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~ ~ ~ General SCUBA Questions And Answers ~ ~ ~


Does The Group Offer Diving Instruction?

We do not offer instruction as a club, however, the group does have professional divers as members who can recommend dive shops/schools in the area. For those interested in trying out scuba diving, the club occasionally organizes PADI Discover Scuba experiences through a local dive shop.

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Is Scuba Diving Safe?

Statistically scuba diving has fewer injuries than most sports including bowling. You are more likely to get hurt driving a car to the site than diving once you get there. However, being underwater, scuba diving is inherently dangerous. This is minimized through proper training, skills development, following dive plans, diving with your buddy, and not diving beyond your limits. You cannot get tanks filled, rent equipment or dive from a scuba charter in most parts of the world without presenting a card showing that you are a certified diver.


How Hard Is It To Learn?

People of varying levels of fitness and health are able to scuba dive, including those with physical handicaps. Those with severe heart, and/or respiratory ailments are not good candidates for scuba diving. Persons with mental illnesses that impair judgment or involve anxiety disorders are also not good candidates. Generally, the more fit you are, the better diver you will be, however, it is not an unkind sport especially to the joints. Many people start diving in middle age or even later. All diving schools will require you to sign a waiver and have a doctor's signed permission to take beginner lessons to comply with their insurance policies. You do not need to be an incredibly skilled swimmer, although the better your swimming skills, the easier you will find diving. There are even specialized courses for handicapped persons who are otherwise unable to swim. Scuba equipment is a bit heavy, those with limited strength or back problems will have to make adjustments for this, but this too can be overcome fairly easily.

You will need to be able to swim a minimum of 100 meters and tread water for five minutes to continue in a course. You can be certified with several different agencies; PADI and NAUI are the two most popular. Time wise, a course will consist of several classroom sessions, and at least four or five two hour pool sessions followed by at least four supervised open water dives. It can be done in two weekends, but most people take longer depending on their abilities and time availability. Most schools can offer you an individual program that allows you to progress at your own rate. It would not be unusual to take a few months to become certified.


How Expensive Is It?

A dive trip can cost you $10 for a two tank dive if you just want to fill your tanks and jump in to a local dive spot. At the other end of the scale are all inclusive live aboard trip in far-off islands that can run as high as $5000 for a week. A weekend of local diving costs around $100/day if you are chartering a boat. A week of all inclusive diving in the Caribbean will run you anywhere from $1500 in Cuba or Cozumel, up to $2500 for 5 star resorts on more remote or expensive islands.

You can rent your equipment at most resorts, although most people buy at least their own mask, snorkel and fins to ensure a proper fit. Tanks and weights are usually rented unless you do a lot of local diving. That leaves the most expensive units to consider, the regulator, gauges and buoyancy compensator device (the backpack) and your dry or wet suit which most people eventually purchase as well. For the toy aficionado, you can add surface sound and light alerts, underwater flashlights, underwater signaling devices, slates, tank bangers, lines, dive computers, dive watches, hooks, reels and a plethora of underwater still or video cameras. You can dive with as little as $500 worth of equipment if you buy used or end of line, or go crazy with $20,000 worth of high tech gear.

To start, we would suggest an introductory one or two hour course at any scuba school, usually for a small fee, to try out scuba in the pool. Most schools require you to own a mask, fins, and snorkel before taking their full certification course... the rest of the diving equipment is provided. You can rent scuba equipment from them after the course is completed as you acquire your own gear over time. A basic course will cost you approximately $300. After the basic scuba course, you can continue with many different specialty and advanced courses.


What Other Activities Can One Participate In?

Your basic course opens the door to a whole new world. You can limit yourself to easy shallow diving under 60 feet as a basic certified diver where most of the biological diversity is located, or with additional training, you can move into more extreme diving such as cave diving or wreck penetration dives. You can go diving under the ice, explore flooded mines or go deep with training in mixed gases and deep water skills development and high tech equipment. Divers may become amateur marine biologists participating in fish or reef studies, going on special interest "shark dives", or dives with dolphins and rays. Some specialize in underwater archeology with marine heritage preserved in our wrecks. Many divers get hooked on underwater photography and videography. Others become the next generation of divemasters and instructors.

Scuba diving takes you into a beautiful world of fascinating creatures, breathtaking vistas and the opportunity for meeting new sporting companions. It is both comfortable and relaxing as it is exciting and exhilarating. A new experience awaits you each time you drop below the surface - even in familiar waters. Stress and worries melt away, the underwater world literally takes you away from it all. As divemasters on boats around the world say: "Folks, the pool is open!! Let's get wet!!"

For more information about learning to scuba dive, send email to


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