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Training Agencies - Do They Matter?

There are over 100 different recognized SCUBA Training Agencies worldwide.  While they may all have different training philosophies, training methods, and recognition levels, they all equally recognize each other and the certifications affiliated with them. 

So how do you choose? The answer is you don't. The agency itself does not matter. What does matter, is the quality of the instructor and the dive operator. Their experience, knowledge, and dedication to you and your training is what matters most.


Waivers, Forms, Oh My!

No matter where you go, there will always be paperwork to fill out. This will include:

  • Liability Waivers 

  • Privacy Notices

  • Risk Awareness Forms

  • Medical Questionnaire: Forms 1 & Forms 2

The Medical Questionnaire is one of the most important forms you will fill out and often requires the most followup. Before starting any new activity, it's wise to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it's safe for you.


Home Study

SCUBA diving is unlike any other sport. It is one of the few sports that you are required to mentally and physically prepare to explore an alien environment. Think of it like beginner space exploration, except underwater.

This will require roughly 4 to 5 hours, covering 6 chapters, of either online reading or book work. We recommend the online option as it can test you on each chapter and the instructor can verify your knowledge review, meaning less lecture.


Academic Review

After reading through all the course materials, students participate in an academic review session. Regardless of what you've read online, every quality instructor or dive operator conducts this session to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the materials before entering the water.


An active review session is highly effective because it allows you to apply what you've learned in a theoretical context to your diving. This preparation is essential for your upcoming pool sessions.


Pool Sessions & Training

This is where your real training begins. In the next set of pool session you will

  • develop comfort in the water through basic snorkeling skills

  • learn the operations and function of the SCUBA equipment

  • practice basic SCUBA skills in the shallow end

  • develop neutral buoyancy and comfort breathing underwater

  • practice self rescue and basic rescue skills

  • plus much, much more


Ocean Certification Dives

Upon completion of your pool sessions, and after demonstrating adequate comfort and proficiency underwater, will you be able to participate in the ocean certification dives. The final step to your certification process.

The Ocean Certification consists of 4 dives, conducted over 2 consecutive days, where you will apply the skills learned in the pool to the ocean open water. Additionally you will practice basic underwater navigation and work with a dive buddy to plan and execute your dives under the supervision of your instructor.

We hold these dives over a weekend in the beautiful kelp forests of Monterey Bay, CA. California diving offers an extra level of challenge that prepares you to dive more proficiently and confidently across the majority of the globe. Recognition of completing your certification in California is a true testament to your diving skills.


The Universal Referral Program

Do you have a trip already planned or prefer to finish in the crystal blue waters of the tropics? The Universal Referral Program is designed to allow you to do just that.

Through the assistance of your instructor or dive operator, they will give you a Universal Referral Form which demonstrates your qualifications and completion of the academic and pool portions of your training.

The referral process can be tricky - beware instructors or operators who try to sell you "their" learning materials as a way to process your certification. Consult with one of our travel experts if you need assistance in navigating this process.


Average Cost Breakdown

Now for the big question - How much will this cost me?

Be aware of hidden fees. SCUBA diving is not a cheap sport.

*The costs here are averages only. Some instructors and dive operators are cheaper and some are more expensive. Consult with the instructor and Dive Shop about all costs involved*

Training Agency: Academics, Online & Offline Access, Digital Log Book, Training Agency App, User Profile, Certification Processing Fees

- $75 to $200

Training Fees: Classroom Time, Pool Training Sessions, and SCUBA Equipment Rentals

- $400 to $700

Ocean Certification: 4 Ocean Dives & SCUBA Equipment Rentals

- $200 to $400

Universal Referral Dives: 4 Ocean Dives & SCUBA Equipment Rentals

- $200 to $1,000 *The more remote the location the more expensive it can be*

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