Dec 28 2012
Ko Tao attracts more families each year and I would think that most parents, divers or not, might be surprised by what’s on offer diving wise for their little mermaids. Here’s a wrap on what kids can do and expect when it comes to scuba diving on the island.
Clearly your children can enjoy snorkelling with you; plenty of little masks, snorkels, fins and rash vests are available for purchase which will make for more comfortable splish-splashing. If they are true water babies though it might be fun to try some diving and they can do this from just eight years of age. Children this can make a very shallow dive to a maximum depth of two metres.
If you are divers yourself this can be a great introduction to what their parents do and they will certainly feel all grown up. There’s also a full range of swimming pool-based dives that this age group can enjoy too. The can learn the basic skills of diving in a shallow pool and progress to using a simple camera in the pool and many other exciting activities.
Once children turn 10 they are allowed to do most things that adults can with a few exceptions. Clearly you do know your children best so you do need to think about what would be best for them, what they would enjoy now and what would be best left a few years. If they just want to give it a go then a simple experience dive might be the best option.
If you are not divers, you can go along too and experience this together. Children get so much pleasure out of seeing the different brightly coloured fish and the excitement is contagious.
The full open water course is available to them too. The only limit here is that they are initially only certified to a maximum depth of 12 metres. Once they turn 12 years this automatically extends to 18 metres, the same as an adult. Sometimes though three and half days and the theory sessions involved are too much for some children. Diving is supposed to be fun; they are on holiday and not at school so a shorter course, called scuba diver, might be worth considering. This is just two days and to put it simply is half the open water course. This will get them diving, and they will have a license, but be limited to 12 metres to dive with a dive professional. They can top this up to the full course later anywhere in the world.
Most dive centres offer courses for children and apart from the usual advice about how to choose a dive centre, it’s wise to check on a few more points too. Being comfortable is key to diving so do check that the centre does have small equipment, small tanks and regulators with shorter hoses too. Ask about the centre’s experience with children diving too and gauge whether the centre is a family orientated place or caters more to the younger crowd.
Don’t forget that while children are diving and learning about diving they are experiencing and understanding science outside of the school environment. They will gain a great appreciation for marine life and the ocean and an understanding of the environment too. In some cases children gain a huge confidence boost and, as well, diving as a family virtually guarantees family holidays for years to come.
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