I'm new to this whole "SCUBA" thing. What does it take to get certified?
There are three parts to any basic certification course, which include classroom/academics, pool, and open water. Here's the lowdown:
Classroom/academics: Here's where you'll learn and review basic concepts related to SCUBA diving, including equipment, gas physics, diving physiology, planning and more. If some of that sounds complicated, don't worry, it's not. All that's required is some basic math and a desire to learn. There is a multiple choice exam that you will need to pass, but don't worry, your instructor will help you learn what you need to know, and reading the materials and completing the reviews in the workbook will make passing the exam no problem.
Pool (aka "confined water"): Here's where the proverbial rubber meets the road (or in this case, where the neoprene meets the water!). You'll learn about 20 skills that every scuba diver has to learn to operate effectively and with the highest degree of safety underwater. These include things like assembling and dissasembling your gear, clearing water from your mask, removing and replacing your gear underwater, basic finning techniques, and most importantly, buoyancy skills.
Open Water Dives: Upon successful completion of your academics and pool sessions, you will need to complete four open water dives. During these dives you will be both repeating the skills you learned in the pool and ... guess what? Going diving! Open water dives are super fun, and once you've completed them successfully, you are certified for the rest of your life. Keep in mind however, there's a lot of self-policing that has to go on once you're certified, so you'll need to make sure you keep your skills fresh. If you haven't been diving in more than a year or so, you'll want to do a refresher course, where you run through everything you already know to shake the rust off. To arrange a refresher for you or someone you care about, call us at 800.688.3483
Where can I do my open water dives?
Your open water dives can be done in any one of three ways:
Locally: we conduct open water dive sessions at a lake in Eastern Pennsylvania called Dutch Springs (about 2 hours from Norwalk). Dutch Springs is a major dive training center in the northeast, and on any given weekend during the local dive season there are a few dozen dive stores out there conducting open water dives. We like it because, unlike the ocean, there are no currents and it's pretty controlled environment, with lots of protocols in place to make sure that things are safe as possible. They also have fun stuff sunk in the lake there (planes, trains and automobiles, as we like to say), so while you're performing your underwater skils and and going on dives, there's stuff to see. Water is cold there, but don't worry, we provide warm wetsuits and all the gear you need for those sorts of dives. Click here for a schedule of our open water dive sessions for the season.
Travel with us: You can also do them on a trip with us, as we travel about six times per year. Just about every other month we're traveling somewhere good to dive, and we always have an instructor trip leader on the trips we plan. We're super experienced at dive travel, and we've run approximately 50 trips since 2006. We take out all the worry and hassle out of figuring out where to go, where to stay, who to do your dives with, and all that good stuff. Our motto is "show up and be ready to dive." Generally, all you have to do is register for a trip, buy your own airfare, get on the plane and we take care of the rest. We travel to the best dive destinations on the planet, and we have more fun per minute than you can even calculate. Yup, it's that much fun. Some of our regular destinations include Cozumel, Bonaire, the Bahamas, St. Croix Curacao and more, not to mentiont that we go to far flung marquis destinations such as Indonesia. the Philippines and the Galapagos, just to name a few.
Travel to a destination of your choice: Last, you can do your dives on a trip you plan for yourself, or one that we can help you plan. Our travel desk is a full service dive travel agent (IATA certified), and they can arrange flights, hotel stays, arrange tours andn more. What's more, they can book you with dive operations anywhere in the world, which is better than rolling the dice to find a dive op. Planning ahead makes for safer diving.
How long does it take?
Key to any SCUBA related activity is planning. Our course is 4 or 5 sessions over the course of two weeks.
Some in the industry are touting online learning coupled with extremely abbreviated courses. They'll tell you SCUBA is easy and anyone can learn it in a couple of days (or even less). While some people can do that, we find that most people need more time to get comfortable and be able to operate with the greatest degree of safety. Keep in mind, you're learning to breathe from a life support device at increased atmospheric pressure in an alien environment. Learning how to safely and effectively move through water with gear that is foreign to you, with a limited field of view in the ocean isn't rocket science but it takes time. Our course is about 20 hours in total from end to end, with a lot of that devoted to time in the pool so you can learn the same skills the rest of us did when we were just starting out. You'll be glad you spent the time, because while you have the rest of your life to go diving, that first experience is often one that will determine whether or not you ever dive again. We love diving, and we want you to as well, so we'll take the time to make sure you're absolutely ready when it's your turn to dive the adventure in the ocean blue!
The "FAQs" about SCUBA Diving
If you're new to diving, you probably have a bunch of questions about how it all works. Most of those should be answered below, but you can always call us to discuss your plan to become a diver at (203) 883-1235.
What does "SCUBA" stand for?
Good question, and here's your first SCUBA diving lesson: "SCUBA" is an acronym that stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. The "apparatus" in question refers to the SCUBA regulator, which "regulates" the flow of air from a high pressure tank allowing you to breathe it naturally, which is key to being able to spend time underwater. The fathers of the SCUBA regulator were none other than underwater pioneer Jacques Yves Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan, which they developed in the early 1940s in Paris. There's a nice photo of them over there on the right. When they first developed it, it was called the "Aqua-Lung" which was the first commercially available scuba regulator. The most common regulators are what are known as "open circuit," which simply means that the gas you breathe from the tank is then exhaled out into the water.
Jacques Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan, inventors of the "Aqua-Lung"
Wow. SCUBA training with you guys sound cool. How do I get started?
Signing up is as easy as picking up your phone.
Give us a buzz at 203.883.1235. We can get you signed up and briefed over the phone and let you know what the next steps are. If you'd like to see our class schedule, check out our basic training page. For our open water dives schedule, you can check out our open water training page.
You can also always come into the store. We'd love to meet you and discuss your training in person. Click here for location information.