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I’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive. How do I get started?
Read the following frequently asked questions below, and if you have any lingering unanswered questions we are here to help! Give us a call or come by in person. If you are sure you are ready to get started with SCUBA diving, sign up for our Basic Open Water Course

Is learning to dive difficult?
It may be easier than you imagine — especially if you’re already comfortable in the water! Sound Dive Center’s entry level course consists of knowledge development, pool diving, and open water dives. The course is designed for you to become comfortable with each skill before moving on to the next, and our NAUI Instructors take care to observe, teach, and equip each student to become a comfortable, competant, and confident SCUBA diver.

How long does it take to become a certified scuba diver?
We hold courses every month all year long! The class time is a total of six days spread over three weeks split into three sections: Lectures, Skills, and Open Water Check Out. Typically the schedule begins in the first week of the month with Day 1 on the first Thursday held at Sound Dive Center. Then the following Saturday is Day 2 at the the Olympic Aquatic Center learning and practicing skills in the pool. The Thursday/Saturday sessions will repeat for the second week. The third week both Saturday and Sunday sessions are held at Illahee State Park* for the required check out dives in the open water. 

*You will need a Washington State Park Discover Pass for each day. We recommend purchasing an annual pass if you do not already have one.

Sign up for the next class: Open Water Diver Course.

How old do I have to be to become a certified diver?
A student must be at minimum ten years old to receive a Junior Open Water Diver Certification. However, due to the serious nature and maturity required for safe diving we prefer students to wait until 12 years old to undertake the course. If a young person believes they are fit and able to handle the physical and mental demands of this sport, we can work with them and their parent to coordinate an interview with the instructor to determine readiness. 

Are their any special requirements or age considerations prior to a taking a SCUBA class?
Not Necessarily. Age is not a determinant of ability! Review the medical questionairre and if anything on the questionnaire indicates a reason to be cautious about diving, you’ll need check with a physician to make sure you can dive safely.

438_Melissa_waving_hi_from_Do I have to be a great swimmer to be certified as an Open Water Diver?
You need to be a reasonably proficient swimmer and comfortable in the water. You must swim 450 yards with mask, fins and snorkel, as well as swimming underwater for 15meters in one breath without pushing off or diving. You’ll also need to perform a 10 minute tread/float.

Is scuba diving expensive?
SCUBA diving has larger initial upfront costs, like many hobbies, and depending upon your interest level the costs associated with continual enjoyment of the sport can be varied. Most people find the costs of scuba diving similar to the cost associated with golfing or snow skiing.

What equipment do I need before I take scuba lessons?
We encourage everyone to train in their own gear. The best dive is a safe dive, and training in ill-fitting gear is unsafe. We recognize that costs of gear can be a barrier to entry in the sport and have selected  specific gear to be discounted for our students. This package includes: mask, snorkel, gloves, boots, SMB, Finger Reel, and fins. The staff at Sound Dive Center can help you select quality equipment that fits properly.

What’s in a scuba tank? Oxygen? 
Recreational Open Water divers breathe air, never pure oxygen. The air in a scuba tank is like the air you’re breathing only better! Scuba air is filtered to remove impurities, and then compressed into the cylinder for underwater use.

diver_crabHow long does a tank of air last?
Since people are different ages, sizes and physical condition, they breathe at different rates. As you go deeper you use air faster, so each dive is different. Divers carry a pressure gauge and/or dive computer that lets them know how much air is in their tank. As divers gain more experience and relax, our “bottom time” will improve. Divers can expect a 30 minute to one hour underwater time when diving to 40 to 90 ft with an average 80cf tank.

When I’m snorkeling, my ears hurt when I dive down.
This ear pain comes from the water pressure on your eardrum. In your SCUBA course, you’ll learn to love the phrase, "Clear Early and Often". We teach simple techniques to “equalize” your ears to the surrounding pressure, much like you do when you fly in an airplane, which prevents ear pain.

Sharks and Stinging Manta Rays
Marine animals are typically passive or timid. A few do bite when provoked, or sting when intimidated or put in a defensive mode. What to do? Always be alert and cautious when entering the aquatic natural wonderland. Don’t provoke them or invade their “space.” We are their guests and it is a privilege to explore their home.

Is scuba diving dangerous?
There are potential hazards and inherent risks, as with any sport, which is why proper training and certification is necessary.

I wear glasses or contacts.
We have options for masks that need corrective lenses which can either be specially ground to your exact prescription or get replacement lenses. If you would prefer to wear your soft contact lenses, under your regular mask, no problem. Hard contact wearers should use gas permeable lenses. Be aware, some skills will require water in your mask.

DSC_0460I’m not sure I will like it…
We have an option for you! Try Scuba Diving is a low-cost entry point into SCUBA diving! The Try Scuba student will work with a dive professional in the pool environment to discover how it feels to be breathing air while underwater!

Who is NAUI?
NAUI is the acronym for the National Association of Underwater Instructors. NAUI’s global reputation for the best in training and educational products reflects our core values of quality dive training through education. Many organizations specifically choose NAUI for their diver education programs including Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, United States Navy SEAL Teams and NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas (USA) where astronauts train for their space walks.

Have a question not listed? Come by the shop and we will be happy to connect with you!