” is not yet ready for diving, although his peers are already engaged, but in case of risk or danger to health, the instructor should take a tough stance.
For young divers there are certain restrictions on depth in accordance with age. For children 8-10 years old, the maximum allowable depth is 2 meters, 10-12 years old – 5 meters, 12-14 years old – 10 meters. Also, children are not recommended to dive in water colder than 12 degrees, at low temperatures it is necessary to limit the time the child stays in water to 10 minutes (even when using a wetsuit), and in warm water the duration of the dive should not exceed 25 minutes. You can do one dive within 24 hours. And in all cases, children under 15 years old should only dive instead with adult certified divers.
There are special programs for the smallest, starting from 5-6 years of age. In these cases, special equipment is used, which includes a life jacket, to which a regulator and an air cylinder are attached. Thus, the child floats on the surface of the water without raising his head, and from a young age learns to use scuba gear. Instructors who conduct such courses undergo separate certification.
Diving courses for children
In all systems of training and certification of divers (the most common CMAS and PADI systems in Russia), there are special courses and programs for children. They differ in duration, minimum age of students, depth of immersion, but all are mainly based on game techniques with the obligatory consideration of the individual abilities of each child. Here a lot depends on the instructor – not everyone is ready to deal with children, since this is an additional responsibility, it is not enough to be a good diver, you also need to be a good teacher, to be able to present the material correctly.
The PADI Association has developed a number of programs for which children can engage safely, fun and comfortably.
SASY PADI. Children over 5 years old can get to know the underwater world using scuba diving equipment rather than a breathing tube. The equipment for this course is a life vest connected to an air cylinder and a regulator. A life jacket allows the child to stay on the water, and a balloon with air makes it possible to swim without raising his head and watch everything that happens under water. Swimming with such equipment is interesting and completely uncomplicated.
Bublemaker. This program is for the smallest divers from 8 years old. However, it’s all in an adult way, your child will get acquainted with equipment, learn safety procedures under water, will swim and breathe from scuba gear. At the end of the child receives a certificate of completion of the course, which will be proud of. The safety of such an adventure is that the depth is limited to 2 meters and the instructor will take only one child with him.
Discovery Scuba Diving. If your child is already 10 years old, he or she can be enrolled in the DSD program, just like adults. The program is similar to Bublemaker, the difference is that the possible diving depth is already 6 meters, as for adults. At Discovery Scuba Diving, you can sign up with the whole family and even take joint family photos underwater!
Junior Open Water Diver. If you and your child are truly captivated by scuba diving and are already 10 years old, then there is a direct road to the initial diving course for children. At the end of the course, the child will be able to dive in the presence of a professional and dive to a depth of 12 meters.
Parents often think that they can help their child under water, but it turns out that they are not able to cope with their difficulties if they arise, what can we say about the safety of the child. Therefore, exceeding the depth limits when diving children carries a greater risk. Moreover, this risk extends to both the child and the parent. When an adult leaves under water beyond the limits – this is his personal decision and responsibility. When this happens to a child, it is a criminal negligence on the part of an adult who made such a decision.