A-1 Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Adventures outfits oceanic explorers with the gear and training necessary for expeditions into the vasty deeps. Classes of 10–15 students converge upon the dive center for registration before heading to the pool at George School's sports center in Newtown, a safe environment for introductory dives and intermediate-level Marco Polo. Certified Professional Association of Diving Instructors members show each diver how to don and use a full allotment of scuba gear, including snorkel, tank, regulator, buoyancy jacket, fins, and instruments. Students then learn how to breathe through a regulator underwater and practice basic safety and diving skills, such as how to summon a school of flounder to carry you to the surface in an emergency. The hours and experience gained during this course may be credited toward a full scuba certification course should the attendee decide to continue with the program.
Composed of head instructor Dave Barnes and Refresher course instructor Melissa Rybicki, Scubadelphia's diving duo teaches underwater maneuverability during an array of classes. The twosome stages lessons in classroom and pool settings, and the curriculum includes PADI Open Water Diver certification and specialties such as Wreck Diver, Rescue Diver, and Divemaster, a title normally bestowed on those who can break dance on a diving board. Scubadelphia also stocks a full range of scuba gear in its dog-friendly shop, overseen by Obie, Scubadelphia's perpetual four-legged employee of the month.
Atlantic Edge Dive Center's dive-masters might technically be classified as land mammals, but they spend enough time under water to earn the honorary title of amphibian. They spend days and nights teaching and leading dives, whether they're arming curious beginners with basic skills in one of their on-site swimming pools, or conducting open water certification tests off the coast. They go beyond simply certifying students for adventure: they provide rescue diving, dive master, and instructor training as well.
Their passion for the aquatic pastime draws them to all kinds of watery outposts. They lead excursions to the Florida keys to help rehabilitate the coral reefs surrounding the islands, and dive into the relatively calm waters of the tanks in the Baltimore National Aquarium, where they have a chance to see 53 species of fish feed in the secret underwater cafeteria.
Drawing on more than three decades of combined experience, the instructors at Indian Valley Scuba aim to make breathing underwater a cinch for each and every one of their students, no matter how familiar they are with scuba diving. With its main Pennsylvania location, partner pools, and satellite centers, a team of divers stays splashing year-round, educating first-time students or seasoned treasure hunters. Fundamental courses introduce newbies and fine-tune advanced divers, while specialty classes delve deeper into the possibilities such as wreck diving, night diving, and reef-conservation efforts.
Curious dive dabblers can test the waters with a Try Scuba Diving class ($40) that takes intrepid explorers into the pool to try out Lehigh Valley’s equipment and determine if life in a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus brings them uncontained joy. Cousteau-copying Groupon holders can also opt for classes such as the Open Water course (up to $340, including equipment and fees), which teaches diving basics during at least three full pool sessions, two lake sessions, and one tête-à-tête with an opinionated kraken.
PADI-certified scuba instructor John Walker opened Lancaster Scuba in 1993 to encourage others to explore underwater ecosystems. Today, the center is a PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Center, which means Walker and his staff are teaching the next generation of scuba instructors. Of course, if you just want to learn how to safely scuba dive for leisure, the center has an array of courses for beginners and mermaids alike. On top of everything, Lancaster Scuba has a store with scuba gear, an on-site cylinder filling station, and an eco-friendly approach that earned it a PADI Green Star Award.