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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions We Get Asked The Most

How do I choose a dive shop?
You’ve decided to check out the underwater world of scuba diving, but you’re unsure where to start?  The choice can often be overwhelming of which shop to start training with, where to buy equipment or even travel opportunities.   Although it might be easier to just pick the first place you see, it’s always a good idea to choose carefully.  Something that we practiced as new divers, was to go meet the people in the shop, these are the people you are trusting your life underwater to.  Along with that here are some things to consider:

Safety comes first right?  Most definitely yes. Always. Diving is not a sport you want to mess around with. But how do I know which dive shop is the safest? Keep in mind that the cheapest doesn’t always mean the safest – diving is quite an expensive sport.  Outer Reef Scuba knows that you are making an investment when choosing a dive shop.   We place a high value on safety.  Our typical Open Water Course runs six full sessions, allowing you time to gain confidence in your training. 


Any shop can say that safety is a number one priority, that’s easy. But make sure they show it too. Examples of what you’re looking for may include how many people per class. Is their ratio of 4:1 or is it 8:1? Outer Reef believes in a very controlled learning environment underwater, especially with student to instructor ratios, with a maximum of 6 people per instructor for confined water and 4:1 during Open Water Checkouts.   It is important for us to give you the comfort of knowing you will be looked after both below and above the surface. We ensure you feel comfortable before you step foot in the water and after you complete your course. We’ll be with you every step of the way. 

A dive shop’s safety also includes the proper maintenance of their equipment. You do not want to go diving if your equipment is faulty… that will definitely not end well. Tanks should be visually inspected annually and hydrostatically tested every 5 years. Simply ask the dive shop, they should be happy to answer this question.  Always check the tank or rental equipment before going diving.  At Outer Reef Scuba, we regularly check and service our equipment to ensure it’s safe for every diver and that every fit is a comfortable one.

When choosing a dive shop, you have a choice to do that with different dive organizations. These organizations have developed their own teaching materials, standards, and certifications which their instructors use to conduct the courses. There are quite a few organizations in the world and they all have different philosophies and standards. 

In general, the differences are not too big and no matter which organization you take a course with, you will use the same kind of equipment and see the same marine life underwater.  All diving standards set by the Governing body, WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council) meaning that knowledge and skill requirements are almost the same. Certifications are interchangeable.  It comes down to down to choosing an instructor who is passionate about the sport, upholds the standards and practices safe diving practices. 

If you are still unsure about the differences, stop in and interview the instructors.  It comes down to the quality and knowledge of the sport that an instructor to pass on to you.   You are learning a new skill of breathing underwater, you want to make sure that you meet with your instructor prior to signing up for a course.   Ask them questions, get a feel for them.  You will be spending quite a bit of time with them through the course. 

Scuba diving seems to be expensive. What am I getting for the price?
The up-front costs associated with getting certified can be off putting to some.  At Outer Reef Scuba, we understand that it is an investment.  We are committed to developing safe, comfortable and independent divers.   Our small classes and longer courses offer more time to allow for this to happen.  Your scuba certification will never expire, and we encourage all students to own high-quality gear that can last for years of diving. The exact costs of getting certified will depend on the type of class you want to take, the gear you choose to own, and the location of your check-out dives. We encourage you to come in and talk with one of our knowledgeable staff members, who will walk you through every step of becoming certified so you know exactly what you will be paying for.

I have finished the class and pool portion of my open water course, am I certified to dive on my own?
Not quite yet!  You are almost there.   You will need to complete your open water check-out dives after finishing your academic and pool sessions. 4 dives are required to complete the Open Water Certification. You can complete these dives with us during one of our local or international trips.

I am going on vacation, can I finish my checkouts then?
Absolutely!  If you are unable to complete your Open Water Checkout dives with Outer Reef Scuba prior to your vacation you can complete it during your trip. Outer Reef will provide you with a Referral Packet which the instructor at your vacation destination will need to fill out. This form is returned to Outer Reef and we will complete your certification. Please contact Outer Reef Travel if you would like assistance with making your referral dive arrangements.  Check out dives will need to be completed within 6 months of the initial start of the Open Water Course.

I don't want to buy all that gear, can't I just rent it?
There is a great benefit in owning your own scuba kit.   When you have your own gear, you ensure the proper fit and comfort.  Owning your own gear also gives you the freedom to dive when you want.  To protect their initial investment, divers their own gear, tend to take care better of their equipment through regular service.  Meaning you know it has been maintained and cared for.  This especially important when diving on vacation and you are not familiar with the dive operation.

The minimum equipment requirement for the Open Water course is scuba quality mask, snorkel, fins and ideally a wetsuit. It is very important that our students are learning to dive with snorkeling gear that fits properly and comfortably.  While we encourage our students to own their own scuba kit (buoyancy compensator, regulator, and dive computer), these items are included in the tuition during the duration of the pool portion of the course. 

I got certified awhile ago, should I take a refresher or retake open water?
Yes! It is recommended that if you have been out of the water for more than a year to take our scuba refresher courses. This course will increase your confidence, safety, and enjoyment when you go on your dive vacation.  If you have been out of the water for more than five years, it suggested that you retake the Open Water Diver course.

I have a certification from a different agency, can I still take classes with Outer Reef?

You certainly can!!  Outer Reef Scuba welcomes all divers from any agency.   If you are a certified diver and looking to gain more experience and continue your dive education, you can sign up for any of our specialty classes.   Each of our specialties has its own set of prerequisites.   Keep in mind that at Outer Reef Scuba, we are dedicated to a high standard of training and some courses run longer than others.   If you have questions regarding a specific class, feel free to contact us.