There is something about travelling to far off lands that sparks a dormant love of the sea.
Whether you have been diving before or not you have the urge to get in and under the water.
The beach is littered with dive shops offering dive trips and courses.
You need to know how to evaluate a diving center before you randomly pick a beachfront dive shop.
Price is No Reflection of Quality
Just because a store is offering great deals it doesn’t mean that they are the best. A holiday diving center is looking to make its living from tourists. Never forget to put your personal safety above the desire to save money. You need to know what to look for when choosing a dive center.
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You always get what you pay for and there is a reason why they are cheaper than the others. Have this in your considerations when choosing your dive center.
Things to Consider
Knowing how to evaluate a dive center is important as your personal safety depends on you being given good dive equipment.
Firstly look at the store itself and check to see if it looks well maintained. The outward condition may give you some indication of their work and maintenance ethic. If the store does not look well-kept, you should keep on walking to the next one.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
When you have chosen a store don’t be afraid asking the dive center staff some questions. They are there to help you make the right choices and they want you to feel safe.
If you do come across staff that’s unwilling to give you answers go to a different store.
Questions You Need to Ask
Think about what you need to make you feel safe and ask questions relating to it.
- Ask how often they service their rental equipment
- Ask whether you can see the latest test certificates
- Ask about their safety record
- Ask to see their boat logs from previous dive trips
- Ask the instructors for their Instructor card
- Check for a dive agency affiliation (PADI, SSI, etc.)
Make Your Own Inspection
You do not have to be a professional when it comes to knowing how to evaluate a dive center. You need to trust your eyes and your ears and listen to your instincts.
- Look at the standard of equipment out on display
- Read the certificates on the walls and check the dates on them – are they up to date?
- Are the instructor’s certificates available to be inspected?
- Does the equipment look well maintained on close inspection?
- Do you trust the person you spoke with?
Go With Your Instincts
If you were asked to step into a boat that looked unsafe you wouldn’t do it. If equipment looks unsafe you shouldn’t use it. Each destination has plenty of dive shops for you to go into and look around.
Speak to people in the area of find other divers to see who they recommend you use and ask them how they would evaluate the dive center. It’s always good to get first-hand information form others who been using them.
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Make an Informed Choice
Once you have eliminated all of the stores that made you uncomfortable or were unhelpful you should be left with a good choice.
Listen to any personal recommendations other divers offer about their experience and standard of rented equipment.
Make an informed choice about which store you use not just the first one you come to along the beachfront. And most important follow your gut! Don’t choose anyone you are uncomfortable with!