So you want to go scuba diving, but don’t know where to start? It’s your luck day, I’m here to help. There a few options for prospective scuba divers.
The first option is a “try dive”. A lot of dive shops offer this option. They brief you on the equipment, show you some basic techniques, and then bring you in a pool and let you spend some time underwater. This is a good option to see how comfortable you are underwater. Breathing underwater takes a little getting use to, but some people tend to freak out in this position. This is a great option to see how you will handle it. “Try dives” are usually pretty cheap. I’ve seen them for $10 – $25.
The second option is a “discovery dive” or a “resort dive”. The two names are synonymous. With this option, a dive instructor will show you a short video that teaches you some basic scuba diving skills. Then they will take you in a pool or shallow water for some hands on practice and then test you on those skills. After that, the dive instructor will take you on an open water dive in a lake or ocean. They usually keep you in shallow water. This is a great option if you want to get into the water, you aren’t certified yet, and don’t have time to get certified. I did a discovery dive in Belize before I was certified, and after that I was hooked. A couple months later I got certified and I have been diving ever since. From what I’ve seen, discovery dives run between $100 and $200.
Finally, you can get certified. The basic certification is an “open water certification”. There are a few agencies that dominate the dive certification market including PADI, SSI, and NAUI. They are recognize universally for the most part. I did my open water certification with PADI, then did some specialty certifications, and finally my Advanced Open Water certification with SSI. Depending on where you do your training, it can cost anywhere from $300 to $750 for the classroom, pool, and open water portions of the certification. You can be open water certified in as little as 2 or 3 days, but I did mine over 2 weekends.
No matter which method is best for you, here are some links to help you get started in the right direction.