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Posted: 1/1/2006 11:12:00 AM EDT
ok, so I've been wanting to get SCUBA certified for at least 20 years now.. I think it's time.

I understand certification is good world wide and lasts a lifetime (correct me if I'm wrong)

outside of traveling to the coasts or an 'exotic' location. do you think it would be worth it, my being in a land locked state (CO)?

sure there are a few places to go not too far from here, but I'd like to have it out of the way when I should find myself back in HI or maybe some other cool dive spot.

any equipment suggestions?

I thiink the place I'm looking at taking classes requires mask and snorkel (maybe fins)
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:16:02 AM EDT
I use Mares product, I do not own my own BC, Tank , Regulator, computer etc I rent these as I am primarily a free diver. Take the course its not that much money and you will learn a little bit. The class is easy little kids can take it and pass. After you get your dive tables down the most important thing to remember is to breath continuously when your under the water. Lot of people want to hold their breath as long as possible this is a big no no es[ecially on ascension. Diving is a blast and you should have done this 20 years ago do not wait any longer.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:23:48 AM EDT
I was certified in college, lots of fun but I have not done it lately. Its weird breathing underwater, and since I live in Iowa the water is pretty muddy around here I can't wait to finallyget to FL or HI to dive.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:34:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 11:35:45 AM EDT by DK-Prof]
You are correct that certifications are "lifetime" and pretty worldwide - the two most common agencies are PADI and NAUI. PADI seems more common in the U.S., but both are accepted everywhere. There are a couple of other certifying agencies, but those are the two main ones. Even though it is "lifetime", many operators will encourage you to get a refresher course if you dive after a year of inactivity.

Most places will want you to get your own mask, snorkel and fins for your certification process - and you'll use their BC, regulators, tanks, computers/gauges, etc.

I've found that what you start out with is not that important (in terms of mask, snorkel, fins) since you'll likely upgrade at some point soon anyway. I actually use a pretty cheap mask and snorkel myself (and am happy with it) - but have upgrade fins several times. I started with full-foot fins, and very quickly abandoned them.

In terms of buying your own BC, regulator, gauges & computers, etc - I'd recommend renting for a while (lot of dive destinations have really good rental gear these days), and THEN deciding what you want. I'd also suggest mixing and matching - because some companies make great BC, some make great regulators, and some make great computers. DO NOT let some dive shop push a package deal on you, just because that is the brand they use.

Once you want to buy gear, definitely check out scubadiving.com (their magazine is also really good to subscribe to, so I'd recommend that) - they do a LOT of gear reviews, and you cannot go wrong with buying a "Best Buy" and "Tester's Choice" piece of gear.



In terms of diving in land-locked states (I live in MO and my wife in TN), we really don't do any local diving at all. The occasional quarry, or lake or flooded mine or whatever just doesn't interest us, so unfortunately the only time we get to dive is when we travel. However, some people might really enjoy that kind of local diving, so you should definitely try it, even if you end up only diving once or twice a year when you travel to do so. Sometimes, you can find really good deals on 5-day trips of Cozumel or Bonaire or things like that, so travelling to dive doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive.

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:42:29 AM EDT
I have my PADI certification, and don't dive much due to the poor diving conditions around here. However, the class was fun enough to be worth the cost, and it's nice to have the certification when we go to FL or Freeport.

The experience is worth the money. Go for it.

As far as gear goes, don't buy anything except for your mask, fins and snorkel until you've been diving for a while. Use rental gear. You'll see your preferences changing with experience. I bought the whole package during my initial class, and have since changed regulators, BC, dive computer and fins. Wish I'd waited and figured out what I really wanted before I spent the money.

My new gear is geared towards minimizing hoses. My comp is hoseless, with a transcever on the tank and my octopus is part of my BC inflater valve. That way, the only hose i have is from my tank to my primary second stage reg. I like the streamline effect.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:47:42 PM EDT
I don't know where you are in CO, but Scuba Diving Magazine lists Denver as one of the 10 best cities in North America for divers. Their reasoning is that lots of divers live there, so there are plenty of dive shops, and also classes. I grew up less than an hour from salt water, but didn't start diving until I moved inland. Definitely go for it!

Get mask, fins, snorkel, and boots first. Then, after renting everything else for awhile and once you realize you love diving, get a good wetsuit. Dive shops know that wetsuits wear out before any of the other gear, so rental fees are higher to recoup their investment. It was hard to find a good-fitting wetsuit, but I made friends with my local dive shop owner and got an option to buy the one I rented.

Later, get BC, regulator, and finally, if you want tanks. (I'm not that far, because building an AR side-tracked me)

Have fun,
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:52:11 PM EDT
Certified in HS. Haven't done it since '99.

Lot of fun, and someday you might find yourself somewhere where you're glad you have it. Not as expensive to get as some people think, since most places supply the tanks and BC for class. You just need a mask, fins, etc.

I'd suggest doing it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:43:52 PM EDT
I bought all of my equipment (along with 7 other guys) to become one of the first Federal Fire Department (civilian) dive teams in the country... at a Navy base, no less! (that cheezed off a lotta brass, BTW )

Check here: SCUBA Diver Magazine's article on first sets of gear

Around here, we're big on DACOR for regs, BC's & consoles- of course, they're in Northbrook, about 20 minutes from here. And for our purposes (Fire Dept / PD rescue), they offered a great ice diving capable rig for a better price than USD or Sherwood rigs. As far as M/F/S? It's all personal choice. I have a TUSA mask, DACOR snorkel (I forget what model of fins I have - they're down in the basement in my ready bag)

Get what fits you the best, regardless of name brand. After all, a significant amount of how much you'll enjoy your experience is how comfortable you are underwater. This isn't diving for .mil, where "one size better fit all" and you use what they brung.

Your equipment should last you several years with proper maintenance. Get the stuff you like.

If you're only looking at diving recreationally on vacations (once or twice a year) I'd stick with mask/fins/snorkel.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:39:12 PM EDT
I would say it is worth it. I have a Rescue / Stress Diving Certification from SSI. I go one on trip per year and try to dive at least twice on vacation. Even if you are not going to dive a lot it is nice to have so when you do get to go away you can dive. I would stay away from those resort type of diving classes. They are an accident waiting to happen. Good Luck.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:47:34 PM EDT
I have to agree with DK-Prof whole heartedly. I recommend PADI, but it doesn't matter. Just make sure it's either PADI or NAUI. Rent first, then decide on your equipment. Don't bother buying tanks. Someone in your situation wouldn't really benefit from owning them cost wise.


Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:51:26 PM EDT
Do it. Dove the Caribbean a few times, damn.....

Sometimes livin in Kansas sucks.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:23:41 PM EDT
I guess it is a bit of a coincidence that I see this post as I am going to take my NAUI certification class next weekend. It is something I have always wanted to do. As for gear I was required to purchase a mask, snorkel, and fins for the class. Because the shop was having a huge sale I also got a wet suit and boots. All my gear is SCUBA Pro.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:33:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 7:34:07 PM EDT by Spade]
Oh, like many things, if you can try the gear before you buy, do so.

Also, buy the biggest goddamn dive knife you can. Truth be told, 90% of anything you'd ever need a knife for underwater. outside of spearfishing, a simple line cutter would do (I have one, single edge with a couple scallops) just fine (ditched fishing line is not your friend). But a huge freakin' knife scares the doctor's wives in the dive boat.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:35:59 PM EDT
I am a SCUBA Instructor here in UT. Colorado and Utah have two of the highest Certified divers per capita in the Nation.

My suggestion to you is take your lessons locally (Class / Pool Work) then do a referral "Open Water" in a warm location. otherwise you will be certified in a Lake or Quarry somewhere? Padi, Naui, SSI are alll good choices.

As far as gear goes, Mask, Snorkel, and Fins should be purchased during your class. Hold off on any other equipment until later. A top of the Line AR is cheap compared to a full set of SCUBA gear, then you have to pay to dive somewhere nice.

SCUBA is a great sport with a lot of great people. Feel free to IM me with any questions.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:48:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Gunfighter-06:
Don't bother buying tanks. Someone in your situation wouldn't really benefit from owning them cost wise.



Agreed.. That's the one item I never bought, and they are a bitch to travel with. All the advice here is good. I went with PADI advanced open water and the training was great. Nothing too difficult, and it is worth it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:02:50 PM EDT
I'm in Utah and I'm NAUI certified. The class is fun enough that even if you don't do it again it's worth the price. We went to Cancun this year and I dove for the first time in ten years. I should have taken a refresher course but didn't due to time but did just fine.

As far as equipment, get your own Mask, Snorkel and fins and don't scrimp too much on them. You'll use them even when you aren't scuba'ing. I use mine primarily in the reservoirs around here going after crawdads in the summer and stuff.

I just bought a BCD this year (a Zeagle Ranger Tech) because I'm really big and feared not having a rental in my size in Mexico. My wife will certify this spring (she didn't dive in Mexico cause she was pregnant).


Contact your dive shops, ususally they have lots of inland diving lined up that's a blast. I've dove firehole river in yellowstone (that's a blast) and several reservoirs. You think reservoir diving doesn't sound fun but when you spear a 15 lb carp and let it tow you around for a while you'll change your mind.

it's different from tropical diving but it has it's own charms.

Enjoy certification, it's a lot of fun.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:06:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 8:07:57 PM EDT by double_wielder]
SCUBA is the best adventure I have done.
I took the classes locally then did the open water in Hawaii.
Swam with White Tip Reef Sharks, what a thrill!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:12:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:
Oh, like many things, if you can try the gear before you buy, do so.

Also, buy the biggest goddamn dive knife you can. Truth be told, 90% of anything you'd ever need a knife for underwater. outside of spearfishing, a simple line cutter would do (I have one, single edge with a couple scallops) just fine (ditched fishing line is not your friend). But a huge freakin' knife scares the doctor's wives in the dive boat.



Actually I always recommend a knife on the BC and a pair of EMS type shears somewhere else you can get to them. Those EMS shears can cut anything (well almost) and come in very handy.

PADI Divemaster and MasterDiver here.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:14:23 PM EDT
I got PADI certified in 1976. We did the classroom work in the back room of the dive shop, then went to the local YMCA to use their pool. We did our dive test in Bull Shoals Lake near Pontiac, Arkansas.

I don't remember the name or manufacturer of the mask I like, but it has the window on each side so that your periferal vision isn't blocked so much. My favorite fins were White Stag Hydro-Streams, and I never found any others that would give anywhere near that much thrust. There may be some out there, but I can't go anymore so I quit looking. I never did like snorkels. If I'm that close to the top I'd rather just lift my head.

It was fun taking the classes (except for the dive tables), and diving is a lot of fun. I definately suggest going for it.


I am thinking about getting a BC for duck hunting though. If I ever get rolled out of a layout boat with just the life vest I'm pretty sure my waders would pull me under. With a BC I could just pop the C02 and continue living.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:14:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 8:19:10 PM EDT by DK-Prof]

Originally Posted By RED_5:
ok, so I've been wanting to get SCUBA certified for at least 20 years now.. I think it's time.




At the risk of flagrant self-promotion , check out the pics from my latest dives for some more encouragement. Not professional pics by any means, but a good idea of some of the cool stuff on some pretty basic dives off West Palm, FL - certainly not some exotic destination. (And these were actually somewhat boring dives, with crappy visibility and cold water - but still awesome!)

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=75&t=422121 (sorry to non-members, the pics are in the Team Forum)
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:31:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By RED_5:
ok, so I've been wanting to get SCUBA certified for at least 20 years now.. I think it's time.




At the risk of flagrant self-promotion , check out the pics from my latest dives for some more encouragement. Not professional pics by any means, but a good idea of some of the cool stuff on some pretty basic dives off West Palm, FL - certainly not some exotic destination. (And these were actually somewhat boring dives, with crappy visibility and cold water - but still awesome!)

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=75&t=422121 (sorry to non-members, the pics are in the Team Forum)



[Fat kid on Simpsons] Ha-ha! [ / Fat kid on Simpsons]
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:02:51 PM EDT
I certified through the YMCA back in college (I'll have to dig up my card but I think it's NAUI?). At the time I was in north Alabama and did the dives in an abandoned quarry outside of Birmingham. Oh and it was in February so my first dives were in a wetsuit in 48 F water....pretty damned cold but it was so much fun I hardly noticed.

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I thought the quarry diving was pretty cool. It wasn't the Dutch Antilles but when it's new everything is exciting. So you'll have fun with it.

Strangely enough since we actually moved to Florida I haven't done a single dive. My wife hasn't taken a course so that is probably the biggest factor.

As everyone else said just buy a mask, fins and snorkel. Try a bunch of masks and make sure they fit well (a leaky/ill-fitting mask just plain sucks). Same with a snorkel, use a mouthpiece that doesn't fatigue your jaw and it doesn't take much here either to go from good>bad.

Dang...now I wanna get back into it.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 7:35:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Observer:
I certified through the YMCA back in college (I'll have to dig up my card but I think it's NAUI?). At the time I was in north Alabama and did the dives in an abandoned quarry outside of Birmingham. Oh and it was in February so my first dives were in a wetsuit in 48 F water....pretty damned cold but it was so much fun I hardly noticed.

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I thought the quarry diving was pretty cool. It wasn't the Dutch Antilles but when it's new everything is exciting. So you'll have fun with it.

Strangely enough since we actually moved to Florida I haven't done a single dive. My wife hasn't taken a course so that is probably the biggest factor.

As everyone else said just buy a mask, fins and snorkel. Try a bunch of masks and make sure they fit well (a leaky/ill-fitting mask just plain sucks). Same with a snorkel, use a mouthpiece that doesn't fatigue your jaw and it doesn't take much here either to go from good>bad.

Dang...now I wanna get back into it.



It may actually be a YMCA card. They used to run thier own certs, not sure if that still is the case or if they use PADI/NAUI/SSI instructors now.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 10:53:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 10:55:37 AM EDT by Strazz]
I got certified in September and I've been diving at least every other week since then. Just like AR15s, it's something I should have started much earlier.

I've purchased all of my own gear and it has made my life a lot easier, especially considering how much I have been diving. Definitely try out as much gear as you can before making any expensive purchases. A lot of places try to sell you things you don't need, like dry snorkels and masks with purge valves. I never use my snorkel and there's just no need for a purge valve on a mask. Be sure to get open-heeled fins and a pair of boots instead of full-foot fins. If you decide to buy more gear than that, read on. There are only two things I wish I had handled differently--my BC and my console.

I wasn't too impressed by the back-inflation Zeagle I was using for my OW class (put my face in the water on the surface (my fault, not the BC's) and seemed a bit cumbersome), so I bought a jacket style, which I liked much better at the time. Now, only a few months later, I've realized that I can't stand it. I don't like the bulk around my torso and it likes to try to put me upright while under water. I should have listened to my good friend and purchased a back plate and wings in the beginning. Make sure you try a BP/W setup before buying your BC.

I have a massive instrument console with the depth gauge and compass on the front and the pressure gauge on the back. Flipping it over to check both is a royal pain in the ass. I should have purchased a console with only depth and pressure. My current plan is to save up for a wrist-mounted depth gauge and bottom timer and a stand-alone pressure gauge. That way, I won't have a huge console to deal with and depth will always be on my right wrist, where it's extremely easy to look at.

Diving is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done and I'm sure you'll have a great time with it.

ETA: A great forum to check out is Scuba Board
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 5:23:35 PM EDT
Remember "Certified" doesn't always mean "Qualified" I just did a weekend of diving off of Long Island this weekend. Dry and Breathing warm. Great wrecks,,though it is nothing like warm cler water etc. gotta love the faces of newly "advanced" divers with less than a dozen dives certified on vacation in Florida then they do a nice summer off shore dive up here....they shit. Some do well not many . Now they have cert courses for everything... Good luck do alot of dives safely,,,plan your dive and dive your plan!
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