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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    12

    Default Thinking of Scuba diving

    Really enjoy snorkeling, have never been Scuba diving. Going to CSA in Feb. If I think I might want to do some scuba diving while there, is it worth it to get pre-certified (at home now, prior to vacation)?
    Or is it good enough to take the CSA 'course' while on vacation and do a basic dive (to see how I like it)?
    Any tips?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,398

    Default

    See if your local dive training center does a trial session. Ours does each time just before they start a course and it's free. We just got certified this year and had to wait four years to get a course that suited our time table. We first tried the introductory scuba course at COR/CTI and decided we wanted to get certified. You could always wait and try it there and if you like it get certified, we chose not to do this as we didn't want to be studying on our vacation. Another option is to do the on-line PADI course at home and take all the pool and open water class there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    23

    Default

    Essentially, the PADI course requires that you demonstrate you can swim some trivial distance, attend class room lectures and pass the exams from the text book, pass the pool exercises, and do the exercises in 4 open water qualification dives. I would recommend that you do the class work and pool exercises at home and then do the required 4 open water qualification dives when you go to Couples. This is very common and any PADI instructors can do the 4 open water qualification dives with you. This way you won't waste your vacation on the book work and pool exercises. The pool exercises do consume a large amount of time. Many dive centers have nice heated pools and you can do the classes on a weekend or the evenings. Depending on where you live, the 4 open water qualification dives may require some travel and/or diving in a less then ideal location (such as a quarry with bad visibility). If you do the 4 open water qualification dives at Couples you are guaranteed a very nice diving experience with terrific visibility and nice warm water. You will wind up doing the 4 open water qualification dives over a 2-day period but they only take a long as a tank of air last - typically 30-40 minutes each.

    "dandj" recommended you do a trial session at a dive center before enrolling in their class. This is excellent advice as you want to make sure that so like it. You can figure out if you like it in a pool.

    I am not a big fan of the "resort dives" - these are offered at many resorts - they teach you enough so hopefully you won't kill yourself and then they take you on an open water dive. I went this route and then got my certification later. The problem with the resort dives is you don't have time to practice some important skills, such as putting your mask back on if it gets kicked off by another diver. I believe they are inherently dangerous but I didn't really know that until I became certified.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    19

    Default

    I just got certified at CSA. The guys were great. I hadn't planned on getting certified prior to going but I loved it so much after I did the free resort dive I just had to do it. It worked out really well...the wife likes to sleep in so I got up and did the morning dives and by the time I got back she was ready to hit the beach Everyone there told me I wouldn't find a better price than at CSA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    290

    Default

    I have always loved snorkeling but feared diving. I decided to challenge myself and try Scuba for my 50th BD. I wasn't sure when I started if I would like it so I took it in baby steps. First the complimentary pool session and shallow dive. I loved it so I signed up for the first level of certification and loved that too. I ended up certified as on Open Water Diver.

    The dive team is awesome. They are fun and reassuring too. Anthony made sure that I was choosing for myself and that my husband was not pressuring me. I really appreciated that. Also, he worked with me to get to the bottom on my first dive because I was having ear problems. He was very patient and made sure I did not rush. It took me about 20 min to get down the first time because I kept having to go back up a little bit to equalize my ears. Finally I did it!!! Each time it got easier and by my last dive I was able to equalize effortlessly.

    Try it at CSA. They will take good care of you. Here is a pic that Anthony took on my first dive:


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    708

    Default I'd do everything at home before you go but the dives

    Hubby did the beginners resort dive a few times several years ago before we found Couples where all you had to do was a swim test & some practice in the pool & they took you on a shallow dive. (I'm not sure how Couples does it for newbie divers who want to try it before they get certified but think it's similar.) He liked it so much that he decided to get certified. He did the classes at home at a local dive shop in their pool, did all the tests there also but did his dives in Jamaica to finish it off & get his certification.

    This is just my opinion - It seems like a lot of class time & study time to waste precious vacation time - especially if your SO isn't doing the class too. They are going to be on their own a lot while you're in class. When we see these people at the resort having to be in class or sitting around studying or taking their tests we always feel sorry that they are missing out on all the resort has to offer when they could have gotten that part of it out of the way at home.
    Julie

  7. #7

    Default

    I was Open Water certified at CSA in July 2008. I took the online course and was ready for pool work when I arrived at CSA. I think it saved me a lot of time to do it that way.
    If you love snorkeling, you will probably really love scuba diving. My significant other says that snorkeling is like looking into the fish bowl, but when you are scuba diving you are in the fish bowl!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    290

    Default

    tucillo, we had to practice taking our masks off and putting them back on before the resort dive. Also removing, finding, and replacing our regulators.

    I wanted to add that I thought it was fun doing the pool and book work at CSA. Not arduous at all. Also, there is no classroom time. You watch one short DVD and the do the pool sessions. The rest is self study at your own pace. I did mine on a lounger on the beach. Good Times.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Am I understanding this correctly. I can do the class room portion at home, get a referral after completion, and complete my Open Water dives at resort (CSS).

    I just inquired at our local Dive Shop and they recommended I do the Open Waters before I go to give me more Diving time. We live in Minnesota and would be doing the Open Water dives in early October(Brrrrr!!)in a Mine.

    Mostly wondering what the Open Water completion dives consist of, i.e. how deep, fish, coral, exploration.

    Dale

  10. #10

    Default

    I'd suggest the resort dive. If you want to continue, I recommend getting certified at the resort, unless you live in Florida. It cost about a grand cheaper to get certified at CN than here in GA. It took us a whopping 3-4 hours after dinner one night to get all of the "classwork" out of the way (which we did in our room, adult beverage in hand). The rest of the time we were diving. The certification was done in less than two days and we were able to get 10 more dives in afterward.
    Jamie & David
    CN 11/2005 & 10/2008 & 11/2011
    CSS 9/2007, 9/2009, 9/2010, 11/2011, 9/2012, 9/2013
    CTI 9/2013

  11. #11

    Default

    Dale, don't bother doing the dives in MN - they will not be as enjoyable as JA (I did mine in Square Lake years ago in the month of June) Your first two dives will not be greater than 40feet (first dive probably 25 feet) your second two dives will not be greater than 60 feet. These are PADI regs. You will see enough stuff to keep you happy!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Thanks Seanpaul, that was the answer I hoping to hear!!

  13. #13

    Default

    The shop in Georgia is hosing people. I'm getting certified over the next two weeks in Virginia and it's costing about $500. $250 for the classroom and pool time, I think $100 or so for the lake qualification dives, and another hundred for misc.

    I don't remember not being able to swim or not owning a mask and snorkle, and did the resort course, complimentary intro dive, and one additional pay dive on my last visit to CTI a couple years ago. Despite my comfort in and under the water, I much prefer slower approach to the certification, espescially since it is for life. A couple hours just filling in the blanks while slugging down puna coladas seems less than prudent to me.

  14. #14

    Default

    MattNSharon- I agree. Went and got a skin suit for CSS next week- cost me twice as much as online. I am definitely calling the mgr. of the shop to see about a price match. The reason it is so expensive here is that they do all the cert dives in FL. So you have to pay the transportation, accomodations, gear rental, etc. at the location they pick (usually Silver Springs). I'll take my $370 cert. w/ Sugar & Richard ANY DAY. Think about it...instructors that dive every now and then, or guys that do it every day but Sunday!!

    Never fear, I wasn't slugging down Pina Coladas...that's a girly drink. LOL The Army taught me better than that. The book work is so easy, it's sad. The true test is putting it into application under water. Sugar & Richard were awesome instructors, very patient, and it was one on one vs. having a whole class. We're thinking of doing a night dive next week at CSS if they offer it.
    Jamie & David
    CN 11/2005 & 10/2008 & 11/2011
    CSS 9/2007, 9/2009, 9/2010, 11/2011, 9/2012, 9/2013
    CTI 9/2013

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    23

    Default

    JumpinJen,

    It sounds like the classroom portion has changed since I was certified - they lasted for hours and hours with multiple tests. Also, the pool exercises seemed to last forever when I was going through the certification. I don't recall the pool exercises being fun. Sounds like the certification process is now easier.

    I still think the "resort dives" are generally a bad idea as people are being put in a dangerous environment without much practice.


    Quote Originally Posted by JumpinJen View Post
    tucillo, we had to practice taking our masks off and putting them back on before the resort dive. Also removing, finding, and replacing our regulators.

    I wanted to add that I thought it was fun doing the pool and book work at CSA. Not arduous at all. Also, there is no classroom time. You watch one short DVD and the do the pool sessions. The rest is self study at your own pace. I did mine on a lounger on the beach. Good Times.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gayle Ann View Post
    I was Open Water certified at CSA in July 2008. I took the online course and was ready for pool work when I arrived at CSA. I think it saved me a lot of time to do it that way.
    If you love snorkeling, you will probably really love scuba diving. My significant other says that snorkeling is like looking into the fish bowl, but when you are scuba diving you are in the fish bowl!

    Gayle: What website did you use, and how long (days) did it take to get certified?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    989

    Default

    Wow. Great information in this thread. I am really interested in scuba diving on our vacation to CSA next summer and am looking into getting certified over the winter before going. I like the idea of getting the book work and pool training out of the way at home and then taking the open water portion at CSA next summer. Never new this was an option. Thanks so much, I am going to look into this soon.
    Oh, something else to consider. Our local community college system offers scuba classes and have all the equipment and facilities on campus. You might look into this in your area if you are interested.

    See ya'll at the beach!

  18. #18

    Default

    thelilone:
    Go to the Couples Swept Away tab and scroll down. On the left hand side there is a part that says "Padi e-learning" Go in that part. The cost for the online course work is $120. I highly recommend getting this out of the way before you go. My significant other (who was certified in the states) says the cost to get certified in Jamaica at CSA is far less than in the states. Plus you get to dive in clear warm waters where you can actually see cool things - not in a rock quarry like we would have to do here in the Midwest. I got six dives at CSA in July 2008. We have another trip booked for April 2010. We can hardly wait! I am really looking forward to diving with the wonderful CSA dive crew.
    We went diving on wrecks in North Carolina off the coast of Wilmington a couple of weeks ago. It is very different than the diving in Jamaica. Much lower visibility, rougher water and just more difficult than Jamaica. Jamaica felt like a bathtub in comparison! However, they did have many sand tiger sharks 10 to 12 feet in length) and lots and lots of jellyfish.

  19. #19

    Default

    Okay now I am curious... If I were to do this program, http://www.seattlescuba.com/sow.html and I chose the
    Tropical Referral Certification Course
    (Complete Phase One, Knowledge Development & Pool training, here at home and be ready for the Phase Two, ocean training when you go on vacation.) Would we be able to get certified at CTI?

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