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Discussion Starter #1
been seriously considering taking dive classes this summer and have been looking ( more on the internet cause of the convenience ) at basic gear and wet suits. i would like to hear some of yalls input on a good starter set/ brand to look at. i am not looking for the cheapest anything but i definitely dont want to spend thousands right out the gate.
 

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Don't buy anything except mask and fans. Everything else is supplied with the course. Dive pros has a pool on site to try the gear out untill you find what U like. Give them a call 850 456 8845
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yea i have been on the websites (mbt/dive pros) and i seen that all i need was mask fins and booties, i guess i couldnt help to start looking at equipment and trying to see whats out there, and i didnt realize they would let us try out different gear and so on.. thanks for that heads up!! i am thinking around may ish getting into a class, just a bit excited i reckon lol do u have any opinion on mbt vs dive pros as far as classes and certs go?
 

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Both are the same as far as qualified I recommend Dive Pros because of the on site pool, clasroom and shop. I have dealt with them since they opened.
 

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thats what had me leaning towards them..the pool is a big plus i think and i hear the staff is great.. thanks for all the info sealark
 

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Personally, I like these guys for buying gear: http://www.scubatoys.com/ Excellent customer service ... they've never done me wrong. They do have a brick-and-mortar dive shop in Dallas (I've been there), not just an online retailer. Their staff are all experienced divers and they don't mind if you call up just to ask questions. And no, they don't sell "gray-market" gear as some online retailers do. (cough, Leisure Pro, cough.) But only once you have enough experience to know what it is you are buying.

Now I'm not stuck on buying equipment online only just to save a buck. Expect to pay a little bit more at a local dive shop (LDS) than online. But that's okay 'cause you have to remember you are supporting a local small business, getting personal service/advice, and building a relationship with that LDS and with other divers who have a relationship with that shop. So there's value in that.

As others have said on here though, don't buy anything other than mask/fins/snorkel till you are certified, have a few open water dives under your belt, and have learned enough to at least have an idea of what it is you are buying. Who knows ... you may at some point during or after certification decide diving is just not for you. A lot of people have started, gotten certified, and then lost interest for whatever reason. At the end of (& sometimes during) some dive certification courses the instructor will often make a subtle or overt pitch for a certain brand of gear ...and that will be the brand the shop s/he is affiliated with sells.

As far as brands go ... a lot of shops, dealers, and instructors will push you toward this brand or that being the best. IMO ... all the major brands make decent safe gear suitable for the average diver, so I wouldn't get too wound up about having to have "Scuba-Pro" or some other brand somebody told you was the best. (No doubt Scuba Pro makes good gear ... but it tends to be a bit pricier than some other well known brands. I don't have any myself and I haven't died diving yet 'cause of it.)

If you have a trusted friend who has a lot of experience with scuba gear .... then you might consider buying used under his/her guidance.

Finally, unless you are going to be just a "vacation diver", you will never regret getting a couple of tanks of your own. Picking up & returning rental tanks is a PITA. Understand though tanks must have a VIP inspection annually & a "hydro" test every five years. Nobody will fill them for you if they're out of inspection.

Finally, whatever mask you buy .... make sure it fits your face properly. You can't just pick any mask off the shelf and assume it's gonna work for you. A good dive shop will help you with that. An ill-fitting mask will be nothing but a continual PITA .... and you don't need equipment hassles like that when you are new at it 'cause you'll have enough stuff to deal with and remember while down under blowing bubbles.

As far as local dive training I can't help you much except to say I didn't like the vibe at MBT the couple times I've been in there although many people speak highly of them; Scuba-Shak seems a nice place and staff always been friendly & helpful to me every time I've been in there; Dive Pros I have no clue. I'd say visit 'em all & go with the one you feel most comfortable with the staff (& the instructor.)

That's just my 2psi on the matter. Others may differ.
 

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One piece of advice

Through the years as a Divemaster, I have found that it is best to go through the course with a friend you will dive with after certification. DO NOT bring your significant other. Tell your better half to take a separate course.

You need to devote all your attention to the Instructor and your Buddy! All the certifying organizations use the same basic manuals and skill sets. The only real issue is if you can find an Instructor you trust and respect. Go to different shops and ask to speak to an Instructor or two. When you click with one, your good to go.

Good luck and above all else, have FUN!!! - Ric
 

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bit late but I'd like to add:

Comfort. That is primary but only second to safety. Your body shape may not like my Knighthawk bcd, but I may not fit your favorite. If you're going to spend time under, get what is the most comfortable to you, most versatile for your needs, and what best fits your budget. What you want may not be what you can afford, but if I were you, I'd save up for what works best for you.

Don't settle for what you can "get by" with, the more comfortable you are, the less you struggle, the more down time you have. More expensive gear is not just better, it's more comfortable. In a pinch I've had to rent and know something as simple as being comfortable can mean 15 or 20 mins bottom time. I've been diving for about 15 years now and HATE not having my own gear.

Try different gear. Rent, borrow or whatever you can, see what works best for you. Everyone has a sales pitch, and a lot of bells and whistles are thrown out. "this suit has 1000 D rings!" that's great but you'll probably use one or 2...Think of your needs.

Don't know what size you are, but if you want to try my gear, you'd be welcome. Just give me a shout. It'll be one more "experience" to help you get more bottom time and try something different.
 
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