Simon Pridmore is the author of the bestseller Scuba Confidential, and best-placed to offer tips and tricks to getting the most out of your diving experience. In the latest Scuba Diver AUSTRALASIA, he brings us eleven tips for choosing the right dive operator:
Read your training manual and other books for divers (like mine!). Make a personal checklist of things, in terms of safety, service and environmental awareness, which you would want a dive operator to offer.
Is emergency oxygen always immediately available? Do guides have a safety role or are they only spotters?
Is there a covered area on the boat? Is drinking water provided?
Does the operator have a “no touch” policy? Does it reduce use of plastic to a minimum?
Research operators online to narrow down favourites. Don’t judge based on pretty pictures or website quality. Look at the content. Compare each operator’s selling points with your checklist.
Talk to friends; use social media, Scubaboard, Tripadvisor and the like. Search each operator’s historical safety record.
Are the sites the operator dives OK for you? Some famous and popular dive sites and destinations are not for beginners. Avoid them until you have more experience.
Make sure your choice ticks ALL your important boxes.
Never choose on price. Choose on value. If an operator is much more expensive, ask why? Sometimes good service and top safety precautions come at a price. Beware of cheap deals. You will pay for these in poor service or safety standards.
Write to your chosen operator with questions that its site does not answer. Expect a quick, direct and clear reply. If the operator has no time for you BEFORE you book, you will not be cared for AFTER you have paid. Choose again.
Don’t hesitate to walk away if you arrive and discover that, despite all your research, your operator is careless or not properly prepared or equipped. Have a back-up choice, just in case.
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Text by Simon Pridmore. This article featured in Scuba Diver AUSTRALASIA (Issue 5/2016)
Are you ready to leave all reason at the surface? Because you won’t believe the world of wonder that awaits you in the next issue ofScuba Diver AUSTRALASIA!
Freed from the constraints of gravity, and able to fly about like aquatic superheroes, as divers we get to visit places that most landlubbers couldn’t even imagine in their wildest dreams.
From mysterious mangroves to dramatic ravines, from moody canyons and caves to fields of insanely colourful coral and reef formations that seem to defy common sense, these seascapes are also inhabited by far-out creatures that have inspired legends and literature.
Scuba Fundamental -“Start Diving the Right Way” is a unique concept. It is not just another run of the mill “how to dive” manual. It is primarily for people who do not yet dive but are thinking of learning. It takes them from the germ of the idea that they might like to try scuba diving up to the point where they have done around 20 dives.
This is a crucial phase in every diver’s diving life. This is the time when a person decides if they will be a diver forever or if diving will just become something they did once upon a time. Too many people stumble into diving without being properly prepared or doing enough research and, sadly, end up abandoning the sport, wasting both money and time and missing out on a lifetime of incredible experiences.
The aim of Scuba Fundamental is to make sure that doesn’t happen, by guiding new divers along the right path and helping them make all the right decisions and avoid the many pitfalls that lie in wait for the unwary.
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