The Outer Great Barrier Reef - Cairns, Australia. The Reef is Yours!
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Here are the Top Ten Things to Ask Your Dive Company Before You Book Your Trip with Them. Remember the difference in price is often the difference in quality.
1. Is your dive equipment serviced by trained and certified technicians?
This may seem obvious, but worth checking. Make sure the servicing is performed as per the manufacturers’ recommendations. Common mistakes include reusing consumable items, trying to service the equipment without the proper training and leaving it too long between servicing.
2. Are they a member of a reputable and recognized training organization?
There are too many too mention here but the most common ones are SSI, PADI, CMAS, BSAC, TDI/SDI. This is important too ensure that they are kept up to date with the latest in training and procedures in case anything does go wrong.
3. How Many People are Diving at Once?
To truly enjoy your dive experience it is best to keep the numbers in the group as small as your can. This also reduces any impact that you may have on the environment, such as scaring away fish and stirring up the bottom.
4. What is the Ratio from Instructor to Student or Guide to Diver?
There are regulations covering the first point so numbers will vary under that amount, but it is best to ask before you go so you are not shocked. If you want a smaller group you may have to pay for it. Smaller amount of divers per guide allows for a much smoother and personal dive, allowing the dive to be tailored for what you expect to see on the dive.
5. Are they a member of a relevant local dive organization?
Like point 2 above this ensures that you have a operator that is involved and up to date with the latest guidelines or safety procedures for that region.
6. Do they support local or global efforts in conservation or research?
This gives you a great indication on the attitude of the dive company and makes sure you get great dive karma. Sustaining the marine environment shows the company is interested in the longevity of the local or global ecosystem and is doing their bit to contribute.
7. Do you have travel or dive insurance that gives you the coverage you need?
This will include all sorts of things that may happen that can throw your dive trip into disarray. These may include an illness, illness of a relative, travel agent or operator going bankrupt, weather related cancellations, flight cancellations.
8. What is the cancellation policy of the dive company?
Do they give full refunds for weather or other cancellations? Do they have an immediate no refund policy for cancellations or are they flexible?
9. Are the owners or managers going on their own trips?
Quality control to make sure that you have a great experience is often done with management teams that have a more hands on approach. By taking the time to experience the trip and meet the guests shows that they are going the extra mile to make sure you have the best experience possible.
10. How far is the boat/resort really away from the hotel?
Often people follow the old “we’re just 10 minutes away” story. Use Google Maps or other technologies to get a true picture of where you are in relation to the boat. Better still see if they can arrange transport for you to arrive at the boat on time and not have to lug dive gear around.