Perhaps the most important step of starting your dive career is choosing which dive shop to begin your teaching. Each dive centre is unique due to location, which organisation they choose to follow (PADI, TUI or SSI), and what equipment they use for example.
Here are a number of steps to determine how, and when to choose your dive centre of choice.
Fortunately we live in a online driven world which allows us to research multiple dive centres. Applications such as TripAdvisor and Yelp are increasingly useful due others experiences with said centres. Be aware on some of these review sites however; each person’s opinion can be unique. Usually though, if a dive centre is rated below a 4 or 5 star, it is to be avoided.
If you ask for recommendations on a online diving blog, you quickly will end up with the same number of dive shops than a google search would have provided you as most people believe that the dive centre they learnt to dive with is the one and only J.
When you have narrowed down your choice to a few individual dive centres, it is beneficial to call the centre in question and ask to speak to the instructor. Telling him about yourself and your dive desires will allow them to prepare for your needs, and in turn give you an opportunity to talk to the person who will be a key part of your teaching. A common question is how many people will be on a course, it is beneficial to have as little people as possible, giving the diver an intense and personal education.
Some dive centres cost more than others for different courses, this can be due to location around the world, or rental and purchase of equipment. Often it is recommended to buy your own basic equipment before starting a course, at least fins, mask and a wetsuit. This will allow you to feel comfortable in your surroundings, and it cuts down the ongoing rental cost for equipment which quickly adds up.
Divers around the world constantly dispute where to learn to dive. Visibility, water temperature and marine life are all factors to consider. Learning to dive in England for example can be beneficial, and the divers there say, “if you can dive here you can dive anywhere”. Strong tidal currents, poor visibility and freezing waters will allow divers to acquire a set of skills that can be transferred throughout the world. On the other hand, learning to dive in Indonesia for example has a certain appeal. Indonesia is cheap, warm and relatively easy diving, in some locations. On this point, it is not too important choosing where to learn to dive, yet it is crucial to build experience, and try new waters.
PADI, SSI, NAUI?
We certainly could write pages worth about which agency to choose. In a nut shell, you should not worry about this when it comes to entry level certification. All agencies are internationally recongnised and this is all that counts.
Where from here
A good idea is to browse on the Scuba Coach website www.thescubacoach.com and review the frequently asked questions. On this page you also will find a selection of pre-selected dive centres in various locations