I recently accompanied a friend of mine to our local scuba shop. Side note- if you’re in the Oklahoma City area check out Blue Water, they are a great and knowledgable crew. Anyways, she did a discover scuba dive in Fiji on our recent vacation (check out her blog to hear more about the experience) and decided she officially wanted to get certified. Of course, I’ve spent a year trying to convince her, and now she is finally committed! One of the first questions she asked was, ok I want to get certified, now what? This was also a question I first asked along with, what are the initial scuba diving costs? This blog is to help breakdown what you can expect with your certification and beyond.
The first step is going to a dive shop. A good dive shop will walk you through everything you need to know, but it can be a little intimidating. Luckily for me, we had an experienced friend with us during our initial visit who helped us navigate through the requiremens. There are a few pieces of equipment that you’ll need, along with the class fee.
1. Class Fee- $300:This is the typical fee, though prices may vary. It will include classwork, an instructor, the pool dives and the open water dives. You can get exact prices from your dive shop and the prices may vary based on location. Typically, certification will include most of the gear except fins, snorkle, and mask. Again, this may vary by location.
2. Mask $80-$150: A good mask is essential to a pleasant dive and will most likely be the first piece of equipment that you purchase. When I first picked my mask, I tried every mask on in the shop before determining which one I wanted. There are a ton of styles and different fits and preferences. I could write a whole blog on finding the perfect mask, but the dive shop will be able assist you with this. The most important thing I will say, is that don’t just go for the cheapest option because it’s cheap, make sure it fits well. Also know, that just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it’s not a good option. Fit is the most crucial thing here and trust me, you don’t want to have to be clearing your mask every few minutes during a dive!
3. Fins $80-$300: There is a wide price difference between the types of fins you can buy. Depending on the type of dives and locations will determine what type of fins you’ll want to purchase. Some fins will require booties which will be an added cost. If you plan to do dives in warm water, off a boat, then fins with booties may not be worth the investment. But if you plan to do lake dives, shore dives or cold water dives booties can come in very handy. They will protect the bottoms of your feet when walking and also keep them warm. For my first fins, I purchased booties and fins that required a boot. But I do live in Oklahoma, so lake diving is pretty common when I can’t get to the ocean.
4. Snorkel: Prices vary on snorkels, but you will be required to have one during training. I don’t have much to add about snorkels, you don’t use them frequently when diving, but they are an important part of your gear. You’ll also be required to utilize during your open water training so make sure you’re comfortable with it.
5. Travel to Dive Site: This will also vary based on your location. Since I live in Oklahoma, our group travelled to a lake that has a scuba park. Since this is about 3 hours outside the city, we rented a cabin for all of us to stay in. A lot of scuba parks will have some type of ‘entrance fee’ that most likely won’t be covered by your initial charge. It was relatively cheap, but traveling to an open water destination can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. There is some flexibilty of the open water dives. For example, you could finish the coursework online or at your local dive shop. Then do your open water dives while on vacation in the ocean.
Buy Before you Dive
There are also some optional things to consider purchasing before your first dive. While these are optional, I strongly recommend them. Especially if you plan to continue diving after your certifcation.
1. Ear solution <$10 at your local Pharmacy: Incase you forgot, scuba diving means you’re completely submerged underwater. So make sure you take care of those ears, you don’t want them hurting on your second day of diving.
2. Wet suit or dive skin of some type $50+- Renting a wet suit is usually an easy option, but you may want to consider purchasing your own. There are two types of divers; those that pee in their suits and tell the truth and those who pee in their suits and lie about it. You do the math there 😉
3. Water Proof bag <$40 (prices and sizes may vary)- Seems simple enough, but you’d me amazed how many phones get ruined during a dive excursion!
4. Dive Book <$30- You’ll want to start logging all of your dives and the best way to do that is by purchasing your own dive book. There are a lot of options out there and you can be creative!
Every dive shop is going to have different packages. It’s important to know what is and is not covered with your certification package beforer signing on the dotted line. If you’re concerned about spending all of the money before you’ve tried it, ask the dive shop if they do any discover scuba events. One of the local dive shops in town has a discover scuba event every few months in their pool. It’s a great way to get to experience what it’s like to breathe underwater, without the initial investment. You can also do like my friend and do a discover scuba while on your next vacation. I don’t think you’ll regret it!