Tips when buying open water scuba certification packages

If you are a deal hunter and looking at scuba deals at daily deals sites you are probably wondering what is the difference between all the packages.  There is quite a bit of price differentiation and lots of fine prints.

Lets first go over what is entailed in open water scuba certification:

It will probably take 2 weekends at least (4-4.5 days). Mine is 2 weekends plus one weeknight

  1. Classroom.  This will probably be 1 day or 1.5 days as it was mine.  You have to go over the diver manual, do questions from the manual, and then take a test inside the classroom.
  2. Confined pool dive.  1 day practice indoor
  3. Open water dives. 2 days doesn’t have to be back to back days but can be. You want to do the open water dives soon after learning so you don’t forget. Will describe options later in post.

Here’s a breakdown of things to look for when buying a open water scuba certification package.

  1. Classroom – A basic scuba deal probably includes the classroom sessions, indoor pool dives, and provide scuba gear like wetsuit, air tank, and other scuba gear (BCD, vest).  Not covered would be the scuba log book (~$20) and mask, snorkel, fin, gloves, boots.
  2. Gear (mask,snorkel,fin,glove,boot) – This part is a bit tricky as most places will advise you to buy your own and these equipment is not provided.  Not sure if most places even have rentals but some may do.  That’s something you may want to call and ask about. Depending on the quality of equipment you get you are most likely looking at $200+.
  3. Boat – The open water adventure can be done from the beach where you have to crawl out to the ocean from the beach or the easier method is to take a boat and just dump yourself overboard.  A single day boat excursion is probably 100+, mine was $115.  One needs to do two days of open water scuba diving so you are looking > $200 for the boat.  Of course you could just do the beach but I’ve heard bad things about it since you’re lugging around >60lbs of gear.    Did my first boat dive, 11/9 and there’s a 15-20% recommended tip for boat ppl.


I did the Beach Cities LivingSocial deal.  I think they are OK but there can be better packages. For Beach Cities, their boat is in Dana Point which is a trek if you’re not in South OC.

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