I hear a lot of stories starting with, “I’m never diving again because” or “I didn’t finish my scuba diver training because” and one that’s all too common, “I was never shown that”. Scuba diving is one of the most exciting water activities today. Aside from being a fun adventure, it also keeps you get closer to nature. If you are planning to learn to dive in Dubai, you should do some research in order for you to choose the scuba diving centre which is right for you.
I used to think to myself, did you ask the dive centre the right questions? But when you’re starting off you don’t really know what the right questions are. You need to ensure that your diving will be exciting and fun and at the same time, it must also be well thought out and safe. There are reputable dive centres out there and it is very essential to make the best option again, which is right for you.
Moreover, selecting the best dive centre will make a huge difference between a remarkable scuba diving experience and a botched one.
To select the right dive centre, there are specific things that you need to keep in mind when searching. Here are 8 things to look for when choosing a scuba diving centre:
- Friendly. The reason you are learning to dive doesn’t matter, but the instructors training you need to be very approachable and able to keep you interested in a way which works for you. Having the ability to make you laugh and not embarrass you is a key trait for any good instructor.
- Trust. Trust is EVERYTHING. You want to know that your instructor is not just knowledgeable and experienced from a diving perspective but also a safety perspective. If the conditions aren’t suitable for everyone involved the best plan may be to stay out of the water. You need to trust your instructor will keep everyone out of the water.
- Reliable. Its one thing for a customer to be late but its never ok for the dive centre staff to be late. If we’re being fair, sometimes delays occur, however, it is never ok for you to be left waiting without being communicated with. A dive centre that doesn’t work to an ‘on time, every time’ strategy may leave you stranded.
- Easy to communicate with. Email or call the dive centre ahead of time. You should feel comfortable and at ease chatting to someone. You’re about to get in the water with someone you probably don’t know, so you need to be assured that your instructor can communicate with you at a level suitable to you. If you’re spoken to like you’ve just interrupting their day it’s probably not going to get much better. If you send an email you should have an answer back within 24-48 hours. A dive centre that doesn’t get back to you in time is perhaps not going to be concerned with the customer experience as much as you may expect.
- Honest. In the UAE everyone likes to please and, lets be honest, we all like to be pleased. However, watch out for dive centres who tell you they can fit you in, because that’s the only time you have, when in fact they don’t have the instructors available or have other sessions booked. You also want honest time frames when it comes to how long a boat or dhow trip will be and how long servicing takes along with an accurate cost.
- Flexibility. Most dive centres will have a specific schedule but that doesn’t always fit if you have long working hours 6 days a week. Dive centres that have flexible schedules are usually more reliable throughout your whole training process. Some dive centres also offer 1 on 1 training. It may cost you a little more but it gets you diving and is much more personal. Please remember though, a dive centre can only be so flexible. If you turn up on a Thursday expecting to have your entire course completed over the weekend you’re going to be disappointed.
- Ambiance. From the time you walk in to the dive centre everything should just ‘feel right’. From the staff greeting you to the instructor explaining everything to the general outlay of the store. It should feel like its somewhere you want to be and not just somewhere to do you’re training and leave.
- Professional. Again, from the second you make contact everything should feel professional. The attitude of the staff and instructors, the way they speak to you, the way they explain things to you, the look of the dive centre, the setup of the boat, the equipment, everything.
Always trust your instinct. From your first email or call with the dive centre, do you get an overall good feeling? If you have the time watch how the instructors talk to and interact with their students and customers. You’ll know more about what should be done after your first few sessions. But if it doesn’t look safe, chances are it isn’t. When something seems off or does not sit well, it is suggested to look for another dive centre.
At the end of the day you’re looking for a great diving experience in the UAE, somewhere friendly, comfortable and stress free. Keeping the above things to look for in mind when doing your research should point you in the right direction.
As a side note; when you’re looking at how much time is required remember the following, the Open Water course, separate to theory, should take 2/3 sessions. Doing it in 2 sessions can be intense and 3 sessions are more practical, but it is possible if required.
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