Beginning SCUBA in NYC
June 11, 2010 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Checking out scuba lessons in NYC. A few questions for pros: 1. best way to get into? 2. best experiences in the NYC area for classes? 3. best gear to buy that won't break bank? 4. local dive spots? 5. anybody want to take classes together?

Additionally: do i really need to buy anything but fins, mask & skinsuit? in nyc i live close to asphalt green, so it does predispose towards that diveshop
posted by wackoacko to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak specifically to NYC, but when I got certified I did it through the YMCA. At the time their program was more rigorous than the similar one my husband did through PADI, and the anxious part of me appreciated the extra time working on drills. YMMV, that was 10 + years ago so I'm sure curriculums have changed, and PADI is certainly the most prevalent.

You don't need to own anything other than fins and mask for the instruction, a skin/wetsuit if you tend to get cold in the pool. My instructor recommended the next investment ought to be a dive computer. Have your own regs and bc pays off if you plan to dive frequently, I bought my bc and regs early on and wish I had spent more time renting trying out different gear and figuring out what worked best for me.

It isn't local to NYC, but we once went diving up in the St. Lawrence Seaway. The water was fairly temperate, clear, and there are lots of shipwrecks that you can dive with only an open water cert.

Have fun!
posted by snowymorninblues at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2010 far as choosing a class, I think finding an instructor that you relate to, fits your personality and can really learn from is probably more important than which org you are certified with. In my case my instructor was really into technical diving, shipwrecks, cave diving, because of that background, he emphasized safety and good habits early on with his beginning recreational divers. He probably would have taught a great class no matter which organization he was working under.
posted by snowymorninblues at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2010

Response by poster: thanks! still into it?
posted by wackoacko at 2:10 PM on June 11, 2010

SCUBA Junkie here!

The standard instruction these days is PADI certification. If you've never been diving, I highly recommend a 'Discover SCUBA' course first. They're cheap, the shop will provide ALL necessary gear, and you can decide for yourself if breathing underwater is actually for you before you start plunking down a lot of money. Course is only a couple of hours in a pool and shouldn't run you more than around $45.

A friend of mine in NYC uses a shop called Pan Aqua. He's always spoken highly of them, in particular an instructor named 'Patty' if I recall correctly.

Important thing about dive shops... go to the shop, hang out for a little bit, ask questions, and watch how they interact with other customers. You don't want to train with a shop who's biggest concern is just rubber-stamping certifications. You want someone who WANTS you to love diving, because THEY love it and want to share it's wonders with you - not just make a quick buck.

Most of your coursework dives will be done in a pool, but at some point you're gonna have to go into 'open water'. Many people in your area will do their open water dives at Dutch Springs, PA. It's a fun weekend getaway... but bring your camping gear! Whatever shop you go with will have a myriad of options. Most dive shops end their open water training with some sort of special on a trip to somewhere to enjoy your newly achieved status as a SCUBA diver.

Good luck and have fun!!!

If you want to come down to DC, we'll take you diving anytime. ;)
posted by matty at 5:26 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A little more on the gear...

As I mentioned, you don't need to buy ANYTHING for a Discover SCUBA course. Nada. The shop should provide it. Or at least rent it on the cheap.

When and if you decide you want to take an open water course, you can get by with just the mask/fins/snorkel. Save your money on the BC, regulator, and wetsuit till you've had time to try out several different types IN THE WATER - especially when it comes to the BC. If the shop let you use gear for free during the Discover SCUBA course, they'll now be renting it to you for your open water course.

That being said, by the time you're ready to go on a 'real' trip somewhere, I'd recommend having bought just about everything - mainly because after a while you 'learn' your gear... i.e. where everything is, the feel and fit, and being comfortable in it without having to fumble about for gauges and things. Never purchase your own tanks or weights... you can't take 'em on a plane and servicing is best left to professionals.

There's absolutely no rush to buy a dive computer at this stage of the game. I love 'em, and you get what you pay for, but they by no means will make or break your dive as a beginner, especially if you're with an experienced guide.

General response here to all in reference to one comment above, PLEASE don't ever do any wreck diving till you've been certified for it - i.e. completing an Advanced Open Water course. It's a surprisingly easy way to get yourself killed.
posted by matty at 5:37 PM on June 11, 2010

Response by poster: awesome. what kind of diving in DC?
posted by wackoacko at 9:39 AM on June 15, 2010

There's oyster rehab in the Chesapeake Bay to be done, but mostly just training quarry dives around here for training. The fun kicks in when we head down to the Outer Banks. The shop I'm with also makes regular dives down to the Keys, Bonaire, and Roatan.
posted by matty at 6:21 AM on June 17, 2010

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