Dive centers to do your first Scuba course
Choosing a dive shop to do your PADI Courses can easily seem like a jungle. And it is. We have put some of our thoughts down on our blog. What you need to be aware of before choosing a place who will teach you to dive. We will try to break it down, so you can find the best dive shops in the Philippines or other places in asia. What should you look for, and be aware of before deciding a dive center.
If you are looking to do your first course like the PADI Open water. There are tons of things that you won’t have a clue about. If you are looking for a place to continue you dive education as for example doing your PADI Advanced Open Water. Maybe you are thinking of doing your PADI Rescue diver? Or even you might even be far enough to begin the biggest adventure of them all and become and become a PADI professional, with the PADI Divemaster program.
PADI Open Water learning to dive in Philippines
The PADI Open Water course is where you learn to dive, and is by far one of your most important courses of them all. It is where you will learn all the basic theory of diving, and it is very important that you understand all of it. It is also a course where you by the end should have an idea of handling your buoyancy. Monitoring your own air consumption. Being able to plan your own dives, and understand the theory behind the dive tables. So you won’t exceed your “no stop limits”.
The best thing to look after for the Open Water course is.
- The Instructors. Everyone teaches slightly diffrent even it is the same dive programs. Make sure your teacher is patient and that your time frame isn’t pressured. Usually less than 3 days advertised can be one of the signals of poor dive centers. Why is this? Basically everyone learns scuba diving on different time frame, and some people needs longer time in the water than others. Selling it on 3 days is risky and might force the instructors not to do their job properly.
- Equipment, most dive centers should take pride in their equipment, sadly this isn’t always the case. we’ve seen numerous centers, where this is under the standards. This is properly the hardest one to check since you are a beginner. But in general if all gear looks taken care of and shiny you should be alright.
- Who runs the business… You’d prefer this to be passionated divers and not hardcore business men trying to squeeze every penny out of you.
- The dive sites for your course. Are the dive sites adequate and interesting, for your type of course.
- Time spent in the water. The longer time spent in the water the more experience and practice you will have.
The sad truth
is there is a lot of divers who just finished their PADI Open Water Course who doesn’t understand even the most basic theory? One of the answers to this is definitely student not taking the course seriously. But it is definitely also a lot of bad dive centers, and lots of bad instructors out there. Theres a lot of places not taking their time to teach their students properly. This poorly affects the outcome of the divers when they are done with their course.
Lot of bad dive centers are not taking the responsibility of their instructors. Only to make bigger revenues, faster money etc! But let us not blame it all to the instructors. Sometimes it is also the students fault. The course structure is made, so most of the theory is self studying. This is great when you are a teacher… It means less teaching right. Some students sign up for a course and are not interested in learning the actual theory. But they are still able to pass the, quizzes & exam with no bigger effort. Sometimes it seems so frustrating to teach people who aren’t really interested in learning – what they signed up for. Guys please take responsibility for your own learning. It takes 2 to tango right 😉 ! The more interest you have in the course the more you’ll gain from it as well.
Good dive schools
How can we then know whether we find a good dive center? Well it isn’t easy, but mostly for us, one of the biggest factors are time. Do the instructors have enough time to teach their students without being pressured from the management, on for example how many tanks, and how many days they use to teach their students.
We usually recommend minimum of 4 days to do your Open water, since this is a nice and relaxed pace without too much overloading of skills and theory (trust us it will still feel quite a lot the first days)! So any dive shops advertising to learn to dive in 2 days is the first warning IT IS SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE if you need to follow all the requirements from PADI !
Secondly price. If it seems way cheaper than most other dive centers in the area, there is a big chance that you’ll end up getting what you pay for, which means you won’t be taught properly or they use dangerous equipment ! How can we find out? Read reviews online and make sure you won’t use any dive centers that have several bad reviews about equipment failure, no maintenance, etc. Make sure the review you read seems to be from people who actually work in the industry… Don’t be ignorant about this since you want a smooth beginning where you learn all the basics with properly maintained equipment, that aren’t leaking from every hose, BCD, Tank. etc. If you see the equipment broken into pieces looking old and mistreated – there is a problem.
What do we do
What do Bongo Bongo Divers do to prevent all this. We have all our equipment serviced regularly by accredited technicians using the original service kits from the manufacturer. This doesn’t mean that we can be free of bubbles from all our hoses with a 100% guarantee but we try and we fix it as soon as we see it. Our tanks undergo visual inspection once a year and annual cleaning. Our compressors are checked every week and filter are changed regularly to ensure that the air that our guests use are 100% clean and safe to use. We change and upgrade our wetsuits on a regular basis and try to keep our booties and fins fresh as well. This said, as a diver you already learned to check all this your self, under your open water course – right 🙂
Learning to dive and the dive site selection does also mean a lot for your actual first hand experience, but isn’t the most important. The reason for this is simple you are busy learning. When it comes to Dauin is this one of the best places I have ever been able to teach. Properly the best place to learn to dive in the Philippines. Composition of the area sloping slightly with sand on one side and corals on another. The amount of marine life possible to see and the accessibility all makes it a perfekt place to do your first scuba courses wether it is Advanced open water, rescue diver your divemaster or instructor courses. We usually joke with a turtle guarantee since we have never managed to certify any divers without seeing at least one sea turtle. Apo island is also a great place to combine your courses, but we prefer it to be the dives where you don’t have to many skills to do. so example Open Water dive 4. Or for your advanced course it could be deep dive and drift depending on the season. For divemaster trainees it is perfect place to do your deep specialties or side mount course. At Apo the walls drops dramatically and makes the experience even nicer.
Let us know if ever you have more questions about courses we will be happy to help out…
We will continue the blog about teaching the PADI advanced course, Rescue Diver and later about the Divemaster programs & the Dive instructor courses in the Philippines also called Instructor Development course