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Discussion Starter #1
I went to the local dive shop here in Montgomery and all of their Mask were $79. I know I can get many of them for half that price on the net. I know they need to make a living but heck twice as much?? We are going to Caye Caulker, Belize the end of Jan and are going to get PADI OW certified while there. Certification there is only $300 and includes 4 dives with that price. I want to get some of our dive gear before we go mainly Mask, Snorkel and fins. Maybe wet/dry suit?? Any suggestions??

Thanks
 

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I would strongly suggest you contact MBT and get certified before you go. You can get it done, and spend your vacation diving instead of sitting in class.
 

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Mask and fins usually fit people differently. I wouldn't buy either without trying them out. The wrong mask will leak and the wrong fins will cramp your ass up. Sounds like a great trip. Good luck. SHB
 

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Dive shops have alot of overhead. The online stores usually do not give the factory warranty with the sale. They give a warranty but who knows if they will stand behind it. Some of the equipment manufacturers will not allow online sales of there products to keep the retail prices for all items the same for everyone. The manufactures actually say how much the shops have to sell there product for in the store. Oceanic and Atomic are 2 that I know of right off the top of my head. I know that some online stores will sell those brands cheaper but you have no "factory" warranty. A mask needs to fit properly and I would be scared to buy one off the net unless I broke one and bought the same one again or something to that affect. Booties and fins are pretty much the same way and I prefer the advice that the shop gives. My 2 cents.
 

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Lemme reiterate the point made by "Holy Spear-it"...if you buy online you WILL NOT, in most cases, get the manufacturer guarantee.This applies to your most expensive purchases in particular, ie.dive computers, regulators, etc. That is how Leisure Pro and Scuba Bargain cut their overhead.I agree, some LDS' are exponentially off the scale but "Corpsman" is right, seek out MBT and look at getting certified before ya go on vacation.I can tell you from experience that: 1) MBT is priced right on OW cert. 2) they will take care of their customer and make sure you're happy w/ the purchase and 3) you DONOT wanna be stuck in class when you could be diving.Lemme know if ya have any questions...I have been through the dilemma you are facin'! :banghead
 

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ReelDuel,

This may sound crazy to you, but I have dove for years and bought an expensive mask when I certified. I wore it for a season before my dog decided to go on a rampage and have it for dinner. Since then, I have used the masks you can get from any of the cheap stores (Wal-Mart) made by US Divers. I have found them to be just as good and have never had an issue with them. I may get flamed for that but what the heck, that is my experience. Fins on the other hand are a different matter. Buy as good as you can afford. BTW, where are you located in MTG? I work for GE, err, Sabic-IP just west of MTG.

Mark
 

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MBT charges like $169 or $179 for the cert. That includes rental gear and tanks. The dives are usually made at the beach and the springs. The class goes like this....wed., thur., fri. night from 6 to 9. Then sat. and sun. from 8 to 3 and you are done.
 

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Guy's, he is in Montgomery. If he was here, I would recomend MBT. But I can probably bet, he does not want to make the 2.5 hr journey each day to get certified.

But I will second the recomendation to get the mask and snorkel at a place like Wally World. Fins are a different story. Don't go cheap on those.
 

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Unfortunately it's not just dive shops that you are experiencing inflated prices. I needed (in shipment) a hydro boost pump for my truck. Locally here the prices started at a high of $180.00 and a low of $80.00 plus tax. I ordered the "EXACT" same brand for a "TOTAL" including a $25.00 core, shipping of $5.50 for $70.00. Return the core andpay a net of $44.50. Go figure.
 

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I didn't know you were out of the area. I would check on one more thing however. Make sure the class you are taking gives you open water certification from an orginization thats recognized here in the United States. Often times vacation spots will offer a "into to scuba, or Resort class" These classes get you certifed to dive at the resort with a instructor. I took one in Hawaii many years ago on vacation and it was great at the time, but it is worthless when you get home. Good luck, be safe and have fun! Once your are bitten by the diving bug, you will not go back.
 

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One more quick thing. If you plan to dive once or twice a year, a wal mart mask might work fine for you. But there is absolutely no comparison between a mask you pick up at Walmart and an Atomic ultra clear. If your are going to spend thousands of dollars on instruction and equipment, get up at the but crack of dawn after not sleeping the previous night because you were excited about diving the next day, lug heavy tanks and enough gear to outfit a small villageto and from the boat, and you skimp 50 buck on the primary piece of equipment that is your window the underwater world.... Negative.
 

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Jiggin Finatic
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I've been diving since 1970 and I will tell you to purchase a good mask. Don't scrimp,Get it in a low volume, black silicone skirt model for better vision in low light which is what you get as you decend. Get certified before you go and be safe and have fun. George
 

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Discussion Starter #14
First let me say thank you all for the advice. I take safety very serious in everything I do. Proactive not Reactive. Frenchies is the oldest dive shop on CC. The certification is PADI. I wish I could find the time to get certified local. But here in Montgonery the next scheduled class is in Jan and it is like 6 weeks long. Other option would be to pay for private lessons, which I cant see spending that kind of money. I will be in Belize for 2 weeks so I have plenty of time to do more diving.
 

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Reelduel,just go by Adventure Sports in Mont. tell Tom that you want a goodset of gear but you aren't going to spend $$$,he will take care of you. That way you can try stuff on and see what fits or doesn't. Cert. with Tom 17 years ago, buy most all my gear from him. BTW I live in Prattville.

BA
 

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Well, we expect a full report! Why don't you guys buy one Atomic ultra clear mask for about $79.00 and one of the nicest masks you can buy at Walmart. Take them both on vacation and switch out a couple of times. You really can't lose, you will be hard pressed to spend $15.00 for a mask at Walmart... if they even stock them this time of year.

As for fins and strict recreational diving (not spearfishing) I recomend the Atomic split fins. I think you can buy them at leisure pro. If you plan to get into spearfishing, buy a set of Jet Fins. They are hard to beat for power, but much rougher on the leg muscles and not as comfortable.

Have a great trip, and be safe.
 

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I knew he was out of town but a 3 day vacation (wed, thurs,fri)to get certified down here and save the time on the vacation for diving rather than be in a class was my idea. Besides I am not sure they could teach you all you really need to know in a "crash coarse" outside of the USA. But then again it may be fun...Just trying to help out.

I use Atomic split fins for spearfishing as well, but it is all I have ever owned. I tried my friends Mares Volos(sp?) one time and they were ok but the hinge has broke on his first pair already. If the fin is not efficient in the water that = less bottom time because of more air consumption trying to get somewhere.
 

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The only thing that is important with a mask is that it FITS YOU and has a GLASS (not plastic) lens.

I prefer a black skirt, but others prefer clear. I prefer as low of a volume mask as I can buy that fits me. It is easier to clear. The "wide view" masks and such are gimmicks that simply add to the cost (and dive shop's profit.)

A mask that does not fit will make you MISERABLE.

Diving fins are worn with booties of some sort. My preference, having dove a lot of different styles, is the Scubapro Jet. I find they are more efficient and allow for more versatility in the type of kick used. Split fins are faster on a flutter kick up to a point, but they are NOT more efficient and make most of the other kicks outright impossible. They are also twice as expensive. Why pay double for something that does less?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the masks sold at WalMart provided they FIT.

The difference between a US Divers mask at the dive shop and one at WalMart is simple - its $30 more at the dive shop.

Fins can be ordered online. If you don't know your bootie size buy those locally so you have a proper fit. I prefer a hard-soled bootie.
 

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Jiggin Finatic
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In defense of dive shops all around this great land that we live in. It is not cheap to rent or own and maintainbuildings, boats, equiptment. Get certified and be able to teach classes. To hire employees. and pay saleries, you know people don't work for free. It has been my experience that the fine people in the dive industry stay up to date on info and equiptment they sell and fit and function. The simple facts are diving is expensive and so is fishing or hunting for that matter. If you can't afford it stay at home and watch the discovery channel. Otherwise suck it up and enjoy.
 
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