Below is a collection of FAQ’s on beginning your adventure. Have a question about any aspect of the program? Please call the shop, 608-219-5075, or email us, firstname.lastname@example.org, with those questions.
Who Can Learn?
Is it important to be an athlete or a competitive swimmer? Do you have to be an adult or a certain age? Will common medical conditions disqualify you from diving? Fortunately, the answer to all these questions is generally no.
What is Involved?
How do you get started? What steps will you need to follow? Will I be diving here or do I have to travel? What sort of things will you be doing as part of the course?
Where Do You Learn?
Where do the Workshops and Pool dives take place? Where are the Certification Training dives held? Where exactly do you go and how do you get there?
How Much Does it Cost?
Learning to scuba dive is surprisingly affordable. The best news is, you get to decide how much you will spend by choosing from various options for training and equipment.
What Equipment Will You Need?
The good news here is that we supply most of what you will need. There are a few personal equipment items, however, whose selection is critical to your comfort, safety and enjoyment.
When Can I Start?
Strictly speaking, you can start whenever you want. With our Digital Home Study system via the SSI App or browser on a computer, it can be as soon as you register and pay for the course. After that, you’ll discover we have a variety of convenient schedules to choose from.
What if I have trouble starting with the SSI app or browser in my computer for the Digital Home Study?
All the new fangled technology these days can be daunting. If you have problems, send Brian and email – HERE – and he’ll get your problem solved. He is kind of a geek in all of this….
What is SSI?
SSI is Scuba Schools International, the largest scuba training organization in the world. Founded in 1970, today you’ll find SSI professionals, and your SSI Open Water Diver card is welcome, throughout the world.
What if I need to change class dates, miss a class or if I am sick the day of class?
Life happens to us all. You merely need to contact us and choose new regularly scheduled dates, no extra fee, nada. It’s that simple and not an issue. We may, however, heckle you a little if you simply oversleep.
What if I need to take the Workshops, Pool and Certification Training Dives not the same month?
Not a problem at all. You simply choose the sessions that work for your schedule. We have people that have had to arrange some pretty strange combinations to become a diver. So you won’t be the first that needs to work out a plan. We provide crayons at the shop to work out the plan on paper if you need them.
What if I can’t make the regularly scheduled class dates?
No worries, you do have an option for a privately scheduled session or sessions. There will be a small fee for each session, but think of it as more attention to just you and your learning. Well worth the investment. Click here to ask us how this works.
How hard is it to learn how to scuba?
It is like learning ancient Hebrew and quelling a riot using that language. Nah, actually it is really easy and most are surprised how easy it was to learn. Today’s scuba gear is surprisingly simple and the instructions are easy to follow. There is very little to memorize and it really is easier than swimming. Tab A. Slot B. Fold over C. Kick with legs.
How old can you be and still dive?
We currently have trained beginner divers that are in their 70’s. We have two divers who dive regularly that are approaching their 90’s. Many divers who show up to take class are in their 40’s and 50’s and have always wanted to try this and just finally got around to it. You do need to be at least 10 years old physically. Our youngest student was 10 years old and three days. She is now an advanced open water diver.
What if I don’t understand part of the Digital Home Study while I am studying or didn’t finish it all?
Don’t worry, keep breathing and relax. We review all the material and take time during the Workshops to answer all of your questions. You still need to complete the Digital Home Study quizzes before you take the final but you have time to complete this. Everyone always has a question or two. We understand some of the charts, graphs and math can be hard so we spend time in class going over them. Besides, you may even catch our mistakes.
What if I fail the Workshops, Pool session or Training dives?
The only way you can fail any part of the class is simple. Stop coming to class, stop trying all together, cheat on your academics or as Stick says, “sprain your pancreas”.
I have some health issues; can I still dive?
Most people who lead normal lives can dive. As part of the class, you need to fill in the medical questionnaire and answer “Yes” or “No” to all the questions. If you answer “Yes” to any questions, you simply need to contact your doctor and have them sign the medical release prior to class. Very seldom does a “Yes” keep someone from diving. You can view, download and print the SSI Medical Form. If you have any YES answers, no worries, take this form to your Doc to sign off on. You can also read about other medical concerns here.
Can I dive with contact lenses? What if I wear glasses?
You can dive while wearing contacts. If you wear hard contact lenses, you many want the gas permeable throw away type. Always bring an extra pair when you’re diving. If you wear glasses, masks can have lenses bonded to them so you can see underwater or if you bring in your mask and prescription, we can have prescription lenses put in – both single vision and bifocal. But many people find that since water magnifies everything 30% they don’t even need them. Water makes them fishes easy to see.
What if I get cold all the time?
Then we simply put you in the right wetsuit, hood and gloves. Wetsuits are just like coats in Wisconsin. We have a different one for all the different temperatures. That or you can swim really hard carrying really heavy stuff.
What if I don’t swim very well?
The basic swim test is really very simple. All you have to do is swim 200 yards any way you want and at whatever speed works for you. There is also a short float test. All of this is simply to make sure if you fell into the water, you would be safe, not to see how strong a swimmer you are. When you’re diving, you have a BCD, fins and a constant source of air supply and so many people find it even easier to dive than to swim.
I am worried if scuba diving is safe.
It’s as safe as you make it. If you dive like you were trained, obey basic scuba diving rules, use your common sense and dive with a buddy, then the sport is safer than driving your car or bowling or taking selfies. Click here to read an interesting article.
What about sharks?
Sharks are rare and many are even endangered. Although incidents with sharks occur, most are because some idiot is trying to feed or bother them. A recent statistic showed that more people die taking selfies than in shark encounters. Most of the time if you see a shark, it’s passing through and is a rare sight to enjoy. You should, however, always be on the lookout for the Kraken
and other sea monsters.
What are the most common injuries or sicknesses associated with diving?
Sunburn, seasickness, pain in your side from laughing and in rare cases some injuries such as scrapes and stings are caused by marine life and the underwater environment. That and of course slipping on the boat; those things rock back and forth, just ask Timm.
I don’t have a friend to dive with. How can I find a buddy?
You will as soon as you’re done with class. We have a huge program of local divers and there is always someone to dive with no matter if you are a new or experienced diver. We dive Tuesday nights & weekends or whenever we can play hooky from work. You are always welcome to join us.
I am going on vacation, can I finish my certification there?
Absolutely! This is a delightful way to finish during the winter. This process is called a “Referral” and means that you will finish your Workshops and Pool sessions here and then simply take your Certification Training dives on your vacation. The only catch is sometimes the Training dives can be expensive. You need to confirm the prices with the dive shop in the destination that you plan on taking your Training dives. Our staff is always willing to go with you and carry your luggage and help you with gear, if you pay their way.
Where do you dive around here?
We are surrounded with local adventures. You can explore the local underwater diving bell off Picnic Point, go antique bottle hunting, scrounge around for anchors, explore around the Monona Terrace, see the jellyfish in Wisconsin, dive the Lake Wazee strip mine and of course explore the Great Lakes. They have the greatest concentration of shipwrecks in the world. Also ice diving is a thrill and super safe but a wee bit cold.
Do you have any trips I can go on?
We offer local trips such as the Bonne Terre mines, Isle Royal shipwreck liveaboard and exploration of Pearl Lake and Haigh Quarry. We also have exotic trips where we go someplace warm and exciting several times a year. You can visit the Traveling page to see when we are going someplace soon.
Isn’t’ scuba diving really expensive?
Not really. Like any hobby or recreation, you can invest a lot or a little, depending upon your interest level and pocketbook. The only required gear that we ask you to have is a high quality mask and snorkel for Open Water Diver class. It just so happens that we have over 40 mask styles to correctly fit nearly anyone’s facial features. Along with that all of our dive professionals are trained in how to properly fit a mask to you. You can’t get that on the internet…
Once you are certified, we have quality rental gear, at really good prices, so you can go diving until you are ready to buy your own gear. For example, it only costs 35 bucks to rent all the gear you need for one of our Tuesday night dives. To pick an average, most people find the costs of scuba diving similar to those associated with snow skiing. This is true unless your keep losing your gear and have to buy new stuff all the time.