There are many great dive schools and instructors out there. There are several in our local area that I would highly recommend! You’re about to embark on a fantastic adventure and invest time and money so it’s always worth checking out a dive school properly. Diving is an amazing sport but it has risks and learning good habits at the start is essential to keep safe so you can enjoy diving at its best. Most learners have limited experience with dive schools so we’ve jotted down a few ideas for what you should look for when choosing a school. Are you looking for the cheapest route to a certification card? Or the route that will enable you to enjoy diving at its best and be a safe and secure diver?
How do you complete your confined water dives? With pool hire comprising a large proportion of the course fees it’s always worth checking out how long you’ll actually be in the water. There are other skills that take place out of the water (such as setting up kit, briefing and debriefing) but if you’re completing your 5 dives in two sessions, with only three hours in total under the water then it’s worth asking how much time you will have in the pool to practise buoyancy and take your time to get comfortable. You must complete all skills to a minimum standard but it’s worth checking out if you will have time to simply dive around and develop buoyancy skills to enable you to enjoy diving. Buoyancy is key to safe and enjoyable diving.
How many people will be in my group? There are maximum group sizes but if you are in a small group you will have more of the instructor’s time and more time to practise rather than waiting for other students to complete their skills. If the course is run over a longer time period then a larger group isn’t a problem. If the course is run over the minimum time with the maximum number of students then consider if you’ll be getting as much out of your course as you could elsewhere.
What does your course include? There are lots of little extras that can add up; dive site entry, equipment hire, PADI fees, training materials… make sure you know exactly what is included. All courses come with training materials so it’s essential you find out if you’ll have to pay extra. If you do then that bargain price starts to look a little less of a bargain!
Make up sessions: this is where you may need an additional dive to make up certain skills you didn’t achieve in the course. Ask what happens if you need a make up session.
Ultimately you can get great deals on learning to dive. All courses run through an agency must meet their criteria and there are checks in place to ensure that this occurs. It’s about finding a course that meets your needs and allows you to learn to dive so you can enjoy all that the underwater world has to offer.