Scuba Diving Certification

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Scuba Diving

The little mermaid wanted nothing more than to become human, but for us lifelong landlubbers, the idea of breathing underwater is equally alluring—and challenging. This guide shows you where to get certification, find a place to dive, get the best deals on equipment and connect with the scuba diving community.

Scuba Diving Certification

There’s a lot to know about diving, and following the rules can sometimes mean the difference between a fun afternoon and debilitating illness. The following certification organizations provide courses for divers of all types and ability levels.

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  • Many diving vacation packages include a certification program as part of their service. Check the “Where to Scuba Dive” section of this guide for resorts and diving companies that certify you on location.
  • If you know which organization you want to study with, use its Web site to find a center near you. If you’re ambivalent, you might want to try one of the directories that locates all schools in your area
  • The organizations below not only provide certification courses for first-time divers, but also offer teacher certification programs.

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Where to Scuba Dive

There’s nothing stopping you from diving in a nearby river or lake, but if you’re looking for something a bit more interesting, you’ll want to explore the world’s reefs, ship wrecks or caves. This section points you toward the world’s most exotic and intriguing dive spots.

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  • The Scuba Guide offers basic guidelines for choosing a dive shop when you’re traveling. If you’re interested in local diving, use a directory to find a dive shop in your area. In all likelihood, they plan local excursions.
  • Most scuba diving Web sites, especially those of magazines, gear sites or community pages, advertise travel deals, promote dive shops and recommend locations.

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Scuba Diving Vacations

Some people discover diving by chance while vacationing in scuba-friendly locations, but others deliberately seek out vacations that cram in as many dives as possible. This section links to travel agencies devoted to creating the best dive vacations imaginable.

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  • Some of the companies below book dive vacation packages all over the world. Other sites focus on dive opportunities in a particular location. Although there may appear to be some overlap, each company listed below has different specialties.
  • As you’ll learn from the sites below, package deals usually include a hotel stay, meals and a certain number of dives per day. Details vary, so make sure you’re aware of what’s excluded and what extra charges you may incur, such as fees for equipment rental.

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Reef & Rainforest creates and customizes scuba diving and adventure travel vacations. Check out the scuba diving page to get overviews of destinations, live-aboards and dive resorts. Choose the desired elements of your trip and let the company put it together for you.

Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas plans dive trips to 36 countries worldwide. Find special deals, review profiles of locations, hotels and live-aboards, or request a quote for a particular trip.

Pure Adventure is a small company that helps you book and schedule trips that focus on diving and kayaking. Hire them to lead a group trip or sign up for a trip they’re planning. You can also get scuba certification through the organization.
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Scuba Diving News

Whether you’re fully submerged or just testing the waters, you can deepen your knowledge of the diving world with a variety of scuba-centric magazines and news sources. Use the sites in this section to read about the best places to dive, examine equipment reviews, explore dive features or just look at glossy pictures of really pretty fish.

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  • Reading diving news isn’t just a way to enjoy your hobby on dry land, it also ensures you stay current with safety information.
  • You may also find relevant news in the “Scuba Diving Forums and Communities” section of this guide.

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Buying Scuba Equipment

“Scuba” is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, so it follows that you need a significant amount of gear to do it. Not only does diving require the apparatus itself, but you’ll also need a mask, fins, weights, a buoyancy compensator and more. This section shows you how to evaluate scuba gear and where to find it.

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  • Although all the sites below allow you to buy gear online, you may not actually want to. Scuba gear can be cumbersome and your comfort will be a matter of personal taste. You may want to visit a store where you can try things on.
  • The diving magazines listed in the sections above are surefire sources for product reviews, especially when an item is first introduced on the market. Such magazines may also report on good dealers, or have recommendations from pros.
  • All the sites listed below make similar promises of “best price guarantee.” You can either find a site you like the best, or use all three. Since they’re discount sites, they might have different items in stock at different times.

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Scuba Diving Forums and Communities

Unless you live on the Great Barrier Reef, you probably can’t chat about diving with your coworkers. The sites below help you connect with other divers through online forums, blogs and community organizations.

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  • The news and magazine sites listed in the “Diving News” section of this guide are also helpful resources for connecting divers.
  • Looking for dive-related employment? Some of the community sites below are good places to look for job opportunities. Also consider contacting the career services sector of the organization that certified you.
  • Reading scuba blogs is a good way to stay connected, too. A search on TravelBlog, a general travel blog site, found a story of one man’s diving experience in the Channel Islands.

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