Usually, the best dive centres are those ones that count with passionate, seasoned proffesionals as a permanet asset to their team. Surely you have dove in places that you liked, and when you came back, a big part of the team was all new faces. Although staff turn over is natural in dive destinations, too much of it can seriously harm the quality of the service, as the new staff would need training and some time to develop some local knowledge. Every dive shop must have some permanent, highly trained and knowledgeable proffesionals that can not only take care of the formation of the new staff, but also ensure that the operation runs smoothly and keep standards high. Many experienced divers would look for specific people rather than specific dive operations!
A crucial aspect of any dive operation. When you go diving, you want to make the most of it, and little details matter. The last thing a diver wants while doing a dive, is having to waste time fixing a leak, to struggle with a dodgy BCD or even sailing in poorly designed or maintained boats. You are supossed to have fun, not to worry about your safety and comfort! A good diveshop keeps its dive gear and equipment in good order, and takes care of all those little details that makes for a great experience. How many times did you have to use a valve adapter because there were not DIN tanks available? Or maybe you rented a wetsuit with rips and tears that leaked water inside, or a leaking regulator…these are only a few things that can turn your perfect dive into a painful experience. A good dive shop hasnothing to hide! Ask to see their equipment, boat and compressor room before booking your next dive adventure. Click here to know more about or equipment.
All our tanks fit both Yoke & DIN regulators
Indoors, fully conditioned compressor room
Adequate quality dive gear
3. Good practices
If the previous points would probably make you choose one operation or another, this one is what will keep you coming back! Most often people choose to come back to a place because the service that was given to them, even if the premises were not the best! At the end of the day, it’s the overall experience that counts. Excellent dive practices include:
Coherent dive plans and group management. You should be entitled the full duration of the dive, and not having it shortened due poor planning.
Guide brings (and uses) all the required safety equipment (SMBs, O2, spares etc.)
Your DM is a role model, technical and behaviour wise. He respects the environment and is skillful and knowledgeable.
Dive briefings are complete and dive site/group specific.
Divers are given adequate dive gear (appropiate exposure protection, balanced regulators for deeper dives, correct sizes etc.)
There is always surface support (No boats are to be left unattended during a dive)
Divers are not taken beyond their experience or certification levels.
While on a recreational dive, no divers are taken beyond the maximum decompression time, even if it’s only a few minutes.
4. A well designed boat
Our custom dive boat, the “Aguacuate”
We tend to think that the dive is what matters, and I guess that is why we choose one destination or the other. But let’s be clear, in many cases, boat rides can take 50% of the tour, and they provide a wonderful opportunity to encounter marine species, enjoy landscapes or getting to know each other. But boats also provide the safety and practicality a dive group requires. Did you ever get stranded in the middle of the sea after an engine failure? Or maybe struggled trying to gear on and getting on and off the boat? Don’t be fooled, a good, safe boat is one of the most important parts of any dive operation.
Always check that the boat you are diving from carries all the mandatory emergency equipment and is safe for divers. A single engine boat can be alright for short rides where help is inmediate, but usually is unacceptable in rough seas or remote spots with no radio coverage. A second motor makes the difference. A boat where space is very limited or have no proper means of securing and stowing tanks or dive gear can not only be annoying, but also suppose a risk for your equipment or proper emergency management. Basic features like some space where a diver could lay in order to perform an effective CPR should not be disregarded easily.
Check this page to know more about our boat at Blue Nation.
5. They go beyond
Usually, the best dive operations are run by passionate individuals, that pursue other goals besides than just making a successful business.
Some of the best dive shops you will find around the world are deeply involved in other activities, such as conservation initiatives, exploration projects or high end diving. The reason is clear: the more challenges these people undertake, the more knowledge and skills they develop! This is later transferred onto their students during a course, their dives with their guests, and ultimately into their business. If there is something particular about the diving community, is that our passion transcends our hobbies, our jobs and becomes a very intrinsic part of our life. Always look for dive shops or dive pros that are involved in other diving activities outside their regular tours, you will possibly have a better chance to learn something new, and maybe take part in a wonderful adventure.
Yago explores a cave
Tech diving requires a great deal of skill and discipline