Dive Smart, Dive Safe
Curiosity and a thirst for adventure is why many choose to scuba dive in the first place. Whether you are taking the plunge for first time or are a seasoned diver, you are not going to dive with just anyone.
You may have “shopped around” and compared the costs of different dive centers/ resorts, but remember price is not the only thing you should be concerned about. You definitely don’t want to get on the crowded “tea-bag diving boats” or deal with the bad air boogeyman.
Before choosing to dive with a particular center/ resort, it is imperative to ask them a few probing questions, which increases trust, credibility, and rapport.
Here are some questions that you need to ask!
Is your dive center/ resort (not one or two of your instructors) affiliated to any of the international diving certification agencies like PADI, SSI, BSAC, NAUI, CMAS etc. If yes, which one?
To confirm, look it up online. You will be able to find your dive centre on the affiliated agency website.
What is the qualification of the person taking you underwater?
By international standards, you should not be taken underwater by anyone below an Instructor rating. Open water divers, Advanced Open Water Divers, Rescue divers or Dive masters who do not have a DSD leader rating shouldn’t be conducting dive programs for uncertified divers.
Will you be trained in a confined water environment before they take you diving in the sea?
Ideally you should be trained in a shallow water environment such as a lagoon or swimming pool where you are able to stand and also clearly see your instructor underwater.
How deep will I dive and how long will my dive last?
Beginners can dive up to 12 meters for up to 40 minutes. Many dive centers may just take you up to 3 meters for about 10 minutes and get you back to the surface. Make sure you enquire these things beforehand so that you are not in for any nasty surprises later.
What gear do you provide and when was the dive center compressor filter changed?
Most dive centers/resorts will provide all the gear that you need, including the weights. Also, they should be able to quickly provide proof of the gear’s servicing.
Coming to the compressor, it fills air in the scuba tanks that you breathe from. It is the heart of every dive centerand the most important machine/equipment there is. The filters must be changed after every 4 hours of operation (which varies from model to model) which literally means every few days or once a week depending on the bookings.
If the filter hasn’t been changed for months or a year or worse still in years, you know you are breathing bad air. A proper dive center should have a compressor log book to keep track of running and filter changes. If they cannot show you a log book – DON’T DIVE WITH THEM!
Are first-aid and medical supplies available on the dive boat?
All dive boats should carry oxygen, life jackets and basic safety aids. Make sure, you’re aware of their location at the start of the trip.
Where is the nearest recompression center?
The dive center/resort should know the location of the nearest recompression chambers. In other words, you should know how quickly they plan to get you there in case of any mishap.
Are there any risks involved with travelling post your dive?
The dive center/resort should inform you that you are not supposed to fly for at least 12 hours after you dive (if you are doing just one shallow dive as a novice) or at least 18 to 24 hours (if you are doing multiple dives on the same day, for a certification course, or back to back diving over several days,as a certified diver)
The last thing you want to be worried about when venturing out on your dive trip is whether there will be any unexpected surprises or not.
Walk away from the dive center/ resort if:
The instructor isn’t certified or the instructor is not the one taking you underwater
You are not offered confined water training before your dive.
The rental gear is not well-maintained.
The staff is unenthusiastic about their local dive sites.
One of their divers tells you about a bad experience.
You just have a bad feeling because the center seems like crowded bus station, and/or unprofessional overall.
Remember your life is worth more than a few saved bucks and a free beer.
An easy way to find a great dive center/resort is to simply visit PADI’s Dive Shop locator. Just as scuba divers must earn PADI certifications, PADI Retail and Resort Members earn the right to fly the PADI flag. Dive centers that fail to adhere to standards have their credentials revoked.
Dive operators that go above and beyond are awarded Five Star status and may receive additional recognition as an Instructor Development Center. Look for PADI 5* rated Dive centers to get the best Dive Experience.YOUR Dive Centre, Scuba Evolution India has been awarded the PADI 5Star Dive Resort status for its excellent dive services.