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Don't know where to buy gear, but SCUBA in college was a great time. I even went on a IU sponsored dive trip to the Florida Keys. I'm now open water certified, Scientific Certified, Nitrox Certified, and Advanced Certified. You will enjoy yourself. You could probably find some pretty good gear cheap on ebay. Just buy a new snorkel.
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What gear is the class requiring you to buy? If it includes things like regulators, BC, etc. then I feel they are way off base - beginners shouldn't be investing in those items yet. Hopefully the only gear required are what are usually called "personal gear": a mask, snorkel, and fins. They should be supplying the rest as part of the class.

For a mask, the most important aspect is that it fit your face well and not leak (leaky masks are really distracting for beginning scuba students). For a snorkel, the most important part is that it fit your jaw well. And for fins, it is important that they fit your feet well and not have specific pressure points that will be uncomfortable. By the way, see a pattern here? The key aspect on all of these components is the FIT. I suppose that's why it called "personal gear". And because of that, it is hard to buy this stuff off the internet - I haven't seen a website yet that can let me know if the mask I'm ordering will leak when I have a regulator in my mouth. I'd really recommend you find a local dealer and get these key items from them.

If you want to do some web browsing, here are some sites of interet:

scuba.com (Good internet commerce site, good prices)
scubadiving.com (Scuba Diving magazine's website; lot's of gear tests)
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What gear is the class requiring you to buy? If it includes things like regulators, BC, etc. then I feel they are way off base - beginners shouldn't be investing in those items yet. Hopefully the only gear required are what are usually called "personal gear": a mask, snorkel, and fins. They should be supplying the rest as part of the class.

Thanks a lot for your response. As for gear, you are correct about it just being personal gear; mask snorkel and fins. I will look at websites but I am def. going to go to a local scuba shop to get my stuff just so I can test to make sure of fit. I didn't know if anyone had any preference of a brand.

Thanks again for your post.
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You'll have a blast in both the class and as a certified diver! Unfortunately I don't get out to dive as much as I like, and I have to decide between golf or scuba for vacations (actually my wife makes me choose - if it was just up to me I'd do both!).

My 2 cents on the equipment is to go with name brands in the shop, but don't get too worried about the differences between the brands. All of the reputable brands make good gear, and again the fit is the most important thing for the personal gear. Many larger scuba shops may also have "house" brands, and those can be just fine too, as many of them are actually private label manufactured by well known manufacturers.

One last little tip on fit: pick your snorkel first. Then, make sure you try on masks with the snorkel in your mouth. A mask that fits just fine when you're standing there with your mouth normal may have a big leakage problem when you shove a regulator in your mouth. Having the snorkel mouthpiece in place will distort your face just like the regulator.

Enjoy!!!!
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  • 4 weeks later...
I dive, as evidenced by my username. :)

www.scubatoys.com is one of the best places to buy gear online. They are very reputable.. You should definately try mask and wetsuit on at a local store before you buy and then find it online or go ahead and buy then.
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Growing up...my parents dove a great deal. We lived near the coast of North Carolina....Graveyard of the Atlantic. Dad was pretty hardcore....diving almost, but not quite year round.

I was certified at 15 years old and dove through college....getting my Open Water II while still in college. The older I grew...the more the sinus squeeze from diving would fool with me. Surface intervals became unbearable. I contemplated surgery numerous times to clear it up....but it seemed a hit and miss proposition. I gave up diving shortly after college.

It's a great hobby.....but can be expensive to get into. As others have stated...your mask and snorkel are very personal items....get them to fit you just right.....I'll go so far as to say the fins are as well.

Go for functionality and comfort with most of your gear.....not so much fashion or brand.

I would be careful about the regulator....no junk here. This is not the area to scrimp. I personally would only use a regulator made by a very reputable company that's been in the business for a long, long time. This critical piece links you to your air supply.....you need confidence here.


Aside from that get the best sunglasses and sunscreen you can...not having these can turn a dive weekend into a murderous work or school week following.


Learn the hazards and have fun.

Be prepared to listen to lots of bs. It seems that many instructors are in it for the ego stimulation. They became legends to their classrooms...but then meek and mild when it became time to suit up.

It always used to make me laugh when you'd see 'em finally make it 20 miles offshore and taking forever to get their gear on and roll over the side.....too much teaching and not enough actual bottom time would quickly reveal itself.

Enjoy yourself. It is quite an experience.....wonderful way to recharge your batteries.

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I took a scuba class this past weekend. My wife's family are all into diving and we're chartering a boat in the BVIs next month and following my last couple of trips down there I'm keen to get under the water properly this time round.

The classes are pretty easy at the beginning and everyone seemed pretty easy to get along with. However, I didn't realise the scuba gear would be as expensive as it was, you're easily looking at $2000+ for a full setup. For top of the line equipment around double that. I was able to borrow some of my family's gear for the lessons but it wasn't until I was browsing around at the shop between the classroom portion that I realised this makes golf look cheap!

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Check out the famous "Wreck of the Rhone" dive site, and enjoy diving around the "Dogs." The BVI has many really great dive sites. Oh, and when diving on the sunken airplane that crashed after leaving Beef Island, remember... sometimes there is a black tip shark there -- beautiful.

Note: you may want to rent your gear (except for mask, fins, and snorkle) until you decide if diving is something you want to do regularly. After lugging personal gear on dozens of dive trips, I finally became a minimalist, and just rent the heavy stuff to avoid carrying all that gear around airports. I do recommend a good dive computer and always carry a back-up watch and depth gauge. Finally, after hundreds and hundreds of dives, my best advice is to learn to be like a jelly fish and just relax from time to time. Try to just equalize and hover every few minutes. Diving can be relaxing, but not if you bicycle your legs all the time. Your instructors will talk about that.
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Check out the famous "Wreck of the Rhone" dive site, and enjoy diving around the "Dogs." The BVI has many really great dive sites. Oh, and when diving on the sunken airplane that crashed after leaving Beef Island, remember... sometimes there is a black tip shark there -- beautiful.

From my previous sailing trips to the BVIs I've been to, and seen most of, the dive sites from the surface, it's just a case of going under this time round.

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