HOW DO I CHOOSE A DIVE SHOP?
HOW DO I CHOOSE A DIVE SHOP? You’ve decided to suss out the underwater world with scuba diving but you’re unsure where to start? We’ve put together some advice to make choosing the right dive center easier for you. Often popular dive destinations are full of dive shops which can make it pretty overwhelming to choose who to dive with. Although it might be easier to just pick the first place you see, it’s always a good idea to choose carefully. Let us explain why
DIVE SHOP SAFETY SHOULD I PICK THE CHEAPEST DIVE SHOP?
Safety comes first right? Yes. Most definitely yes. Always. Diving is not a sport you want to mess around with. But how do I know which dive shop is the safest? Keep in mind that cheapest doesn’t always mean the safest – diving is quite an expensive sport.
DIVE SHOP STANDARDS
Any shop can say that safety is a number one priority, that’s easy. But make sure they show it too. Examples of what you’re looking for may include how many people per dive guide. Is their ratio of 4:1 or is it 6:1? We offer a maximum ratio of 4 people per guide or instructor, so you’ll definitely be looked after both below and above the surface. We ensure you feel comfortable before you step foot in the water and after you step at the end of the day. We’ll be with you every step of the way. Simply ask them what their standard procedures are. You could even inquire about what happens should an emergency occur (it’ll show they’re prepared and organised). Ideally, they will give you a detailed description of their protocol, if it seems to be a flimsy response… well, then you know. Make sure you also check that they have emergency oxygen and first aid kit on their boats – just general safe diving standards. At our dive shop we always make sure to point out where it’s located in our dive briefing in case of an emergency.
A dive shop’s safety also includes the proper maintenance of their equipment. You do not want to go diving if your equipment is faulty… that will definitely not end well. Tanks should be visually inspected annually and hydrostatically tested every 5 years. Simply ask the dive shop, they should be happy to answer this question, and if they’re not, then that’s a little bit suss and we’d advise you to not dive with them. Another way is to just look at the dates on the tank. Always check the tank before going diving. If you’re not sure how to, ask your guide or instructor to show you where the dates are – it should only take a second!
Find out if their standard procedures comply with the overseeing dive organisation’s rules (PADI, SSI etc). There are several different diving organisations with PADI and SSI being the most common worldwide. Don’t worry, this shouldn’t add difficulty to the choosing of your dive shop. They set the standards for diving safety across the world to ensure that dive shops and divers follow these standards to ensure everyone’s safety.
IS THE DIVE SHOP ONLINE?
Alright, now that you know the dive shop is safe, let’s see what the shop is actually like! It would be unusual if the dive shop didn’t have an online presence as social media is a great platform to reach a lot of people. A lot.
Check out their social media as it gives you an insight into the day to day life of the shop. By seeing this you’re able to get a feel for the shop. Are they active on Facebook and respond to comments regularly? Do they have an Instagram account? Do they post Instagram Stories? It’s great if they have stories as they’re able to show you what’s happening at that point in time! You can easily see what we’re up to by visiting our Facebook or follow our Instagram! We’re even on Twitter.
Do they have reviews on TripAdvisor? Or even Facebook? If so, what are they like? Read both the good and bad ones. Let’s be realistic, how many places have you come across that didn’t have at least a few bad comments? It’s completely normal – you can’t please everyone! But have a look at how management has responded to the negative comments because this will give you an idea of how the dive shop treats their customers. Did they handle it politely or were they upset and rude? If a shop is to be professional, they definitely shouldn’t be calling out their customers.
ASK PEOPLE ABOUT THE DIVE SHOP
A great way to obtain more information about your destination and dive shop is to ask people! Friends, family, and those in the wider community.
JOIN ONLINE DIVE COMMUNITIES
If you have questions for people that have already been there, then join some diving forums. There are plenty going around on Facebook. Joining online communities is a great way to gain information as they can offer you insight about your destination/dive shop and often you’ll receive extra tips too which is a bonus! Plus, being apart of a diving community means you can keep up with the latest news – also a bonus.
ASK THE DIVE SHOP
If you’re still struggling to find the right answers, then simply ask the dive shop! The only silly question is the one you didn’t ask! Plus, if they take the time to answer all your questions it shows you that they’re willing to invest their time in their customers – something you want your shop to do! We’re always happy to answer any questions you have, whether it be in person, email or through our social media accounts, so please feel free to ask.
VISIT THE DIVE SHOP
If you’re already in the location, the best way to choose a dive shop if to take a look around. This makes choosing your dive shop so much easier! Go for a walk around the town and start conversations! Can anyone, locals, expats or tourists, recommend the best dive shops? Being able to visit the dive shops allows you to get a feel for the shop, see what the vibe is like and whether you like it or not. Go ahead and talk to the staff there, are they friendly and welcoming? You’ll also be able to see whether the shop itself is well maintained, is it clean and up to date? Not only will you be able to check out the dive shop itself, but you’re likely to meet some current customers. No better way to get current reviews than by talking to the guests already there. Ask them about their experience, why they chose this shop, are they enjoying it? If there’s one thing that divers love talking about,
THE GUT FEELING
Honestly, just trust your gut. If you’re not digging the vibe of a dive shop, then don’t choose it. Pick a dive shop based on where YOU feel most comfortable, where you feel safest and most welcome! After all, you’re the one who’s going to be spending your time there – no point choosing a dive shop you don’t feel comfortable at. Invest your time and money wisely!
At our dive shop, we’re happy to say that we tick all of these boxes!
OUR DIVE SHOP’S FAMILY
We’re not just a dive shop. We’re a family. From the moment you walk in you’re greeted with smiles and a helping hand. Instantly, you become apart of our team and are guaranteed to share in a few laughs. Our team are here to ensure your experience is an exciting and memorable one by treating you as if we’ve been good friends for years! Our dive shop will be your very own home away from home.