Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

Why on earth someone would want to go for a scuba dive in an aquarium, I’ve always wondered. Currently, I’m trying to get into the Tampa Aquarium for – an aquarium dive! We’re headed on a dive cruise, and want to fit in just one more dive before we go. We’re already in town, already committed to a hotel for the overnight before, so why not dive in an aquarium?

We will be guaranteed to see some sharks, it will be a different experience, and all we have to bring is our mask – our dive gear can stay packed and dry until the cruise begins the next day.

Why Dive an Aquarium?

There are more reasons to dive an aquarium than not. I’ve outlined the ones that come to mind first. If you can think of any additional reasons, please comment below! I’d love love to add your reasons too!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

1 – It’s a dive!

First, it might be deep enough to count. The standard is 20 feet for 20 minutes. Your experience may or may not fall under those criteria. As a controlled environment, aquarium dives usually don’t count for certification purposes – but I don’t see any harm in counting them for recreational purposes.

Even more critical than in the wild is your buoyancy and fin control. With limited width and depth, both become even more important than in a larger environment. Due to a more confined space, location of your dive fins is crucial, as is leveling off. There’s not ten feet of vertical leeway in a 20 foot deep tank!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

2 – Guaranteed Sightings

Second, you know you are going to see whatever is there in the aquarium – fish, eels, shark, turtle; whatever is in there. You are almost guaranteed to get a close-up view.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

3 – Good Photo Opportunity

Third, the fish and animals are used to people, so, it’s not a petting zoo. But, it sure is a great chance to get some very close-up photos of sea life and practice with your camera.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

4 – Unique Experience

Fourth, it’s a different experience. You can’t promote or demote it if you haven’t really experienced it.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

5 – Contribute to a Good Cause

Fifth, you are supporting the aquarium financially. If their goals are aligned with yours; this is a chance to contribute at a higher level and receive a unique experience in return.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

6 – Educational Opportunity

Sixth, there’s probably an educational presentation. You might get to interact with the professionals on site, and learn something in the process.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

7 – Backstage Pass

Seventh, the backstage experience! You get to see the parts the day viewers don’t; the mechanics of the aquarium, the support system, and all the machinery.

I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes business at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa. There, you can dive with sharks, ocean animals, or in a kelp forest. Their motto is, “Dive with sharks, no cage required!”

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

8 – Build Confidence

Eighth, it can be a confidence builder for a new diver skittish about getting into the ocean with “critters.”

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

9 – Dive Practice

Ninth, it’s a dive! It’s one more time to practice dons and doffs and organize and assemble your gear. It’s all the same thinking and practice; just in a different environment.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

10 – Your Fan Club Can Watch

Tenth, your friends can watch! Friends can come watch how awesome diving is, and you might score yourself a new dive partner!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

11 – Dry Gear

Eleventh, many aquariums don’t allow you to use your own gear due to introducing anything you have had your gear in to their preciously maintained stable environment. So, no cleanup later – your gear didn’t even get wet. Most allow your own mask and dive computer. Some even loan drysuits!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

12 – Excuse to Try Different Equipment

Twelfth, you may get to try on and use some different gear. Maybe you’ll discover something that you like less than your setup, and reinforce your choices. Or perhaps you will discover something you like even better that you would not have gotten to discover!

For those whose mantra is “Don’t rent gear. Always use your own gear,” here’s an opportunity to have to use different gear. Either take advantage of the chance to either learn about other gear for yourself, or for being a better dive partner to others who use gear different from your own.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

13. Guaranteed Visibility

Also, the visibility is guaranteed – that’s a first – absolutely guaranteed to be great. One of the aquariums on my list boasts a 70-foot visibility! How about that! It’s seldom you can guarantee you will dive with such good vis.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

14. No Seasickness, No Boat Ride

While some of us actually love the boat rides; others have more trouble with mal de mer. That won’t be a problem here!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

15. No Long Walk With Gear

Unlike a shore dive, this time, you don’t have a long walk to a boat with your gear, or even a long walk down the beach.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

16. Pack Light

Since you aren’t allowed much more than your mask and maybe a dive watch and camera – maybe – all you need to pack is your mask and sunscreen! Don’t be surprised when they want to sanitize your mask.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

17. Great Weather Guaranteed

Most aquariums are indoors, which means even when the weather is awful outside – raining, snowing, sleet or hail – your dive will not cancel on you

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

18. You Can Keep the Shark Teeth

I’m not kidding! Several of the aquariums mention that if you find a shark tooth, you can keep it. My dive partner Bill suggested bringing a ridiculously large shark tooth to “salt” the bottom. He said we could hide it, then “discover” it when aquarium visitors are looking in the tank. Wouldn’t they want to learn how to dive then!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

19. No Gear to Rinse, Clean, Dry

It takes us at least a day to process our gear after a dive trip. First there’s the washing and soaking overnight in the tub with Odo Ban to sanitize everything. It removed 99.99% of the infectious diseases and lots more – the label lists an impressive number of nasties that it deals with in a couple minutes. Then there’s the dripping the next night, then eventually, a move to somewhere dry for a couple days of thorough drying. Yet more – everything still has to be stowed.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

20. One Item or Less to Pack

All that gear you lug around, clean, service and store – nope. You can use their mask. Or, if you have a prescription mask, they will sterilize it and you can use it. Can you even imagine showing up for a dive with only your mask?

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

21. No Current, No Waves

There’s not going to be any fighting current in a tank. Some, like the Two Oceans in Cape Town, have a very realistic surge. However, you are not going to be swept out to sea. Surface waves? Zero.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

22. Can’t Get Left Behind by the Boat

Well, that’s a rather pessimistic advantage, however, it’s true.

23. No Crowds

Most of the aquarium dives are extremely limited in number of divers in the water at each session. Many limit the experience to two divers, others four or eight. Still, it’s never as crowded as some shore dives!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

24. No Filling, Lugging Tanks

All right, you could say this for liveaboards also, or any boat dive where you pay for a tank. This time, all that is taken care of for you.

25. Your Reason Is…

Is it that’ you live too far from the ocean for weekend diving? Or maybe you’re snowed in? Ok, it’s time for you to add in your favorite reason for diving in an aquarium! Leave comments below.

Why Not?

It can be pricey. Some divers are stage shy. It’s sort of artificial.

Some people might say it doesn’t “count” since it’s a controlled environment. In fact, that very control is likely to make you even more aware of your buoyancy control and kicks – because everyone’s watching!

The animals are not wild. Which might allow you some even more spectacular photos than in a natural environment.

Ethical reasons – for this, you would have to research the purpose and goals of an aquarium. How are their specimens collected. Do they rehabilitate for return to the wild, or only capture animals for profit.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

Extend the Trip Just a Bit

If you must travel over two hours to your non-ocean dive destination, or, leaving right after work the night before would extend your available daytime; consider extending your trip. Maybe you can sneak in three or four dives on both weekend days by staying locally.

To keep our dive costs down, one trick we use is to book through Airbnb. That not only allows us to stay overnight cheaper than a hotel; it also eliminates late-night noisy motel arrivals, wailing children, and other hotel/motel disturbances. Most likely your dive gear cleaning system will be a bit easier to accomplish at an Airbnb than at a hotel as well.

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

Airbnb – Make Your Trips “Off The Chain!”

Ok, so, here are two Airbnb discount codes. Try either one! The offerings from Airbnb change every couple months, so use whichever gives you the best deal. You can only use a code one time, so compare, choose whichever gives you the best deal since they change periodically, and make it count!

As of today, this one, Airbnb says, “Kimberly gave you up to $55 off your first trip.” Friends who sign up for Airbnb with my link will get $40 off their home booking. And they get $15 to use toward an experience worth $50 or more.

Also today, this one, Airbnb says, “Deep gave you up to $415 off your first adventure. I’m ready to book from this one right now! I’m thinking it’s a computer glitch – so jump on it fast!

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

Sunscreen and Mask De-Fog Safe for Water

Here’s an easy way to do your part in saving our oceans. No matter where you plan to dive, whatever you put on your body will eventually find it’s way into a waterway, river, lake, stream, or ocean.

Do your research! Then order reef-safe mask defog, sunscreen and hair products at Stream2Sea.com, use my code “KimW” for 10% off. AD: affiliate links used. Stream2Sea Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 20 or Stream2Sea Tinted Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 20! PS – That’s their light blue ghost net rash guard I’m wearing in the photos above! It’s really well made!

What to Read Next

Dive Gear Luggage // Worth the Expense? // Pros and Cons

Night Dive Tank Lights // Some Are Even Water Activated

Updated December 15, 2019

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

scuba dive in an aquarium, Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium
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