Squalo Divers, a PADI Five Star Dive Center, works in tandem with top industry brands such as Aqualung, Mares, and GoPro to outfit divers so they can explore underwater ecosystems. Equipment such as tanks, depth gauges and buoyancy-control devices prepares landlubbers for underwater travel without tricking a whale into swallowing them. Alternatively, the shop’s maintenance services can whip older gear into working order before each aqueous adventure.
Taught by certified instructors, Squalo Divers' courses run the gamut of scuba instruction, ranging from basic open-water certification to emergency-responder techniques. Courses incorporate cutting-edge training materials—including dependable gear and online study aids—and are taught in English or Spanish. The scuba center also offers trips to explore local waterways renowned for their extensive array of marine life.
Boasting a five-star certification from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Pompano Dive Center's seasoned staff enlighten aquatic adventurers during comprehensive snorkeling and scuba-diving courses. The crew welcomes divers into a practice swimming pool or aboard their custom-built boat, Sea Dog Diver. The vessel departs into South Florida's beautiful waters in search of marine wildlife, wrecks, and schools of fried fish sticks. The team helps pupils gain PADI certification and teach specialty courses such as underwater photography and freediving, the art of diving with only a single breath. The staff also mans a retail shop, which carries the full ScubaPro line and enough wetsuits to clothe all of Atlantis's top businessmen.
There's a whole other city off Miami's coast, lurking just beneath the Atlantic. Eels, stingrays, and tarpon swim across terrains as unpredictable as the sonnets formed by a pot of alphabet soup—terrains made of sunken yachts, oil platforms, army tanks, and even a 727 airliner. To date, Miami Beach holds more than 75 wrecks and manmade objects, many of which were sunk as part of an artificial reef program. Only two things stand between adventurers and these submerged wonders: equipment and training.
Enter South Beach Divers, a PADI five-star facility and equipment retailer that has certified more than 4,500 divers since 1995. Its aquatic alumni continues to grow thanks to versatile instructors who, combined, speak seven languages. These experts teach the full PADI curriculum, starting with Discover Scuba and Open Water Certification and working into specialized areas such as night diving, wreck diving, and rescue diving. Once students acquire the basics, South Beach Divers takes them on daily trips to Miami Beach and Key Largo's John Pennekamp Marine Sanctuary, where more traditional, coral reefs lay.
H2O Dive Center—located in North Miami Beach—facilitates safe diving experiences with a staff of SSI–certified instructors, who oversee informative ocean-exploration courses and quality equipment rentals. During dips in the center's pool, professional scuba divers prep beginners for open-water dives, demonstrating properly using the equipment and techniques for luring sea turtles into pulling you ashore. Seasoned divers can further their studies during advanced diving courses or a three-part open-water certification course.
Diver’s Den Miami’s Saturday scuba classes inculcate new divers with aquatic expertise with a contagious enthusiasm the Miami NewTimes celebrated by making it the city’s best dive shop in 2006. Experienced instructors guide students through courses composed of up to 2.5 hours of classroom time and roughly two hours of pool instruction in which participants shout brusque commands at largely unresponsive puddles. The class does not include equipment, so clients should either bring their own snorkel, fins and mask or rent required equipment plus boots at the dive shop ($19), from which they can glean tips and tricks from the years their rental equipment has helped students during class.
Nautilus Spearfishing’s certified staff instructs water-sports enthusiasts in proper, safe diving techniques. Individuals looking to acclimate themselves to freediving methods and safety protocols can receive breath-holding know-how with Nautilus’ F.I.I. Intro to Freedive and Safety Course, a full-day class that gives diving neophytes a firm foundation in tankless diving and the basic knowledge required for future freediving education. Groups of no more than 10 students begin their instruction in a structured classroom, learning basic safety procedures, breathing techniques, and dismissing dinner invitations from deceptive sharks. After memorizing the do’s and don’ts of diving, pupils take to the Nautilus pool to practice their newfound skill set in a controlled environment.