Frequently Asked Questions...
"I'm claustrophobic. I can't dive."
Living with claustrophobia is difficult, frustrating, and challenging. Is being claustrophobic getting in the way of setting goals and effecting your day to day life? Depending on how you answer, scuba diving may still be for you. You'll want to ask yourself, "Do I want to continue to live with these fears," and if not, "What can I do to overcome them?" I can design a program that will slowly introduce you to the equipment and build your confidence in the water. You don't have to be a great swimmer, either. Let's breakdown some of those roadblocks and open up some of the doors you've been wanting to pass through.
"I don't have the time to learn."
Like all things that are important to us, we find the time. One of the ways I help my students find the time is to have the most flexible schedule in the industry. I will meet you anytime and place. For our initial introduction, I usually meet students at a Starbuck's. It's a great place to meet, they have snacks and beverages that makes the first meeting casual and comfortable, and it also makes a great place to do lessons. I've never know anyone to fall asleep in a Starbuck's. In my opinion, classrooms are really the worst place to learn. Additionally, when you are ready for the pool sessions, I can meet you any one of six days a week. Your certification dives can also be done on your schedule even if you want to break the two days up. I've found that having only one place to meet, a particular day to teach on, and a weekend that you might not have off usually doesn't work the best for the student. I want you to dive and become a scuba diver! If I was a dive shop and couldn't get you certified because your schedule doesn't fit, then you don't dive... That also means you don't continue your education. I want you to be my student, so I will make my schedule fit you!
"How is your program different from all the others?"
I focus on quality and don't funnel students through my program all at once. While I can teach up to eight students by myself, I've found that someone always gets lost with large class sizes. I limit my class size to four (if everyone knows each other -- like families), otherwise it's two students at a time, unless you are learning on your own. Not only does that make it easier to meet everyone's needs, no one ever feels like they are falling behind or holding up the group. When a student gets stuck, we have the time to take to make sure they feel comfortable before going on to the next skill. I focus on the student's abilities, not disabilities. Just because one skill is difficult, I don't let that become an obstacle to certification. It may take more time, but I don't charge you extra when it does. My standards are are higher than industry standards! Not only will that make you a better diver, you won't find yourself underprepared when you are not diving with me. At some point, the instructor must cut the proverbial "umbilical cord." Just because you paid for certification, that doesn't guarantee certification on your timeline. It benefits no one to send a poorly trained diver out there. Sometimes the path is non-traditional, but safety and attention to detail should never be things you pay additional for or just not receive during your training.
"I already have several hobbies and play several sports."
There are those that make their sport their life. You've heard about those surfer dudes that live to surf... Scuba is a passionate sport to many, but it is also a lifestyle. Scuba divers take trips just to dive. Many do practice other sports and participate in other activities, but few of them will change your life like scuba does. After quitting my banking job in 2006 and learning to dive a month later, my path in life changed. I can honestly say it was a spiritual experience. I've dove all over the world and have seen first hand a multitude of diverse animal life, historical shipwrecks, and even learned to cave dive. I have become more patient, feel grounded, and have become more confident and self-reliant. Are you looking for a community to be a part of, a group of people that you can put your life in their hands and make new friends? Scuba is all that and more!
"Aren't all instructors the same?"
No. Everyone had favorite teachers in school that influenced them and scuba is no different. Those that influence us play immense rolls that shape our lives for years to come. "The dive course you take is going to be no better than the dive instructor who teaches it." Your instructor should be dedicated to you, to scuba diving education and to the scuba diving industry. I feel privileged to have met, taught, and in many cases become friends with those I have taught. I continue to dive with several of them and many continue their education with me. I never had these experiences in any of the vocations I was a part of before scuba. One of the greatest assets to learning from an independent instructor is their individual philosophy. Being a NAUI Scuba Diving Instructor means that I can tailor my program to my student's needs. It's important to remember, "In no field can certification alone guarantee competence." My job is to build your confidence through competence.
"I can't afford it."
While scuba is an equipment intensive sport, and there is some equipment you want to own, you don't have to buy it all to enjoy everything scuba has to offer. Many new divers rent equipment until they find what works best for them. There aren't many sports that one can try different styles and name brands without having to make a purchase. Rental equipment varies in manufacturer, size, fit, style, purpose, and quality. With that said, if you want to learn how to dive, I will find a way to make it happen. There are times when I consider and accept payments. Yes, pay as you...!!! There is a way to make most things happen, and when it comes to scuba, I have lots of resources at my discretion. I partner with a few shops that share my philosophy and ethic. There will come a time when you'll be able to afford more and if I am flexible with you now, my hope is that you'll come back to me in the future. Relationships, personal and business, make the world a great place. Let me help you build relationships that will last you a lifetime.
"Is there a difference between the certification agencies?"
Yes. Becoming certified requires an educational component which can be done in a classroom setting, at home with self-study, or on the internet. Many agencies follow the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) standards. The WRSTC's mission statement is, "The World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) is dedicated to the worldwide safety of the recreational diving public. As such, one of the WRSTC's primary goals is the development of worldwide minimum training standards. The establishment of globally recognized and implemented standards is a valuable asset in addressing local and national regulatory issues." Currently, there are twenty-two WRSTC member agencies. Some you may be familiar with: SSI (Scuba Schools International); PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors); and SDI (Scuba Diving International); and some you may not be: IAC (International Aquanatic Club); PSS (Professional Scuba Schools); and IDEA (International Diving Educators Association). These agencies create and comply with strict professional standards set by WRSTC, and their certifications are recognized worldwide. Scuba diving is a self-regulating industry. Each agency establishes its own agenda for diver training and issues certification for each level of scuba diving competency and experience, from beginner to instructor. Courses vary in teaching methods for the beginner's level, but they all cover the same essential knowledge and practical skills development as set by WRSTC. The main mission of certification agencies (SSI, PADI, SDI, IAC, PSS, and IDEA) is the Marketing of Scuba Diving. Some do a better job than others. The organizations you have heard of have done a better job of selling their brand.
"What do you love about scuba diving?"
The freedom! I feel like I'm free from the pressures of work and life. When I enter the water I start with a large exhalation and at that moment everything is left behind. I am in charge of where I go, how long I stay, and when I return. I become a part of something bigger. I am in touch with every breath I take. I can feel how every inhalation and exhalation effects my buoyancy. I float effortlessly as if I'm an astronaut. I am amazed at the new things I discover on every dive. It doesn't matter if it's fifteen minutes or a sixty minutes, warm or cold, shallow or deep, recreational or technical, I never want it to end, I never want to leave. I am home.
"Am I going to be cold?"
During your education you'll learn about thermal protection. When considering thermal protection, one typically has the options of none, wetsuits, or drysuits. How long it will take for you to get cold if you jumped into 50 degree water with no wetsuit? 5 minutes perhaps? Maybe more, maybe less... How long would it take if you wore a 3mm wetsuit? 10 minutes? In a 5mm wetsuit? 15 minutes? In a 7mm? 20 minutes? In a 6mm Farmer John? 30 minutes? A wetsuit warms your body as it traps a thin layer of water against one's body, warming it and warming you. Wetsuits have inherent warmth. Varied suit construction, quality, and age will also influence a wetsuit's effectiveness. How about in a drysuit? 45 minutes? You are another variable in good thermal protection. You may know people that never get cold. Each person's cold tolerance will be a factor in how long they can be in the water before getting cold. Since water conducts heat away from our bodies 25 times more than air, a drysuit can keep you warmer, longer. With that said, you should not be cold. If you are cold while diving in the Pacific Northwest, you are not wearing the best level of thermal protection for your cold tolerance. Well fitting hoods, masks, gloves, and boots also effect how cold you will or will not be. While this is a simplified overview, it will take time to find what works best for you so that your dives are long, fun, and warm. Don't give up diving in the PNW just because you were cold on a dive or two.
"I'm afraid of sharks!"
Sharks get a bad rap for being dangerous predators that are constantly devouring humans, but there is a whole world of things out there that will kill before a shark does. Here are just a few of those things:
Obesity kills 30,000 people annually.
Lightning kills 10,000 people annually.
Texting kills 6,000 people annually.
Hippos kill 2,900 people annually.
Airplanes kill 1,200 people annually.
Volcanoes kill 845 people annually.
Autoerotic Asphyxiation kills 600 people annually.
Shopping on "Black Friday" kills 550 people annually.
Falling out of bed kills 450 people annually in the United States.
Bathtubs kill 340 people annually.
Deer kill 130 people annually.
Icicles kill 100 people annually just in Russia.
Hot dogs kill 70 children annually.
Tornadoes kill 60 people annually.
Jellyfish kill 40 people annually.
Dogs kill 30 people annually.
Ants kill 30 people annually.
High school football kills 20 people annually.
Vending machines kill 13 people annually.
Roller coasters kill 6 people annually.
Sharks kill 5 people annually...
...AND YOU'RE AFRAID OF SHARKS...???