The Perfect Dive Center – Is It Us You’re Looking For?
So, okay, humans can’t really fly, but when we get out of school or work that last day before vacation starts, I’d imagine that’s what a bird feels like as it extends its wings and leaps into the warm sunlight.
Unfortunately, as an adult vacation can actually lead to a whole new set of stresses in planning what to do with time off. Do you go to the Cannaries? Or the Sapphire Coast? Once you get there where do you stay? Which restaurant has the best food for value? Who do you dive with?
Particularly for activities such as diving, it’s difficult to know what the options are to choose between. So if you’re here doing research, let us take some of the stress out of your planning. We’ll tell you what’s what (For diving at least)!
There are many, many ways to judge a dive center, so we’ve broken it down into the 3 categories we deem most important. First up?
– Safety –
It’s something that you don’t always think about, but when it becomes a problem you face losing more than just your money on a bad dive. I personally have walked into a number of dive centers without doing background research, and after smelling/ feeling oil on the air, reaching for a blocked dump valve, and gawking as the needles on
my pressure gauge remained motionless 20 minutes into the dive, I have learned my lesson. One close call is one too many.
Find a dive center that focuses on safety. You’ll want to take note of the age of their gear as well as how often they maintain everything from the regulators to their masks. Diving is an inherently hazardous sport, and it is as imperative to us as it is to you that the risks are absolutely minimized. Most importantly, if you find yourself in a situation that feels unsafe, do not hesitate to speak up and find a different dive center when appropriate.
– Size –
Yes, size does matter. Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but bigger is not always better… In other words, I will always choose a small center over a larger one. Why?
Large centers are frequently well established, but run the risk of operating as ‘factories’. This means they tend to have a smooth operation and they’ve had the time to build a reputation, however they thrive on quantity of customers, and as a result their guests run the risk of being treated like numbers and slipping through the cracks.
Small centers have more opportunity to focus directly on their guests, and are notorious for personalized service. It’s much more difficult for guests to be overlooked when the entire crew remembers you on a first name basis. Small operators are more easily able to tailor their day to suit yours, and avoiding large groups is conducive to a peaceful dive where you’ll be able to see everything without braving the “human urchin”.
– Atmosphere and the ‘Little Things’ –
It may not be important that you can carry on a conversation with your divemaster while you’re underwater… but if you’re spending at least an hour above water for nearly every hour immersed, it’s suddenly important to be able to enjoy the company of the staff and environment of the dive center.
Our personal priorities here include tables or somewhere to sit and unwind after a dive, clean towels, hot water in the showers, shampoo and conditioner, friendly, attentive staff, hot and cold refreshments and snacks before, between and after dives, and good MUSIC.
We take pride in the way we’ve chosen to run our center here at ScubaCo. We based everything we offer on what we appreciate as guests, and we know that the little things make the biggest difference. We hope that you will come and let us give you that fresh-out-of-work feeling sometime soon!
More information about our Shark Diving, Aliwal Shoal and Southern Reefs diving adventures.