Diving at the lake is a very relaxing, controlled environment, especially if you dive in “our cove.” Typically, the water depth will range from about 30 feet to 50 feet depending on the water levels of the lake. This is why we choose to do Open Water Check-out Dives at the lake.
There are familiar surroundings, lots to see, and great depths to get a first-time diver comfortable. We are able to experience aquatic life as well as thermoclines. It is a great way to help a new diver get comfortable with their surroundings while experiencing multiple scenarios discussed in class.
This atmosphere is perfect for new and old divers alike. It is a great environment to help build comfort levels for all.
So, what’s another reason to certify at the lake versus the ocean?
When you dive into the ocean for the first time, you can see all the way to the bottom of the ocean floor. That could be 10 feet below or it could be 110 feet below. Usually, it’s closer to the latter.
When you get into the lake though, visibility varies tremendously. You’ll hear us refer to BS or AS. BS is before students, AS is after students. The lake is a great place to learn buoyancy control, which builds a bridge between the BS and AS.
What about visibility?
So, visibility is the distance you can see while diving. The visibility can range from non-existent (say during the Safari Hunt), to around 20 feet given current weather conditions.
One reason we like to have students certify in the lake is so they don’t get spoiled by the ocean. That’s kind of a joke, but like mentioned previously, the visibility is so great in the ocean that you do get spoiled.
When you certify at the lake, you basically prove to yourself, I can do this. On a normal weekend, visibility is closer to that 20 feet mark. That’s good. Plus, at the lake, you have the landscape to help you navigate back to shore. This becomes helpful while doing the navigation part of the open water class.
But I’m Scared
That’s the great thing about the lake. Even if the visibility isn’t at its finest, and by the second day it is a little less visible, that’s okay. Most of your dives for open water classes are done with an instructor. Imagine what kind of conditions they have dove in, especially because a lot of our instructors are part of Newton County Rescue and Recovery. They dive in no visibility sometimes.
But they are with you every step of the way. They don’t do navigation, but they give you those skills necessary and required for that. Plus, it is a fast dive as long as you find the ropes quickly. Haha.
The lake gives you the landscape to be able to say, “Oh, we’re going deeper than we should, let’s follow it back to shore.” It proves to you that you can dive in decent to good visibility. Plus, when you dive into the ocean for the first time, you will be astounded by the visibility. Then you’ll still become spoiled.
The story I heard once…
Deb’s first trip to the ocean, she jumped off the boat and once in the water, thought the floor was about 15-20 feet down. Turns out when Grady got to her, they were sitting in 80 feet of water. But she too was certified in a lake.
Being certified in the lake gives you that boost of confidence that “You can do this.” Then go to the ocean and get spoiled. But you’ll always know, you can do this.