Many people believe freediving is an extreme sport and therefore freediving courses for children are not suitable for their child. After all, who in their right mind would make their child hold their breath, and then expect them to stay underwater? However freediving is simply breath hold diving, snorkeling without the snorkel and done correctly can be an incredible skill for a child to have.
What you should know about freediving courses for children
Some people classify freediving as an extreme sport, and yes, like all sports it does carry risks. However, it is also an incredible sport for increasing confidence, pushing boundaries, being disciplined, understanding your limits. And, if your child has an inner mermaid bursting to get out, it can be life-changing!
Is it safe?
Of course this is going to be your number one question. It’s your baby after all! You want to know that not only is freediving safe, but that who you choose to teach your child is safe too.
Freediving, just like all sports does carry risk. You may have Googled ‘what are the risks of freediving?’ and discovered that yes, the risks are real. However, in almost cases when practiced safely after being taught correctly, freediving is actually VERY, low risk, and these two elements – practiced safely and taught correctly are the key.
High level freediving competitors, professional freedivers pushing boundaries, people freediving with undiagnosed health conditions and freedivers ignoring health and weather warnings are going to be at a higher risk, but your average, healthy child, freediving in accordance with how they have been taught is always going to be considered very low risk.
At Go Freediving, safety is at the core of our teaching and why our instructor to student ratio is never more than four students per instructor, usually two-three students per instructor.
We provide a comprehensive medical questionnaire which must be completed before undertaking a course. If a student answers yes to any of the questions then they would be required to be signed as fit by their GP or consultant. If their GP is not willing to sign the form, we put you in contact with professional dive doctors who can review the information and make a decision.
We have had children with asthma signed as fit to do courses with us, so just because your child has a condition does not mean they are not able to undertake a course with us. In fact, did you know that freediving can help reduce asthma symptoms by helping improve breathing techniques?
In addition, learning to freedive can make a child’s experience in water much safer as they have more confidence, more body awareness, more skills and are able to deal with being in water without panicking.
What is the recommended age for children to start freediving?
This is contentious. In some civilisations, children are freediving almost before they can walk!
Some tribes such as Bajau Laut people (also known as Sea Nomads) have freedived for centuries, spending the vast majority of their lives in The Coral Triangle – a vast tranche of sea areas in Southeast Asia and never have cause to leave. So long have they spent living in and on these waters, studies have shown, their bodies have evolved and adapted to suit their watery surroundings. The children will happily grab the tail of any large fish swimming by and enjoy an exhilarating ride though the watery depths.
So, when you put it that way, there really isn’t any ‘age’ to start freediving. However, that said, most freediving schools and clubs will have a minimum age set for their freediving courses. And here’s why:
- Insurance – Many club insurance policies will have an age stipulation which the school will need to abide by
- Comprehension – Most freediving courses will have some level of theory work to complete. The information provided may exceed their understanding
- Maturity – By this we mean their understanding of why everything we teach has importance and potential consequences. If a child lacks maturity they may fail to maintain interest and enthusiasm through the course.
- Ability – Many of our freedivers are beginners, so it is not about their ability to perform techniques. It is about their ability to concentrate, apply classroom exercises into real life practice scenarios.
At Go Freediving we do not run specific freediving courses for children. We do however, in accordance with our certifying body, RAID, allow children over the age of 12 to join our regular freediving courses.
What type of freediving courses for children are there?
This depends on what you are looking for. There are many different types of courses for children where elements of freediving may be used. For example:
- Snorkeling courses
- Mermaid academies
- Advanced swim clubs
- Experience based freediving courses
- Certified freediving courses
At Go Freediving we focus on the latter two options.
Experience based freediving courses
We currently offer Try Freediving Courses. These are courses where a student (child or adult) is able to come along to an evening of freediving in a confined water environment (swimming pool), here students will undertake a short classroom session, where they will learn about safety, techniques and also practice breath holding, before moving to the pool to experience freediving. They will be required to attend with a parent or guardian also attending the course.
Certification based freediving courses
Children who attend our RAID freediver course would follow the exact same programme as our adult students and we would expect the same level of ability before they are able to pass any of the skill tests we apply. They will undertake a home study theory course, a confined water skills test and then open water skills tests, during the two day weekend course. Again, as with the Try Freediving Course, they will be required to attend with a parent or guardian also attending the course.
Do they need any Scuba Diving or other underwater experience?
Absolutely not. In fact, freediving courses for children would actually help improve their scuba diving by improving safety, gas use, technique, buddying, rescue and more. The only requirement we have, is exactly the same as for adults. They must be able to swim.
There is a short swimming test as part of the confined water skills test, but we are definitely not looking to see whether we have an Olympic potential among us! We have seen students complete the test by doing a variety of swim strokes – including doggie paddle. As long as you can complete the distance we know you will be safe when we move onto our open water venue.
Are Go Freediving courses always a mixed environment?
Yes. We do not teach children separately to adults. Equally, we do not separate males from females (other than for religious reasons). We believe this mixed environment provides a fantastic environment for adults and children to learn from each other and as a responsible parent or guardian is with the child throughout the course, they will always have an adult known personally to them at all time.
Are there any additional requirements?
Yes. When children between the ages of 12 – 15 attend our freediving courses, they are not permitted to attend unaccompanied. A parent or adult guardian must attend the course with them. This is for safety reasons. The parent would not be expected to ‘babysit’ (the child should be deemed capable and mature enough to undertake the course independently). The parent is there to ensure that if there are any emergency situations, conflict or second opinions needed regarding the child’s welfare, they are on hand. This is actually also very comforting for the child, and above all, what an enormous experience to share! We have seen so many parent and child students joining our courses and it is so amazing when we see them continue their new found sporting passion, together.
Are your freediving courses for children only available in the UK?
As we are a UK based course provider the majority of our courses are UK based. However, we regularly offer trips, holidays and liveaboards where children are always welcome. We always offer freediving courses for children on our holidays and liveaboards, but may not always offer courses on our trips. For example, next year we have a fantastic liveaboard holiday which falls during the Easter break and could make an amazing family holiday.
Please see special considerations below, if you are interested in the liveaboard:
ChildrenStandard policy For liveaboards of TMF (Tornado Marine Fleet), with individual bookings, children from 12 years up are allowed on both northern and southern Red Sea itineraries if standard requirements are met.Parental or guardian responsibility If diving/freediving/snorkelling, children must be accompanied by their parent or guardian, unless participating in a course. Children must share a cabin with either a parent or guardian. When children are on board one of the parents or guardians must refrain from drinking alcohol.TMF staff responsibility TMF staff are not permitted to take responsibility for a child.Internet there will be no internet on board so parents will need to make sure children can be entertained without internet access.
What are the benefits of freediving courses for children?
- Increased water confidence
- Greater snorkeling skills
- Improved Scuba skills
- Safer surfing
- Improved breathing for land based sports
- Additions for portfolio for Duke of Edinburgh award and other school based schemes and awards
- A sport where they can compete and or progress through the whole RAID programme
- A club where they can meet other children and adults and practice their new skills
- An outlet for stress, anxiety (freediving focuses heavily on relaxation – which is an amazing life skill in this day and age)
- A healthier lifestyle
- Increased overall confidence
- The experience of surpassing perceived limits
- The ability to identify danger and how to deal with it
- Rescue skills for water based activities
- A sport for life
What are the benefits for the parents?
If you are the lucky parent joining the course with your child, you get all these benefits too! Plus you have an amazing experience to share with your child, and potentially a new interest for you both moving forward. You will see your child grow in two days and surpass limits even you thought were impossible!
“…It was an amazing thing to get to do with my daughter on her birthday weekend. Getting to do something fun and adventurous with her was the highlight for me…” Paul Bowen
Find out what some of our junior freedivers thought of their courses (and check out the videos of them diving!)
I like swimming and like being in the water but not too deep, so I like freediving because you can go back up and come back down. I can use these skills for snorkelling – and I can make bubble rings! I discovered that I can hold my breath for longer, and I really enjoyed being underwater.
I loved learning new skills, pulling on the rope, duck dive, rescue. The benefits of this course are that you can freedive with a buddy and you know what to do. You are just going to enjoy it more than swimming. The location of the course is really nice.
I would recommend this course because it is real fun!
Adriana Margaza (completed her RAID course in 2017 aged 14)
I have always loved diving and exploring life and I was doing a swimming a lesson once and saw people doing scuba diving lessons. And then I thought I don’t want to dive with a whole lot of equipment and then I thought about freediving. I watched a few videos and it really, really gripped me.
I have discovered that if I have the right confidence I am capable of doing what I believe in. I loved the monofin because it’s a lot easier and I like the way it makes you move.
The instructors were absolutely amazing. They didn’t let me give up – especially David. I would never have been able to dive the way I have dived without the instructors. Vobster Quay is amazing and I really want to come more often. There is so much I enjoyed! There was a lot of theory, but if you hadn’t done that first I think you would be hopeless on the course.
I would recommend this course because it has really helped me a lot. I really, really progressed and even though it is only two days, it has been really good fun and I really got along with everyone.
Thank you so much for the freediving course. This has been one of the best experiences of my life (13 years). You have showed me that with the right motivation, I can exceed my expectations and grow in confidence. You two have now made freediving my obsession and, perhaps, daily hobby. Thank you both!
Areti Huwiler (completed her RAID course in 2017 aged 13)
I decided to a freediving course because my cousins spearfish in Greece and I always wanted to join in.
The reason I chose to do it with Go Freediving because you seem like the best freediving school and you are the closest to us, which is convenient.
I discovered that freediving is not all about the breath holding, but I find the equalisation is much harder. But I am slowly getting it with the help of all the instructors and how they are so friendly. Freediving is not just something you do on the weekends, it’s all about your mental state and stuff like that.
The best part was when we had finished free immersion and were coming back and we weren’t doing any depth diving, we were just diving down looking at the fish and the underwater scenery and that was amazing!
I think one of the the main benefits of this course are that is calms you down as it is all about the breathing which helps you stay calm and number two is the physical benefit – you get fit and get more control of your body. And, number three, you really get to know yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses and how to improve.
I would highly recommend this course. Definitely! Of course! All the instructors were so friendly, so much help. It was great!
I really wanted to do a freediving course. I discovered that freediving was harder than I thought it was going to be. It really is. The depth was really hard for me, but I did like trying new things and learning new skills. Definitely.
I’ve learned how to equalise much better, I’ve learned new techniques like finning, I have a longer breath hold and also definitely improved on my duck dive.
I would definitely recommend this course. I have learned a lot from it and I think others will benefit too.
Jack Creamer (completed his RAID course in 2018 aged 16)
When I was in Greece, while everyone was cliff jumping I found it more fun to go down underwater – and I wanted to get better at it. When looking for a freediving school on google Go Freediving came up and looked the best.
Doing the course I have discovered the importance of diving with a buddy, that it is all about confidence and that you have a lot more breath than you thought you have.
Knowing how to do it safely and knowing that I can now help myself and that I am doing it the right way is what I like most about the course. The benefits are that it gives you more confidence, you learn to freedive and gain more control over your breath. You also learn your limits a bit more. I would recommend this course because anyone can learn how to freedive. It is a fun thing to learn and know that you can go out and do it properly.
Jacob Maschler (completed his RAID course in 2018 aged 17)
I wanted to do a freediving course because I want to become a better and more qualified freediver. My dad got me into freediving by telling me to see how long I could hold my breath and teaching me cool things in the pool. I researched it and decided I wanted to try it out.
Doing the course has helped me to discover that I can do things that I didn’t think I could – like hold my breath for 2 minutes and dive down to 8 metres! Learning to equalise on the course has been very helpful and useful for the future. It was a cool experience learning to equalise with David Kent because he is a British freediving champion, he is like a celebrity!
Being so young I thought I was going to be like the black sheep but everyone has been so nice and understanding – the atmosphere has been great. Three benefits of doing the course with Go Freediving are the nice people, extremely good teachers and a great location.
I would definitely recommend the course. I have told all my friends about it and they think it is ace. Tomorrow I am going to tell them about it at school and hopefully some of them will come and do the course.
Sabeeh Eeles (completed his RAID course in 2018 aged 13)
My dad found the freediving course but I have been interested in freediving ever since we went to Scotland. We have a little house and I discovered scallop diving and scuba diving but I found it too much of a faff to do scuba so I wanted to learn freediving.
Doing this course I have discovered that you can do much more than you think you can. I went deeper than I thought I would and I can hold my breath longer. I found the online freediving course materials an easy way to learn because you can do it whenever you want so it is much more convenient.
Swimming through the plane was the highlight of the weekend for me, I never thought I would be able to do that and it was really cool. The benefits of the course are that it helps to calm you and if you ever need to calm yourself you can use the breathing techniques. I feel like I have achieved something and expanded my horizons on what I can do on holiday and in life.
I definitely recommend this course because the instructors are really good, it’s easy to learn and there is no pressure to do something you don’t want to do. I really like Vobster Quay. It is a nice place to learn and we have had nice weather.
Lily Bowen (completed his RAID course in 2019 aged 17)
I have seen people freediving and it looked amazing and I wanted to learn to do it. Freediving is also cheaper than scuba diving. Go Freediving were the only course that took under 16’s and they are local. Doing the course I have realised that I am a bit more patient that I thought I was.
It’s a bit different freediving in a quarry but I quite like it because you have the depth but without the currents like you would have in the sea. The best part of the weekend for me was just getting better, with every single dive I improved slightly. The benefits of doing the course with Go Freediving is that they are local with access to Vobster as I wouldn’t want to do this in a pool. All the instructors have been really nice.
I would definitely recommend the course because it has been amazing and freediving is fun. everyone has been really nice and it has been brilliant.
Isaac Frost(completed his RAID course in 2019 aged 14)
I wanted to do a freediving course because I think it is really cool and it will help with my stunt person training. I chose Go Freediving because I know Emma and prefer doing things with people that I know. I learned that you can hold your breath longer than you think you can and you don’t really need that much energy to go anywhere underwater.
I found equalising much easier than I thought I would. Learning to equalise, I now know that there are different ways to do it which is helpful. I have just enjoyed being underwater. You go under and when you come up and hear how deep you went you just don’t believe how deep you have been!
This course will help me with my career and what I want to do in my life, and it is very relaxing.
You don’t have to think much about what is going on above and outside the water, you are just in the water and in your zone. You just let go of every single care and worry. The course and the dietary advice has helped with my sinuses which feel so much better, and made learning to equalise much easier.
I would definitely recommend the course for people that are really stressed or have trouble breathing because the diet would really help them with that. It just helps you relax.
Brooke Hawes (completed her RAID course in 2019 aged 13)
Freediving Courses With Go Freediving
Go Freediving is the longest established, most experienced and friendliest freediving course provider in the UK, led by world class freediving instructor trainer Emma Farrell, and her team of personally trained instructors. No other course provider has such a good instructor to student ratio, safety record and personal touch.
Whether you’re a beginner dipping your toes into the world of freediving, a seasoned pro looking to turn professional, or simply a freediver of any level who wants the best freediving holiday in the world, we’re here for you!
If you or your child are interested in freediving courses for children, why not book them a Try Freediving Course or a RAID Freediver course as a gift? We offer personalised gift vouchers valid for one year for all courses, trips, kit and membership.
Also check out our online guide, The Beginners Guide to Freediving by clicking here!
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