Aquatic Adventures of Michigan is the joint venture of independent dive instructors Kim D. Parker and Tom Rhoad, who, after years of working with other dive shops, yearned for a place where they could stretch their fins, teach scuba their own way, and bellow sea shanties as loudly as they liked. Today, their PADI Five Star IDC facility is fast approaching its 10-year anniversary, and has grown beyond basic PADI training programs to incorporate everything from underwater digital photography to lessons in deep diving, wreck diving, and night diving. The shop's instructors are fully certified in first aid and emergency oxygen use, and provide factory-authorized service to big-name companies such as Poseidon, Genesis Scuba, and Dive Rite.
On top of offering certified instruction in everything from open-water diving to sea-serpent domestication, the crew supplies fellow divers with quality scuba, snorkeling, and swimming equipment. They also plan exotic expeditions to the Caribbean and tropical Pacific for warm-water dives, and divers looking to stick closer to home can inquire about day trips or weekend getaways to locales such as the Great Lakes or Whitefish Point.
The trainers at Motor City Scuba and Snorkel outfit and educate aquatic explorers ranging from beginners to advanced technical divers. The PADI five-star diving center hosts a wide variety of courses, teaching skills ranging from open-water and shipwreck diving to how to properly lecture a school of clownfish. Once certified, diving enthusiasts can sign up for group excursions abroad.
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The diver double-checks all her gear before leaving the surefootedness of the boat and falling into the deep water, where she explores shipwrecks and seemingly untouched expanses throughout the Michigan Underwater Preserves in the Great Lakes. The team of PADI- and SSI-certified instructors at Scuba Centers of Michigan helps students prepare for these types of adventures every day, covering advanced topics such as diving at night and how to properly greet a sturgeon. The instructors also start from the beginning, teaching basic open-water diving techniques, which their pupils practice in the onsite heated pool. To complement its courses, the center stocks gear from equipment brands such as McNett, Aqua Lung, and Suunto, and it organizes diving trips to South Africa and Australia.
For more than 30 years, ZZ Underwater World has initiated swimmers into the world of scuba diving. Their year-round classes have taught people to safely plumb the depths of the Earth's largest seas, and their instructors are both SSI- and PADI–certified, rendering them able to certify their students and lead them on any level of dive from snorkeling to deep scuba. ZZ Underwater World's onsite shop sells snorkels and flippers among other gear from a wide range of brands, useful for people who thought Waterworld was a prophecy and are stocking up. The staff also hosts scuba vacations, taking troupes of divers to explore the wrecks of the Great Lakes or world-class destinations such as Belize or Fiji.
Richard J. Sass first felt the weight of a scuba tank about his shoulders at 15, when a friend's father strapped him into a suit and threw him into the world's deep end, as it were. Rick fell in love with diving before ever surfacing on that first adventure, and he started Sub-Aquatic Sports & Service – or SASS for short – to share his passion with others. He and his staff teach a full range of scuba classes, from beginner certifications to becoming a dive instructor. They lead trips into waters across the world, from Australia to Micronesia, from the Great Lakes to the Galapagos Islands.