Do you want to be a diver or are you just looking to be certified? This is a question I ask ever potential student that comes into the store. Why do I ask this you may wonder? Let me explain it to you.
I recently was talking to a young lady that was certified thru another shop. She came to us to rent for an upcoming dive and needed to rent everything…from soup to nuts. The only things she owns are her mask and snorkel. She needed booties, fins, gloves, hood, wetsuit, regulator system, BCD, tank, weights and a bag. I was surprised that she did not have her own personal snorkeling package…booties, hood, gloves, fins and gear bag. This is something that all of our students have.
During our conversation I asked why she did not have her own snorkeling package and she stated that the shop that certified her did not require she have it. It seems that they loan these items to their students. In my opinion the other shop is just selling certification merit badges, they are NOT developing divers. They are truly doing a disservice to the student & the industry. We do not normally rent gloves, booties, hoods and fins but she is a very nice gal and we really did want to help her out…so I rented her some of my personal gear along with a wetsuit, regulator system, BCD, tank & weights. Your personal snorkeling package is something that we all should own for hygiene reasons and is something that is not very expensive.
The boat trip was great and she was a perfect dive buddy for one of our other customers. They had 3 great dives and formed a new friendship and have made plans to dive together again soon. We spent time in the galley on the way home discussing the benefits of owing your own equipment and the cost of such ownership and why you are a better, safer diver when you own. She commented that her BCD was not as comfortable as the one she had rented the time before and that the regulator this time seemed to breathe better than the one the first time she rented. I tried to explain that when you own your own equipment that you are more comfortable, a safer diver and these two items add up to enjoyment. Let me repeat that, comfort + safety = enjoyment. A very SIMPLE formula. When you own your own regulator system you know how it breathes. You own your own BCD you know where your clips are and where the dump valves are. You are a committed & SAFER diver. You have made the commitment to become a true diver and not just certified.
I understand that buying a complete scuba system does require a financial commitment up front. The investment, however, is very worthwhile considering how long scuba gear lasts if maintained properly. The overall cost is very reasonable considering the years of comfort, safety & enjoyment to will get in owning your own gear. So, I ask you again, do you want to be a diver or just hold a certification card? Compare it to getting your driver’s license. Do you rent a car every time you need to go someplace or do you buy a car?
Any instructor that does not explain the benefits of owning your own gear is doing a disservice to the student. They are cheating the student of the benefits of comfortable, safe diving which equals enjoyment.
These are the opinions of the author and I welcome comments