Learn To Dive: All about Getting Your Scuba Diving Certification Needs
Scuba diving is one of the many great spare time activities, especially in the US because of its many great diving sites. As the country has a long coastline on east and west, there are plenty of places to choose from if you are considering picking up a new hobby and learn to dive.
This article is about saltwater diving as it is easier to start in the ocean, but there are many offshore diving options all over the country as well such as lakes or caves.
The first part of the article is about all you need to know if you want to learn to dive and how to get yourselves prepared beforehand.
The second part you can find recommendations for some great diving holiday destinations.
The Process of Learning to Dive – Useful Facts
Scuba certification within a week
It doesn't actually take as long to get your scuba certification as you may think. Many holiday resorts in the country offer open water diver courses onsite in holiday packages that normally take 3 to 5 days.
You can shorten the duration of the course if you choose one where you can learn the theory online before arriving at your resort. These courses are called PADI courses, and many resorts offer them so that you can enjoy more time in the water instead of the classrooms.
Scuba diving certification under $500
The price of the courses depend on where you take them, but you can get pretty good deals if you choose a holiday package at a divers resort.
If you choose wisely, you can get your scuba diving certification for as much as $100, but they rarely cost more than $500 anywhere. Bear in mind however that renting or buying diving gear will also cost you a few hundred dollars.
Are you healthy to dive?
Scuba diving isn't necessarily the sport that requires outstanding stamina, but you will need to be generally healthy.
In most places they ask you to complete a medical test before your course where they ask several questions about potential health issues and risks such as pregnancy, whether you're taking prescription drugs, respiratory problems, panic attacks, head injuries, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, ear problems and drug use.
If you have any of these conditions you still may be able to dive, but it's important to discuss the risks with a doctor even if your chosen diver course doesn't require you show medical evidence of your health.
The full list of the scuba diving health test questions is available with a quick internet search. Apart from all these, you also need to be a relatively confident swimmer.
Match your diving experience with the right diving spots
It is very important especially for beginners to only participate in scuba diving trips that suit your level. Do not try to go diving without proper training to save money, or go on trips that are too advanced for your diving level because you can get into serious danger.
If you're a beginner, always dive with a qualified instructor until you have received your scuba diving certification, learned the basics and can use your skills steadily.
Three Great Places for Open Water Diving in the US
There are several places for scuba diving in the USA, both for saltwater diving and offshore and the three places listed below are among the most popular.
It's worth getting your certification at a site where diving thrives because you will have plenty of options to find the open water diving course that is the most suitable to you and a large number of resorts offering courses keep the prices down.
Here are three places to look if you want to learn to dive.
1. Key Largo, Florida
Key Largo in Florida is such a popular scuba diving spot that it has the largest number of diver shops in the country. It is also very easily accessible as it's located an hour drive away from Miami International Airport. It has a huge variety of divers resorts that offer holiday packages with diver courses around $200-300 for two for 3 to 5 days.
Diving is relatively easily here because the water is quite shallow with little movement. Diving from the shore is not possible however so you will have to take boat trips to dive.
When diving at Key Largo, make sure to visit the beautiful coral reefs at John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park.
Hawaii offers many lovely diving sites on all of its islands, a lot of them perfectly suitable for beginner divers while others are strictly for the advanced.
The downside to Hawaii though is that getting there can be very costly (ticket prices with Hawaiian Airlines from California to Oahu start at $400) but on the flipside, the holiday resorts have diver package deals for around $100-200.
There are also loads of other things to do in Hawaii apart from scuba diving, such as surfing, swimming, snorkeling and a wide range of cultural and recreational activities thanks to its thriving tourism.
3. Monterey Bay, California
Monterey Bay in north California is not for beginners, but once you got your scuba diving certification and developed your skills to a more advanced level, this is the diving spot in the US you definitely need to visit.
The fascinating kelp forest is one of the main attractions in the area. However, you must visit it accompanied by a trained guide as it can actually be very dangerous if you get lost.
You will also have to be prepared for the cold water (it's usually around 50 degrees) so you will have to wear a wetsuit, or even a drysuit if the temperature drops.
Resorts are not very common in the area but there are loads of diver shops as the sport originates from California. This significantly cuts down on the costs so once you gained proficiency in scuba diving, Monterey Bay is probably one of your best destinations for your diving holiday with its stunning sites and affordable holiday rentals.
If you are determined enough to pick up a new sport and learn to dive and you have the necessary few hundred dollars that it takes, you have plenty of choice in the US with the huge number of resorts offering a scuba diving certification and the great diving spots along the shore.
Learning the basics will only take you a couple of days and from then on you opened up a lot of possibilities for adventure and found a great holiday activity that never gets boring.
What was your experience with your diving course? We love to hear from you.