Interview with the President of the Association of German Scuba Divers
Getting started in diving - Dr. Uwe Hoffmann
To experience the underwater world - this is possible with diving. It's not difficult to get started if you keep a few things in mind. We talked to Dr. Uwe Hoffmann, President of the Association of German Scuba Divers (VDST), and about his passion for diving.
What are the basic requirements to get into scuba diving?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „Actually, there aren't that many. The main prerequisite is a certain affinity for water - you have to feel comfortable in the water. Then you can actually get started. Diving is a sport for everyone and (almost) every fitness level. In some cases, physical or other health restrictions may speak against it - but this is very rare. With the so-called diving medical examination you are on the safe side. In principle, you can adapt your diving behavior to your own fitness and experience level. You don't have to be a competitive athlete to experience the beauty of the underwater world.“
What certificates or training do I need as a novice diver?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „The first and most important certification is certainly what we at VDST call 'German Diver License Sports Diver one star' or 'Deutsches Tauchsport-Abzeichen one star'. This is the entry-level qualification so that you can safely participate in guided dives. One can complete such training at our local diving clubs. There, basic skills are first taught in the swimming pool and later also in the local open water. In these waters the diving student then receives the so-called one-star qualification, which is also recognized by the world association CMAS. After successful completion of the examination, one is thus an internationally recognized recreational diver and can also dive safely on vacation.“
What basic equipment do I need?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „That depends a bit on how the diving club of choice is equipped. Many clubs offer a whole range of equipment for rent. But I would always recommend, even as a beginner, to acquire your own, so-called ABC equipment - that is, mask, snorkel and fins. In addition, it is advisable to already think in the direction of your own cold protection suit. Everything else can be borrowed usually in the diving club for the first dives. In this way, you can find out for yourself whether diving is the right sport without making a large investment.“
Is diving a family sport?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „I would answer that with an unqualified "yes" and "absolutely". You can do great dives across generations, even training can be done together in the pool. Even with open water dives, everyone from grandpa and grandma to grandkids can dive together. Of course, it will be great if you go together with the family to a slightly warmer body of water or to the coast, for example, the Mediterranean Sea in the summer. Then you can make unforgettable diving experiences together.“
Diving and inclusion - does that work together?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „Yes, that works. Especially people who cannot move around so freely on land will find that they feel much freer and are more mobile under water. However, you need an experienced diving partner at your side. But in principle, people with physical limitations can also enjoy the underwater experience. It may not always be possible, but this is actually true for all people. Inclusion is an important topic in diving and the VDST is actively pushing this forward.“
What fascinates you personally about diving?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „Clearly, the experience of nature: being close to the fish, exploring and enjoying the underwater world, but also this feeling of complete relaxation - that's something I take away from the fascination of diving. Diving is a sport, but the dive itself can be very relaxing and very relaxed. For me, the underwater world, the enjoyment of the animals and plants underwater is still the main experience.“
What is your favorite diving hotspot?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „There are so many diving spots for me. They are all very different and have different characters: ranging from Norway to Brittany to the Red Sea, but also far beyond. I would not single out one diving hotspot. Whereby I must admit that it may be gladly somewhat warmer water. But even in our local waters - I come from near Cologne, there is the Fühlinger See - you can make excellent dives. And when you come face to face with a big catfish or encounter a large school of perch underwater, it's always an experience. For me, there is no one special diving spot, but always great diving experiences.“
Do you have a personal tip for people interested in diving?
Dr. Uwe Hoffmann: „My tip would be to orient yourself in the clubs and always keep fit. For diving it is important to always repeat and train the necessary movements and actions. And if you are interested in diving for the first time, it is best to look for a diving club in your hometown. In most clubs you can first make a trial dive, and then perhaps enter into further diving training.“
Dear Dr. Hoffmann, thank you for this informative interview!
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