Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Living and working in a resort style dive destination area, we get to meet people with all levels of experience as far as scuba diving goes. A fair portion of our (pretty much all Hawaii dive operators, not just me) business involves introducing non-divers to scuba. This can entail a full blown course which takes a few days, or a simple intro to diving which can be accomplished in a few hours.
Most operators offer people an opportunity to dive one-on-one, or in a small group, with an instructor. This is a great opportunity to give people a chance to try diving without much time invested. The typical program involves about 20-30 minute review of scuba hows and whys, and then it's to the water to practice skills and then go diving. Depending where and who a person does an intro dive with, it could be done in a pool, off a beach, or off a boat. Length of the actual dive can vary from operator to operator.
If you are doing your intro dive in open water there will typicaly be a 30-40 foot depth limit and the group size is kept small, 4 intro divers per instructor max. There are companies that seem to specialize in intros and they will likely have a full group with each instructor, I usually will have just one or two individuals diving with me off my boat when I'm doing intros. If I have certified divers on board, they'll be going off in a different directrion with their own guide.
Intro dives are a great way to check out scuba. Most people really enjoy the experience, but it's not for everyone. Here's a couple personal opinions/observations if you or someone you know is ever interested in trying an intro dive... Virtually everyone who is a comfortable snorkeler has a great experience on intro dives. RECENT snorkeling experience is highly recommended, I'm talking like in the last week or two, not last year, several years ago, or when you were a kid... comfort level can change. We do get our share (not huge, but still it does exist) of people who just are plain uncomfortable when they are trying the dive - virtually all of these in my experience do not have RECENT snorkeling experience. I've done hundreds of intro dives in the last 6-7 years and I can only think of one or two times that someone with recent snorkeling experience did not enjoy thier dive or couldn't make the dive. So here''s my big hint if you are thinking about trying an intro... get out and snorkel for a couple hours first and make sure you are comfortable... you'll have a blast on the dive.
Anyway, this post is sort of a lead in to a story of an intro dive I did several years ago that I'll post next.