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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, Ive just taken a try dive at my local swimming pool and loved it.

I couldnt find where to find your recommendations for courses etc, so hope you can help with these queries!..


I live in Surrey south east england. Im considering doing a one off courses in diving abroad at some point and wondered whether anyone had any low budget ideas of who to go with, with a few days/week courses on the cheap but with good reefs, based on the scuba (doesnt matter what country as long as its cheap and you can recommend).

Im into my photography, so Id also like to take up scuba diving with underwater photography. Any ideas on any cheap local one off courses in this, prehaps even in the UK, where there are good pics to take too of reefs. Again being on a budget! so not a huge annual fee, just one-off/week long courses I suppose.

Also Im 23, so it would be nice to know if anyone knows any of these events for younger people like myself. Im sure younger people do these things. But whatever I do in life, I always seem to meet older people at these events/socials, no offence. Younger people tend to hang around in pubs/clubs or do more active adrenline sports/gym stuff, in my opinion. There doesnt seem to be many younger photographers where I come from.

Any surrey-way photography related events too you can bring up would be very helpful,
Also it would be benifical for someone to tell me the current guidelines for scuba diving beginner pricing in the UK, rough costs so I know Im not paying over the odds ..
thanks!!
 

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In general there are 2 ways of getting trained.

Pay up front with PADI (or someone else, such as SSI, SDI) and do the course. This could take as little as 3 days abroad, or be spread out over a few weekends in the UK.
Join a club (BSAC or SAA) and the training happens within the club. It's cheaper, as you pay an annual membership, but takes longer (usually). Clubs will quite often have other benefits such as a compressor for air, their own boat.

As to which is better, both, and neither. They have pros and cons, and have been debated to death on here. They both turn out divers, so you pays your money and you takes your choice.

Underwater photography - nothing is cheap, trust me:) There are some great books, but, learn to dive first. And by that I don't just mean finish the course, I mean finish the course, get some dives under your belt and make sure you are comfortable in the water.

Price wise, for training, I have no idea on what a normal price is, just get on a few websites and have a look, if you go to http://www.padi.com/scuba/ you can find a dive centre locator. BSAC have similar, with links to a lot of their clubs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
thank you, will check out the link. I thought that I should just learn to dive first, but now Im interested in it, the photography thing was a second thought that's kinda took over in my head,.. i think because I watched an amazing program too, last night I think, with stunning islands and corals (the pacific islands, I think it was called?) created by the volcanos. I thought wow it would be amazing to dive there.

at the try dive the club said it was an annual fee to join of over £300. I thought theres no way I can afford that, plus travelling to get to these places, and they train in the pool and social in a local club.. its not the diving I want to be doing, the one-off in the sea stuff. I know you learn in shallow water first, but I dont want to pay alot to be in a social club.
 

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Some shops have clubs attached to them as well. You do your course, and join the club (some charge around £75 for the club). You get a discount on kit, first dibs on boat places, somebody else usually arranges the trips.

Having said that, once you are qualified, there is nothing to stop you looking for a buddy for a dive on here, just make sure it is not out of your comfort zone (i.e. don't just blindly follow).

Where in Surrey are you based? As then people can recommend clubs/shops that you could get training through.

Be aware that diving is not a cheap sport however:( It's quite a limited market, so everything costs just the bit much more. I believe it comparable to skiing, and has roughly the same target market. Buying all the latest and greatest shiny new kit can set you back a bomb. However, as a new diver, you can always hire kit, or look out on here for second hand kit, until you work out what it is you actually need.
 

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I'm pretty new to UK diving myself. I've trained with different scuba diving training agencies: PADI Open Water, SSI Advanced Adventurer, PADI Nitrox and I'm currently in the midst of my BSAC Sports Diver. PADI and SSI are very similar. You pay for the course they bang you through it and your done. BSAC is a little different. You join a club and pay their annual fee. You also have to join BSAC and pay their annual fee. You then have to wait until they run the training and the practical lessons. In my opinion if you are only going to dive while abroad then I would recommend PADI/SSI over BSAC. If you are looking to do diving while in the UK then BSAC might be a better option as it will make it easier to find dive buddies and training in the long term might be cheaper.

As for where and how much. Most Brits tend to go to the Red Sea. It's warmer and has a lot more life. I've haven't been there myself but definately plan to before I had back home to Oz. If you want info about Oz then let me know but I assume you want something closer to home?

Underwater photography course... I've done the SSI one and didn't really rate it as being all that useful. I've found that speaking to people or reading/posting on forums has provided far more information than the course. If anything having good bouyancy and spatial awareness have been some of the main skills that I've found to be useful. Most of the other stuff you pick up along the way as you do with photography on land. Having said all that... Underwater photography isn't cheap. Most people start off with a compact point and shoot + underwater housing. Then they buy extra strobes. If you find yourself really getting into it. You'll eventually sell one of their organs and go to a DSLR + Housing + lens dome + strobes.

As for finding younger dive buddies. Yeah I kinda get what your saying. Back home I'm a member of a University dive club... I suggest you look at university clubs which allow non-students to join unless of course you are a student then that shouldn't be a problem. Or simply go to all the dive club meetings in your area and check them out. It doesn't hurt to go in and have a chat with some folk on their pub/meeting night.
 
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