Top 10 diving myths

By Julius
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Happy diver during discover scuba event

There are many myths around scuba diving people like to believe, from the dangers of diving to wrong assumptions about what divers do.

In this post, I will debunk the top 10 diving myths with science and facts and instead turn them into 10 truths about scuba diving.

There are many more myths and misconceptions that I could list here, but these are the most common ones I encounter.

Myth 1: Diving is dangerous

Scuba diving isn’t more dangerous than other sports activities and much safer than most other extreme sports.

Scuba diving is indeed considered an extreme sport, however, there is only one death per 211864 dives according to DAN.

Compare this with base jumping (1 in 60) or climbing the Himalayas (1 in 10), this makes it one of the safest high-risk sports out there.

Mountain climbers on snowy mountain
Mountain climbing is much more dangerous than scuba diving.

Truth: Safe diving practices are required

The best way to ensure you stay safe on any dive is good dive planning, proper equipment, and sticking to the common practices of safe diving.

Myth 2: You get eaten by a shark

Sharks really aren’t interested in getting too close to divers, let alone bite or eat them. In fact, it is much more likely to die while taking a selfie than from a shark bite.

Sharks circling underwater
Sharks usually don’t care about divers at all.

Truth: We need to respect underwater creatures

As divers, we need to respect the underwater world and make sure not to interfere with it.

The same goes for interacting with sharks. They do attack humans very rarely, however, in 2021 there was only a total of 73 unprovoked bites (not deaths) around the world.

Myth 3: You must be an expert swimmer

While basic swimming skills are absolutely mandatory to be a diver, you don’t need to be an expert.

Olympic swimmer in lane
Olympic swimming abilities are not required for scuba divers.

Truth: You must be able to swim and feel comfortable in the water.

Scuba divers don’t really swim at all during a dive and instead use their dive equipment to float like fish.

The less you move, the better.

Keep in mind: Freedivers, on the other hand, do need to be good swimmers.

Myth 4: You can only dive at exotic places

You don’t need to live on an exotic island to be an active diver and you don’t even need to live close to the sea.

Scuba diver in the Green Lake in Austria
Diving in lakes is a super cool experience.

Truth: You can dive almost anywhere

There are many different diving environments you can dive in, such as freshwater lakes, rivers, caves, mines, or even indoors! Therefore, no matter where you live in the world you will most likely find a good diving spot nearby.

Myth 5: Diving is very expensive

There is no doubt about it, scuba diving can indeed become very expensive, very quickly.

But it doesn’t have to be! Especially in comparison to other sports, it is actually very affordable.

The three biggest factors in diving costs are dive equipment, travel expenses, and training fees.

Check out my article that answers the question is scuba diving expensive?

Scuba diver swimming besides statue underwater
Scuba diving doesn’t have to be expensive.

Truth: Invest in good dive equipment

In my opinion, it’s always best to spend more on quality dive equipment than to try and make it as cheap as possible. Remember: If you buy cheap, you buy twice.

If you are looking for affordable, yet quality dive equipment, check out my article on where to buy scuba gear.

Truth: Travel isn’t always necessary

In my case, traveling is the biggest cost factor in regard to scuba diving. But there are two ways around that:

  1. Pick a budget diving destination
  2. Go scuba diving with your local dive club!

For example, we dive in and around Munich all the time with the Social Diving Club or go on altitude diving excursions in the Alps.

This way, we don’t have to buy plane tickets or book hotels but still get to enjoy great diving!

Truth: Dive training is cheaper than many other sports

Dive courses are important, especially for beginners, but I do not think they are very expensive. Naturally, the more you pay, the better the training usually will be.

At Social Diving, we charge €799 for the basic diver version of our Open Water Diver course.

However, you get 1-on-1 support, 6 dives (as opposed to 4 at most dive schools), and a lot of other perks others don’t offer.

If you compare this with a sailing course (€1400+) or learning to golf with a trainer (€1000+++), where in both cases this does not include the equipment or travel expenses that occur, it makes scuba diving look a lot cheaper, doesn’t it?

Myth 6: Scuba diving is difficult to learn

I can assure you, scuba diving is not difficult to learn and anyone can start diving within just a few days!

Our Open Water Diver course – the beginner diving course you will need – can be done within a week.

Happy scuba diver underwater
A beginner diving course can be completed within just 1 week.

Truth: Becoming an expert diver takes time and practice

Just like with any skill, it requires practice and patience to become an expert diver. Especially buoyancy is something beginners often struggle with so go out and dive as much as you can to get better!

Myth 7: We breathe oxygen from our tanks

If I earned 1€ for each time I hear someone say this, I could probably teach scuba diving for free. 😄

In recreational diving, we fill our tanks with air. Air is composed of 78% Nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other trace gases.

Truth: We can raise the %- of oxygen in our tanks

Some divers like to use Nitrox, a blend with extra oxygen usually in the range of 28-40%, while diving in shallower waters. This raises non-decompression limits, however, needs special training.

Myth 8: You must always dive super deep

A scuba dive doesn’t have to be super deep and the majority of diving takes place about 20 meters / 65feet.

The reason is that most reefs are located between the surface and about 20 meters depth, and there simply isn’t much to see below that at many places.

Scuba diver with lionfish
Most marine life can be found above 20m depth.

Truth: Depth can be fun to explore

Without a doubt, it is fun to explore the depth as a diver. Certain species such as hammerhead sharks can only be found below about 40 meters depth.

As such, I highly recommend you eventually do the Deep Diver specialty course to learn how to dive down to these depths safely.

Myth 9: More certifications = better diver

The number of certification cards tells me nothing about the skills of a diver.

In short: Don’t be a plastic card hunter!

What I mean is, do not go around and do every course available thinking it will make you a better diver.

iac specialty diver card

Truth: Get the right certifications

GoPro videographer specialist, pelagic magic diver, or adaptive learning diver can, of course, be of value to divers…but really, would you pay $80+ plus a certification fee to get any of them as a certification card?

I know there are certain training agencies promoting the “purchase as many specialty course certifications as possible“-way…but don’t fall for marketing here.

Get the training recommended for the diving you would like to do (for example go diving in a freshwater lake) and then spend your time and money on doing more diving with your buddy or a local dive club.

Myth 10: You cannot dive if you had COVID-19

This is the latest addition to the long list of scuba diving myths out there and I am happy to tell you this one isn’t true either.

According to several studies, as well as the recommendations of DAN, aquamed, and other scuba medical providers, you may return to diving even if you had a bad case of COVID-19.

Model of human lungs
You can still dive, even if you have had COVID-19.

Truth: Get a medical examination before you dive again

Since the COVID-19 coronavirus affects the pulmonary and cardiac functions of your body, it can have long-term negative effects on your overall health.

As such, it is critical to get a medical examination by a diving physician if you did catch the virus and/or were hospitalized in the process.


These are my 10 favorite myths about scuba diving I hear all the time. I hope you found them interesting and maybe even found one you used to believe in yourself.

Now that you have read about diving myths, check out our 10 facts about diving, you probably didn’t know!

Do you know any other myths about diving? Post them in the comments below and let us hear them!

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Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃



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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

©2024 Social Diving. All rights reserved. The content presented here is the exclusive property of Social Diving and may not be copied or distributed, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Social Diving.

Social Diving is your #1 online source for scuba diving, scuba travel, water sports, learning, and having fun in and under water. We have scuba online articles, review plenty of (scuba) gear, and regularly post travel guides around the world.


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