Plus size divers are a group among the SCUBA community that elicit the greatest number of ‘looks’ and unspoken criticism. Well, normally unspoken. To clarify, a plus size diver, is a diver, that is plus size.
Though the judgment is there and plain for all to see, we all pretend that if no words are spoken directly on the issue, nobody has been unfairly criticised. Of course if you’re a plus size diver you don’t get to play that game.
So in this article, I thought I’d address the elephant in the room (chuckles and pats belly,) and see whether plus size SCUBA diving couldn’t, maybe, just possibly…be a little more accepted.
First of all, according to Racked, 68% of American women wear plus size clothing. Men are around the 50% mark.
When it comes to people, most are plus size. That’s just the reality. Most people are plus size people. It seems a bit strange that we are suggesting the majority of people are above average in size…but hey, we’ll ignore that and carry on.
So if you try to exclude plus size people from becoming divers, you’re essentially telling 50%+ of the population they shouldn’t go SCUBA diving. At least not without criticism and judgement.
Here’s where this is a problem for everyone, and causes a direct impact on marine life!
Most people will ignore any discouragement they get, and keep diving. However, a lot won’t.
An awful lot won’t even start diving because they’d just rather ignore any uncomfortable situations completely.
What that means is that they are then not SCUBA divers.
That’s a problem for everyone, as we know SCUBA divers are significantly more proactive in protecting the ocean, ocean life, and spreading awareness of issues impacting marine life.
Quite simply the more people that take up SCUBA diving, the more people are promoting and voting for better care of our oceans. If you cut out, or push away over 50%+ of the population, it stands to reason your pushing away 50%+ of the people we need fighting in our corner.
Plus size SCUBA divers are discouraged in a few ways beyond the obvious. For a start, try buying a wetsuit if you’re the size statistically most people are, and you’ll find it difficult.
The sizes and especially shapes available are designed around the minority of divers, and as nobody wants to be strangled by their wetsuit, this puts plus size divers off.
Whenever the media shows a diver, they use a very thin person. This is also makes the majority that don’t look like that feel like it isn’t for them.
In reality you find divers are people, so come in all sizes and shapes. But the media portrays them differently, and so people that haven’t dived yet disqualify themselves before they start. And that’s less plus size divers than we would have has, and by extension, less divers in general.
My advice in dealing with these issues is…ignore everyone.
The people that don’t like you, will continue to dislike you no matter what you do. So you may as well have some fun.
Be a plus size diver, encourage others to dive regardless of their body shape/size/anything I’ve not thought of, as ‘haters gonna’ hate’ regardless of what you do. And divers of all kinds are necessary in spreading the message that we need to protect the ocean.
Colin is an inventor, author, guitar player, amateur scientist and steampunk enthusiast. During his years as a ships navigator his luck was so consistently bad that he was briefly known as 'Jonah', presumed cursed, and subsequently barred from setting foot on any boat docked in Ireland. Due to his misadventures he spent more time underwater than most divers will achieve in a lifetime. Not deliberately, but he was still down there!