Do I Need to Be a Strong Swimmer to Go Scuba Diving?

Two people scuba diving with sunlight from above

If you truly want to explore the underwater depths of various places in the world, scuba diving is one of the more immersive ways to do that. Being in the water usually involves some degree of swimming, especially if you’re submerging. But what about in the case of scuba diving? With all the gear that you have, do you actually need to be a strong swimmer in order to scuba dive?

Short Answer: It Depends on What You Want

What you want to get from scuba diving will determine the level of swimming ability you need to have. If you only have a superficial interest in scuba diving, you can participate in a Discover Scuba experience without needing to have much in the way of swimming ability. On the other hand, if you want to become scuba certified and actually be able to participate in dives, you’ll need to at least meet the minimum requirements for certification.

Why Swimming Matters

When you’re actually diving, you don’t do much in the way of swimming. Your equipment and breathing control your buoyancy and your flippers will provide the majority of your propulsion to move through the water. The problem is that sometimes things go wrong. Your tank may have run out of air or you may experience an equipment failure. In that case you need to be able to take care of yourself and get yourself to safety. That means swimming.

Certification Requirements

So swimming is important for scuba diving. Just how good do you need to be? In order to become scuba certified, you must pass a swim test. This test requires you to swim either 200 yards without a snorkel or 300 yards with a snorkel and fins. You are not allowed to stop during this portion of the test if you are to pass it. Then you’ll need to tread water for ten minutes.

As with any underwater adventure, the better of a swimmer you are, the better prepared you’ll be. Strong swimming skills will come in handy if you experience problems or something goes wrong. It’s also necessary to become scuba certified. As an added bonus, you’ll enjoy all the benefits that come along with being physically active in the way you must be in order to strengthen and maintain swimming skills.

Need to brush up on your swimming abilities? Check out our Adult Programs to see how we can help.