In a world that seems to be moving faster by the day, scuba diving is a safe haven for us to slow down and return to ourselves. Although many of us view the ocean as a refuge, we all have our own special connection to the ocean and diving. So when we asked PADI divers around the world for their unfiltered reasons to the simple question, “Why scuba dive?”, we were inspired by all the unique, touching responses. We’re honored to share some of those reasons with you in this article now. 

1. Freedom and Exploration 

For some, diving can provide an escape from daily urban life. One response came from George Ardolino, “There was a freedom I couldn’t experience living in [the] New York City area. Being underwater gave me space I couldn’t get on land.”

Oftentimes, the feeling of freedom is inextricably intertwined with a sense of exploration and adventure. Jack Martin said, “We know more about space and the universe than we know about our oceans, for me it’s the last Frontier!” 

brain coral

2. Therapy 

Although science has only recently started to explore the healing properties of the ocean, many cultures have long celebrated the spiritual properties of seawater. Our universal experience of the ocean is what connects us to each other and also to ourselves. Scott McLernon put it perfectly when he said, “In the long run, I figured [diving] would be cheaper than a psychologist. I was right!” This sense of therapeutic healing translates into our very own brain waves. Research shows that just by viewing images of nature, the parts of our brain that manage empathy and regulate emotions are activated.

Growing up with a love for the ocean, Lynette Gerber-Lochenkov became paralyzed due to an illness after her first scuba course decades ago. However, she shared that just last month, “I managed to do the Open Water Diver course after 22 years of dreaming that I would some day be able to do it again. I now have a new lease on life. Happiness is being in the blue.”

PADI Course Director and AmbassaDiver Thomas Koch and his daughter Claire enjoying diving together

3. Connecting with Loved Ones 

We received many touching stories about how diving connects generations of love for the ocean. Sarina Elliott shares a story about her free-spirited aunt whose tales of diving inspired Sarina to get certified in her adult years. Sarina said, “By that time, my aunt’s health issues meant she could no longer dive. We forged a new bond sharing underwater experiences by phone and the conversations were the best pain relief she could get. When she passed, her ashes were scattered at her favorite beach in [the] U.S. Virgin Islands. I was able to visit her and dive together for the first time two years ago and it was magical. I was blessed with many squid pairs and cool critters. I felt she had called me to join her and she brought the most delightful friends to introduce me to”. 

Another beautiful story came from Amie Branch, whose grandmother was a north Florida cave diver in the 1970’s. However, because her parents divorced, she never got to dive with her grandmother or father as a kid. Many years later, she decided to get certified with her husband and made it a personal goal that she would dive with her children, if she had them. Now she says, “If only my grandmother had lived to see my daughter dive. Dreams do come true.”

4. You Never Know Where Life Will Take You

Last but not least, the discovery of scuba diving can also happen as a purely beautiful accident. Thierry Haesenne says, “Basically, I was traveling in Central America and it was raining heavily where I was. I was passing by a diving center and told myself that I’d rather be wet in the sea than outdoors. I went in to get some information and ten minutes later, I was starting my Open Water course and never stopped diving since then.” 

Whether you set out upon your diving journey by accident or by intention, the ocean is vast enough to embrace your unique story and connection.

If you are new and curious about diving, then we hope these reasons to scuba dive will push you to finally embark on your own diving journey to #LiveUnfiltered. If you’re already certified, then we hope you’ll continue to feed your love for diving and the ocean. 

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