Where to get certified "scuba" - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 12-02-2014, 11:13 AM   #1
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Default Where to get certified "scuba"

Hello All
I am new to the board but I am hoping you can help me. I visit Pensacola and Gulf Breeze area regularly and I would like to get scuba certified. I'm looking at taking up spear fishing and would like to know if there is a good dive shop that yall would recommend. I have been on 3 dives (about 42' is my deepest) but I would want to start in a beginner class for sure to make sure that I get all training needed. Any Recommendations Would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:15 AM   #2
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MBT divers on Barrancas is the best in the business hands down.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:30 AM   #3
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Dive pros is an excellent place to get certified also. Plus they have a heated enclosed pool on there premises. Go talk to them then decide which to use.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:09 PM   #4
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x2 on Dive Pro's.

If you have the time, you can try a "Discovery Dive" that will put you in the pool with an instructor. It will give an opportunity to get to know the possible instructor before committing to an OW course with them (or that instructor).

I think Dive Pro's is running class specials, and I think discoveries are still no cost..
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:25 PM   #5
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I guess that says it all, hands down......
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Old 12-02-2014, 03:18 PM   #6
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Thanks yall.
I didn't expect to get feed back this fast. I look forward to spearing some lion fish with yall one day soon.
Thank you for the help
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:15 PM   #7
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i got certified at dive pros and had a great experience.
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:22 PM   #8
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MBT is the dark side of the dive. I love Dive Pros and can't recommend them enough. Gary Toms is a great instructor and CJ is cool as F*$^. Shout out to Merrick too. I went to MBT about 5 times looking for various stuff and they always stared at me like I was going to steal something. One time when I was there, this guy was returning some equipment and dropped the BC. The guy that worked there wanted to charge him a cleaning fee for dropping it. I told the dude to spend 30 seconds dusting it off and quit being a douche. He said it's policy. That was the last time I ever went there. The feeling I got was they have a small group of regulars they like and everybody else is an outsider they are suspicious of unless you swing around large stacks of cash. Then they'll pretend to be nice even if it hurts. Granted it has been about 8 years so I can't say what they're like now but I'd breathe through a garden hose before I let them inspect my reg. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:10 AM   #9
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My girlfriend just went through the course at MBT. I was present on the final day of diving. The instructor was top notch.

Captaindye is certainly entitled to his/her opinion, but Chuck at MBT is the ONLY person that I trust to repair or upgrade my regs.

I've heard good things about Dive Pros. I'm sure you would get quality instruction and service from them as well.
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Old 12-12-2014, 03:46 PM   #10
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This area has a LOT of good instructors (I count myself among them) at great facilities. The guys at Dive Pros are good folks. But, I highly recommend MBT (in all fairness, I worked there from '06-'10 - and got certified there in 1996).

Here is what I would do: Go to both MBT & Dive Pros -- ask EVERY question under the sun. Look around, talk to everyone you see, and make your decision on that. Both have safe training programs, certifying some of the highest numbers of divers in the world (MBT was just recognized by SDI as being #1 in the nation & #2 worldwide - I'm sure that Dive Pros has had similar recognition from NAUI). NAUI, PADI, SDI/TDI? Don't worry about it. Training programs don't make divers, instructors do. I've been an active instructor through all three, as well as a Dive Master for the now-gone YMCA, and I've had training from NACD, NSS-CDS, SSI, & IANTD. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME (just some market better than others, or have different materials).

Ultimately, it is about your comfort. You will be learning something completely foreign to you, so the trust you place in a dive shop/instructor is paramount. The sale of the week, the sales pitch, brand names, or any "my shop is better than yours" bravado is out the window. In addition to safety, SCUBA should be EASY & FUN. If someone tries to tell you that the training "isn't hard enough" or whatever, ignore them. I've taught both 16 week classes and 3 day classes... and neither of them were more qualified to dive than the other.

I would personally trust either of them to certify my family members (but, as I said, I would lean toward MBT). Also, whichever one you go through... get Nitrox certified with it. Trust me, you'll thank me later.


And +1 to Chuck. Chuck is hands-down one of the most trusted repair guys out there. Sure, he may be gruff when it comes to the gear, but it is because he gives a crap about safety & standards. If someone doesn't return SCUBA gear in clean, working order... I want it caught before a student gets a hold of it (and yes, I teach students to check their gear, etc... but I like to prevent issues before we get to that point). Plus, I'm not a big fan of someone that rents/borrows a few hundred dollars worth of stuff and refuses to take care of it.

Feel free to shoot me a PM or an email Caver2130 at g mail (dot) com. I'll be happy to answer any questions about training (in an unbiased manner) that you may have.
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