Live like a local: Learn to scuba dive in the Keys

Local motion n : living like a local, specif. having the time of your life underwater in the Florida Keys.

Scuba certification courses vary, and with a number of corporate agencies like PADI, NAUI, and YMCA, offering classes for beginners, it can be an overwhelming task to choose the option right for you. However, to keep things simple, take a tip from a pro and seek out a friendly, qualified Keys scuba instructor to teach you the ropes.

No matter the certifying agency, the training you’ll receive from a top instructor at a highly regarded local scuba shop should follow a universal format of education, safety and fun.

Whether it’s a gigantic all-in-one superstore like Divers Direct, or a hometown shop like Dive Duck Key, our local island dive centers are around for two reasons – they are knowledgeable and offer quality underwater instruction in the Florida Keys. 

Looking for underwater adventure in the Keys?
Find a local dive center that follows these important guidelines:

Expert guidance
The trademark of a trustworthy scuba operation is a knowledgeable instructor who asks plenty of questions and spends more than a few minutes with new students. He or she should ask, “Are you comfortable in the water, a confident swimmer, and have you ever made a dive before?” 

During scuba training, experienced professionals should also take time to fully explain what to do and why. The idea is to put student training into context and fully prepare you to safely enter the underwater world with ease and confidence. 

Above all, be wary of any dive center employee that at anytime slings a tank at you and says, ‘This is what you’ll be doing—now go do it.’

Safety
When entering any underwater environment, your instructor should be close and observant every step of the way. Explaining all aspects of your training, he or she should be attuned to your mental and physical capabilities.

With the proper education a well-informed, confident diver will make the right choices which will enhance their underwater experience.

Fun
Unless you’re kicking against the current because you ignored your instructor’s advice and got lost underwater, learning how to scuba dive should be fun. Inquisitive fish, kaleidoscopic coral reefs, and mysterious shipwrecks await your adventure. The Florida Keys make up one of the world’s largest barrier reefs, so there’s countless opportunities to explore, learn how to become a better diver, and enjoy yourself here. 

Options
Once in the water, gravity melts away and many new divers are astounded at the resulting pain-free ease of motion and freedom of movement.

Bad back or blown out knees? Don your gear in the water. Can’t muscle a heavy tank? Have your buddy help, or simply use a smaller one. Problems kicking? Try swimming with your arms and special webbed gloves. Scuba diving is truly a sport with options—and a quality local dive shop will offer plenty.

Enthusiasm
Unhappy, nervous, or out of touch divers stick out like a sore thumb. You won’t want to dive if they don’t, and vice versa. A smiling scuba instructor communicates confidence, experience, and dedication – and so do students!

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