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The Elements of Scuba Diving By Captain Calhoun

The Elements of Scuba Diving by Captain Calhoun

Reviewed by Rick Stratton

This book, self-published in 2012 by Captain Fred Calhoun, focuses (as the title describes) on the elements of scuba diving. It refocuses us on the approach to just the basics of the sport. Eliminating the “extra gear” that divers don’t really need, Calhoun’s approach and logic are undeniable; this is a must read for novice and advanced divers alike.


Black and white with simple line drawings, this book lacks any fluff as Calhoun approved. A diver for more than 60 years, Calhoun is also a licensed engineer who uses simplicity of design and a minimalistic approach and clear logic to guide him.

“From an equipment standpoint, you will be most successful in scuba diving when you practice it as a minimalist, bringing along only the equipment you will actually need,” the book reads. “No piece of scuba gear should be looked upon as safety equipment. No one can buckle on safety. No one can wear safety. Doing basic scuba you will be safe if you act safe, and that’ll be the easiest part of it.”

Calhoun covers all the essentials of diving from theory, physics, gas laws, and even human anatomy in an effort to explain simply what divers need to know about the sport.

By directing his dedication to just the essential knowledge, and paring down the fluff, Calhoun brings the focus to safety while retaining the fun of the sport we all fell in love with.

Calhoun often references returning the thrill of diving to old timers and sparking excitement and encouragement in new divers to feel comfortable in the water, remove the fear, and finding the fun.

He mixed in his nearly 60 years of experience in the sport expertly as he describes the essentials of mask clearing – “regardless of how long it takes – everyone learns to clear a mask. During 50 years of training beginner scuba divers and instructors, the author has never encountered anyone who couldn’t clear a mask.”

Calhoun has been diving since 1953 and instructing since 1956. Teaching in the Northeast he has worked in the dive industry as a dive store owner, dive guide, dive master, boat captain, dive instructor and instructor trainer. He is an award winning cinematographer as well as a technical writer. He has been published in hundreds of newsletters, New England Diving, Skin Diver Magazine, Underwater Magazine, and Northeast Dive News. His awards and accomplishments are vast and varied within the dive business.

For more info on Calhoun, his book, and his other accomplishments, check out his website at


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