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.
Rob—a licensed Coast Guard captain and PADI-certified master scuba diver trainer—is affectionately called Captain Rob by his clients. His eponymous company helps the uninitiated to explore underwater with PADI-certification classes that focus on open-water dives in open water. From his 27-foot boat, a Grady White called Little Bugga, the captain launches expeditions beneath the waves. His encyclopedic knowledge of the area's ecology, which includes marine life, shines as he explains it in detail to divers. He also uses his decades of experience to teach new boat owners how to fish or captain their vessel through turbulent waters and car washes.
Over the course of nearly a decade of instruction, diving enthusiast and registered nurse Laura Parke has passed along the secrets of the deep to more than 700 divers. Though Laura leads a range of both basic and specialty courses, this deal is redeemable only for the private Discover Scuba Diving course for beginners ages 10 and up. The aqua-bound learning begins with students paddling in the pool to familiarize themselves with the gear and their functions. Once students are able to pat their heads while rubbing their goggles clean, they are carted off to get their fins wet at two shallow, oceanic locations. Tank toters will earn credit upon completion of this class, which can then be applied toward the Open Water Certification course, giving the average biped the chance to finally reunite with the speechless mermaid who got away.
The ocean—it's one of the world's most underexplored regions. The PADI-certified instructors at Divers Cove give explorers the scuba tools they need to tour the ocean and the planet's myriad aquatic arteries. They initiate the curious with basic pool sessions during Discover Scuba courses and prep the seasoned with advanced classes and open-water dives. They offer specialty classes, too, such as underwater photography and rescue diving. They even outfit underwater mariners with scuba gear and perform repairs on busted equipment.
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.