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Scuba Diving

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Does anyone here scuba dive as a hobby? Getting certified is something I wanted to do years ago, but I never got around to it. I've been thinking more about it recently, and I'm considering doing it. However, I get the feeling that it's one of those things where you can be pushed into spending way more money to get started than is necessary, so I figured I'd ask around before I go much further with it. I've done some research, but I'd be interested in what others have to say.

Also, before anyone suggests it: Yes, I plan to don a bespoke wet suit. And, yes, I will wear a Submariner as a backup to my dive computer, but I will immediately remove it when I'm done diving so I'm not one of those people who wears purpose-built equipment for "fashion." I'm an outdoorsman, not a savage.

Anyhow, SF is always a great place for advice, and I'd appreciate any you guys can provide.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 14
Been on the same precipice for a while now and I've decided to do it while I'm out of the country. Basically, for all the reputable shops in the area, the prices are more or less standardized, and you have to own your own equipment. Now, while that may be good as someone who loves to do this full time, it sucks on for the general enthusiast, especially if you live in a small space and can't store all that gear.

I've seen several on Groupon, and the like, so that might be a way to blunt the costs if you want to do it locally.
post #3 of 14
imho don't buy any equipment first... if you can rent/lease/borrow you should. there are tons of different stuff that you'll need (regulators, wetsuit, fins, weights, etc...) and each one of them has so many different kinds. yes, its a bottomless pit, this hobby, afaik, like all hobbies but thats really up to you- whats more important is when you start buying your gear you should know what you require in your gears first.

(I don't dive- but have tons of close friends and a couple of family members that do, and used to hang out in a dive shop a while back)
post #4 of 14
You don't have to buy any gear at first, at least none of the expensive stuff. You can always rent that, and I've never been diving anywhere that doesn't rent gear. I'd recommend getting certified and then trying it out for a bit to see how much you like it before dropping a lot of money on stuff you may or may not use. My gear progression was:

Before I was certified - mask, snorkel, fins
Shortly after certification - regulator (if you dive a decent amount you probably don't want to keep renting the ones other people have used)
As time went on.... BC, weights, wetsuits (if needed), tank, upgrades to older equipment if you have it, cameras, flashlights, etc....

If you've been wanting to get certified though, I'd say just go for it. It's a pretty easy process.
post #5 of 14

The other wrote what you need. But all I can tell you it's the best! And if you are a guy who travels alot this will get handy! Greece is an amazing country to dive in ;)

post #6 of 14
I was lucky enough to get my 'Open water'' instructed by two friends of my brother during a camping trip in Zeeland (South of Netherlands). Price was low, all equipment was included. So I have no tips. I'd just wanted to say that floating at (only) 12 meters deep with 5-6 meters of sight, looking out at the great nothing was one of the coolest things I did. I'd imagine it somawhat akin to flying in outerspace (but sadly my brother is lacking in astronaut friends, so I can't compare).

Have fun!
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input! From what you guys are saying, it sounds like I'm on the right track.

I stopped by my local dive shop over the weekend (my town is relatively small, so we only have one). The whole process seems pretty reasonable, cost-wise. The class, including all materials, is $395. I talked to a friend in Florida, and the cost here seems to be about what he paid down there, which is good given there's a lot more competition down there. On top of the class, they want you to buy a mask, fins, and a snorkel, and they supply the rest. In terms of equipment starting out, that seems to be in line with what dacox described.

Other than the class, materials, and equipment, there's the certification dive. They take a weekend trip to the Florida panhandle, so that's an option, and it's not unreasonable in terms of cost. However, I tend to travel to Florida a lot, and I have friends down there who have recently started diving, so I figured maybe I can do my cert dive when I visit. I asked the guy at the shop if this was a possibility, and he said it would definitely work. Basically, they'll give me a bunch of paperwork that I get filled out when I do my dive, and then I bring it back to them to get certification. I'm hoping this will work out and save me a few bucks.

Overall, it seems very doable. I don't know if I'll do it immediately, given it's still going to cost a fair bit of coin, but I'm encouraged by the fact that it doesn't seem to be prohibitively expensive.
post #8 of 14
Isn't that exactly what I said above?

Seriously, look into getting away to get trained. With the equipment purchases and all that it'll end up being upwards of $600, easy. For something that you'll only do occasionally, and maybe not again for a long time, its a lot to invest.

I had a groupon for a place down here that knocked the open water class down from $400 to $200. They also gave you a 25% discount on scuba equipment (apparently, you can't just go to Sports Authority and get shit. Gotta get the real scuba gear). Even with all that, I was looking at almost $450 when all said and done.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Pretty much, yeah, just with some extra detail.

I can't really count on traveling out of the country to get trained, mostly because, with a wife and kid, big trips are harder to swing, and they may not include anywhere I can train.

That said, I was off by a pretty good margin when I said the price compares well to the place my friend mentioned in Florida. The class and all that is $300 at the dive shop there, and I imagine the gear is comparable. My friend also mentioned Groupons for the place there. Whether or not I'll be able to make that work on a visit is a different story, but it's worth considering. Either way, I also don't mind spending a little more up front if I can get everything done at home and concentrate on diving when I'm traveling.

Basically, assuming I don't find a Groupon that will work, if I do my training at the shop here, I'll spend about $100 more on it than I would in Florida, but I can do it on my schedule. Plus, I can do my cert dives when I visit Florida, which will save me a ton of money compared to the local place.

I would like to think I could find a Groupon for the place in town, but I'm not optimistic. They just don't have enough competition - there's the dive shop and the university, but the university is only open to students and faculty, and it's only held once a semester.

That said, ~$700 for everything but the cert dive isn't enough to put me off of it, though it may mean I have to wait a bit, which is OK given this is all speculation at the moment, anyway. I'm hopeful that getting it all done, combined with the fact that I travel often to a place where I have friends who dive, will mean I do it more than once every couple years, but I suppose I won't know that until I try.
post #10 of 14
Try and find somewhere that will rent you ALL the gear you need. There has to be one around somewhere.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Bro, I think you're underestimating Athens Georgia's degree of removal from the diving community. There are literally two places in town that offer any type of dive instruction, one of which only does so a few times a year. If I were a student, I could rent from the university, but they don't have that for alumni.

If it makes you feel any better, I'll see if there's any place within driving distance that will rent equipment, but I'm not optimistic I'll find a place that's cost effective in terms of time and money. smile.gif
post #12 of 14
I don't really dive these days, although I did do a few dives on a recent trip to Thailand, and Julia did a couple of trial dives on the same boat.

Is it a bottomless money pit?

Depends how 'into it' you get. Most people (including myself) get their PADI (Pay And Dive Immediately) Open Water, do 10 or 15 dives and then get their Advanced. There really isn't much need to go any higher, unless you want to get into the serious deep water stuff or rescue diving. For recreational purposes, Advanced is all you are likely to need (night dives, wreck dives, decent depth).

Ongoing dive fees - they can add up, sure. Depends what there is to see in your neck of the woods, and how much you travel I guess.

In terms of gear - the good news is that the world is full of lapsed divers with kit-in-the-attic, and better still, the people who get seriously 'into it' are serial upgraders, so this means that you can get great deals on the essential gear on eBay/Craigslist from either people who don't bother these days, or for whom last year's state of the art fins just won't cut it this year.

Personally, I never bought a regulator, every dive operator I've ever dived with has included this in the dive fees. I picked up a cheap surfers wetsuit in Australia (but note, I was always diving in the tropics, if you are going somewhere colder, this isn't an area to skimp). I bought a great set of fins from someone who was a dive master upgrading their gear, and a mask in a similar fashion, and then got the cheap stuff (weight belt, booties, snorkel, kit bag) from the dive place where I got certified. All told, I probably spent 100, maybe 150 bucks on gear (although admittedly that was a while back).

It's a great pastime, enjoy it!
post #13 of 14
^ whoa. you're back.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidboy View Post

^ whoa. you're back.

He's like herpes
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