Choosing A Diving Center: What You Need to Know

Choosing A Diving Center: What You Need to Know

Diving center haven Caribbean

- Inga Locmele

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.

Here are 5 Tips For Your Next Dive Holiday.

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.

Here's How to Open a Dive Resort.

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 equipment.

Learn Dive Equipment 101.

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.

Choose a well-kept diving center

A well-maintained shop will also reflect on their rental equipment - Credit: Torben Lonne -

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.

Before choosing a diving center ask questions

Feel free to ask the questions that make you feel safe - Credit: Torben Lonne –

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?
Hanging vests in a diving center

Looking at the standard of equipment on display can help you decide - Credit: Torben Lonne -

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.

Here's more Tips and Tricks for making Dive Travel Easier.

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!

Do you have good or bad experiences with choosing a dive center? Tell us about them!

About The Author

Torben Lonne

Torben is a top skilled PADI MSDT instructor. He has worked several years with scuba diving in Indonesia and Thailand – and dived most of his life in most of the world.

He is also the co-founder and chief-editor of you can always catch him here [email protected]


  1. Marie Bauh

    I choose the wrong place to take my beginner diver course. We where on Phi Phi Island in Thailand and was convinced to take a course. Afterwards I learned how much he should have thought us. As I remember we did a two day course and most of it was just diving, no skills or anything. Got certified without knowing how to dive!

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Marie, thanks for sharing your story. Hope you gained some more skills later on.

  2. George Closs

    Ha yes every tourist destanation have theese really bad dive shops where the instructors are shouting out “Come dive come dive” it’s hilarious that anyone would stoop to that level. Go for quality not shouting shirtless sells men!
    Thanks for the great article!

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi George, Thanks for posting your thoughts! I doe agree in quality above all else!

  3. Carl hullo

    when you made the wrong pick a few times you really learn to take your time picking! After my open water I went diving in Fiji and the operator spoke well in the selling part, but non of it came true! Wort dive experience ever, really made me reconsider diving. Until a good friend of mine persuaded me to come diving at home. Now I’m back in the water and learned to browse a few shops before choosing who to go with. Thanks for the tips anyway!

  4. Ben Rudy

    Beeing a safety freak, I always choose carefully. Before leaving for a holiday I always do a quick search on the internet and read recommendations. I never book online but, sometimes I email and check if they have spaces available, and have them hold the spaces. I never pay before standing in the shop and I’m able to see who they are.

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Ben, great with a double check, I think it’s a great way too choose a dive center. Thanks!

  5. Sandra

    I can highly recommended the Werner Lau Diving Center on Filitheyo Island (Maledives). Very good equipment, dive instructures, boats and services. I was there 1 week ago and I felt totally safe.
    Sorry if my english is not perfect – I try my best.

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Sandra, thanks you very much for your recommendation. And your English is just fine! How was the diving in the Maldives?

  6. Sandra

    Diving was absolut amazing! a lot of colorful corals, white- an black tip reef sharks, dolphins, curiosity turtels, morays an millions of other fishes.
    Filitheyo is the only tourist island in this atoll, so there are not many divers and I think the chances to see great fishes is better with less divers :-)

    • Torben Lonne

      The great places always gets a bit crowded. But nice you had some good diving anyway.

  7. Tristan Paylado

    After inquiring and having all the info, there are occasions that you will come up with a short list of competitive dive centers to choose from.

    You can reflect on this thought to help you decide: Since reefs and other unique habitats is our main playground, you can consider dive centers who support local, national and/or international conservation programs. Further, it will be a plus factor if a portion of what you will be paying will help support these environmental projects.

  8. Davide

    I am planning to move to Delray Beach, Florida in order to be closer to my family while training to become a divemaster (from scratch essentially). By any chance, do you have any recommendations regarding the scuba shops/centers in the area?


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