Seven years ago I asked four women dive professionals to write an article how diving is different for women. In the article She Dives Like a Girl they all agreed for the most part that women come to diving, learn diving and experience diving differently than men. Ever since then, I have been hoping for a complete guide to support women divers and inspire others to join the sport. My wish came true with the the release of Women Underwater The Comprehensive Guide for Women in Scuba Diving by Jill Heinerth and Renee Power. Jill also reports that she has been dreaming of a guide for women since the 1990’s when she recognized and “lamented the lack of resources and connections between the very few female technical divers around the world.”
Women Underwater provides women and enlightened men with a comprehensive review of all aspects of diving as they relate to women. The authors cover topics from beginning in diving though tech and re-breather diving. Sections include everything from gear considerations to medical to careers and how to stay comfortable. The authors cover in detail all of those “questions you were afraid or ashamed to ask.”
The book is generously filled with color illustrations. Each section starts with the practical matters and finishes with the each author’s opinions. They also include inspirational messages from other notable women divers, many who are Women Divers Hall of Fame members. These opinion pieces were the parts most appreciated by our reviewers. One reader commented that she would have liked to see these be the major part of the book. The tone of the book is much like Jill’s other books, in a very welcoming, non-preachy and big-sister advice style.
Because of the cost of producing the book the authors chose to take on sponsors. This allowed them to create a much richer experience but also has the possible side effect diminishing perceived credibility. They do recommend gear throughout the book and some of that gear is sold by a sponsor. We know both of these authors to be extremely reputable and I personally would consider highly any advice either gave (i.e. I trust them). But being a journalist I wish that would not have come so close to that line. I think the book would be have been less expensive but equally powerful in black and white and with fewer images. Additionally the $49.95 price will likely discourage some from purchasing the book and limiting its reach to divers.
Women Underwater is a valuable, easy to read resource. I hope this is just a first of this type of book and I look forward to hearing more as the sport and the equipment evolves. I think, at least all women divers, those women considering diving, all men and women dive professionals and dive shop owners should read this book. If you’re one of those who say “why do we need a book for women divers?” Just read this book and you will know.
NOTE: There is a link (http://www.womenunderwater.com/) that is apparently supposed to keep readers updated and offer valuable links. But we found it only goes to a page with advertising articles. The authors thank us for finding that possible hack and are working on restoring the site. In the mean time you can go to: http://www.intotheplanet.com/women/