The certified divers at Ultimate Dive and Travel draw on years of experience to help students gain scuba-diving certification with and underwater savvy. Certification courses include classroom instruction, where students glean diving basics through textbooks, DVD lessons, and in-depth interviews with retired manta rays. Pool sessions help familiarize pupils with their equipment within the security and comfort of a swimming pool. The final legs of the course come with open dives at Lake Pleasant, where participants earn their open-water certification. Ultimate Dive and Travel is also an authorized dealer of subaqueous gear from brands such as Scuba Pro, Oceanic, Henderson, and Atomic Aquatic.
El Mar Diving Center, an SSI and TDI dive center that started in 1963, serves as a divers' oasis amid the dry Mesa terrain. The center's seasoned staff lead an array of courses, teaching beginners the ropes in the Junior Open Water Diver class and helping more experienced divers hone their skills in Solo Diver sessions. They also lead speciality classes such as Night and Limited Visibility Diver and Wreck Diver, in which adventurers learn which treasure is safe and which is lorded over by pirate ghosts. In addition to heated pools, high-tech equipment, and other essential learning tools, the center's affiliate school in San Carlos, Mexico boasts a 36-foot boat that hosts exploration dives in the Sea of Cortez.
No Limits Scuba makes the aquatic world accessible to all through basic and certification scuba courses. Beginners can first get a taste for the sport with a Try Dive course that includes practice time in the water as well as basic instruction. For those ready to dive in the whole way, No Limits Scuba offers certification courses with extensive time in the pool, as well as out of the pool with lectures.
The managers of Scuba Professionals of Arizona have logged 50 years of underwater experience between the two of them. In the center's brand new pool, they put their acquired training from Scuba Schools International and American Nitrox Divers International to good use, leading scuba lessons for beginning and advanced divers of all ages. Their onsite store vends and maintains equipment for snorkeling and scuba classes, as well as organizes diving trips to destinations as close as Lake Pleasant and as far as Fiji.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours
Brands Used: Aeris, Aqua Lung, Hollis, Oceanic
Pro Tip: We are passionate about the sport of scuba diving
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Scuba classes
Recommended Age Group: 10 and up
A lot of people like to dive right in when it comes to learning a new skill, but the founder of Inland Water Divers prefers a slow and steady approach when it comes to certifying new scuba divers. "Your first step as a new student should be to stop into the shop and meet one of our instructors," he says. Ensuing conversations focus on a student's individual goals, and whether he or she would simply like a PADI or NAUI diving certification or something more advanced, such as rescue diving training or algae language lessons. After all, as the founder points out, "Matching you with the correct equipment and knowing your goals will help ensure that you are successful in your training."
John Flanders and Jeff Varner founded the Academy of Scuba to bring the magic of diving to the arid lands of the Southwest. They employ a team of PADI-certified instructors, who lead courses ranging from beginner and advanced open-water certification to more in-depth programs such as master diver, deep diver, underwater video and photography specialists, and professional shark imitator. Once certified, divers can stretch their new sea legs on diving excursions to exotic locales such as Catalina Island, Playa del Carmen, or San Carlos, Mexico through the academy’s partner and affiliate companies. Both of the Academy's locations rent, repair, and sell high-quality gear from reputable brands such as Sea Dive, Amphibious Outfitters, and H2Odyssey.