Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!) about learning to dive:
- Is it really safe?
If you are well trained, the sport and the underwater environment are extremely safe. We have taught over 40,000 people since 1959, and not one of our divers has ever had a diving accident.
- Do I need to be a great swimmer?
No. Just average swimming ability is sufficient. Scuba divers don't really swim, and all divers wear an inflatable jacket that allows for surface support whenever needed.
- Can I use my current mask, fins and snorkel?
Sure you can, if they meet the minimum requirements. Otherwise, you may need to upgrade to what we have found to be effective with new students. You're about to begin a grand adventure, and we wouldn't want you held back by something as minor as the right personal equipment. You are also likely to find great technological improvements in equipment, if yours is very old.
- How long does it take to get certified as an Open Water Diver?
The short answer is that an Open Water Certification class generally runs seven or eight sessions.
The real answer is that "it takes as long as it takes" for you to become a comfortable, confident, competent diver.
The time required depends on the individual student. Everybody learns at a different rate, and with us, you can take as long as you like!
Regardless of whether you need to take extra time learning the material, or need extra pool time to work on skills, we'll work with you for as long as it takes for you to become a comfortable, confident, competent diver.
Remember that our program is competency based. Therefore you will be ready for open water as soon as you have the knowledge,
skills, and equipment to explore safely.
We don't think you would want it any other way!
- Are there any age limits?
A person needs to be 10 years of age to be certified. Since it is better for young teens to learn with a parent or guardian, National Aquatic Service provides free tuition for teens 10-17 years of age when enrolled in the same class, and accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age, and we have people diving well into their seventies.
- How deep do we go?
Although most leisure diving typically takes place in the 10-100 foot range, most experienced divers know that the best diving, the most interesting sights and the best photography are typically found above 30 feet. There is rarely a reason to go deeper than 60 feet.
- What about sharks and other dangerous marine animals?
The marine animals most feared are undeserving of their reputation. Sharks, barracuda, eels, & stingrays are beautiful to see in their natural environment and want nothing to do with you. Only when threatened will they defend themselves. So as long as you respect all underwater life, look but don't touch, you have nothing to worry about.
- Can I dive locally?
New York State has great diving!
In the summer, the St. Lawrence river and the local lakes are almost as warm as the Carribean, and with the introduction of the
Zebra mussel in the late 1980's visibility has increased dramatically.
Lake Champlain contains shipwrecks that haven't been seen for hundreds of years, and the St Lawrence contains wrecks that map history from before the formation of the United States right up to the modern era.
We lead SCUBA Trips almost every year to see ships that were used during (and even before) the American Revolutionary War! There is are few places on earth where you can come face-to-face with a part of history that few have ever seen.
- Who will I dive with?
Diving is safest and most enjoyable with a buddy.
Organized dive trips are designed to find you that buddy. During most of the year we have evening trips, day trips, weekend trips,
and weeklong trips to fit everyones schedule and
diving comfort level. Our web site will always be updated so that you can find out about our activities.
And don't forget that we'll always dive with you! If you want to dive and don't have a buddy, all you need to do is call us or send an email!
During the Summer and Fall, our dive boat "Grandad" sails on Skaneateles Lake every Wednesday and Friday evening, and Saturday afternoon.
It's a beautiful ride on the lake, and and some of the nicest freshwater diving in the Northeast.
After the dive, we even have a cookout! Since the terrain of the lake varies from grass-covered gentle slopes at 10 or 15 feet, to walls and deeper log and rock formations,
there's something for everyone. Skaneateles even has a wreck!
- How do I get started?
Just give us a call, or send us an email, and you'll be a comfortable, competent, confident diver before you know it!