Choosing your course

Course: Open Water – How to choose your course

80% of people who do a course in South Africa do not continue diving.
The main reason for this is the American type courses that are fine for the calm warm waters of the Caribbean, but simply don’t cut it in South Africa.

Why not?

  • It is far too easy to become an instructor and many of the skills required to be a professional are not taught.
  • The lectures are done by the DVD player rather than having interaction with a live experienced and professional instructor.
  • There is far too little time spent in the pool getting comfortable with the equipment and the water environment.

The result is that the 80% of divers who stop diving do so because they did not have fun… it was exciting and an adventure but not fun. They do feel in control or confident about what’s going on.
The tragedy is that so many people are put off, what is perhaps one of the most fulfilling and thrilling sports available.

The message is this:

  • Do not choose the course on price, if you are (like most of us) in the “quite broke” category. Rather save up and do it properly.
  • Go through exactly what you will get in terms of lectures, pool sessions and dives.
  • Find out what is included for your money and what are the hidden costs etc.
  • Most importantly, meet with your instructor and make sure you are happy with their professionalism.

 

So what shall I choose?

There are over 900 scuba training agencies in the world!
With about 10 or so present here in South Africa, including NAUI, TDI, IANDT, CMAS, PADI, SSI and of course Divetek.

Are all Agencies recognised world wide?

Yes, all dive resorts see a huge number of different certifications (including unpronounceable ones from Japan) and they will accept all. You will need to accompany your card with a log book showing your experience in order to do the more adventurous dives.

Obviously if you are an SSI instructor and wish to work in a NAUI dive centre you will need to cross over.

What Courses do Divetek Offer?

We have instructors with the following qualifications:

SAUU, CMAS, TDI, NAUI, PADI and of course Divetek

In Johannesburg, Divetek teaches:

  • Divetek
  • NAUI
  • PADI

We recommend PADI for those who wish to do a quick course for diving in warm tropical and calm waters.
Such as Mauritius and Seychelles.

The best option is a thorough Divetek course.

If you wish to have dual certification you can pay the extra charge for NAUI certification following the Divetek course as this course vastly exceeds the NAUI requirements.

Advanced Courses

Please be aware that when it comes to doing the advanced course there are far more differences between agencies.
Some are so “Mickey Mouse” that it is an embarrassment being called an Advanced Diver following the course.

We even have the ridiculous situation where some instructors have done less than 10 dives in the sea.

So DO YOUR RESEARCH before taking any course and remember the quality of the instructor is the single most important factor.

Most American instructor courses last about 2 weeks.
Divetek takes 4 months FULL TIME to train an instructor!

Should you do your dives in dams or the sea?

Obviously the best solution is both!

But the trip to the coast and the boat dives required increases the cost dramatically.
You can learn to dive in the dams, but proper training in the sea is by far the better option.

Divetek courses include 3 dives in the dams, followed by 3 qualifying dives in the sea.

We do make exceptions but this is the preferred method.

We offer Advanced Course in the dams, BUT you will only be certified as an Advanced Diver once you have Dived in the sea.

Costs

These vary from dive school to dive school.

Some factors you need to check:

  • Tuition cost
  • Registration
  • Books and materials
  • Basic gear (wetsuits mask, fins etc.) It is better for reasons of comfort, fit and hygiene to get your own
  • Scuba gear
  • Pool costs
  • Dives

Some schools offer an all inclusive cost, that includes the basic gear. Be careful as the equipment will of course be as cheap as they can get away with and often not suitable. For example providing neoprene socks instead of proper booties.

Most schools will offer a small discount on equipment if you do a course with them. Make sure you buy good equipment and preferably only buy once you have done the equipment lecture on your course.
This way you can make informed decisions instead of relying on the salesman’s advice.

What are the equipment costs?

Decent basic equipment will cost from about R 2,500 to R4,000

Scuba Gear from R 5,500 to R8,500 (for really good stuff)
But you can pay over R 20,000 if you choose fancy branded blingy stuff

A cylinder from R 2,700 to R 3,000 depending on size.

Refurbished second hand gear will be about half this cost.

You will need the basic gear in order to dive and you can hire the scuba gear until you are in the position to buy your own.