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Old 10-31-2015, 10:20 AM   #1
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Diving lessons

My son Gabe (19) and I had enjoyed an "introduction to diving" trip in Cozumel several years ago and are interested in getting certified in the spring. He's in Jacksonville, I'm in Biloxi. Would love some suggestions about doing this, and it would probably easier for me to go to Florida for us to take lessons at the same time. I'm also interested in best equipment to purchase/ maintain and best equipment to rent as needed. Future plans are not firm- but hopefully will include some Caribbean fun while cruising there. As always- thanks for the input.

Disclaimer- would have posted this in "Off the Deep End", but apparently I don't qualify to post there.... Click image for larger version

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1983 Present 42 Sundeck
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:41 AM   #2
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Maybe things have changed since I got certified, but at least years ago each certifying entity had a distinctly different approach, emphasizing different things. Choose the one that is right for you. Also, consider private lessons. As for equipment, in addition to mask, snorkle and fins, I think it makes a lot of sense from a safety perspective to buy your own regulator, BC, and dive computer. Its nice to have your own wet suit (if necessary) and weight belt so dial it in once and then always dive with the right amount of weight.
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:55 AM   #3
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I'd look into getting PADI certified in St. Augustine. There are a couple of dive shops available plus the area has a lot of history. You won't be bored, that's for sure.
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:22 AM   #4
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Forklift, sounds like a good excuse for a Keys vacation! No shortage of dive schools there.
Stop in and say hello as you head to the Keys.
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:54 AM   #5
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Forky, OTDE is an opt-in choice for all, but you have to opt-in to gain access and posting privileges. But that's for the really off the wall stuff. You might be thinking of posting this in Off Topic which is regular stuff that's not directly Trawler related. Anyone can post there.

If you want this thread moved there, I can move it. But it's just fine here, too. Your call.
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:52 PM   #6
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Google dive shops in the Keys and South Florida as a start. The quality of the instructor is more important than which agentcy they are with.

Then go ask your questions on one of the larger scuba forums.

http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/forum.php

As to equipment. Most any of the large brand names make good equipment. Personally I like Scuba Pro and Apex for regs. And Halcyon and Oxycheq for back plates and wings.

Look at used equipment as well. Is not uncommon for people to get into diving, buy a lot of equipment and then get out of diving before they have put many dives on their gear.

Rental equipment can be a crap shoot. I prefer to travel with my own gear.
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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Oh, and you can do most of the courses online now. Do your pool dives in your home area and then do your open water dives somewhere else together.
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:00 PM   #8
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One more thing. The performance/reliability benefits of the highest quality, most expensive equipment is realized only at extreme (in the recreational world) depths (because air gets very thick at those depths). If your dives are limited to 60 feet (or even 100, or 130, feet based on my limited experience at those depths), you will never notice the benefits of the really high-end equipment. And for what it is worth, I always target about 60 feet or less, since below that depth (recreationally) interesting life begins to diminish rapidly due to diminished light. Another reason to limit the depth of your dives is that it is nice to know that at any time you can surface without another breath of air and without a deco stop.
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:37 PM   #9
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Ex dive instructor here Find a private certified instructor for one on one instruction not a PADI 20 per class type dive school that will certify anyone willing to pay and look around for second hand equipment then have it serviced buy a good technician most problems and faults I have come across is from NEW equipment. The drop out rate of divers is on a average of 6 to 10 dives then sell there near new gear . There's nothing on the market or manufactures in terms of gear thats not suitable or safe to use its all personal choice to how good you want look on the surface fish don't care
I now use a simple electric hookah and enjoy 10 to 15 foot dives for 30 minutes just as much as 5 minutes 60 100' dives.

And remember the best equipment you can have is a good dive buddy $4000 worth of gear wont save you when poo hits the fan
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:25 PM   #10
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We all know it was the damn auto correct, but come on, someone must have a joke for "electric hooker".
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:24 PM   #11
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Been a dive instructor for 35 years. Great deal has changed in that time regarding instruction, much not for the better. What will make you a good diver is time in the water. A certification class and check out dives are barely more than a license to learn. My recommendation is to take private classes (pool work and check out dives) if that is within your budget. Most agencies do online learning for the book work portion. Interview the instructor. You want to be comfortable and confident that you all will be compatible. Plan your qualification dives to be immediately followed by four or five days of diving. Nothing makes you more proficient after taking the class than spending a number of days doing what you have learned. Do not take another class, do some fun diving to solidify what you have learned.

Regarding training agencies, padi has some of the absolute worst instructors. They also have some very good ones. The point is that the training agency has almost no value in your instruction. It is the instructor who will be good or poor and like wise will make you a good or poor diver. Find out how long the instructor has been teaching, how long he has been diving, does he actually dive (for fun) outside of teaching. Simply, find someone who is passionate about their hobby and also teaches it.

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Old 11-01-2015, 12:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
We all know it was the damn auto correct, but come on, someone must have a joke for "electric hooker".
Joke!? Are kidding me? They're the wave of the future. Just ask the Energizer Bunny. Just charge them up and they keep going and going and.........
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Old 11-01-2015, 02:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
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We all know it was the damn auto correct, but come on, someone must have a joke for "electric hooker".
Wifey B: I would have, but I just didn't get the vibe.
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Old 11-01-2015, 02:07 AM   #14
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Who is Wifey B:???
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Wifey B: I would have, but I just didn't get the vibe.

Come on now......


1983 Present 42 Sundeck
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:02 AM   #16
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Bill and Wifey B, I knew you guys wouldn't let me down!
I see the spelling has been corrected. Too bad.

Gaston, Wifey B is the much better half of BandB.
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:05 AM   #17
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HopCar, just remember, the passion of an electric hooker diminishes with the length and guage of the extension cord!
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:10 AM   #18
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I think I'm sorry I started this.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:23 AM   #19
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I think I'm sorry I started this.
Hahahaha!
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:34 AM   #20
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Great advice given here. A couple more ideas to consider:

Avoid resort courses- expensive and IMO only focused in emptying your wallet.

Buy only your personal gear at first (mask, fins, snorkel). Experiment with suits, tank configurations, etc before you commit hard money to the sport.

Get in the water as much as you can, and in different areas (tropical, cold water, saltwater and freshwater).

Have fun!
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