Children & Diving

When it comes to activities, don't force your children to do things they don't want to do. I'm a qualified instructor with more than one training agency but when my youngest expressed an interest in scuba-diving at the age of ten, I put her into the hands of a trusted friend, someone with the evocative name of Mohammed Ali, who took her out for a try-dive and because she wasn't with her father, she did everything he told her and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
A couple of years later she embarked on a proper Junior Open Water Diver course and without any interference from me, got through the course and certified with flying colours. The following year, just she and I went for a scuba diving holiday in Egypt. It was fantastic to see how competent a diver she had become and how she really enjoyed the experience. Hopefully, when she is older and I am less able through ongoing old age, she'll be able to take me diving.
Scuba diving isn't rocket science. It's well within the capability of most children from ten-year-old upwards. Different training agencies have different minimum age limits so check what's possible with your dive school. The London School of Diving next door to Mike's Dive Store can teach children from the age of eight-years-old and they can embark on Junior Open Water Diver at ten.
Of course, one of the problems with children diving is getting equipment that is small enough to fit them. Mike's does a range of small wetsuits but remember children grow quickly. At the same time, don't let your child have a bad experience by letting them go into the water in a suit that is inadequate. Getting cold will put them off for life.
There are also small masks available as well as fins in smaller sizes. Just make sure that the mask sucks on to the face properly and that the fins are not too tight. In the latter case, it's like choosing a comfortable pair of shoes. There are only a couple of manufacturers that make small BCs and Seac is one of them. My daughter is very happy with her Seac BC. Regulators are standard. She even now has her own diving computer and I once got into terrible trouble when I borrowed it without asking.

There's something very special going diving with your own children. It's even better than going diving with your wife! We now have a family group and dive in a threesome. I once published a story about my daughter learning dive in a magazine and got into trouble for using a picture where she was holding another diver's hand. She said it made her look as though she didn't know what she was doing!

Happy Diving - John Bantin