SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus which allows you breathe air underwater using a tank of compressed air or other breathing gases such as Enriched Air Nitrox.
I'm not sure if I'm going to like scuba diving, Can I just try it Out?
Yes, we offer what is called a Try Scuba on our monthly pool days. You receive instruction and then go underwater with Scuba gear and a Scuba professional. Try Scuba is not a certification, but a small taste of what Scuba is. *If you decide to continue on to get your certification, the price of the Try Scuba will be credited toward your Open Water Class.
I've always wanted to get certified! How do I get started?
Personal Gear (Mask, Fins, Snorkel, Boots, Gloves, and Hood - you would need to buy these)
Boat Dives or Catalina Island Dives (should you choose this option)
Tank or weight rentals, or air fills, at the Casino Point Dive Park (if doing your checkout dives there)
To get started, simply come into the shop and register for your course. You will complete paperwork which includes a medical questionnaire. You will also be fitted for your rental gear and receive a student discount on your personal gear. It is important that your personal gear be fitted properly to help ensure you have the best underwater experience.
After registration, you will receive an online E-Learning code so you can do your Scuba "homework" which must be completed prior to beginning your pool training. Pool days are scheduled once per month for group classes. Private pool sessions may be arranged for an additional cost. We will work with you in the pool for as long as you need to feel comfortable in the water. Once pool training is complete, we'll conduct four ocean dives over two days.
How long does it take to get certified?
You can become certified in as quickly as a week and a half, but it usually takes a little longer due to scheduling and availability of boats as well as water conditions.
How much do classes cost?
It depends on which class you are looking to take, whether you are just starting out or if you want to continue your education. You can visit the shop, or call us at 909-596-2505, to get all the information for the class you are interested in.
When does the certification expire?
The PADI and NAUI certifications that we offer never expire. Some other training agencies require periodic re-certification.
Is there an age requirement to get certified?
Yes, children have to be at least 10 years old to become Jr. Open Water certified. We do have programs for children as young a 8 that allow them to get in the pool and blow bubbles.
I know how to swim, but I'm not an Olympic swimmer, should I still try Scuba Diving?
Certainly! Though you do need basic swimming skills, you do not need to be an Olympic swimmer to Scuba dive. Before you start your in-water training, you will be required to do a short swim evaluation and tread water. Swim lessons can also be arranged to improve your swimming skills.
Where can I dive once I get certified?
We have fantastic local diving off Catalina Island, the other Channel Islands, or at many of our beaches such as in Laguna Beach. PADI and NAUI certifications are universally recognized so you may dive just about anywhere in the world. As some dive sites require advanced or specialty certifications, make sure they are within your level of training, and experience, when selecting a dive destination.
What is PADI and NAUI?
PADI and NAUI are the 2 of the most highly recognized Scuba training agencies in the world. Sharky's offers both agencies for your certification.
PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors
NAUI is the National Association of Underwater Instructors
I'm certified but I haven't been diving in awhile, do I need to retake the class?
No, you do not need to get re-certified, however we strongly recommend taking a Refresher course. This course goes over the basics of your Open Water class to rebuild your confidence in the water on Scuba. The refresher course is usually conducted in a pool, though a refresher ocean dive can be arranged.
I'm certified but I lost my certification card, do I need to get re-certified?
No, most Scuba training agencies keep excellent records of certified students. PADI and NAUI both have online applications for replacing your c-card. For other agencies, you may call, email, or write to them for a replacement card. Usually, there is a fee to replace your c-card. If the training agency you originally certified with is no longer in existence, we have an Experienced Diver course to re-certify you.
Do you have a pool on site?
No, we use the La Verne Aquatic Center for our pool sessions. During our Open Water training days, we usually invite certified divers to come use the pool while we conduct training. This is great way to test out new gear, work on weighting, or practice skills.
Where do you go for ocean dives?
We go diving almost anywhere there's water! Locally, we like the following spots:
Beach/ Shore dives - Laguna Beach, Redondo Beach, La Jolla, and Catalina Island
Boat dives - we use boats out of Long Beach, Redondo Beach, San Diego, Ventura, and Santa Barbara to take us to our nearby islands, underwater pinnacles, and wrecks.
Sharky's always has some international trips planned as well. Visit or call the shop for more information. 909-596-2505.
None of my family or friends Scuba dive, can you partner me with a buddy?
Sharky's is always posting upcoming dives on our Sharky's Dive Team Facebook page. Just like you, not everyone has a buddy. Whether you are responding to one of our upcoming dives, or you want to post one that you are planning, everyone on Sharky's Dive Team is very friendly and responsive. It shouldn't be hard to find someone to dive with.
Another good way to meet other divers is to join a local dive club. Sharky's sponsors the San Gabriel Valley Scuba Club which meets every second Thursday of the month at the IHOP on Arrow Hwy. Everyone is welcome and it's a great way to connect with other divers.
What Scuba organizations are you affiliated with?
Sharky's is affiliated with the following organizations:
DAN - Divers Alert Network - for dive medicine and safety
HSA - Handicapped Scuba Association - for recreational diving for people with disabilities and their buddies
NAUI - National Association of Underwater Instructors - diving certifying agency
PADI - Professional Association of Diving Instructors - diving certifying agency
SGVSC - San Gabriel Valley Scuba Club - for fun and educational connections in Scuba
The WAVES Project- Wounded American Veterans Experience SCUBA - to help our veterans experience the freedom and challenge of Scuba
We also have excellent working relationships with many local shops. It is important to us that we not compete with each other, but work hand in hand to make sure everyone has a wonderful dive experience.
Do I need my own equipment to go Scuba Diving?
You will need to have your own personal gear (mask, fins, boots, gloves, and hood), however Sharky's rents all the other equipment needed for Scuba diving.
Some of my equipment needs servicing, do you do that there?
We have in-house technicians that service certain brands of BCDs, regulators, and dive computers such as Aqua Lung, Apeks, Mares, and Sherwood. For other brands, we can usually facilitate service for you at an outside repair center. Bring your gear in, let us look at it, and we'll let you know how we can help you.
Do you service Scuba tanks?
Certainly. We offer visual inspections, hydrostatic testing, and tumbling.
What's in a Scuba tank? oxygen? Do you fill them there?
We fill scuba tanks with air or a mixture of air and nitrogen, with oxygen levels from 21-40%, called "Enriched Air Nitrox", or simply "Nitrox". There are other breathing gases used in technical diving, though we do not offer them at Sharky's.
To provide Nitrox fills, we use a membrane system, as opposed to partial pressure blending, so you do not need an O2 clean tank to have it filled.
For any fills, you will have to present a certification card or Enriched Air Diver card for Nitrox.
While pure oxygen has some applications in technical diving, it is not used underwater by recreational divers.
I wear glasses, is that a problem?
Though you can't necessarily wear your glasses while Scuba diving, it's not actually a problem. There are a couple options for you:
You may wear soft contact lenses during your dives, however you will have to keep your eyes closed if your mask floods, or during mask skills, to avoid losing them. Hard contacts are generally not recommended for diving. Make sure your instructor, or dive buddy, knows that you are diving with contacts.
Many mask manufacturers offer prescription lenses. You may want to take your glasses for before and after the dive.
My ears hurt when I go swimming, does that mean I can't Scuba dive?
This happens to many people when they try to go deep in a pool, usually because they don't know how to equalize their ears. One of the first things you learn in the Open Water class is how to equalize your ears properly. However, if you have a history of ear problems, you should consult a doctor before trying Scuba.
What about sharks?
We get excited to see sharks!
Incidences between divers and sharks are extremely rare. Often, unless you are on a shark feeding dive, sharks will usually avoid you as many don't like the noise from our bubbles.
You should actually consider yourself lucky if you were to see a shark in its natural environment. Hopefully, if you do see one, you have an underwater camera along!