Frequently Asked Questions

So, you have decided you want to do something that is fun and exciting! You still are not sure what, but you are looking into this thing called SCUBA Diving. Well, let the staff here at The Dive Shop tell you what you will be missing if you decide to stay home and sit on the couch. The underwater world is one of the most beautiful things you will ever have a chance to experience. To watch a big grouper stop off at a cleaning station, to see the corals spawn, to see an octopus float across a reef, to see the wonderful colors of coral reefs, to see sharks swim gracefully through the water, to see eagle rays fly through the water, to swim with turtles, and most of all, to realize that there is a whole world below the surface just waiting for you to discover!

Still not sure? Well, stop by The Dive Shop and we will let you get started with breathing underwater for free. We will be more than happy to put you in a pool and let you see what SCUBA feels like. We do this with you so you are under the watchful eye of one of our professional scuba instructors. Now that you have seen and felt what SCUBA is like and are ready to go and discover pirate treasure, we will take you and teach you how to scuba dive safely. We want you to be a part of our family here at The Dive Shop. We want you to have a long relationship with us here at The Dive Shop. We don’t want to just certify you, sell you some gear, and then be done with you. We want you to continue to dive with us and share your experiences with all divers.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Just click the link to jump to the question you would like an answer to.

  1. Where Do I Start?
  2. What Certifying Agency Should I Go Through?
  3. What Is the Difference Between the Certifying Agencies?
  4. I Have a Very Busy Schedule and Am Unable to Make the Scheduled Class Times. Can I Still Get Certified?
  5. I Don’t Have Anybody to Take the Class With Me or to Go Diving With Me When I Get Certified. Can I Still Go Diving?
  6. Do I Need to Worry About Sharks?
  7. How Long Does It Take to Get Certified?
  8. Am I Required to Purchase My Equipment?
  9. Where Are the Certification Dives Conducted?
  10. How Many Dives Are Required for Certification?
  11. Can I Go Diving With the Shop After I Get Certified?
  12. What Do I Do If I Wear Eye Glasses or Contacts?
  13. What Do I Do If It Has Been A While Since I Have Been Diving?
  14. Can I Rent SCUBA Gear?
  15. How Old Do You Have to Be to Take SCUBA Diving Lessons?
  16. What Kind of Physical Shape Do I Have to Be in to SCUBA Dive?
  17. Do You Offer Private Lessons?
  18. Can I Hang Out at the Shop?

Where Do I Start?

Well, first you should be comfortable with your dive shop as you will be spending a lot of time at your dive shop. Whether you are taking one of the many classes we offer or just hanging out talking diving, it should be a place you want to go. The next step is to sign up for your Basic SCUBA Diver Course. Here is where you start to learn how to SCUBA dive and to be able to do it safely.

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What Certifying Agency Should I Go Through?

Well, here at The Dive Shop, we offer courses through NAUI, IANTD, and PADI. A certification card through any of these agencies will allow you to go dive anywhere in the world. Here at The Dive Shop, we are primarily a NAUI facility. We use IANTD for the technical courses we offer.

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What Is the Difference Between the Certifying Agencies?

NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) has been teaching the world to dive safely since 1959. As the largest non-profit and most respected dive training and certifying organization in the world, NAUI offers a full range of training programs, from Skin Diver through Instructor Course Director, with dozens of specialty courses. NAUI’s global reputation for the best in training and educational products reflects its core values of quality dive training through education. Many organizations specifically choose NAUI for their diver education programs, including Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida; United States Navy SEAL Teams; and NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas, where astronauts train for their space walks. NAUI also has long been respected for having the highest training standards in the recreational diving industry.

IANTD (International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers) is the only EANx (enriched air nitrox) agency that offers training in all aspects of EANx through continuing education programs. This allows you to expand your knowledge and training with the top professionals in the field. IANTD instructors are well trained, highly experienced, and extremely qualified. IANTD Standards and Procedures provide the highest level of EANx education and training available. IANTD (IAND, Inc.) was founded by Dick Rutkowski, the former supervisor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Mr. Rutkowski introduced the recreational diving community to the technology of EANx. This program was developed though NOAA during his tenure. IANTD became the first to offer training programs in all aspects of technical diving (Advanced Nitrox, Deep Air, Technical Diver, Cave and Wreck Penetration, Normoxic Trimix, Trimix, Rebreathers, etc.).

PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the largest certifying agency in the world. The goal of PADI is to give more people a chance to enjoy the underwater world by offering relevant, instructionally-valid scuba diver training to create confident scuba divers who dive regularly. They do this with education materials by breaking down their scuba courses into smaller courses. PADI was one of the first to mass produce education materials for scuba divers.

The bottom line is that it really does not matter which agency you choose to take your scuba instruction through. They all offer different approaches to allow you to be able to explore the underwater world. All agencies have to teach to the minimum standards set forth by the ISO. Some agencies choose to teach the minimum and some increase over the minimum. What is much more important is the knowledge that the instructor has and that he or she is someone that will be patient with you, can create an environment which allows you to learn, and is able to make that learning fun. You can cross between the different agencies until you decide you want to become a professional. Here at The Dive Shop, we have looked at different agencies and we like NAUI the best. We also understand that not everybody is the same or learns in the same way, so we have taken a different approach and can teach in many different ways. Although we prefer NAUI, we don’t teach an agency, we teach SCUBA Diving!

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I Have a Very Busy Schedule and Am Unable to Make the Scheduled Class Times. Can I Still Get Certified?

Yes! We are flexible and believe that if you want to learn to scuba dive, we will work around your schedule, and soon you will be experiencing the underwater world.

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I Don’t Have Anybody to Take the Class With Me or to Go Diving With Me When I Get Certified. Can I Still Go Diving?

We always dive with a buddy. A part of diving is meeting new people and experiencing new journeys. We are always going diving somewhere and we encourage new and experienced divers to tag along. When we go to do certification dives, you are welcome to tag along as it is also a chance to build your confidence and there will be an instructor around if you have any questions.

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Do I Need to Worry About Sharks?

There a few million dives per year with less than two fatal accidents because of shark attack. Deaths caused by lightning strikes are much more likely. There’s no need to talk about deaths caused by car accidents, but every day we drive a car not fearing death, right? You should consider yourself lucky if you get a chance to see a shark. They are more fearful of us than we are of them.

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How Long Does It Take to Get Certified?

It can be done in as short as two weekends. We also offer longer programs as we feel you are a much better diver if you are not rushed through a program. Here at The Dive Shop, we are more interested in making divers comfortable in the water over collecting money. We will work with you for as long as it takes.

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Am I Required to Purchase My Equipment?

No. The only thing we ask is that you have your own mask, snorkel, fins, and booties. We recommend owning your own mask, snorkel, and fins because we want you to feel comfortable in the water. These items are things you can use even if you are not SCUBA diving. The most important piece of equipment you will buy is your mask. After all, you are going underwater to see this new world. You will be wearing these items for extended periods of time, so you want them to be comfortable.

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Where Are the Certification Dives Conducted?

We use different locations depending on the time of year. Mostly we will go to fresh water springs, Panama City, Destin, Pompano, and the Florida Keys.

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How Many Dives Are Required for Certification?

Depending on the agency, it can be as few as four (requires 2 days of diving). We also offer programs requiring more, as we want to make sure you are comfortable with your new equipment.

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Can I Go Diving With the Shop After I Get Certified?

We encourage you to tag along with us whenever we go diving. The more divers there are the more fun we have. It also helps new divers build their confidence as there are instructors around if you have any questions or concerns.

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What Do I Do If I Wear Eye Glasses or Contacts?

If you wear soft contact lenses, you shouldn’t have problems wearing them when you dive. If you wear hard lenses, you’ll want the gas permeable type for diving. See your eye doctor about these if you don’t have them now. Another option is to have prescription lenses put into your mask. Stop in and talk to our professional instructors for the option that would be best for you.

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What Do I Do If It Has Been A While Since I Have Been Diving?

We offer refresher courses to get you back up to speed. If it has been several years, you should take the course again as things are always changing.

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Can I Rent SCUBA Gear?

Yes. We offer a full line of SCUBA gear for rent. You can rent by the day or by the week.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Take SCUBA Diving Lessons?

We can start you off as young as 10 years old.

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What Kind of Physical Shape Do I Have to Be in to SCUBA Dive?

Generally speaking, anyone in average health, who can swim, and is at least 10 years old can participate. As a precaution, you’ll be asked to complete a routine medical questionnaire. If anything on the questionnaire indicates something to be cautious about, you’ll need to check with your physician to make sure it’s acceptable to dive. If you have any questions, please stop by The Dive Shop and talk with one of our professional instructors.

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Do You Offer Private Lessons?

Yes. We can meet any schedule you have. Stop by The Dive Shop for more information.

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Can I Hang Out at the Shop?

Sure. Stop by just to talk diving if you would like. We want you to think of The Dive Shop as your shop.

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