The (CSA) Scuba schedule looks like the beginner only has start date, not completion time. There is an 8:45am class and another one same day at 11am. Does that mean it only lasts for 2hrs 15mins ? Or is that just the instructional portion and then the dive is later ? Looking at the activities page it's unclear to me.
Also, does anyone know if you can call Couples before you arrive in advance and book your time early ? Since we're only at CSA for 5 days I want to make sure we get a spot on one of the days we plan to actually be at the resort during the morning/day.
Lastly: For people who have never scuba'd.... I saw the form you have to fill out, but there's no need for a doctor to OK that, is there ?? I want to avoid showing up, then having them tell us we need to see a Jamaican doctor to confirm "my word".
If you want to go down having never done scuba before the class will last for many days...it isn't listed on this schedule. You will first have some class/book learning and a written test. You will then have to perform skills in the pool including learning how to use the equipment and a swim test, this is also a lengthy process. You then have several hours of certification dives in the open water...the sea if done in Jamaica. These are not so much sight seeing dives as skills dives. You will then be a certified diver and be able to take advantage of the free dives offered by Couples.
On the form if you look you will see that you have to complete it and if you have any "yes" answers you then have to have a physician sign the form to state that you are safe to dive. It would be best to print it and complete it to be sure you have no "yes" answers even if you think you are healthy...some folks are surprised at what's on the form. It doesn't mean you can't dive it just means your physician needs to say the condition won't make you unsafe to yourself or others.
One thing you might consider is starting the course either online through the PADI site or through a local dive shop. Personally, I would at a minimum get the book portion and pool portion completed before your trip. You will need a dive shop to get the pool work out of the way obviously. We opted to get our open water dives done at home also. Initially we made a trip to Jamaica planning to do them there, the water was rough due to some storms prior to our arrival and they weren't doing certifications so we didn't get them done. Before our next trip we decided to do them at home so we could do "real" diving instead of working on any testing while on vacation. But, to each his own. Many have certainly done their certification dives in Jamaica.
SherrynChuck: Really ? Wow... I thought it was a half day thing max just to do a dive. What you're saying is completely different from what I thought. It sounds like you know your stuff and have been to CSA before, but can anyone else vouch ? I didn't think you had to be "certified" to dive..... I guess I will need to look into some classes - kind of a bummer, but a heck of a lot better than showing up and finding out!!
Anyone else been diving for the first time ever at couples (CSA) ??
By the way: Just to let you (or anyone else) know why I assumed I didn't have to dive or have any experience before showing up to the resort. I guess my confusion might have been the difference between a "never dived before" and a "non-certified diver". I guess Non-Certified still assumes you've taken classes and done "pool dives" prior to ??
Straight off the couples CSA Website:
Non-Certified Divers can participate in a complimentary Resort course and one complimentary
introductory dive. Additional non-certified dives are $50 per person, subject to availability. The
Resort Course is offered Monday through Friday at 9:00 am. Guests are asked to sign-up one
day in advance. This is not a PADI certification course.
As long as you check "No" you won't need a Dr. to certify you to dive.
Disregard the answer above about it taking "days" to get certified. You do not need a full PADI certification to take advantage of the resort dive. The is a certification called "Resort Certified" which is about 1.5-2 hrs. lecture and pool work. This is where you learn how to use the equipment and become comfortable breathing under water.
Once you finish the pool portion you'll go out on a shallow reef dive - figure about 35 minute dive going no deeper than 40 feet.
You can opt to get your full certification while you're there if you want - I think it's an extra $360 and another day of classes and dives. - for the record - it's cheaper to get certified at Couples than it is at home.
Once you have a full PADI or NAUI open water certification you can go on 2 single tank dives at the resort per day (one 2 tank dive on Sunday) - which is all included.
I learned to dive at CN last July and LOVED it - couldn't wait to get home to get my certification. (silly me didn't take advantage of the offer to do it there >.< )
It sounds like the OP is not asking about actually getting PADI certified but is asking about the resort course. The resort course take significantly less time (in and out of the water) than getting a C-Card. I think you do the course and group shallow dive all the same day. This is the case at most Jamaican resorts, but I cannot say for sure at Couples. It is far less time than has been described above by those speaking about actually earning a PADI certification though.
The resort course takes a morning. You start by watching a video and learning the equipment then off to the pool to practice a few skills. After that you head out for a shallow dive to about 25-30 feet . All of that is part of the all inclusive. If you want to do additional dives they are $50 each. Or you could go on to get your open water certification that takes about four days of pool work and diving.
You are correct, there is a difference between the resort course and becoming a certified diver. The resort course is a short course including some instruction, some pool time and then a dive. Only one dive is free if you choose this method. I cannot testify as to the exact length of the course as I haven't done it but from discussions on the board it seems to me maybe 2 or 3 hours and then the dive. Maybe some one else who has done the resort course and knows for sure will answer. I do not believe you can schedule this prior to your arrival at the resort. You do still need to complete the medical form and the same rule applies, any "yes" answers need a doctors signature.
Thanks to everyone! I was a little confused w/ the different answers so I called couples: The beginner dive is about 3 hours and that includes the instruction and time in the pool. There is no need to take any classes before going, there is no fee and you don't have to spend valuable vacation time making several practice dives before you're allowed to go. You just show up, spend a couple hours practicing, then you dive and it's free - which is exactly what I was hoping for. Total investment of time during your vacation is <4hrs and you can then say you have 'tried' scuba diving.
My next question to you diving experts - what will I see on the "beginner" dive ? No idea what to expect even.... just wondering is all Like ship wrecks or are those too deep so it would just be to ckeck out a shallow reef and some fish ?
It's a shallow dive so you should probably plan on seeing a reef and fish. I think the wreck dives are too deep for the resort cert. It really is an amazing experience. You're correct that it's under 4 hours invested, but is a very worthwhile investment. The resprt does offer full PADI certification which I believe they offered for $360 and an additional 4-5 hours the following day.
Once you have your full certification you can take advantage of 2 free dives a day.