Your PADI Open Water course not only teaches you how to dive, but it also sets the foundation for years of safe and enjoyable scuba diving. But how do you choose the right dive centre for your first scuba course? Here’s a guide to help you decide.
Whether you’ll do your PADI Open Water course while on vacation, or during your weekends at home, there are three things you need to think about when evaluating a dive centre: Safety, Equipment and Enjoyment. If possible, try to visit the dive centre personally before signing up.
Keeping you safe throughout your training should be the dive centre’s first priority. Is the centre well-organised and efficiently staffed, or is the team overloaded and poorly coordinated? Is everyone professionally trained for the jobs they are doing, such as driving the boat? Are basic safety procedures being followed or can you spot any potential hazards? Safety is an attitude, and you will intuitively feel safe (or not) as soon as you walk in. Just remember if the environment doesn’t feel safe, then your training will not be safe either.
You have to be properly equipped for the five pool and four open water training dives during your PADI Open Water course. Your scuba gear must not only be well-maintained but must also be the correct size for your body. Learning how to dive in scuba gear that doesn’t work well or fit well is not only frustrating but also dangerous. Ensure the dive centre offers students properly maintained equipment in various sizes. Look out for signs of unhygienic practices and poor maintenance. Never use any scuba gear which appears to be damaged or faulty.
Your PADI Open Water course should be an exciting and unforgettable experience. Your dive centre must create a fun yet safe environment for you and your fellow students. First, the facilities should be adequate: comfortable classrooms, clean swimming pools and relaxation areas. Next, there should be a variety of dive sites, well suited for beginners with plenty of marine life for you to see. Finally, the vibe should be all about having fun while learning new things! You can tell a lot about a dive centre from the photos it posts it shares on social media. Online reviews say a lot too. Do your research before you sign up to make sure you have a great time!