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Training Options and Dive Gear Costs

Learning to dive is a fantastic and rewarding experience. Classes are fun and easy and can become a new family experience. For most certification agencies, you must be 15 years of age for certification. However children 10 -15 may earn a Jr. Certification. Jr. divers must complete the same class and meet the same physical and aptitude reqirements, but they must dive with a certified adult. Children under 12 cannot become diver certified, but there are a number of courses and programs available that introduce them to the underwater world.

There are introductory classes to give you just a taste of what diving is all about, or you may choose a full certification courses that can be completed while you are on vacation. And if you have already started your course and just need the open water dives, you have a great excuse for a great trip to complete your class in a tropical location?

Resort Course or Introduction to Scuba

This course is designed to give you a diving experience and the opportunity to "try it before you buy it". The class includes a short lecture to give you some basic knowledge, a pool session to acclimate yourself to the equipment and breathing underwater, and finally a open water ocean dive on a shallow reef in calm conditions, under the supervision of a qualified dive instructor. This class does not lead to certification.

Certification Course

If you are ready to take the plunge, the Basic or Open Water course can be completed at your local dive center or while on vacation. If you take a local class, you have the flexibility to sign up for weekend or evening classes that fit your schedule. You can also complete a class while on vacation and become certified in as little as 3 - 5 days.

While courses may vary a little among different certification agencies, most of the content is similar. You will be required to sign a medical statement to assure that you are able to dive. If there is any question, you will need to get clearance from your doctor (standard forms are available from your instructor). Generally you will be required to have the ability to swim 200 yards and tread water for 10 minutes. You will undergo academic training in the classroom which may include bookwork, lectures, videos and slides, pool sessions to practice and reinforce what you have learned, and a series of open water dives to fine tune your new skills in the diving environment.

Referral Program

Many people begin their scuba training with their local dive center where they complete the classroom and pool portions of the course. Then while on vacation, you can complete the open water dives portion of your course and receive your certification. This is an excellent and popular way to become certified, and is called the Referral Program.

Your local instructor or dive center will provide the necessary paperwork to show that the initial portion was completed satifactorily and the instructor at the open water location will conduct your dives and issue your certification. Enjoy the warm clear waters of a tropical location as you complete your dive training. The open water dives can be completed in two days, then your off on your own for more diving.

Remember to check ahead to make sure the referrel program for your agency is available. Your local dive center should be able to help with this.

Certification Agencies

So which is best certification agency to certify with? All major agencies are members of the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC) and adhere to the same general rules and course contents. Classes vary in length, and reqiurements to continue your diving education may differ, but what you learn to become a diver will generally be the same. The best advice is to check with local dive centers and find out who they are affiliated with. Remember, you will probably be using them for advanced and specialty training later on. As for travel destinations, most accept all major certification cards. We have included a list of major agencies below to help you get more information.

Your diver certification card is your ticket to fun and adventure. But don't stop with an entry course. There is a whole new world awaiting down there. Continue your education to become more comfortable and experienced, learn underwater photography, fish identification, explore wrecks, and much, much more.

Cost for Dive Gear

The costs of scuba diving equipment can easily run over $1,000 dollars. Although renting is always an option, for a diver that is developing a long term interest in this sport, purchasing is worth your while, not just in money but also in the quality of your scuba equipment.

Without going into the pros and cons of renting vs buying the scuba diving equipment, let's talk about the various types of scuba equipment that you should consider buying and how much you should budget for spending on them.

Mask: a mask can range from $20 to $150.00 dollars. A mask has relatively little travel inconvenience compared to other scuba equipment so packing it in a suitcase and walking around in it will not be a big challenge.

Snorkel: They should not run you more than $50.00, and the lower end will be around $17.00

Fins: Although they are not as easy to pack as a pair of snorkels, they range from $30 to $150.00 and are more affordable than many other scuba diving equipment.

Regulator: They range from $150 - $500, sometimes even more and are at the higher end of the price range than other scuba equipment.

Exposure suits: They vary according to type (ie wetsuit vs drysuit). Check here for types and prices.

BC: Typically from $150 to $500.00 and like regulators, are also at the high end of the price range than other scuba diving equipment.

Weights: $1.70 a pound.

Tanks: Between $100 to $400.

Remember, the last two are heavier to carry around than the others. We recommend buying tanks and weights last, and the others before as they are less expensive, and easier to pack and travel with.

The maintenance for scuba equipment is astonishingly the same. Although there is specific preventative care that is required for only for dive suits, tanks, or BCs, there are some things you can do to all your scuba gear that will insure a long life for them.

After every dive, make sure to give your all of your scuba gear a good rinse with fresh water.

After rinsing the scuba diving gear, allow it to dry, but not in direct sunlight. Most of the scuba equipment that you carry is made of neoprene rubber, which can be broken down when exposed to direct sunlight. Extra care should be taken between dives, when they are most vulnerable to the sun, especially in tropical climates

Whether you have a wet or a dry suit, neoprene exposure suits should be hung on a non-wire hanger to dry. Wire hangers can cause unnecessary creases.

All your scuba diving equipment should be stored in a cool, yet dry place.

Separate your neoprene related equipment from your other scuba gear, especially if they are damp. Over time, they can stick together and tear when pulled apart.

After you return from your dive trip, make sure to unpack as soon as possible to prevent any compression or flattening of the scuba equipment that you paid good money for.

For More Information Contact Your Local Dive Center

Or Click Here For Certification Agency Information



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