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So, you’re thinking about trying out a new extreme sport. You’ve narrowed it down to two options: scuba diving or sky diving. Both activities seem like a lot of fun, but which one is right for you?
Scuba is relaxing and interesting. Skydiving is fast and thrilling. Both are rewarding. Deciding between the two sports comes down to what you are looking for in an experience.
In this blog post, we will compare and contrast the two sports and help you decide which one is the best fit for your personality and interests.
Similarities Between Scuba Diving and Sky Diving
Despite the fact that scuba is done underwater, and sky diving is done, well, in the sky, these two sports have more in common than you might think. For starters, they are both extreme sports that require a certain level of fitness. They are also both activities that can be enjoyed solo or with a group of friends. And finally, they are both amazing ways to see the world from a completely different perspective.
1 – They are expensive
Scuba and skydiving are both pretty expensive in terms of training and equipment costs. You don’t have to buy your own gear, but, in my opinion, it’s the way to go if you’re planning to get serious.
After you’re certified and have your own equipment, the costs become more manageable.
The average cost for skydiving in the US is between $150 and $300. This includes the plane ride, gear, and an instructor. If you want to do a tandem dive where you’re tethered to an experienced skydiver, the price is usually around $300 to $500.
The cost of scuba diving is a bit more difficult to pin down because it can vary so much depending on where you are in the world and what type of diving you’re doing. A day of diving in Thailand is going to be a lot cheaper than a day of diving in the Florida Keys, for example.
On average, a day of diving with equipment rental and a divemaster will cost you around $130 to $300. One of the variables is the dive site and how far it is from shore. In the US Virgin Islands, most of the dive sites are a 20-minute boat ride away. In the Keys, it may take an hour or more each way. This, obviously, will affect the cost.
2 – Both sports require significant training
Both scuba diving and skydiving require training before you can participate. This ensures your safety as well as the safety of those around you.
For scuba diving, you need to get certified. This generally takes a few days and includes both academic (classroom) and practical components. The academic portion is usually done online these days, but the practical portion must be completed in person with a certified instructor. This usually is done first in a pool and then in open water.
Skydiving also requires training before you can jump out of a plane. The training is generally shorter, only taking a few hours. But it is important to note that the academic portion is done in person with an instructor and not online.
3 – Sense of freedom
Both of these activities offer a sense of freedom that is unparalleled. When you’re scuba diving, you are free to move in three dimensions in a way that few people ever experience. And when you’re skydiving, you are freefalling through the air at speeds of up to 120 mph!
4 – Solo activities
It may not be obvious because both of these activities are done with other people, but they are essentially done solo. When you’re diving, you have a buddy for safety. You also go out on a boat with several people. Skydiving is pretty much the same. You may be paired with an instructor or another person, and you crowd into a plane with other people.
But, once you’re in the water or jump out of the plane, there is no one else to talk to. If you’re picturing people in free fall yelling at each other like you see in the movies, that’s not possible. The wind is blowing too hard and it’s way too noisy.
5 – The sound of silence
One of the things people love about both scuba diving and skydiving is the peace and quiet. It’s an amazing feeling to be so disconnected from the world for a little while.
When you’re diving, you can’t hear anything except your breathing. Once you enter the undersea world, you are in a world of silence. Complete solitude.
And when you’re skydiving, the only sound is the wind rushing past you. After you open the parachute, everything immediately gets very quiet. The only sound is the flapping of the fabric of the canopy.
5 – Fantastic scenery
We’ve all seen the amazing photographs and videos of people scuba diving with sharks or skydiving over the Swiss Alps. These are amazing experiences that you can only have if you go out and do them yourself.
Both of these activities offer the opportunity to see some incredible scenery that you would never get to see otherwise.
There is no better view than the one you get while skydiving. From my perspective, it doesn’t appear as though I am falling because when looking down at the ground things don’t seem to get larger. Of course, they appear larger as the fall progresses. However, you can’t really tell that anything has changed.
What sets scuba diving apart is that it transports you to an underwater world unlike any other. Seeing exotic animals in their natural habitat is a breathtaking experience, especially when they are brightly colored.
Differences Between Scuba and Skydiving
Both scuba diving and skydiving offer opportunities to explore and see the world from a different perspective – literally. However, there are some key differences between the two activities.
1 – The destinations are different
Keep in mind that most sky diving centers are usually situated near small airports located in rural areas. The vast majority of these places aren’t what you would call a tourist attraction.
In contrast, most scuba operators are located in tropical areas near resorts.
If your family doesn’t also want to take up sky diving, you’ll likely have to go solo. Even if your family doesn’t enjoy scuba diving, you’ll be able to visit intriguing locations with stunning beaches, and they won’t mind if you go for a dive in the mornings.
2 – Visibility is vastly different
When you’re diving, your visibility is not as good as it is on land. Even under the best conditions, though, you can only see so far. A great dive may only provide 100 feet of visibility – that’s a good day. On a bad day, it feels like you can’t see beyond your own nose.
Skydiving is the complete opposite. On a clear day, you might be able to see 100 miles in all directions. By law, you can’t skydive if the visibility is less than 5 miles.
There is a big difference between the two activities when it comes to how far you can see. 100 feet versus 100 miles!
3 – SCUBA can be done on the cheap
Even though scuba diving and sky diving are expensive activities, scuba allows you to save money. For example, you can do a shore dive which is basically free. The only costs might be for parking and the cost of an air fill (average cost is $8).
With sky diving, however, you need to pay for a plane ride every time.
4 – Everything underwater sounds much different
Sounds underwater are much different than those you’ll hear while skydiving. Instead of the sound of your breathing, all you’ll hear is the sound of the wind rushing past you. And, of course, you’ll hear the occasional scream from another skydiver.
Under water, your own breathing sounds like Darth Vader. There are also various natural and artificial sounds in the water. It is hard to determine the source of a noise due to how sound waves travel through water. Sound also travels very far underwater, so you can hear boats from a long way off.
5 – Amount of time doing activity
The free fall component of sky diving is merely a minute or two. You then have a few more minutes “under the canopy”. So, it’s all over rather quickly.
A scuba diving experience lasts much longer, of course. Some dives, especially deep dives, last 20 minutes. Shallow dives in warm water can last more than an hour. It all depends on your air consumption.
A person’s air consumption rate varies quite a bit depending on a number of factors:
- A large individual consumes more air than a small one.
- Men consume their air faster than women.
- Deep dives deplete air faster than shallow dives.
Relative Risks of Scuba and Skydiving
There are inherent risks with both scuba diving and skydiving.
The main risks involved in skydiving will have to do with equipment malfunctions and/or bad weather. It’s important for any sensible skydiver to carry a reserve parachute, so these types of accidents aren’t very common (though they can happen).
The second risk is landing injuries from a hard or fast landing. This can be prevented by using good form and technique when you land.
The main risks involved in scuba diving have to do with water conditions and safety procedures/equipment.
Some of the risks of scuba diving include:
- getting lost if you surface too far from the boat or shore
- running out of air
- being caught in a strong current
- getting stung by a jellyfish or other creature
- making a rapid ascent and embolizing
- the bends (deep diving only)
- nitrogen narcosis (deep diving only)
So, which one is better – scuba diving or skydiving? The answer is: it depends. They are both great activities with their own set of risks and rewards. It really comes down to what you’re looking for in an adventure.
Do you want the freedom to explore the world underwater? Or do you want the thrill of a free fall? The choice is yours!
Have you ever done either scuba diving or skydiving? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.