Getting your SCUBA diving certification: Equipment. Purchase or Rent?

Equipment is a huge part of getting your scuba diving certification. Many people ask if you need to purchase this equipment or if you can rent it. The truth is: You can do both! More than likely, your dive instructor will suggest that your purchase, at the very least, your own “personal equipment”. This will include your own mask, fins, snorkel, and boots. If you aren’t familiar with these terms, take a look at the picture below.

SCUBA equipment personal certification diving

Remeber to never refer to the fins as “flippers” or the mask as “goggles”. The main reason you should want your own personal gear for scuba diving certification is for comfort. Although the mask and snorkel is somewhat universal, everyone’s face is shaped differently. It is important to choose a mask that creates a good suction on your face when you inhale. Over the years, I have found one that fits the majority of people who try it on. Check out this scuba diving mask here.

You can also opt for a personal gear “set”. Check that out here.

The boots are usually made from a forgiving material called neoprene and come in standard american shoe sizes. The fins usually come in small, medium, and large. Some companies have extreme sizes, if needed. One thing to remember is that the fins are not supposed to fit sung like a tennis shoe. It is okay for them to be a little loose.

When it comes to the rest of the equipment needed for scuba diving certification, most people will rent this gear until they know they want to continue. The main reason for this is price. Although you can find a system for a couple hundred dollars, when you consider that this is your life support 60 feet underwater, most people tend to want the best gear they can afford. We are talking about the air delivery system, or SCUBA unit. Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Below is a picture of the gear:

SCUBA diving certification equipment

The last things that are almost ALWAYS rented are the air tanks and your weights. Unless you have access to a dive site in your backyard, most people usually have to travel to dive. Because the task of traveling with a SCUBA diving tank is unrealistic, dive centers around the world offer tanks and weights when you choose to dive with them. Surprisingly, once you have all your gear on and jump in the water, you will more than likely be positively buoyant (meaning you will float). In order for you to descend underwater, you will require additional weight. You will learn about this in your certification class. But, like the tanks, unless you are diving in your backyard, you will always rent the weight at your scuba diving destination. If you are interested in one of these sets, check them out here.

Here is a quick recap of all the equipment. It is labeled so you can know which piece is which.

scuba certification equipment

Here is a nice video that explains necessary SCUBA gear that is needed for certification diving.

Of course, it is completely up to you on whether or not you decide to rent or buy. Hope this helps! Comment below with questions or suggestions.

 

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Getting your SCUBA diving certification: Certification Process Experience.

People always ask me how I got my SCUBA diving certification. My experience begins about eight years ago at the end of my highschool career. I was looking for something unique, and this opportunity almost fell into my lap. I was able to spend a week in Roatan, Honduras completing my scuba diving certification and getting to experience the most beautful scenery I had ever been exposed to, both on land and underwater! From there, I was able to spend the next several years working for a marine biology camp. In return, I continued to gain valuable experience and knowledge on the sport. I reached instructor certification in 2009 and have been teaching entry level SCUBA diving certification classes ever since.

I have been fortunate to travel to several diving destinations in the western hemisphere. The last trip I took was the Cayman Brac and I stayed here. I absolutely loved it, but I would recomment this trip for the hardcore diver. Although there are a few other attractions, there isnt much. It is safe to say that people go here strictly to dive.

Another great diving destination is Costa Rica. If you are ever in Costa Rica, check out Rocket Frog divers!

Sometimes, people are looking for something different. Even though the Caribbean never gets old to me, some people have been there so often that they want to experience somthing different. I would bet that if you asked most people, they would agree that diving in the South Pacific would be high on their “bucket list”. If you are looking for an extreme SCUBA diving certification trip, check out House of SCUBA’s trip to the Philippines! The Philippines offers world class diving and the species underwater look so much different than the species we are used to seeing in the Caribbean.

Since my instructor certification, I continue to learn things about this interesting sport. Here is a good pic of me doing some SCUBA diving certifications with a student. I am on the right.

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Here is a video that will help you to understand.

I hope that these blogs are helping you to get a better understanding of the SCUBA diving certification process. My goal of this particular blog was to help ease your mind of any nervousness or anxiousness you may have about getting your certification. I hope you enjoyed it! Come back for more helpful info and insights.

 

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Getting your SCUBA Certification: Prices and Time Frame

Acquiring your scuba diving certification card does not have to be an overwhelming process. The first thing you should do is get in touch your local dive shop. A quick google search could locate one in your area. More than likely, the dive shop will offer scuba diving classes. In order to start the process, you can count on purchasing a “student kit”, which contains all of your study materials. Prices for these kits vary, but you can expect to spend roughly $100.00 USD for the kit.

Depending on how the local shop operates, you may be required to sign up and pay for the next step: your pool session. These classes are usually held over the weekend to accommodate people with jobs. Your circumstance may be different, depending on your schedule, and most instructors are willing to work with you in these situations. The price for this pool session varies drastically, but you can expect to pay between $200 USD and $500 USD for this portion of your certification.

The scuba store will usually have some sort of “certification trip” that it puts together so you can finish up the process. The price for this portion probably varies the most because there are so many variables. Location, transportation, entry fees, etc. will all affect how much you pay for these four dives. The cheapest you can get away with a certification trip would be around $200, but do not expect to pay this. For a decent “certification” trip, you should expect to spend about $500 USD.

Once you finish, you will receive a card similar to this one:

scuba diving certification card
scuba diving certification card

Timing is another issue that new divers worry about. If you had no other responsibilities to worry about and could focus solely on diving, you could be certified in four or five days. This is usually not very realistic, though. So the average time frame for people to get certified is two weekends. Assuming that you’ve read through your study materials, the first weekend would encompass the pool sessions. The second weekend would be your certification dives. Remember, these are just averages. Depending on the schedule of your instructor, time frames can vary from one extreme to the other. The most important thing to remember is that you should feel comfortable. If not, make sure you express how you’re feeling with your instructor.

If you would like additional information from a different, visit this scuba store’s site. Even if you do not live in San Diego, they have some great information to help you learn more. You may even come across some gear that you like.

If you have made up your mind already and are ready to get your student materials, go here for Scuba Schools International, here for NAUI, and here for PADI. You can begin the certification process today!

Stay tuned for more articles coming soon!

The video below is an excellent sneak peak of some of the major concepts you will be taught during the certification process. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of what to expect.

 

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