Ok, so you want to learn dive – where do you start?
It’s all pretty easy, and divers typically start off with what we call an Open Water Diver course. It’s an entry-level course that teaches you all the basics of scuba diving. Once complete you’ll be a skilled diver with an internationally recognised certification – so wherever you go you’ll be covered. You’ll be able to dive with a buddy, unguided and unassisted, to a depth of 18m in an open water environment (that’s just diver talk for no caves or enclosed ceiling environments).
We start out with some basic diving theory, which gives you some insight into what is happening to you when you go underwater. We used to give you a book to read (and still can), though these days most people prefer to watch the DVD and learn the material on their own schedule. When your course starts, we’ll cover a few more things and answer any questions that you may have.
The real fun begins when we fit you out with scuba gear and walk into the shallow end of the pool for your first few breaths underwater. Progressively we teach you more and more skills, so that by the end of the pool session you’ll be happy to swim having completed all the practical skills necessary to dive in the ocean.
Now we’re talking a new world of opportunity as the ocean is a big place and you’ll never know what you will see. Don’t worry though, we start out at very shallow sheltered dive sites and work up your experience from there. Each of the four oceans dives that you will complete is designed to build on the skills mastered on the previous dive. It’s not all skills and learning though, as on each dive you’ll get the opportunity to swim around and check out some local Sydney sites.
In Sydney, we are really lucky to have lots of easily accessible shore dives, where you will see things like the playful blue groupers, lots of fish and the world-famous weedy sea dragons. Shore dives mean entry and exiting the water is really easy from the shoreline, so you can never get seasick. As no boat is involved, it also helps to keep costs down and is one way we put a lid on the price of the course. If you want to dive off a boat and take things to the next level (and you will), an Advanced Adventure course is the natural progression and designed to build on your basic skills and gives you more experience in the water.
We will provide all of the scuba gear (including wetsuit) that you require for the course. It is all high quality, regularly maintain, and current technology in terms of age and style of equipment on the market. The majority of our regulators include dive computers, which accurately calculate your time and depth underwater. You will need to supply your own snorkeling equipment, including mask, snorkel, and boots. We feel this is important for both hygiene and comfort reasons. The equipment can be purchased from us with your student discount and instructor’s advice, or be sourced through a third party.
Learning to dive is something that almost all people find easy and enjoyable. There are a few prerequisites that you should be aware of, which include:
- The ability to swim reasonably well; now you don’t have to be Ian Thorpe, but you will have to do an un-timed 200m swim in a pool (4 laps).
- You need to be in reasonable physical condition. We won’t have you running any marathons, and lord knows some of us could do with a gym session or two, but you will be required to walk up and down some stairs with scuba gear on your back (this weighs approximately 10-15kgs).
- It might sound stupid, but you’ll also need to swim around underwater. It’s not hard but does require that you put some effort into kicking. It sounds silly, but we’ve taught people to dive in the past that thought they’d magically move just by thinking it will happen.
- Lastly, you’ll need to pass a medical test, which needs to be signed off by a medical doctor prior before you can enter the water. We’ll provide you with a form for your doctor (GP) to complete, and in the rare case that you do not pass, any payment or deposit will be refunded in full.
The format and content of a dive course is defined by training agencies, of which there are numerous but some well-known ones include SDI, TDI, PADI and SSI. Although there are some differences, for the most part, the agency definition of all Open Water Diver courses are is pretty much equal. The courses are also cross recognised between the major agencies. The differences in practice are with your instructor, facility, and the fees charged to the instructor (and to you indirectly) by the agency (some agencies like PADI charge materially more for certification than others). Our Open Water Diver courses are primarily run through SDI, an internationally recognised agency, though we can and do run PADI courses at an adjusted price if you prefer. For the most part your instructor, experience and certification level will be identical between agencies.
During your open water course the gas you use in your tanks is normal air (i.e. 21% oxygen, 79% nitrogen), and is traditionally what everyone has breathed on scuba. Just like other industries, scuba practices and technology have got better over the years and we now commonly dive with a gas called nitrox. The gas has an elevated percentage of oxygen (e.g. 32%), meaning that under certain circumstances you can stay down longer and/or dive with safer decompression margins. Nitrox, or “enriched air” as it is also known is very popular with resorts around the world. For this reason, we now offer an additional discounted nitrox certification with all our open water courses. The extension does not require any addition time or dives, and is theory only, so we feel you may as well get all your theory done together and be able to maximise you time in the water wherever you go.
Prices start from $349.00 per person, we can also teach you on a private course or with a close group of friends. Please contact us for a special price.
If you would like to book a course, or find out some more information about a course.
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