If you’re interested in learning how to scuba dive, it’s important to do your research before choosing a diving school. There are many schools out there, and not all of them are created equal. So how do you choose the right one?
One of the best ways to determine the right dive school for you is by recommendation. Useful sources of information can come from dive shops, online forums and other scuba resources. Another way to find good scuba diving schools is by checking with organizations like the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). These groups certify dive instructors and schools, so you can be sure that you’re getting quality instruction.
Decide what type of diving you want to do
There are many different types of diving, from scuba diving to freediving to spearfishing. It’s important to choose a school that specializes in the type of diving you’re interested in.
Does the school provide different courses? Once you’ve passed your basic course you may decide to try more advanced diving so is there scope for future development?
Research dive schools.
Once you know what type of diving you want to do, you can start researching specific dive schools.
Ask around for recommendations, and look for schools that are certified by organizations like PADI or NAUI.
Check what type of equipment the school uses, you’ll want to know that it is well-maintained and safe.
Does the school do any ‘taster’ sessions? Some scuba schools, particularly those that are located in holiday resorts, will often do short ‘taster’ type sessions to give newcomers an insight into scuba – this can be valuable if you are still uncertain whether diving is for you or not.
Visit the school in person.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s important to visit the dive school in person. This will give you a chance to meet the instructors and see the facilities..
You should also ask about the instructor-to-student ratio, as well as how long the courses are and what they cover.
Consider the instructor. Will you get on with them? Do they seem genuinely interested in helping or are they more concerned with image and making money?
Look at the surroundings of the school. Does it seem tidy and well organised or dirty with kit piled up? Scuba can be risky and a school that is a mess on land may not be any better when in the water.
Once you’ve gathered all this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which scuba diving school is right for you.
Ask about the cost.
Scuba diving courses can vary widely in price, so it’s important to ask about the cost up front.
Some schools offer discounts for group bookings, so if you’re planning on taking a course with friends or family, be sure to ask about that.
Ask searching questions
Think about your safety concerns and ask questions accordingly.
For example, you could inquire about the frequency of their equipment servicing, whether you can see updated test certificates, or request to see previous dive trip logs.
You might also want to confirm that the instructors are certified by a reputable agency such as PADI or SSI.
Look around when you visit
When it comes to determining how good a dive center is, you don’t need to be an expert.
Listen to your instincts and trust your eyes and ears. Look at the quality of equipment on display.
Check the dates on the certificates on the walls – are they current? Is there anyone who can verify the instructor’s credentials?
On close inspection, does the equipment appear well-maintained?
Does the person showing you around seem credible or a wide boy wannabe?
Trust your gut feeling
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
When scuba diving, you are entrusting your life to complete strangers.
It’s vital that you feel confident and comfortable with everyone and everything involved in your dive, from the instructor to the boat crew right through to the equipment.
Don’t be afraid to walk away if something doesn’t feel right.
Make an educated decision
The most important thing is that you make an informed decision.
Don’t be afraid to ask around or do your research online.
There are plenty of dive schools out there, so take your time in choosing the right one for you.
With a little effort, you can find a scuba diving school that will provide you with a safe, fun and memorable experience.
Scuba diving can be an amazing experience, but it’s important to choose the right dive school.
With a little research, you can find a school that is safe, fun and affordable.
Trust your instincts and ask plenty of questions to make sure you’re comfortable with everything involved in your dive.
With a little effort, you can find the perfect scuba diving school for you.