May 25, 1997

Taking The Scuba Plunge

The Associated Press
 

Before taking a scuba tank and heading underwater, you’ll need some basic instruction and equipment.

If you’re on vacation, you can get a quick introduction to the sport by taking a resort course - a few hours of instruction that allows you to try a few dives with a guide to depths shallower than 30 feet.

But if you want to dive unsupervised, you’ll need to be certified by a recognized agency, and that means completing a course that involves 25 to 40 hours of instruction in the classroom and in the water.

Many divers go on to get further training in navigation or rescue techniques, and even in such specialized skills as ice, wreck or cave diving. Underwater photography courses also are very popular.

Expect to pay between $400 and $500 for basic certification and essential equipment, such as mask, fins and snorkel. Other equipment can be purchased or rented for an additional charge.

Several diver certification programs are offered around the country. Among the popular ones:

The National Association of Underwater Instructors, or NAUI, (800) 553-NAUI or (909) 621-5801.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, or PADI, (800) 729-7234 or (714) 540-7234.

Scuba Schools International, or SSI, (970) 482-0883.

The YMCA Scuba Program, (770) 662-5172.

The Handicapped Scuba Association has specially trained instructors to assist people with disabilities, (714) 498-6128.

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This sidebar appeared with the story: Dive travel tours Some numbers to contact for information on a dive vacation: Adventure Express Travel, (800) 443-0799 or (415) 442-0799; Aggressor Fleet (has several liveaboards), (800) 348-2628 or (504) 385-2628; Landfall Productions, (800) 525-3833; Mad Dog Expeditions (rough and tumble adventure tours), (212) 744-6763; Peter Hughes Diving (has several liveaboards), (800) 932-6237 or (305) 669-9391; Rascals in Paradise (specializing in family vacations), (800) 872-7225 or (415) 978-9800; See & Sea Travel, (415) 434-3400; Tropical Adventures, (800) 247-3483 or (206) 441-3483.


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