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lmparr
04-14-2008, 11:45
I have two sons, ages 9 & 11, that I would like to get certified to go diving with me. Does anyone have recommendations on whether or not diving with children is a good/bad idea?

Sounder
04-14-2008, 13:40
Well, as a parent it's ultimately your call. I don't think most 11yo's have the maturity to be in a life-threatening environment where they may have an emergency, or be responsible for saving another diver in an emergency, with only 11 years of life experience under their belt. Some 11yo's sure, but they're VERY few and far between... and if it were my son, he'd have to demonstrate a strong drive to learn and do things correctly and he'd have to be an exceedingly mature child.

In my opinion, that's too young but there are many people who will tell you stories of their successful diving child. Just remember, it's not the days where everything goes beautifully and you have a great dive that you need to be concerned about. It's the day where you're seperated in a freak current and then your 9yo or 11yo blows an o-ring and is alone, mid-water, OOA, and on their own.

Underwater, you're only 1 breath away from death... I don't think the reward is worth the risk of putting a child underwater. BUT, this is just my personal opinion.

CLaFong
04-14-2008, 13:48
SSI has something called Scuba Rangers for 8 to 12 year olds at some of their shops

But they only scuba/snorkel/play inside a pool where they learn different skills. Gets them ready for later in life when the are old enough to get certified

cmburch
04-14-2008, 15:30
Here is a PADI Link
Diver Dan's Online Scuba Store - You adventurous but to young to get scuba certified? The PADI Seal Team Adventure program is for you! (http://www.diverdans.com/classes/sealteam.aspx)

It looks like after the pool certification, the OW is available to 10 year olds.

So probably pool for both. Then when youngest 10 OW for both if pool works out.

My daughter 8 freedives to 15' on one breath and will go Abalone diving with me and possibly spearfishing this year or next. We also fish and go crabbing together.

My dad took me spearfishing when I was a kid. I was swimming in the Pacific Ocean when I was 4-5 and have old film of me backstroking Waikiki.

As for SCUBA though, it depends on the child. Dive instructors would be the best. Try SCUBABoard for professional information on children and SCUBA or calling the LDS directly.

cmburch
04-14-2008, 15:37
Ab Lesson - Ralphthehalibut shows how it's done - Spearboard Spearfishing Community (http://www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=60815)

MSilvia
04-14-2008, 15:37
If they're really interested, I see no reason to start them on training, but I'd want them to start slow. Start them out with a snorkeling class, and you'll not only get a chance to assess their comfort and enthusiasm in the water, but also start with a relatively small initial outlay of funds. Masks, fins, snorkles, etc.

Once they can demonstrate proficiency with those fundamental skills, comfort in the water, and enthusiasm for continuing training, try out a discover diving class with them, and if it goes well, sign them up for diving.

Rather than make it seem like a prerequisite to satisfy you, help them to see it as a first step in their training.

ChrisA
04-14-2008, 15:52
I have two sons, ages 9 & 11, that I would like to get certified to go diving with me. Does anyone have recommendations on whether or not diving with children is a good/bad idea?

I've got kids. My youngest is 9. Nine is just to young. The other is 17 and took the class some time ago.

First off even 11 is quite yong and I'm told by instructors the most kids that age will not pass the OW class. The PADI text book is written at about the level of a middle school science class. Could your 11 year old do 7th or 8th grade science? Many can. many can't so it's a reasonable question. Next problem is just plain physical size. Can they lift the equipment. If an adult has to help them set up and get in and out of the water then they have not passed the OW class because some of the required skills are setting up equipment and getting in and out of the water. But some 11 year olds can do all the adult level skills without help and some can read the book and pass the written test.

Many instructors would only teach an 11 year old as a private student. One problem is simply that the 11 YO can not really act as a buddy for the other adult students so you'd need a DM as stand in as a buddy for all the share air drills and so on.

But,... OK say the 11 year old passed OW and has a c-card. At that age he will have to dive with a buddy who is either a parent or a "profesional" (DM or instructor) If you are the parent and buddy are YOU qualified to supervise a new diver? Have you had any training in diver supervision and know what to look for and what to do?

Now reverse the viewpoint: There is just no way an 11 year old is going to be all that helpful in an emergency situation or as a rescuer. If you dive with him you are actually at greater risk than if your were diving solo. Would you solo dive? (many divers do) If you dive with a newly certified kid you are going to be one "way task loaded" solor diver. Nothing wrong with this if you are up to it.

So if you put the kid in a private class and after then only dives with a "profesional buddy" then it would be safe. But talk about "expensive".

Bottom line is that in order to dive with your own very young chld both you and the kid have to be "exceptinal" the kid has to be bigger and stronger and way smarter than others his age and the parent must be a lot more experianced than the typical twice a year "vacation diver".

But it could work I took an AOW class years ago with a 12 year old girl who was very good and her dad was up to the task of supervision too. but most mostly I'd say "wait"

What I told my son who kept asking about scuba classes was
OK yes. we will sign you up for class as soon as you read the PADI Open Water manual and answer all the questions inside. Well for a long time he just could not do that. the book is, as I said written to a (approx.) 8th grade level. He was in middle school when he took the OW class. This works much better than saying "no you are to little" kids hate that. Telling them to read this big hard book puts in on them

The other thing is that they will need to dive frequently after OW class if they are to retain skils. can you take them diving every few weeks (at least) for the next few years. You will likely have to buy a new wetsuit every year as well as fins and boots nd other gear as they grow.

cmburch
04-14-2008, 16:13
I guess there are a number of ways to look at a 10 year old on SCUBA. The worst case scenario and the most probable. My daughter is bilingual with German the only language spoken at home and English/Spanish (Spanish Immersion School) at school. I think that multiple languages as a child can be a hindrance to reading comprehension. She is far advance from where I was with reading comprehension at her age.

I will buy the kit and see how she does. And if she is interested and her mother agrees then allow her to try the pool certification. As for future SCUBA diving with my daughter, I would assume that both parents not a single adult would dive together. Even freediving the ratio of adult to child is more than 2 to 1.

ChrisA
04-14-2008, 16:21
If they're really interested, I see no reason to start them on training, but I'd want them to start slow. Start them out with a snorkeling class, and you'll not only get a chance to assess their comfort and enthusiasm in the water, but also start with a relatively small initial outlay of funds. Masks, fins, snorkles, etc.

Once they can demonstrate proficiency with those fundamental skills, comfort in the water, and enthusiasm for continuing training, try out a discover diving class with them, and if it goes well, sign them up for diving.

This is very good advice. and in retrospect is what we did. First off the kids have to be able to swim well. this means more than simply passing the PADI minimum 200 survival swim. while untill a 200 yeard swim is not a big deal and very easy.

I don't know if y even really need a snorkle class. even if they are not great swimmers yet you can have them use a PFD (a.k.a. "live vest") and they can paddle around on the top of the water while looking down with the mask and breathing with a snorkle. Some kids will never get past the point of screeming about water in the mask or snorkle. if that is the case scuba is years away at best. Eventually the kids will tell you they think the PFD the really stupid and they want it off. If they say that they are likely correct. But make sure they have on at least a shorty wetsuit wetsuits float almost as well as a PFD)

Hopefully you live some place were you can take the kids snorkleing frequently enough so they can learn and get comfortable with it. We live in So. califorina wit the ocen only 10 minutes from the house.

I did forget abot all this in my other post. My son was able to snorkle pretty well and could git down to 20 feet deth and swimm around almost a minute and di not panic in kelp nd knoew how to duck under surf and was comfortable in the ocean.

Now for a bad story. One not to be duplicated. Kids do not handle panic well. A local diver here in So. Cal. put his 13 year old in OW class. The kid was not really great in the water, not a swimmer and have not much experiance in the ocean. well the short story was the kid paniced in easy conditions, 20 foot of water over a sandy botton 10+ feet of vis. He held his breath all the way up and died on his fist after class dive. Kids need to feel at home in the ocean, they don't panic if the ocean is a comfortable place that they are used to. Not only did the kid panic but the dad did not know how to recognise the problen or how to prevent a runway acent.

ChrisA
04-14-2008, 16:39
It looks like after the pool certification, the OW is available to 10 year olds.

Ask a few instuctors about the chances of a 10 year old passing the class. The answers I get is the less than half will pass and all said they'd only take someone that age as a private student one on one.

The ones that do pass OW tend to be the exception. the ones who are straight "A" students who are also great swimmers maybe just getting into competive teams at the YMCA.

cmburch
04-14-2008, 16:42
Yes, I am also sometimes worried about GWS. One hears about a child losing an arm or leg, or worse dying from a shark attack. All of the factors such as maturity, skill, conditions, safety, etc. must be taken into consideration.

Sounder
04-14-2008, 18:12
Yeah, as someone mentioned... there is the worst-case way of looking at it and then there is the most-probable. Unfortunately, worst-case cannot be predicted and CAN happen without warning whatsoever. I'd just hate for that to happen and think that allowing more years of maturity before starting to dive is a great idea. All it takes is losing, or even just flooding, a mask to cause panic... and panic and kids don't mix well.

Really, why rush it?

cmburch
04-14-2008, 18:25
Yes,
I do not allow my daughter to ride her bike to school by herself even though she wants to. I was riding a bike to school by first or second grade. Times are different. Everything has to be taken into consideration. What are the possible risks involved and what would be the consequences? Freediving has different risks from riding a bicycle and SCUBA also has different risks.

Splitlip
04-14-2008, 19:10
I have two sons, ages 9 & 11, that I would like to get certified to go diving with me. Does anyone have recommendations on whether or not diving with children is a good/bad idea?

First, please tell us about your experience. My gut tells me, if you need to ask the question, you already know the answer.

They are too young.

SHAGGY
04-14-2008, 19:54
I personally think that 10 years old is way too young for most kiddos to get their C card. My oldest son was certified last year when he was 17, and I felt that he did great. Actually he was better than most of the adults in his class. My 13 year old son is in the middle of his BOW class now and I believe he just right at the cut off age, of being mature enough to handle scuba. We are planning a trip to Cozumel in July and I plan on hiring him his own personal DM to dive with us, because while I am confidant with my abilities, I am not as confidant while diving with a child.

shaggy

Texas Girl
04-15-2008, 10:51
My son completely understood dive theory when he was in the second grade; in fact, I went into his class one time in full gear for show and tell. He loved to snorkel, and if the dive operator was OK with it, frequently would follow us on the surface while we dove. I did not let him get certified until he was 14, and did not let him dive deeper than 60' for the first 3 years after that.

Aside from the buddy safety and maturity issues, you also have to consider the physiological effects of diving. There have not been studies done on the problems with bubble formation in growing bones. It isn't something that I was willing to risk.

Sounder
04-15-2008, 11:42
This is all very sound advice. I agree - if you're asking, you've probably got your answer. ... and I HATE it when the answer isn't what you'd hoped it had been.

Rockhound76
04-15-2008, 13:44
My oldest took a class when he was 13. He is the one who told me "he wasn't ready" for his OWC. He had the technical skills, but he understood the dangers enough to want to hold off. At 14, he asked to "take the whole class again". He did, and he did great.

His brother is 12yr. and more "fearless". He has asked to take the class, but I decided to hold off. One BIG reason for me is that I don't feel comfortable being responsible for both kids UW and the oldest one, with only 30 dives, is not quite there yet. Next year, maybe "yes".

10 is too young. 12 is about right, if they are really mature. Two at once is a bit risky, IMO. That said, my first dive buddy ever was 12yrs. old (I was 18). That was 30yrs ago on a one week trip to the Keys. Her parents sent her ALONE on the trip with 10 adults and me (funny how times change). We were the first in the water and the last out. She was a perfect buddy (right there, just like my son).

lmparr
04-15-2008, 19:10
Thanks all for the great advice. I've decided to wait for a few years until they are old enough to make a well informed decision on their own. Thanks again!

diver 85
07-09-2008, 15:37
I have two sons, ages 9 & 11, that I would like to get certified to go diving with me. Does anyone have recommendations on whether or not diving with children is a good/bad idea?

Should be OK BUT the minimum age is 10, the younger will have to wait a while......

Largo
07-09-2008, 21:45
Thanks all for the great advice. I've decided to wait for a few years until they are old enough to make a well informed decision on their own. Thanks again!


I think that you are making the right decision. Their lungs are still developing, and a lung over-expansion injury at this age...

digitalman
07-09-2008, 21:54
I'd probably hold off until the kids are older (12-13), unless you are minimum certified as a divemaster and trained in heavy taskload scenarios.

Splitlip
07-09-2008, 22:20
My daughter is 16 and an accomplished water woman.

She has been free diving since 5 and surfing since 9. She has constantly asked me to take her diving. She was a kid and I am Dad for Christ's sake. Does not mean she was ready. When she was 10 then 12 it really got bad as she knew she was legal. I continued to say no.
When she was 15 and I was able to appreciate the technical and safety nuances, all of a sudden, she was thinking harder about it. That's when I decided she was ready.

CompuDude
07-10-2008, 14:52
Yes, I am also sometimes worried about GWS. One hears about a child losing an arm or leg, or worse dying from a shark attack. All of the factors such as maturity, skill, conditions, safety, etc. must be taken into consideration.

Where does one hear this? I have not seen any indication that a child is at any more risk of shark attack than an adult. And the risk to adults is practically nil, too. (driving to work/school is FAR more dangerous, statistically)

hooligan
07-11-2008, 00:48
My Dad was a PE/Swimming teacher at a local high school in Denver, CO, so I was pretty much raised in a swimming pool. We would visit my Grandma in Boston almost every summer. She had a small sliver of beachfront property on Horseneck Beach in Westport, MA. We would spend most of our time in the ocean. One year when I was 5 or 6 my parents took me to the Boston Aquarium while we were there. Thatís when I got the scuba itch. Seeing all the sea creatures swimming around in that huge tank was amazing. Then I saw the diver in the tank doing a feeding session. I was hooked right then and there. I started reading all the books that I could find about scuba diving. I had an uncle that lived in Florida who was an underwater welder at the time. He would send me his old diving books and a small piece of equipment from time to time.

On my 12th birthday, my dad drove me down to the LDS. We talked to one of the instructors about signing up for the OW class. They had one starting in a few weeks. They were a bit concerned about letting me into the class. They asked me some questions about diving that I easily answered from the past 6 years of reading scuba books. They were a little surprised when I told them I had been reading about Navy decompression diving. Long story short, the let my Dad and I join the class. We bought the PADI OW book package and went back home. I think I read the whole OW manual before the class even started (this was back in í93 before that DVD crap they have now). The first night of class I finished the swim test before about half of the adults in the class.

I went through the class just fine, passed all the quizzes and final test, and did all the skills in the pool just fine. We did our OW cert dives at Chatfield Reservoir. 60 degree water and 2 foot max viz. That was COLD for a skinny 12yo kidÖ Heck thatís cold to me now. I wished we had done our cert in a nice warm, clear ocean, but in retrospect, I think it was good to it in those conditions. It made our trip to Coz a few months later that much more enjoyable. I still remember the two divemasters from that first trip to Coz, Marcos and Armando from Dive Paradise.

So I guess what Iím saying is, if your kids want to dive, make sure they WANT to dive. If I were you I would make them read your open water manual and answer the questions at the end of each chapter. Then if they do that satisfactorily, talk to an instructor.

As much as I would have liked to have been certified at 10, I think that is still too young.

Largo
07-11-2008, 20:15
Yes, I am also sometimes worried about GWS. One hears about a child losing an arm or leg, or worse dying from a shark attack. All of the factors such as maturity, skill, conditions, safety, etc. must be taken into consideration.

GWS?Gulf War Syndrome?

Splitlip
07-11-2008, 20:26
No. Cmburch is a Dad. We dads hear and know of tragedy, suffering and horror in the world and somehow cannot help but envision our children having to face those perils without us being able to protect them.

Easy guys.

I was in NYC (my home) with my daughter on the observation deck of the WTC almost a year to the day before those animals crashed our planes into them. Still, do this day, I think what if... and my guts crawl

Largo
07-11-2008, 20:31
Didn't mean to offend, I just don't know what GWS stands for.

Splitlip
07-11-2008, 20:33
LOL. No, more directed to CD's post.

Largo
07-11-2008, 20:36
Oh, OK.The first thought ran to Gun Shot Wound, but that's "GSW."Second thought was "Garrotted While on Sentry."Maybe I'm watching too much 1960's action-adventure?

Splitlip
07-11-2008, 21:20
Oh, OK.The first thought ran to Gun Shot Wound, but that's "GSW."Second thought was "Garrotted While on Sentry."Maybe I'm watching too much 1960's action-adventure?
:smilie39:

roofless
07-11-2008, 21:58
SSI has something called Scuba Rangers for 8 to 12 year olds at some of their shops

But they only scuba/snorkel/play inside a pool where they learn different skills. Gets them ready for later in life when the are old enough to get certified

Actually. and someone correct me if I'm wrong, but SSI's 'Scuba Ranger' certification is a regular Open Water certification class.

My girlfriend is getting certified right now and there's a 12 year old in her regular class. I think the instructors just have to be certified through SSI's Scuba Ranger Program. They do all the same written and pool exercises as well.

I think it's great.