The amphibious pros at Splash Dive Center guide merpeople of all skill levels into the water with a roster of beginner- and certification-level courses. In the Discover Scuba class, beginning divers and recently evolved dolphins strap on specially fitted equipment provided by the facility before plunging into the pool and soaking up two hours of scuba fundamentals. The PADI Open Water Diver Basic Scuba Diving course entails three days of diving toward the goal of certification as a scuba diver. The tri-tiered program kicks off with classroom or internet lessons and concludes with checkout dives, during which instructors evaluate form and sea-lamprey mating calls. Successful candidates receive certification from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). All subaquatic students receive discounts on gear purchases, as well as free tank rentals and free air fills.
The Taste of Scuba course introduces aspiring mermen and maids to the basic underwater breathing techniques in a safe, unthreatening environment. The two-hour class takes place in a portion of The Dive Shop's indoor pool that is only three feet deep, letting students experience the sensation of weightlessness without the weightiness of realizing that you're just a small fish in a shark's pond. The Dive Shop provides students with all necessary equipment (except towels and bathing suits), and highly trained instructors helpfully demonstrate how to operate the gadgetry, both underwater and in the case of bathroom emergencies. If your taste test of scuba piques your aqueous appetite, speak to one of the friendly and informed instructors about seeking additional training opportunities, getting your hands on some gear of your own, or gobbling up the glory of one of earth's all-natural bowls of seafood soup.
Bubbles rush from beneath the diving group’s masks—one of the only nearby signs of moving life—as they float beside the sunken submarine U-352. More than 70 years resting in 110 feet of North Carolinian coastal waters have transformed it into a reef of sorts—rife with small tropical marine life—but the unmistakable shapes of torpedo hatches, a conning tower, and the massive propeller give away its identity. Above and around the hollow hull float Blu Water Scuba’s instructors, guiding a detailed tour to the wreck, which is considered among the most unique wrecks to inhabit American waters.
The dive shop’s owners-cum-teachers regularly plan excursions from their base in D.C. to explore seldom-seen, deeply submerged portions of the Atlantic. To ensure that as many people as possible can share such amazing experiences, they offer basic certification courses in open-water diving as well as in a slew of advanced underwater skills, such as rescue diving. They start training sessions in enclosed spaces such as classrooms, local pools, and senators' private hot tubs, ultimately diving in outdoor locations such as the local Lake Millbrook flooded stone quarry, where they administer certification tests. Apart from full PADI certification, they also teach introductory diving skills in the safety of local pools.
The word that best describes Sterling Silver Scuba's instructors is passion. That’s because every one of them pursued it as a hobby before ever considering it professionally. Through countless hours of live dives and certification courses, they've become experts, and they share their knowledge during regular PADI classes. From specialized lessons on search and recovery or underwater naturalism to master diver or digital underwater photography, the classes prepare students for every aspect of open water exploration. Once students are certified, the school leads trips around the world to explore exotic locales such as the Bahamas, Mexico, or Donald Trump's 2,000,000 gallon bathtub for his dolphin wife.
With today’s Groupon, $25 gets you a private Discover Scuba Diving lesson at SPE Dive School (a $50 value), located outside of DC at 4600 N. Park Ave. in Chevy Chase, MD. If you’ve ever considered scuba diving, an SPE class is a great way to prepare yourself for discovering the mind-blowing sites seen only by scuba divers (and by the kind of coral that has eyeballs). It’s worth taking this class, if only to force yourself to plan a scuba-diving vacation so you can see the ocean floor before you die. You should know that if you die before you scuba dive, heaven is filled with an eternity of regret and an absence of oceans. Bring some friends because it's 50% lonelier under the sea than on land (hence the fish’s frowny face).
Granted, scuba diving isn’t the first sport on people’s minds when they think of Washington, DC. But in any major urban center, there are bound to be plenty of people who like to go underwater, and DC is no exception. Blue Planet Scuba is where those water lovers dive into when they need the newest gear. Aside from selling scuba stuff, Blue Planet also offers certification programs, runs classes and organizes group and custom dive trips. While the Dupont area store is small, anyone who enters will be surprised to discover the large diving community that Blue Planet Scuba has developed. In fact, regular guests will start feeling like they are going to a club headquarters rather than a store.