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Too Old to Dive? Scuba Diving Tips and Research for over 50

How old is too old to dive? Read on for scuba diving tips and research.

Too old to dive?  While I subscribe to the motto that we are all as old as we feel, one hotly debated topic in sporting circles is the subject of whether someone can be too old to dive. The Divers Alert Network defines an older diver as any person age 50 years or older. Now before all my adventure travelers and “older” diver readers click outta here, read on, as our guest author cites research on how old is too old and these scuba diving tips for over 50.

How old is too old to dive? Read on for scuba diving tips and research.
How old is too old to dive? Read on for scuba diving tips and research. Photo: Pixabay

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Scuba Diving Tips and Research for over 50

For those who know me, you already know water and me — not so much. I grew up in land-locked Iowa, and while parents did sign me and my 2 siblings (3 were not born yet…) for swimming lessons, it was a short summer session. I was about 9 years old, and I barely passed. Therefore, fear of water is based on simply not being a good swimmer.

Even so, I once put my big girl panties on and attempted “snuba” diving while traveling to Xcaret in the Riviera Maya. For those who don’t know, it’s a form of scuba diving with a helmet and walking on the sea bottom. I absolutely panicked and hyperventilated, although my instructor did calm me down, allowing me to enjoy (however briefly) the amazing sea life. It’s one of those adventures that I won’t do again, but I’m glad I did it.

But hey, this is about Scuba Diving. So read on for our guest authors research and tips for scuba diving when over 50.

Snuba diving at Xcaret in the Riviera Maya. Photo Credit: Xcaret

Who is Scuba Diving?

Meanwhile, there are literally millions of men, women, and children who enjoy scuba diving. including those who are over 50. Through the years, these older divers have come to form a larger portion of the diving community worldwide. There are two main reasons for this.

First, these are the divers that took up the sport of scuba diving when it first became popular around 30 to 40 years ago.

Second, today’s older generation is both more active and generally wealthier than the older generations in the past. Some are even taking up the pastime in their older years.

Therefore, when it comes to safe scuba diving today is the question of whether anyone can be too old to dive. So how old is too old for diving?

Too Old to Dive?

Is over 50 too old to dive? Research reveals that isn't always true.
Is over 50 too old to dive? Research reveals that isn’t always true. Photo: Pixabay

If an older person has been diving since he or she was young and wishes to continue, then it may be safer for these people to dive than it would for a young beginner, if for no other reason because they have lots of experience. They have come across many of challenges related to diving and learned how to deal with different scenarios. The only limitations such divers could have are either physical limitations or age-related issues. However, these situations can be evaluated by a medical professional.

Additionally, diving courses are designed that they cater to a wide variety of students. This is regardless of the gender, age or ability of those students.

Of course, with older divers, higher risks of lung and heart issues may need to be assessed before these divers can be enrolled in a diving course. It is best to ask those who are age 45 and older questions related to family history around factors like heart health, plus overall lifestyle habits.

Lung Capacity Not an Issue

Numerous studies show that lung capacity may not be a deterrent to older divers.
Numerous studies show that lung capacity may not be a deterrent to older divers. Photo: Pixabay

Many of the reasons physicians used to disapprove diving at an advanced age have since been discredited. At one time, doctors thought that a person’s lungs declined in time, so older drivers would have a hard time dealing with the changes in pressure under water and find it difficult to breathe in compressed air.

In particular, they thought that the lungs of older people would retain unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide. There were, however, numerous studies that showed the lungs of older people did not retain significantly higher amounts of gas than their younger counterparts.

Scuba Diving Tips for Older Divers

Many of the issues that older divers used to face can now be dealt with. Metabolism tends to slow down with age, and older divers are more susceptible to hypothermia. However, this can be solved by wearing thicker or heated suits to protect them against exposure. Prescription masks and contact lenses can also solve the problem of poor vision.

Because of these advances, diving is a completely viable form of physical activity for baby boomers and seniors, especially as part of a vacation experience.

Are you an older scuba diver? When did you first start diving? Share with us your experiences in the comments below.

Too Old to Dive? Scuba Diving Tips and Research for over 50 #ScubaDivingTips #divingforover50
Photo credit: Pixabay

8 thoughts on “Too Old to Dive? Scuba Diving Tips and Research for over 50”

  1. I am 40 years old and always wanted to dive. I was at a partners of mines wedding last year and took a course at resort but didn’t feel safe with the equipment that i had on. So I told myself that I didn’t want to get into this until i was able to buy my own equipment. I have a fear and anxiety already and i felt it was best to go buy my own equipment to give me a bit of a piece of mind. so I told myself that I am training in the pool for the next year and taking all the classes I need until I feel confidence in moving to open waters. Is there is any tips please reach out. Thank you

    1. Thanks for your comments! Great job meeting your goals, and I personally think you’re doing everything you can to move into the open waters. Keep me posted and good luck!

  2. I was introduced to scuba when my mother married my step father in 1969. I was just 8 years old when I did my first dive. I continued with free diving for abalone on the northern CA coast and very occasionally did scuba until the late 70’s when I started going scuba diving much more often. Though the 80’s I did a lot of “cold water” diving, northern CA as apposed to tropical waters. As I got a little older a could afford to travel a bit I started diving warmer climates. Hawaii, Fiji, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Curaçao have been my favorites. In my late 40’s I started getting mild type 2 DCS. Mildly painful bruising on my chest. I didn’t know what it was for the first few years, then with reading up a little realized I was putting myself in some degree of danger. I started diving with NITROX in my early 50’s and that has alleviated the problem. I have just retired at 58 years old and am very eager to travel and dive. This corona virus has put a halt on that for now but I will be blowing bubble again. I am optimistic for travel in the spring of 2022. Indonesia, the Red Sea and the Maldives are high on my bucket list!

  3. Hi, an interesting article! Without going into much detail, I started snorkeling at age 13, and at 20 got my first CMAS SCUBA license. I’ve been diving more or less frequently throughout my life, at times reaching double the recommended air-breathing depths, and I even learned to recognise my own signs of Nitrogen Narcosis. I tried the heavy gear, Oxygen rebreathers (of the oId kind; with no electronics and instruments save the manometer). I mostly used compressed air SCUBA used to dive in the sea, in the strong river streams, and lakes. In August 2109 I celebrated my 73rd birthday, and I still dive using compressed air – and I’m planning to do so as long as I enjoy it without noticing any health restriction. Then I’ll stop doing it, of course. All this I think is possible because I try to be aged 25 – on the inside! So, old at 50? Haha! I’ve had it and it’s nothing special. Dive Safe, and enjoy! 🙂

  4. My husband and I took up the sport of scuba diving 2 years ago. Maui 1st open water , Cozamel second adventure. Beqa , Fiji our third. Husband turned 76 on this adventure and I 65. We finished up our advanced open water while in Fiji. I believe we can continue to scuba dive as long as we can breath.Salem Scuba Dive , Salem , Oregon…Master divers,owner Blake Fry and Dea Thayer have the skill, knowledge and patience to teach , educate and pass on the passion regardless of age.

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