At Pisces School of Dive, most learning takes place outside the classroom. Sure, students learn rules and safety tips inside the PADI-rated five-star training facility, but they get to test their skills in the center’s pool and in Canandaigua Lake, where a 28-foot Harris boat shuttles them to dive sites far from shore. Over more than 35 years in business, the school’s staff has developed classes that train both aspiring divers and those who want to test the waters before fully committing to a certification course. They also offer an online PADI-certification course, though participants will have to perform the open-water dives in person or send their avatar to a virtual ocean before gaining full accreditation.
At Aqua SubScuba Diving Centre, students train with the very same PADI-certified professionals who introduced Survivorman's Les Stroud to diving. When the team isn't spotting the famed survivalist during television shoots, they guide students to diving mastery at their own five-star development centre and local dive sites. Their introductory lessons begin with orientation sessions to ensure that students understand underwater safety guidelines, hand mations, and dolphin turn signals. They also lead pupils toward PADI certification with open-water dives and preparatory electronic courses. The staff can also offer referrals for open-water dives at optimal sites such as local spots or the underwater coffee shop used in the movie Finding Nemo.
Even in the chilliest days of winter, the pool inside Webster Aquatic Center remains a pleasant 81-82 degrees. Since its grand opening in 2002, the center?which is owned and managed by the Webster Central School District?has provided the community with a destination for aquatic recreation, instruction, and competition throughout the school year.
Inside the spacious building, the Olympic-sized pool hosts swimming and scuba lessons, water polo matches, and more. A total of 10,000 square feet of deck space surrounds the water, and an ample amount of balcony seating allows guests to watch the activities or continue their ill-conceived vigil for the Loch Ness Monster. Actual pool aside, Webster Aquatic Center boasts features including a high-tech timing system, diving boards, and short- and long-course lap lanes.
The Lackawanna headquarters of Phoenix Scuba and Water Sports is situated so that it attracts both Canadian diving enthusiasts who drop in from the Niagara Peninsula as well as divers from throughout western New York State. Recreational-minded beginners hop into an indoor pool to build skills and underwater experience before venturing out to the open water on one of the company's scuba charters. Meanwhile, Phoenix's veteran instructors work with professional divers-in-training who are trying to become certified. Instructional programs are also offered in adaptive diving, which trains those with physical disabilities to safely enjoy the joys of scuba. Through the years, the resident community of adaptive divers has made trips to exotic locales such as the Cayman Islands, where divers explore the ocean's depths and play Battleship underwater.
Dan's Dive Shop, a venerable PADI five-star diving facility, can equip would-be aquatic adventurers with all the gear and training they need to explore the watery depths. In Dan's 90-minute Discover Scuba Diving class, expert instructors acquaint up to 10 curious underwater novices with basic scuba-diving equipment, provided on-site and prepped beforehand by the shop's knowledgeable staff. After getting a feel for the gear, students can take their first underwater puffs, experiencing firsthand a thrill usually reserved for sturgeon and superpowered aquamen. Though this course doesn't qualify toward scuba certification, the basic skills and safety rules students pick up here can serve them well should they decide to pursue further instruction. Those who have completed the Discover Scuba Diving class receive a rebate off tuition fees for Dan's Dive Shop's full-certification courses and are automatically qualified to practice nautical law.
Aquarius Scuba Diving Centre gets people swimming along coral reefs and among the fish through its scuba-certification programs and diving events. Open-water and pool courses plunge students into the water at their own rate, whether their goal is to learn how to breathe underwater or train for professional rescue diving. Groups can use these skills out in the wild on special diving excursions which run throughout the year and tackle a variety of destinations such as the Philippines and Cozumel, Mexico.