Frequently Asked Scuba Diving Questions:

Are there any sharks?

Scuba diving gives you a unique way to face your challenges and transform your life in new ways. Becoming a diver can give you confidence that spills over into the way you face life every day.

It’s normal to have questions whenever you begin an activity like diving. Below you’ll find the answers to many questions people commonly have, but feel free to come and visit us in the shop and ask more questions. We have lots of experience with new divers just like you and are thrilled that you’re considering Scuba Diving.

If you have a question that we haven’t answered here, please e-mail it to us at info@floatnflag.com and we’ll answer it and may post it here for others to read.

Float N’ Flag is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Dive Center and why does that matter to me as a new diver?
What do I need to Start diving?

How Do I Know What the Best Gear Is?
Where can I dive once I am certified?
How long does the course take?
How young can I start diving?
What about medical conditions? Can I still dive if I have one?
Do I have to be a great swimmer?
I’m worried about being claustrophobic? Should I be?
What happens if I use up all my air?
How deep do you go?
My ears hurt when I go to bottom of a swimming pool or when I dive down snorkeling. Will that keep me from becoming a scuba diver?
Does a history of ear troubles, diabetes, asthma, allergies or smoking preclude someone from diving?
What are the most common injuries or sicknesses associated with diving?
What about sharks?
Is there any local diving that’s worth while?
What if I don’t have a buddy already?
Do you have dive trips to go on?
How long can I stay underwater?
Do I use my snorkel to breath underwater?

What do I need to Start diving?
At a minimum, you want your own mask, fins and snorkel when you start diving in the PADI Open Water Diver course. These have a personal fit, and the staff at the Float N’ Flag will help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited to you.
We will provide the rest of your essential gear for your weekend PADI Open Water Diver course as part of the enrollment fee. Rental equipment is available for your open water dive weekend. It’s recommended that you invest in your equipment when you start your course because:
• you’re more comfortable learning to dive using gear chosen
• you’re more comfortable using gear fitted for you
• divers who own their own gear dive more
• having your own gear is part of the fun of diving
What kind of gear you will need depends on conditions where you dive: Tropical, Temperate, Cold, Technical. Come in and chat with our staff about your needs and wants and we’ll recommend the right stuff for you.
to Top

How Do I Know What the Best Gear Is?
A. Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. Scuba equipment comes in a wonderful variety that accommodates a broad range of needs, interests and sizes. The team at the Float N’ Flag are trained to help you find gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. They can get you set with the right stuff, plus they provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use. You can depend on the Float N’ Flag
to Top

Where can I dive once I am certified?
The short answer is, you can dive practically anywhere there’s water – from a swimming pool to the ocean and all points in between, including quarries, lakes, rivers and springs.

Your experience level, site accessibility, conditions and your interests determine where you can dive. For example, if you’ve just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course, you probably won’t be diving under the Antarctic ice on your next dive. But, don’t limit your thinking to the warm, clear water you see in travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer than you think, and more unusual than you think. Places like Kingston, Belleville, Picton, Brockville, The St. Lawrence River and Tobermory all offer fantastic diving. While a little further, both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts offer tremendous dive adventures. Check our dive travel calendar for details and timing for our upcoming trips. We usually run about 4-5 trips per year, all of which are a great opportunity to log some bottom time and make some new friends.

Some popular dive sites can include natural sites like Belize’s Great Blue Hole, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or Japan’s Yonaguni Monument. It could also be a manmade reservoir or a fossil-filled river. It’s not all about great visibility because what you see is more important than how far you see. The Float N’ Flag offers a variety of trips for recreational divers of all levels.
Remember: The only truly important thing about where you dive is that you have the training and experience appropriate for diving there, and that you have a dive buddy to go with you. Dive Safe!
to Top

How long does the course take?
You’ll be diving in less time than you think. Typically, you’ll complete the PADI Open Water Diver course over a weekend (Fri/Sat/Sun) and then follow that shortly with your open water “check out” dives. Once your Open Water dives are successfully completed, you have really already started diving! PADI courses are performance-based, which means your instructor’s interested in you learning to dive, not in how long you sit in a class. This means that you progress at your own pace – faster or slower depending upon the time you need to become a confident diver who dives regularly.
to Top

How young can I start diving?
Minimum Age: 10 years. Students younger than 15 who successfully complete the course qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15.
to Top

What about medical conditions? Can I still dive if I have one?
For safety, all students complete a brief questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you’re ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your physician must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you’re fit to dive.
to Top

Do I have to be a great swimmer?
Before completing the PADI Open Water Diver course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic waterskill comfort by having you swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want. You will also float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.
to Top

I’m worried about being claustrophobic? Should I be?
Although wearing a lot of equipment may seem awkward, many people find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern dive masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. Clearly the diving conditions have a lot to do with this as well. Someone concerned about claustrophobia may not be interested in night diving, cave diving or low visibility diving, but don’t give up before you start. One of the best ways to determine if you like diving is to join the staff at the Float N’ Flag on a Discover Scuba Diving course. It’s only a couple of hours and it won’t cost you much. All the equipment is provided and your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable diver who dives regularly. Check our calendar or call the store for our schedule.
to Top

What happens if I use up all my air?
That’s not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you’ll learn in training to help ensure you always reach the surface safely.
to Top

How deep do you go?
With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 40 metres/130 feet. Beginning divers stay shallower than about 18 metres/60 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 12 metres/40 feet where the water’s warmer and the colors are brighter. The Float N’ Flag has staff at various levels of dive experience. Feel free to ask anyone about their diving experience and their favourite dive destinations.
to Top

My ears hurt when I go to bottom of a swimming pool or when I dive down snorkeling. Will that keep me from becoming a scuba diver?
No, assuming you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses. The discomfort is the normal effect of water pressure pressing in on your ears. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ears – you just need to learn how.
to Top

Does a history of ear troubles, diabetes, asthma, allergies or smoking preclude someone from diving?
Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function, heart function or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person’s individual risk. Physicians can consult with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary when assessing a scuba candidate.
to Top

What are the most common injuries or sicknesses associated with diving?
Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are preventable with over the counter preventatives. The most common injuries caused by marine life are scrapes and stings, most of which can be avoided by wearing an exposure suit (wet or dry), staying off the bottom and watching where you put your hands and feet.
to Top

What about sharks?
When you’re lucky, you get to see a shark. Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare and with respect to diving, primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger feeding behavior. Most of the time, if you see a shark it’s passing through and a relatively rare sight to enjoy.Do women have any special concerns regarding diving?
Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Menstruation is not normally a concern.
to Top

Is there any local diving that’s worth while?
Yes! There is some right here in the Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton and Niagara areas. Just a few hours drive from Burlington , there is more fabulous diving including Picton, Kingston and Belleville and more. Please check out our trip schedule on this website or visit us at the store for more information on our upcoming trips and events.
to Top

What if I don’t have a buddy already?
There are often others just like you that need a buddy. Please contact the store for assistance. On the Float N’ Flag trips, it’s not important to have a buddy. We’ll pair you up with someone on the trip to ensure you have a great time.
to Top

Do you have dive trips to go on?
Absolutely! We help organize divers from across Canada on several exclusive trips every year. Check the store or the website regularly for schedules and updates on the upcoming trips.
to Top

How long can I stay underwater?
The only answer is “It depends!”. The length of time you can stay underwater depends on a number of factors, including your own physical health, the depth of your dive, the water temperature, the gas mixture in your tank and many other physical and psychological factors. With some experience, most divers generally find they can stay under water anywhere from 45-60 minutes if they are diving in the 40-60 foot range. These times are estimates only and are not recommendations. Deeper dives are usually shorter, and shallower dives may be longer. All divers must plan their dives using the approved Dive Tables to ensure their safety.
to Top

Do I use my snorkel to breath underwater?
NO! Just while you’re on the surface. After that, use your regulator!
to Top