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Options for Certification etc

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Mar 4, 2003
O.K. I am hooked. Went to Oahu and did a bunch of snorkeling last week. Turtles, eels, octopus, and a reef shark capped it all off. My girlfriend loves even more than me. I’m thinking that an open water cert is in my plans for this summer.

Any suggestions on getting certified? There’s one shop in town and they are a PADI 5 outfit. They just seemed a little curt both times I’ve been in.

Looking forward to lurking around and asking newbie questions.
There’s one shop in town and they are a PADI 5 outfit. They just seemed a little curt both times I’ve been in.

What town? I wouldn't deal with any shop that's even remotely "curt." :hmm
Hi spud,
I would recommend that you spend some time getting to know what is available; maybe see if there's a local club to help you get a "word of mouth" referral first. Then call up the shops, get facts about the amount of time spent in the course, guarantees, cost of extra training if necessary (if you fail or get sick, etc).
Don't let cost of the course determine your choice....get a feeling for the instructor that will teach you, and base it on that. Cheap course usually mean fast courses. You may find a weekend course, or 2 weekend-courses; I recommend that you spend as much time as possible in your course: you are not buying furniture- your lives are at stake.
NAUI, PADI, SSI, GUE are the big names in America, BSAC in Britain, CMAS in France. There are others too, it can become very political, but choose an INSTRUCTOR, not an agency. A Certification card will get you diving most places in the world, regardless of the agency that distributes them.
After you are certified, make a point of practicing some of the emergency drills at the beginning of every dive you do thereafter, and consider more training....Open Water courses really are usually very basic.
Enjoy your course,
Erik Young
PADI Instructor 206650
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I'll Mirror Erik,

take your time and find out who offers the BEST course. this is not always the most expensive, but be prepared if it is. Your Basic Scuba class is the most important of them all, make sure you Do It Right :D

Look into DIRF while your at it. this might be a bit much to handle right off the bat, but If you can find a shop that pairs the two....


The number one thing tha I would check out is pool time.

I know of PADI 5 stars around here that send out with only one pool session. I know of others that give you 4-5 pool sessions.

Pool time is a big expense for a dive shop, but it is one of the most important parts of the class. The book work has become so simple that an instructor is almost not even needed, but the pool time is very important- you can't learn to drive a car by reading a book.:D

After the pool issue I would look into openwater dive times and make sure that your personality matches the instructors. I have seen instructors who are out there yelling at their students the whole time like their navy SEAL recruits- this should be fun.

I have also seen instructors who sit on the beach with a megaphone and yell commands at their students while they watch from shore- I have had to rescue more than one of his students, while handing my class over to my divemaster, because he couldn't get into the water fast enough to help out his own paying customers!

Jon Zeaman
PADI instructor #20036
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I'm in Boise - pretty limited options for dive instruction in the sagebrush. These guys have their own pool, not sure about how much pool time is involved. Will keep checking before I commit. And I will need more than a 90 second conversation with the instructor :hmm
Yeah, what is it with those PADI types? :D

My brother is in Boise- I'll ring him up and see what there is to see... Either way, Erik nailed it.

NAUI Instructor #2978
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The instructor who sat on the beach with the megaphone while his students almost drowned was a NAUI instructor. ;)

I have seen good and bad instructors from all U.S. agencies.

Any YMCA's in your area? Many have excellent scuba programs and almost always have a convenient pool. They are the only cert. agency in N. America that will qualify for a CMAS card. The class itself will be slightly more intense than PADI requirement but then again so is kindergarden!(to all Padi lovers...there are excellent instructors in the organization but the requirements are not as intense for the class...most good shops go above and beyond the demands of PADI)

Got my open water with them and learned alot...in fact I was ahead of the curve in my NAUI advanced course b/c of that. All my other classes have been NAUI and I have enjoyed them all.(through master diver and dive master)
And every diver I pulled out of the water as a Rescue Diver was a PADI Diver....;)

and yet - Very Very Very True Jon. Seen the Good and Bad from every agency. Spud, don't let professional Rivalry affect your choice. It's the Instructor, not the Agency that makes a good diver.

:D Willer
Divers and Dive shops can be odd and can seem a little imtimidating to new commers.
Like everything if you don't feel comfortable walk out.

The instructor is everything - also make sure that they understand what it is you want from diving.
I teach PADI, but would turn down a student ( for example)who wanted to dive in very cold conditons following certification. I personally simply don't know enough about this area to feel happy issuing a cert. I couldn't give then enough information that I'd feel happy. Unfortunatly other instructors may not be so "honest". So quiz them hard and run with your instincts.

Also do you want to do Advanced courses ? Can your instructor help with this ? I was frustrated when I learnt that nobody really wanted to "see me through" or follow up after my inital open water course. = Grrrrrrr !

I'm a PADI Man and a PADI fan, but agree that there are some very poor PADI instructors around. Unfortunatly the open nature of the programs and the structure of the learning from O/w to Dive master allows poor instructors and poor students to bypass learning and tuition that they should get. Wreck diving and deep diving are two instances I've seen people "just try out" with no prior instruction.

As there are more PADI people around than from other agencies you will see more bad PADI people ( stands to reason) but whoever you go with forget the rivalry and enjoy the experience - and remember that it might take you a lot longer to learn certain aspects than the instructor would wish to give time for. That's their problem not yours - it takes as long as it takes - don't be rushed - ever. A two day PADI course might be OK for some - others it can take weeks.

Enjoy and have a great time.

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