You’ve decided to take up scuba diving, but you’re concerned about being “too fat to dive”. Is there really such a thing as being too fat to go diving? Is this activity really only for lean people? Well, strictly speaking, the issue isn’t really about your weight; rather, it’s about your fitness level. There are people who are categorized as “overweight”, but whose fitness level is comparable or maybe even better than some people with normal weight.
In scuba diving, what’s important is that you get yourself examined by a healthcare professional for overall fitness. If you get the go signal to go diving, then there shouldn’t be any problem. The good news is that most – if not all – organizations offering diving lessons have their own doctor and require applicants to undergo a fitness evaluation before allowing them to enroll in a class. If you’re allowed to take lessons, therefore, you aren’t deemed too fat to dive.
Now, another concern you may have is about the scuba diving gear you’ll be using. Are there pieces of equipment designed for larger individuals, or will you have to get your equipment custom-made? Getting your scuba gear tailor-made will definitely be a problem if budget is tight. Fortunately, the only piece of scuba gear you probably will have to get custom-made is the wet suit. For all other pieces of equipment, there are adjustable versions you can use, although you may have to buy your own instead of relying on rentals.
Take the BCD, for example. Most divers prefer the jacket-style version because of the convenience it offers, but if you’re a large individual, you may have to buy a cummerbund extension (also known as an extender) to get a jacket-style BCD to fit properly. Perhaps a better option for you would be the backplate-and-wing system, which is easily adjustable. Whether you maintain your current weight or trim down a little, therefore, you will still be able to use your BCD. All you need to do is adjust the straps.
Remember that other than the size, you will also have to take the configuration of your equipment into consideration if you are on the chunky side. It’s best to seek advice from your dive instructor and bear that advice in mind on every dive. There may indeed be a lot of issues concerning weight, but as long as you are fit enough, you are never too fat to dive.