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Scuba Diver Training

Scuba Diving Equipment

Scuba Diver Training

Q : How old do I have to be to learn to Scuba Dive?
Most certifying agencies require that you be at least 12 years old when you start your Scuba Diver course. You will normally receive a junior certification which can be upgraded to a full certification when you are 15 years old. Some agencies require additional instruction for this upgrade. (There is no upper age limit!)
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Q : How much does it cost to learn to Scuba Dive?
A complete group course should cost around between S$490 - S$520. This should include books (given to you not on loan), dive tables, and scuba equipment rental for the course. There are no extra costs that need to be incurred. You may decide to buy your own "personal equipment", although we will provide this for you. These are items that need to properly fit you and usually include Fins, Mask, Snorkel, Weight Belt, Weights, and Wet Suit Boots. The personal equipment we provide is all good quality but nothing beats having your own basic equipment.
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Q : How long does it take?
This really depends a lot on you and your schedule. We try to run courses over a two week period. This allows for academic classes one week, the swimming pool session at the weekend followed by the final open water dives the next weekend. If your schedule does not fit, no problem we can reschedule part of your course for different days. If you want to take a crash course, say over one week then this also can be arranged but the may be a premium added to the course price as it will likely become a one on one session with an instructor.
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Q : Do I need to know how to swim to learn to Scuba Dive?
Actually no, along as you can demonstrate that you are comfortable in water that is enough. The open water dive course requires that you be able to swim 200m or snorkel 300m with full snorkeling gear. So provided you can snorkel with fins on then you will meet the requirements of most training agencies. Of course it is preferable that you can swim as someone who is relaxed in the water will make a better diver.
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Q : What does SCUBA mean?
SCUBA stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. SCUBA equipment in its simplest form consists of an air filled tank and a regulator. A regulator today is composed of a 1'st stage (mounts to tank) and two 2'nd stages (one primary and an alternate). The 2'nd stage is the part you place in your mouth to breathe. A properly equipped diver however has more equipment than a basic SCUBA unit. A Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) is essential as are weights, fins (flipper is a fish - divers use fins), mask, snorkel, exposure suit, instrumentation console and any specialty equipment required for the type of diving you are performing.
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Q : Can I take SCUBA lessons with you?
Yes you can. We offer a full line of SSI certifications and training as well as PADI on request.
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Q : What is the difference among SCUBA Diving, Skin Diving and Snorkeling?
A. SCUBA Diving is performed with the use of SCUBA equipment. The diver remains underwater for around 30 minutes without surfacing. SCUBA is used to visit sights at depths between 10 - 130 feet. Duration underwater is closely tied to depth. The deeper you go, the less time you can remain.

Skin Diving is performed without a SCUBA unit. Divers take a breath at the surface, hold that breath and dive to depth. Skin Divers must surface for each new breath. Dive times are limited to 1-2 minutes in length (or as long as you can hold your breath). Skin Divers generally do not exceed depths of 30 feet.

Snorkeling is where the diver typically remains at the surface looking down and breathing normally through a tube extending out of the water about 9 inches. A Snorkeler will rarely dive preferring instead to adopt a leisurely pace at the surface. Snorkeling is usually performed in shallower water where the sights to be seen are easily visible just below the surface.

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Q : Do you offer private classes?
Yes we do. They are going to be more expensive than the group classes but they are available for every class we offer. Please call the shop and discuss it with our staff.
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Q : It has been 2 years since my last dive. What do I need to do before I make my next dive?
You definitely should take the SCUBA refresher courses available through the shop to ensure your diving skills are back up to speed and your equipment will need to be serviced as well to be sure it is in top working condition.
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Q : I want to learn to SCUBA dive. What classes should I take?
We suggest you start with the "Discover SCUBA" session to ensure that SCUBA is really for you. If you decide to continue, your initial certification will be "Open Water Diver". For some folks (annual resort divers) this will be the extent of your dive training. Most however continue their training and attend classes for "specialty" certifications. Some examples of specialties are: Deep Diver, Cavern Diver, Boat Diver, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Naturalist and Wreck Diver.
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Q : How often do your classes start?
We have a new class starting about every two weeks.
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Q : Will my certification card expire?
There is no expiration date on your certification card, you'll be young forever!
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Q : What about sharks and other dangerous animals?
Scuba diving is not without risk. Very few adventure sports are. By definition, adventure sports have to involve some risk or they can't be called adventures.

But of all the potentially dangerous situations a diver can encounter underwater, hostile attack from any form of marine life is by far the most unlikely. We know this through our own experiences, and also from the information currently available about marine animal attacks on man. In fact seeing a shark as a scuba diver is all to rare.

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Q : How dangerous is this sport, really?
Good question! We don't see recreational diving as a dangerous activity at all. We regard it as a risk activity with the following general guideline: the more you utilize your own good common sense, the smaller the risk.

Common sense says that you are going diving as a recreational experience and that recreation, by definition, should be fun. Scaring yourself horribly is not fun. Therefore, common sense dictates that you only dive when you feel that your level of training and experience and the quality and condition of your equipment is appropriate for the dive being planned.

Staying within these simple parameters tends to keep sport diving a low-risk activity. What actual data do we have regarding your chances of having an accident while diving? Best industry estimate is a 00.003% chance. You stand a greater chance of having an accident while bowling.

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Q : What's involved in learning to dive?
Learning to dive is generally quite easy for people who are comfortable in water deeper than they are tall, and who have been through grade school. Diving students must master the appropriate use of the diving equipment, and some fairly basic physics and physiology. Different programs will utilize different approaches, but each program generally involves a home study segment (homework), a classroom segment (lecture), confined water work (in the swimming pool), and open water training (out in the real world.)

A good dive program is always performance-based, rather than time-based (i.e. you have mastered a skill when you can demonstrate it comfortably and not necessarily after you've been at it for 2 hours.), but most quality SCUBA programs involve a minimum of four to six sessions of class/pool training followed by a series of four or five open water training dives completed over two consecutive days.

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Q : What kind of shape should I be in?
Actually, we're more concerned with your overall physical health than with your current level of conditioning. As long as you can pass the swim test described in the next FAQ, we consider your conditioning level acceptable. But we do need to ask some questions about your overall physical health.

You need to be a generally healthy and happy person to truly enjoy SCUBA diving. Your heart and lungs need to be free of any kind of disease. You will complete a medical history profile during your orientation,.we may require you to get your doctor's approval prior to starting the scuba program if you answer is 'yes' to any of the health related questions.

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Q : What is "Certification"?
Diving certification is simply proof of initial training and competency in safe SCUBA. The agencies that provide training materials in diving also provide certification cards that are issued to the diver by his or her instructor once the diver has met all certification requirements. Divers must present their "C-cards" at airfill stations to get their cylinders filled and at diving operations in order to be allowed to dive or rent equipment.
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Q : What about all these initials: PADI, NAUI, SSI, NASDS, YMCA, IDEA, MDEA, ETC.?
All of the above are initials of recreational diver training agencies. Each has its own materials, training procedures and standards. Each issues certification cards to those who successfully complete its training programs.

So what's the difference? No significant ones that we know of. We know excellent instructors who certify for each or several of the above agencies. We know of no sport diving operation anywhere where any particular agency's C-card is preferred as an indication of superior training, or rejected as unacceptable.

We regard the certifying agencies simply as competing vendors of training materials and certification cards. In fact, this competition is healthy. The result is better and better training materials. We think the quality of each diver's training program is established by the individual instructor and dive center involved, and not by the initials.

Further, we think that each individual student has a large amount of valuable input into his or her training program. We strongly urge anyone in the process of learning anything about diving anywhere at any time to get actively involved in the process. Don't memorize any information you don't completely understand. And make sure you understand the reason for each pool or open water exercise your instructor teaches.

One quick last word about the initials: even though we don't recognize any one agency as being superior to any other, we do recognize the value of the opinions of friends and family. We currently utilize the training materials and certification services of Scuba Schools International. SSI. But if your whole family is PADI, or your significant other truly believes that PADI divers are the best, or whatever, and you feel you would be more comfortable with another agency, please feel free to tell us and we can arrange a course accordingly.

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Scuba Diving Equipment

Q : What is the best brand of Scuba equipment?
If you ask me as a dive store owner, it is one of the great brands I carry. But, if you ask me as an instructor, ethics require a more even handed answer. Most scuba equipment that is for sale in dive stores today is of excellent quality and will perform very well. The real concern should be service. Fortunately, if you purchase a product from a dive store that represents one or more of the major manufacturers (Mares, Sherwood, U.S. Divers, Scuba Pro, Seac Sub, Seaquest, Oceanic, etc.) service should not be a problem. All full service dive stores have service available for all their lines.
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Q : Do I need to buy all my equipment before I take lessons?
No you don't. Most students rent their equipment for lessons and continue to rent equipment for some time afterward. Renting allows you to test multiple brands prior to your purchase. Others do like to purchase basic equipment (fins, mask, snorkel, wet suit and perhaps a BC) prior to classes so they are proficient with particular equipment after training. The choice is yours to make.
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Q : Do you rent equipment?
Yes we do. Some of our equipment (regulators, tanks, BC's) is only rented to certified divers or students.
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Q : What does dive gear cost?
This is somewhat like asking "how much does a computer cost?" It depends on whether or not we just want to buy a computer, or to buy a full computer system, with all the accessories necessary (like CD-ROM, modems, full-color monitors, tons of software... you get the idea) to get full value out of our investment in the computer itself.

We sell diving regulators for as little as S$270. But in order to go diving, you'll also need (besides your mask, fins, and snorkel) a gauge system, a buoyancy compensator (BC), an alternate air source, an air cylinder or two, an exposure suit, weight belt, weights, knife, and slate, and you'll probably want a decompression computer, a compass system, a dive light, some surface and underwater signaling equipment, and, by this point, a bag to keep it all in and a small field repair kit to keep it all functioning.

You will choose these items based on how you dive, where you dive, and how frequently you dive. We would estimate that a complete package is going to cost, on average S$1500.00 .If asked if it was worth it, we believe most would say that, given the adventure, fun, and excitement encountered while wearing the gear, the stuff is a bargain.

Now this S$1500 is simply an average. You can cut this number in half or double it, depending on where you dive, how you dive, and when you dive. And please understand that you can do a lot of diving without ever purchasing anything beyond mask, fins, and snorkel. Many of the better diving operations offer decent quality rental equipment and a lot of divers choose this option.

There is no getting around the fact, however, that the most active and involved divers choose to own their own equipment. The advantages are obvious: the equipment is matched to you and you alone.

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Q : Why should I buy from you?
Singapore has a lot of dive stores that's for sure. There are however few that have a reasonable stock of equipment and even fewer who can offer professional advice on which gear bests suits you. Our prices are extremely competitive, we have to be, plus our shop is staffed by divers. People who know about diving and the equipment you are thinking about buying. There is a myth in Singapore that if you are looking to buy cheap dive equipment head to Lucky Plaza. True they instigated a price war which forced prices low but the truth is that all dive shops are competing. Actually you are more likely to get a good deal going to proper dive shops as they tend to be fairer with the pricing level. Everybody pays the same price, without the need to negotiate and giving meaningless discounts of 30, 40 & 50% from a grossly inflated starting price! One other import consideration. Buying equipment from proper dive shops help support the industry. The profit from the goods you buy goes back into the industry. Supporting Lucky Plaza is sucking money out of the industry which could go towards better standards of training, better dive boats, better instructors etc etc.
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Q : Are dive equipment prices cheaper in Singapore?
Generally we have to say yes. We have many overseas customers who always comment on the extremely low dive equipment prices in Singapore. Some brands offer bigger savings than others but of particularily good value are Suunto, Oceanic, Sherwood & Mares.
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Q : How can I pay?
You can pay using all credit cards, NETS, cash or cheque.
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Q : Can you give me the best price?
All our prices are competitive. We quote the best price we can which as far as we know, from our loyal customers, is as good as any shop in Lucky Plaza. We can state without question that our open water students are given the opportunity to buy complete a packaged set of the basic equipment at prices that no other shop would be prepaired to offer!
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Q : Split fins, are they any good?
Without a doubt yes. This is not just manufacturer's hype. The split fins require much less energy to fin at the same speed as divers using regular paddle type fins. Some divers have complained that "split fins are no good for swimming into current" Actually this is true if you use big powerful leg kicks as you might do with standard fins. If you adjust your fining technique slightly you will find that you can fin into any current that someone wearing paddle fins can. The other great thing is the prices for this fin technology have dropped dramatically. We have split fins starting at only S$175.
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Q : Do you ship equipment overseas?
Yes we can ship equipment anywhere in the world. We have an online shop which allows you to use your credit card to pay.
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Q : What equipment brands do you carry?
We carry Oceanic, Sherwood, Mares, Suunto, Bare, UK.
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Q : What are your opening hours?
We are open Mon - Fri 12:00pm - 8:00pm, Sat 12:00pm - 6:00pm
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Q : Do you service regulators?
Yes, we can have all regulator brands serviced for you.
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Q : Do you sell secondhand equipment?
We do not sell second hand equipment. Once in a while we may organize second hand sales as a service to our customers.
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Q : Why should I buy a BCD & Regulator?
If you only dive once a year then don't bother. If you will be diving at least two/three times a year then it is certainly worth the investment. Having you own equipment, which is usually of a higher performance than those you might rent, will let you relax more under water, make you feel more confident, and surprising may help reduce your air consumption! Having dive equipment that fits you properly goes a long way to making the whole diving experience far more enjoyable.
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