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I am 15 and i want to learn how to scuba dive. My uncle just gave me some stuff. Fins, mask, vest and a regulator? maybe? i don't really know. I am completely clueless. He also gave me a weight belt and a wetsuit. The weight belt is 36lbs and i weigh about 135. Is this too much or what? The wetsuit is 7mm. He said this would probably be too thick for texas. Please help me. Any advice would be appreciated.
Find a place to take the lessons ... they'll be able to help you out. (also known as a "Local Dive Shop", or LDS).
as for weights ... I wiegh 140 and use 8 lbs of weight (7 if I don't have my camera with me) ... but I started with 12 ... people tend to drop weight as they learn bouyancy controll.
the wetsuit ... I wear a 3mil diving in 85 degree water. A 7 mil is not out of the question (especially this time of year) ... maybe too much when your in a pool, but when you get to open water, being cold can ruin an otherwise great dive !
In any case, just go find a place to take the classes and go diving ... any questions will be answered there (plus you'll come up with a hundred more )
Scuba is a lot of fun, but there is a lot to learn. If the items your uncle gave you are a good fit and in good shape, then you have a very nice uncle and you're starting off ahead of where most of us do gear-wise!
My suggestion would be to find a local dive shop, go in and talk to them about doing a scuba introduction class. Many shops will do this for free or at a low cost. This will give you a better idea of what scuba is about, and you can get information about the classes they offer for scuba certification. I wouldn't worry too much about the weight/wetsuit at this point (yes, 36lbs is more than you'll need, and a 7mm suit is worn for cool/cold-water diving).
If your uncle hasn't used the gear recently, it should be checked out by the service department at a dive shop to make sure it's safe and in good-working condition.
There are a lot of questions you can ask before you sign up, tho...there are several different agencies that issue cert cards, you might want to talk to some instructors first, see if there's one that you feel comfortable with. You might want to solicit instructor recommendations from people on the board for your particular location...
During the OW course, you'll get a chance to learn about the equip you were given and see if it's still serviceable...some items, like the suit, bc, and mask, may not even fit properly and won't be of much use to you.
Just so you know, scuba diving isn't a cheap activity, even if the free gear you have is all in good operating condition. Be prepared to spend some money for your lessons, additional gear, rentals, equipment checks...
Oh, another thing...your profile reference to 'avoiding responsibility' will probably need revising once you actually get into diving...
Sorry if i came across as an immature high school kid. I really wasn't trying too. I am definetly planning on going to my LDS and getting certified. My uncle knew i was getting certified and he use to dive alot around washington so he let me have all his stuff. It seems really nice. Its made by scubapro. I will get some pictures later.
Fins wake-i am not a joker or jack in the box or whatever that is. I know what your talking about though. On some of my sw aquarium boards people come and ask stupid questions just to get a rise out of people. I am just a newbie....i promise.
Diving is a wonderful pasttime, and I am sure that you will enjoy it. Your uncle did a wonderful thing in giving you some equipment that may get you started -- and you did a great thing asking around for a advice on what approach to take.
I hope that what you get away from all the responses you've gotten so far is a concirn for your well being and desire to help you getting started on the "right path".
As everybody has said, getting started training with a good instructor should accomodate all your issues, both regarding how to "be safe", how the different pieces of your equipment fit together and -- I hope -- how to have fun. The real trick is to find yourself a good instructor in your area. Go talk to the different dive shops around your area (bring a parent or guardian too) and talk to the instructors on staff there. They can probably all teach you how to dive, but it's important that you find someone who both you and your parent/guardian feel you can trust, and with whom you're on the right "wavelength"....
There may be people on this board who have recommandations as to good instructors in your area? I am far away from Tx myself, but I am sure that there are fellow Texans on the board
I have been talking to several people from the board in pm's and msn messenger and they are helping alot. I found a LDS today. Hopefully i will go there tomorow or sometime this week. I will get my regulator checked out and make sure everything is safe and all.