So you’ve decided it’s time to put your feet in the water (or your fins) and you want to explore the world of scuba diving. Whether you’re beginning your open water, becoming an instructor, or anywhere between, choosing the right dive shop for you can make all the difference. There are a few important things to consider when doing so.
Exploring our underwater planet should be an incredible experience that leaves you wanting to learn more. A dive shop should encourage exploration, education, safety, and an overall great experience.
Think about the impact they have
An environmentally conscious dive shop should be considered when concluding a decision on a dive shop. A learning center that is dependent on the ocean for training as well as income should not only give back, but include the education and practices of how to appropriately immerse oneself in the water.
Dive shops like Oceans Unlimited make it a primary goal to educate their students on how to scuba without disrupting the ecosystem or its inhabitants as well as include courses on the threats the oceans are currently under and how you can join the effort to make a difference. They even have hands on learning right on the reef! A healthy reef is a beautiful reef. Look for the specific kinds of species you would like to potentially encounter when diving.
Where do I want to get wet?
Depending on what kind of diving you are wanting to pursue, location is key. Are you seeking the cold icy waters of Alaska? The warm tropical waters of the Bahamas? Whatever you choose, you want to be in an area that is best suited for you and your goals. Thousands of shops globally are ready for you, so how do you choose? Decide on what is personally desired and where you can see yourself thriving for the amount of time you wish to stay for. Look at the surrounding accommodations and ask yourself if this is the place for you. One thing to consider as well is if they are “living local” or not. It is important, like any local business, to ensure that the company is hiring local staff and contributing to their local area.
What do people say?
The internet has a way of being one’s personal guidebook. When looking for a dive shop, read the reviews/recommendations. The personal testimonies coming directly from past clients gives you the honest (sometimes brutally honest) feedback that you really need. A dive shop’s website is always worth checking out as well. The more the information, the more comfortable you will feel making a decision. Ask questions! Social media is a great way to check out what is currently going on at the dive shop. Through instagram stories and posts, one is able to look into the everyday life of a dive shop and see what they’re up to at the moment.
How much experience do they have?
When choosing a dive shop, you want to feel like you are in good hands and taken care of. Make sure that your instructors are well experienced and educated on both diving and emergency rescue protocol. PADI courses are excellent when it comes to mastering diver safety and responsibility. I highly recommend checking to see if they instructors are certified through PADI courses. I recommend you as well choose a shop that teaches their students through PADI so that you can become a certified PADI Diver. More diving related jobs are hiring PADI certified divers than any other diver training organization.
So, whether you are advancing as a diver for enjoyment or employment, there is a dive shop ready for you. Once you consider these few things, you will be able to easily come to a decision you will not regret. Our vast oceans are meant to be explored and it starts with one location. Choose wisely and explore on!