We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Scuba diving certification

Which Cayman Brac hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Chicago, Illinois
posts: 12
reviews: 42
Scuba diving certification

My son wants to get certified while on vacation. Is this possible here? and what is the approx. cost? I would appreciate any advice. We will be there in feb.

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
posts: 2,869
reviews: 88
1. Re: Scuba diving certification

Yes, you can absolutely get certified in the Cayman Islands. I would suggest that your son complete all of his classroom work online and then complete the course while on vacation. I'm sure other posters will provide similar advice.

New York
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
posts: 7,457
reviews: 42
2. Re: Scuba diving certification

Go to padi.com, have him do the e-learning online as smushie suggested. Then you need to call ahead so whichever op you use can have an instructor available for the water skills, equipment and precert dives. Depending on where you are staying, if they have an inhouse op, use them. This way your son can hang out with you at the lunch breaks etc. It is very convenient and you will find that all the ops who have been in business any length of time have excellent reputations. You can ask about the prices directly (this is not a good source of info for that) and it will depend on whether or not he has done the classwork before arriving (otherwise they have to have an instructor be available for that as well). Happy diving!!!

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,444
reviews: 65
3. Re: Scuba diving certification

I'd like to suggest a slightly different approach. If you have a local dive shop, do the theory and the pool work with them, and take your exam there too. You then get a referral packet which you can bring with you and do the open water dives here. (This is how I got certified).

The advantage of this, compared to waiting to do the pool work when on Cayman, is that you get to take your time and iron out any issues that are encountered. The Open Water dives are then something you can do at the start of your vacation, and then enjoy diving for the rest of the time, rather than spending the days doing pool work, and missing the opportunity to go diving in such a perfect location.

Both would most definitely work, though.

New York
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
posts: 7,457
reviews: 42
4. Re: Scuba diving certification

Referrals are becoming a white elephant. I did it that way to back in the day. Now with the advent of internet capabilities you can do the classwork in your time frame at home. The instructor or DM that will do the cert and attach his/her number to the new diver gets to do all the skill work. You also do the swim skills in Cayman which is much nicer than in New York (or Chicago) in a pool in the dead of wnter. Mine was at a Y pool in Westchester NY. Referrals are no longer the chosen option although before the e-learning came into being, they did save those travelling on vacation from giving up valuable time doing the classroom work!

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,444
reviews: 65
5. Re: Scuba diving certification

I needed more than the usual amount of time to get comfortable underwater, so for me I would do it again the same way, rather than risking that I wouldn't get completed during the limited time I would be on vacation. Just had a friend of mine's son do the same thing, and she said it worked really well to get him feeling less pressured once they were on Cayman for him to do his OWD.

So I don't agree with you at all that it is without use or value, or even becoming so, which is my understanding of the meaning of a "white elephant"

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
posts: 2,869
reviews: 88
6. Re: Scuba diving certification

I'm with Retrip. Sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool a few times isn't going to do much. Most operations in the Caymans will have you in the pool in the morning and at a dive site after lunch.

Edited: 10:50 pm, December 07, 2012
Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,444
reviews: 65
7. Re: Scuba diving certification

Glad you took to it quickly. I didn't, and my friend's son didn't either. For both of us, spending time close to home well in advance of the trip made the difference between a great first trip to the Caymans for both of us, and a very frustrating one (even though the trips were 8 years apart!)

The OP asked about costs - eLearning for PADI is $130, then you will expect to pay around $399 for the Open Water certification at the dive shop on Cayman (I am getting my numbers from the Ocean Frontiers site, which I am not specifically recommending, just using it as an example.)

The SSI eLearning is free, and there are several dive shops that do SSI Open Water certification on GC - not sure whether the costs are comparable to the PADI course, but I imagine they are similar.

Usually, the dive shop will provide all the equipment necessary for the certification as part of the certification package. It's advisable to buy your own mask at least, to make sure that you get a good fit.

For a lot of opinions about the "right' way to get certified, check out the thread over at ScubaBoard, which I strongly recommend for questions about diving. They even have boards for the Cayman Islands.

scubaboard.com/forums/basic-scuba-discussion…

I hope that this has given you some information that you needed. Good luck!

New York
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
posts: 7,457
reviews: 42
8. Re: Scuba diving certification

I'm a DM up to my instructor level and get all the updates on "What's New" in the dive world, so I am basing my info on what is provided through DAN, PADI and NAUI to divers who are at the pro level. I am NAUI certified and it took 10 weeks, 2x a week with 2 to 3 hours a session split between pool and classroom (which I did in the dead of winter in NY with a referral back in the day). So I didn't pick the cheap way or the easy way. My MD and DM is with PADI so I get info from all three of those organizations. I don't trust ScubaBoard as I have read lots of things that are just plain incorrect. You can get experienced divers and "hotshots" so I like to stick with info from the pros. Different strokes for different folks. Whichever you choose to go, you should know that if an individual is uncomfortable or having a difficult perfecting a skill such as mask clearing, the DM should and will spend additional time with that student. They are also pretty good a recognizing if someone has a problem that can't be overcome, whether it be slow ears, just plain fear, whatever, but they take responsiblity of working with the student very personally. I think your son will have a great time. My kids shared diving with us for years. When they certified and took all their subsequent courses, we purposely had them do it in Grand Cayman because the conditions are so great and the level of instruction was wonderful. Happy diving!

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
posts: 2,869
reviews: 88
9. Re: Scuba diving certification

Well said Retrip. I've had a related discussion with many other people. There are basic skills that take differing amounts of time to sort out from clearing a mask or setting up a regulator to clearing your ears or finding neutral buoyancy. Overcoming or controlling fear however it not a skill to sort out. Like Retrip, I have decades of dive experience and have worked for several different operations on Grand Cayman as a DM back in the day. I've been an avid free diver my entire life and these days I rarely if ever scuba dive so I'm out of the loop so to speak on new certs....

That said, there's some segment of the diving world that ("hotshot" or not), believes that diving is a fear inducing extreme sport. I am not one of those people. Further, fear, as an emotion, is a dangerous state to be in while participating in a sport where (fear driven) instincts can cause people to make poor decisions that can be life threatening.

Recreational diving should be a fun, relaxing and otherwise enjoyable activity. Instructors in the Cayman Islands are some of the best in the world and the conditions for learning are ideal.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,444
reviews: 65
10. Re: Scuba diving certification

For me it was not a matetr of faith. I DID have a fear that I was trying to conquer, and I did, through time and patience in my local pool, because my Local Dive Shop allowed unlimited pool time for me. I did conquer it, and now diving is a passion for me. I didn't want to push myself on a fixed timeframe to forge ahead when I wasn't sure whether I could really do it or not.

So this is no slam on any of the Cayman dive instructors for whom I have a ton of respect - I took my NITROX course here on the island with Anton Swanepoel at DiveTech which was an excellent class, filled with personal practical experiences. It doesn't matter how good the instructor is - if you have to spend longer than the average bear to get truly comfortable doing it, then that may become problematic on such a fixed timetable, like the one week you are away spending a lot of money at a beautiful dive location.

I think that if you have done resort dives already and were comfortable doing those, or anything else that indicates that you will be totally comfortable from the get-go, then eLearning and the course at the resort would be a definite candidate - the point I am trying to make is that it's not going to suit everyone for specific reasons, but that this shouldn't stop them learning to dive if that is what they want to do.

I hope that this discussion is helping the OP in their deliberations....

Get answers to your questions about Cayman Brac