Scuba Diving During your Catamaran Charter: Experiencing What is Beneath the Boat
As you are skimming across the clear blue waters, do you wonder what is going on beneath
them? If you are curious about seeing the remarkable undersea universe or have snorkeled on
the surface and want to get closer to the action, then scuba diving might be for you. As you
prepare for your charter, think about how involved you would like to be with subaquatic life and
then decide if you should get certified as an Open Water Diver before you depart, or wait until
you arrive at your destination and take a Discover Scuba Diving “resort” course.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of freedom you encounter as you glide unobstructed
beneath the surface above the sandy ocean floor amongst the corals and brightly colored reef
fish. The sound of nothing but your own breathing, the feel of the warm water all around and
the vastness of your surroundings is ethereally indescribable. This fascinating experience is
worth the effort involved in order to safely submerge into the mystical underwater world.
If you are confident in your abilities, scuba diving is very relaxing as you drift or swim along
with the creatures that live beneath the surface. It is not too challenging if you are a good
swimmer or comfortable in the water, but as with most adventurous activities, it can be
dangerous if you are not appropriately prepared. Anyone who is ten years old or more, in good
health, and able to maneuver above and below the water is capable of becoming a scuba diver
with some training. How restricted you will be, such as how deeply you can submerge and how
freely you can explore, depends on the type of training you have completed.
Before you decide whether to become fully certified or to take an exploratory course, think
about what you want to be able to do and how often you plan to dive. If you just want to
sample the scuba experience, then a Discover Scuba course might be right for you. If you
know you want to make an open water dive and have had some snorkeling experience but do
not want to commit to the time it takes to become Open Water certified, then you may want to
take an abbreviated Scuba Diver course. And, if you would like to plan and book your own
dives, rent your own tanks, and have more freedom to explore without direct supervision of a
diving instructor, then an Open Water Diving Certification course will allow you to dive on your
own with a buddy.
While on your charter, if your group plans to dive for a day or two with a diving operation in the
area, you might consider taking a Discover Scuba Diving course, commonly referred to as a
“resort” course. During this half-day lesson you will learn safety guidelines, go over the
equipment, feel what it is like to breathe underwater, learn and practice basic skills in protected
shallow water, then with direct supervision you can scuba dive in up to 40 feet/12 meters of
water. With this exploratory course, all equipment is included; mask, snorkel, fins, buoyancy
control device, dive gauges, tank and weights. Most dive operators allow you to augment this
package with a second supervised dive on that same day for an additional fee. After this
experience, if you find you really enjoy scuba diving and decide to take an Open Water
Certification Course within six months, you can use one of these dives to complete one of your
four open water requirements.
If diving is a main focus of your charter or you are planning to spend several days diving below
the surface, then you may want to consider taking a Scuba Diver or Open Water Diving course
before embarking on your cruise. However, if you cannot carve out the time and would like to
learn to scuba dive while on your charter and be able to participate in more than the very
restrictive Discovery dives, you could take the two to three days necessary and complete the
Scuba Diver Course while in the tropics.
The Scuba Diver course is a truncated program that includes all of the components of an Open
Water Certification course but in less detail. Completing this course takes from two to three
days, requires that you dive with a guide at all times, and limits your maximum depth to 40
feet/12 meters. It is made up of a classroom portion, 3 shallow protected water dives, and 2
supervised open water dives, and allows you to rent your equipment and tanks. If this
abbreviated course and the time you spend beneath the sea captivates you, you can upgrade
to an Open Water Certification by finishing up several additional requirements.
While an Open Water Diving Certification course would probably monopolize your time on a
charter, it is an option available through the majority of dive operators in the Caribbean. If you
have the time to complete 8-15 hours of training and plan to dive more than a few times, you
might want to earn your PADI**Open Water Diving Certification before your trip. The curriculum
includes online knowledge development and safety modules, 5 pool dives, and four open water
check-out dives. You also have to successfully complete quizzes and pass an exam. Having
your Open Water Diving Certification card allows you to purchase or rent equipment, book boat
dives, rent tanks, and plan and scuba dive on your own with a buddy to a maximum depth of
18 meters/60 feet.
If you already know that you want to spend time beneath the sea, getting an Open Water
Certification upfront is the most economical and expedient way to accomplish your goal of
scuba diving. The cost is not much more than an exploratory or abbreviated class and you get
all of the training you need in one span of time. Nevertheless, if you are not sure about how you
feel below the surface, then an exploratory course would be best to ensure you have the
confidence needed to really enjoy exploring the underwater universe. Whatever you decide, it
will be worth your effort in order to submerge safely and take-in the beauty of the mystical
world beneath your boat.
If you think you might be interested in learning to scuba dive, visit the PADI (Professional
Association of Diving Instructors) website and check out more details about these options.
If you would like to have a chat with a Charter Consultant about whether you should do Rendezvous Diving, Onboard Diving or your different choices, send us a message below