Frequently asked questions

SCUBA Diving

How do I become a certified SCUBA diver?


The TerraFins can get you SCUBA certified for free! First, join our website by clicking the 'How To Join' tab in the menu above. After you join, you can begin your certificaiton process. Certificaiton takes place in 3 parts. The first part is are knowledge reviews. Here, we give you materials to learn about basic dive physiology, SCUBA gear, and dive skills. After you have completed your knowledge reviews, you will need attend a classroom portion where one of our instructors will go over the content and answer any questions you have. The second part are the pool dives where you don a set of SCUBA equipment and can put the skills you've learned in class to practice for the first time! Sign up for the 'Open Water Pool Dive' event in the course directory after you make an account to complete these first two parts! The last part of certification are the Checkout Dives where you will go to a lake, quary, or ocean to practice the skills you've developed in realistic dive conditions. These dives give you the first taste of SCUBA diving in a natural environment outside of the pool! Sign up for the 'Open Water Checkout Dives' event to complete the last part of the certificaiton! Please note that you must complete these steps in order!




What SCUBA gear do I need?


SCUBA gera is very important, after all, it's life support equipment! However, don't let expensive SCUBA equiptment stop you from enjoying the sport! The TerraFins will fund your all equipment rentals, instruction, and dive park admission fees. A basic set of SCUBA equiptment includes the following: - Mask and Snorkel: A good mask and snorkel allows you to see underwater and breath at the surface of the water before you dip under the surface. - Fins: Fins are used to propel you through the water quickly and efficently - BCD: A Bouyancy Control Device (BCD) is a harness with a bladder that can be filled with air to help you float in the middle of the water. - Regulator: This is the device that allows you to breath from the airtank. A backup regulator (called an 'Octo') is always present. - Tank: Tanks are typically filled with air or high oxygen air blends to allow you to stay underwater. - Gauges/Computer: Gauges allow you to monitor your depth underwater as well as the amount of air left in the tank while a computer tells you how long you can stay underwater. We recommend that your first purchase should be a good mask and snorkel set because this gear is highly personal!




Is SCUBA diving expensive?


SCUBA diving is and expensive sport. Things can really add up after accounting for training, gear, and travel. However, at your time with the Univeristy, the TerraFins will cover all the equiptment and training costs when you dive with us! Our trips are also subsidized to make it affordable for all to attend. Make the most of your time here at Maryland and start diving!




Is SCUBA diving dangerous?


SCUBA diving has a very good track record mainly due to extensive training and safety measures put in place before, during, and after dives. As with any sport, SCUBA diving has inherent dangers. Because safety is our top priority, we place utmost importance on training and safety precautions!




What are the requirements to SCUBA dive?


We require students to be able to swim 200 meters and tread water for 10 minutes. You must also answer no to all questions on the waiver questionare. If you answer yes, you must be cleared by a physician before diving.




Can I dive if I wear glasses?


The best option is to wear soft contacts. Perscription lenses for masks are also an option, however, the club doesn't have any avalible. If your perscription isn't too bad, you could also dive without any corrective lens (as long as you can see reasonably well).




Do I need to be able to swim to be SCUBA certified?


Yes, there is a 100 yard swim and float in the water for 10 minutes without any assitance.





Freediving

How is freediving different from snorkeling or skin diving?


Snorkeling is the casual act of putting on a mask and snorkel and looking below while floating. Snorkelers may not have any training and generally spend most of the time on the surface. Skin diving takes snorkeling a step further by adding short dives underwater. Skin divers may have training that teaches skills, such as efficient dives and snorkel-clearing. Freediving uses advanced breathing techniques and diving skills to increase depth and time underwater. Through training, freedivers learn conserve oxygen while breathholding while practicing different freediving disciplines, such as static apnea, dynamic apnea, free immersion and constant weight freedives.





General Questions

Who do the TerraFins work with?


The TerraFins partners with Atlantic Edge SCUBA who work closely with us to provide the best instructors, gear, and trips! They are the largest SCUBA diving training center in the region and are some of the best people you can meet! The TerraFins have also worked with the SeaPerch Challenge, a national underwater robotics program designed to teach students about engineering, physics, and design. We have worked as their dive support team in 2019 and are looking forward to working with them in the future! The TerraFins are currently looking for more sponsors! If you are interested in sponsoring us or know someone who would want to work with us, drop us a line at terrafins.umd@gmail.com!




Where do the TerraFins get their funding from?


The TerraFins get much of their funding from the Univeristy of Maryland SGA which provides student organizations with funds to run amazing programs such as this! In addition, we run our own fundraising programs and sell merchandise to fund our trips. If you're interested in support us, consider buying some of our merch, donating to the club, or hooking us up with a partner!




What is the mission of the TerraFins?


Terrafins is a Sports Club open to all members of the University of Maryland, established for the purpose of developing leadership and SCUBA diving skills as well as awareness of marine issues through active promotion of SCUBA diving for recreational, athletic, and scientific purposes to encourage students to participate in community projects established to tackle them. Whether you're just beginning, or a Master SCUBA diver, we have plenty to offer. As a member of the Terrafins you will have access to certification course information, as well as opportunities to dive locally and out of state. Terrafins not only offers information on classes, opportunities for diving, and trips, but provides members access to a close-knit community of fellow divers. If you are interested in the sport, or are pursuing a career in the field of science and looking for a way to boost your resume, or, if you just want to have fun, the Terrafins SCUBA Club is the place for you!




What are the requirements to be a member?


You must be a UMD affiliate (student, staff/faculty, or alumni) to join our club!