Re: I want to learn to scuba dive.

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Posted by kelphead on September 04, 1999 at 15:01:50:

In Reply to: I want to learn to scuba dive. posted by Thomas on September 03, 1999 at 17:15:30:

i don't live in san diego, so i can't help you directly,
but hopefully someone w/more detailed info will
be along momentarily.

what i can provide you w/is some general info about
how to pick a dive instructor. if someone does not
provide you w/a specific recommendation, then the next
best thing is to look in your phone book.

i suggest you find AT LEAST 4 dive shops w/in your area
(and maybe even out of your area, if that
is at all feasible).

ask each of the shops if you can speak w/the 'open water/
basic diving' instructor.

then ask the following:

**how long is the course from start to finish(=open
water dives)??

if the answer to this q is "I CAN GET YOU CERTIFIED
IN 3 DAYS OR LESS!!!!", then just quietly walk away and
don't look back. you do NOT want to be certified in
the quickest time possible--you want a thorough curriculum
and a patient instructor who will MAKE SURE you are ready
for diving in the open water wilderness--yes, that's what
it is. that way you won't die or cause needless harm
to others.

**next, ask how many lectures there will be and how many
open water dives there will be.

you should get 5 or maybe even 6 open water(=out in the ocean)
dives. i would suggest nothing fewer than 5, that way
you will have as much ocean practice w/your instructor as

**find out how the lectures are set up: do you come
in to class w/a bunch of other people? or do you stay
home and study via a cdrom? i would personally suggest
the class experience b/c you will get to hear q's and
answers provided in a group setting that you will not
get in the isolation of your own home. you can share
concerns and the such w/fellow students and you will
build a rapport w/them upon finishing
your certification and (hopefully) you will be dive
buddies w/them.

also, since you will be beginning high school, i would
think that you will be taking the weekend dive course
as opposed to the weeknight setup that is designed
mainly for working people. but that is your option.

just remember that SCHOOL COMES FIRST!!!!

**one very important q you should ask (and i probably
should have written it up at the top) is HOW MANY
STUDENTS are in each dive class? if there are more
than 5 per instructor, again, walk away quietly and
don't look back. a class of 10 w/one instructor is
actually not ideal and may even be on the dangerous
side since the instructor will have his/her hands
really full trying to keep an eye on everyone; and
you won't get that personal attention that you will need
when it comes to practicing skills.

**find out how long the instructor(s) have been teaching.

obviously, the longer the better. you should/could
even ask them how many DIVES they have personally logged
and don't be afraid to ask to actually see their logbooks.

**don't worry about the certification agency--that
is not as much an issue as the instructor him/herself.
i know that a lot of people bag on 'padi', but there are
good instructors from all agencies and you need to hunt
down the right one for you. actually, what seems
common is that an instructor will hold certifications
from more than one agency (ie, 'ymca', 'ssi', 'naui',
'padi', etc.). btw, the 'ymca' does certify, so check
them out as well besides the shops.

**find out what the cost of the course includes and
if it includes the boat charges or if that is an extra
expense that you will have to fork out later (ie, just
be prepared).

**find out what types of open water dives you will be
doing. how many beach dives (if any)? how many
boat dives (if any)? i personally think that one will
benefit from a combination of both boat and beach dives.
so, see if the instructor will provide that in the price
and curriculum of the course.

**also, don't be pressured into buying stuff from
the dive shop w/o doing some research on the gear first
and what will work out best for you. i'm not saying
don't buy from that same dive shop, i'm just saying
that you really do need to do a bit of research into
each piece of gear so that you don't regret your purchase
later and have to spend even more $$ down the road.
dive equipment should actually last you for YEARS (some
people have had their stuff for decades), so try to rent
different dive gear, from different shops that carry
different brands and models, and then decide on what YOU
like best and works best for your diving needs.

**also, don't be pressured into taking the 'advanced
open water' course right after the 'basic open water'
course if you don't feel ready. if you are uncomfortable
w/some of your skillwork, then make sure your instructor
knows you're not ready and you need more help before
moving on.

**lastly, if you can afford it and if it's your style,
you may want to look into getting private lessons.
in this scenario, the instructor teaches you one-on-one
and you will get the most personal attention.

...let's see...i can't think of anything else at this moment,
but hopefully others will be able to add more.

best wishes, have fun, and BE A RESPONSIBLE DIVER!!!

= : )


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