Sub Sea Systems — Our World is a blog dedicated to the unique experiences of Sub Sea Systems — Immerse yourself in our incredible adventures, company culture, and innovative programs and products.

Subscribe to our Blog

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why Sea TREK? Q and A with Carl Hanson

Sea TREK is an active member of several social communities. Our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts let us connect with our “fans” and encourage Sea TREK participation.  

Occasionally, we receive questions from followers regarding TREKking, and one question continues to arise- “Why Sea TREK when you could scuba dive instead?”

We brought this question, and a few other related queries, to our resident fish nerd, Carl Hanson, Director of Sea TREK Water Operations and Safety. Here’s what Carl had to share:

Q: What are the differences between diving and Sea TREK? Why not “just scuba,” instead of TREKking?

C: Diving is for people who already know they will enjoy being underwater; and it requires a special skill set and certifications. Sea TREK is geared toward people who may have never experienced being underwater. Some divers enjoy Sea TREK with their friends and family who are non-divers– so they can experience being underwater together!

Q: How is it possible to Sea TREK if you cannot swim? Aren’t you underwater?

C: Sea TREK is an underwater walking experience. The weighted helmets keep TREKkers on the sea floor. Guests begin the tour by getting in the water, shoulder deep. The method of getting the helmets on may differ by location (ladder, staircase, or beach), but participants never have to swim.

Q: How can I be sure I won’t run out of air during my TREK?

C: Operations using Air Centers have redundancies and backup air supplies in case of power loss. The minimum amount of backup air they must have on hand is enough to completely run a standard tour from start to finish. Some helmets are supplied directly from scuba air cylinders. The air flow into these helmets is calibrated to 1.7 cubic feet per minute (roughly 3 times the amount of air you need to breathe). Tours times are adjusted based on the size of cylinders. A typical 80 cubic foot cylinder at 3,000 PSI will last roughly 53 minutes. However, the operator knows the tour cannot exceed 25 minutes. This is to make sure the guest will never have an out of air situation. In other words, it just doesn’t happen!

Q: Do I need to equalize like a diver?

C: Yes and no. When descending into the water, you may feel pressure in your ears. You can equalize (clear) your ears the same way a diver would. Wiggle your jaw, swallow saliva, or pinch your nose and try to blow air out of your nose.
Equalizing your ears in a Sea TREK helmet is similar to being on an airplane. You can do all the same methods as a scuba diver, and you have the advantage of yawning to relieve the pressure. 

Q: How deep do Sea TREKkers go, compared to divers?

C: The maximum depth of a Sea TREK tour is 30 feet (about 9 meters, 1 atmosphere). However, most Sea TREK locations operate between 12 and 18 feet of depth (approximately 3.5 to 5 m, less than 1 atmosphere). 

Q: Can I get decompression sickness from Sea TREK? When can I fly after my TREK?

C: Yes, any time you are submerged underwater and breathing compressed air decompression sickness (DCS) can occur. The likelihood of DCS occurring to a Sea TREK participant is very low. Our Sea TREK standards ensure that participants never go deeper than 30 feet, nor do they stay under for more than 30 minutes. Also, we require all guests tot fill out a medical questionnaire before embarking on a tour, to ensure their safety.

Since our operators conduct shallow tours for short periods of time, the no-fly window is shorter than a normal scuba dive (4 hours minimum is required post-TREK, before flying). 

Q: What about scary sea life?

C:  Many operators use Sea TREK to educate people that sea life isn’t really scary! Stingrays are a common animal found at most Sea TREK locations. While other locations allow guests to interact with local sharks and eels. The Sea TREK guides have built bonds with these animals, similar to the bond you build with your dog, cat, bird, or whatever animals you have at home.

The ocean and its inhabitants are delicate and for many people “out of sight, out of mind.” Sea TREK brings non-divers into a place that the scuba community has been trying to bring awareness to for years. With more eyes on the world’s oceans, we can educate and improve the ocean environment and encourage conservation efforts.

Thank you, Carl, for sharing your knowledge of Sea TREK and answering the frequently asked question, “Why not just scuba?”

If you would like more information about Sea TREK helmet diving, or would like to find a location, go to  You can even chat with us live during normal business hours!

Carl Hanson is the Director of Sea TREK Water Operations and Safety at Sub Sea Systems, Inc.