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How to make diving affordable?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by GlowWorm, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    As everyone has said, one key is to accumulate your own equipment. Haunt Craigs List and ebay; ask questions here or of friend to see what gear is worth buying. Once you get rid of rental costs, your cost to dive goes down significantly.

    Charter boats cost money. I believe the "good" diving off NC is all boat diving, but does that mean that's all the diving there is? There may be lakes or bays where you can dive, and perhaps the water isn't as clear or there aren't as many fish, but you are still diving. As a beginner, everything you see is new to you, so you don't need to spend money to get to the "best" locations.

    I kind of disagree with Rhone Man . . . diving isn't a free sport, and perhaps bicycling is cheaper, but on the scale of things you can do with your free time, shore diving is still in the fairly inexpensive range. When you consider what a concert ticket costs, or a dinner out, or even a moderately nice bottle of wine, $25 for a day of diving isn't that bad. Where diving hurts is when you have to rent stuff, or when you are paying charter fees.
    Ed Palma and gypsyjim like this.
  2. CaveMD

    CaveMD Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Florida
    Once you actually own the gear, cave diving is hard to beat.

    Sent from my HTC PH39100 using Tapatalk 2
  3. FiremanIRFD

    FiremanIRFD Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Iron Ridge, Wisconsin, United States
    That price does seem ridiculously high. Diving can be cheap, after the initial investment. I trolled the SB marketplace and found some great deals on barely used and some new items, also there was a sport shop getting out of SCUBA in my area that had closeout prices also. I would watch the forum market place and craiglist, ebay if you must.
    Local dive clubs can be great resources too, some people have whole garages full of stuff they know they will never use and are more than happy to help out a new diver. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge that can be found from the dive club members, and little perks like when someone has a boat and is willing to take you out :wink:

    Being new and on a tight budget don't fee the need to give all your money to the local dive shop, I am all for supporting local business, but somethings are a little outrageous. I paid $50 for a flag and float I saw online for $25 the next day, just do some research first. My LDS does have a cool program that when you buy a tank you get free air fills for a year, so right now if I only do 1 tank dives all I pay for is gas and maybe and entrance/parking fee.

    Dive safe, but also dive often
  4. freewillie

    freewillie Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: SoCal Beach Cities
    Someone once told me that scuba gear is like golf clubs. Once you buy it you only have to pay for the course, or in this case the tank fill. It's expensive up front but pays off in the end.

    I've been accumulating gear in stages. First started with what I call personal fit items. Wetsuit, BC, fins, mask, etc. Things that fit only you and would be problematic to try and dive if your size is not available. I know many consider regulators first priority but for recreational diving no deeper 70 ft just about any decent reg performs well enough. As for the sanitary reason someone else stuck this in their mouth and barfed, well, that's a different story.

    I got a dive computer online as a closeout special. I'm still looking to upgrade the computer and get my dream set of regs. I've not been in a hurry to buy just yet.

    Shore diving only cost the tank fill and whatever gear you need to rent. For me I only need tanks and regs. Weekend dive cost me $40 to shore dive with dive club. Hardly going to break the bank for me going about once a month. I did have to pony up $$ to get wetsuit, BC, computer but they have paid for themselves in what I would have paid to rent them for the total times I've been diving.

    Just need to convince the wife now the regs are really worth the cash.
  5. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Unfortunately you live in one of the worst places for shorediving in the country. It's too flat and sandy off most of the Low Country for there to be any sort of diving. Except for the offshore ledges or wrecks which tend to collect fish etc. Charleston Scuba does several inshore Ledges dives for $130/2 dives but the farther out wrecks are 2/$160. Cheapest seems to be the Frederick Day at 2/$105. http://charlestonscuba.com/wordpress/charters/sites-rates/

    Although others have made the suggestion, I don't believe there's any shore diving near Charleston or even Myrtle Beach. If there is, we couldn't find it. I did hear once about a jetty near Litchfield Beach where you can do shallow shore dives - contact Express Watersports in Murrell's Inlet about it. They also said it was a very long walk out to the dive site due to the parking setup.

    They're also quite a bit cheaper than Charleston Scuba if you want to make the drive. I'm fairly sure that their 1/2 day trips include 2 dives for that price - but check. http://www.expresswatersports.com/pages/scuba-diving/dive-sites-prices.php

    There's the Blackwater fossil dives on the Cooper but I don't suggest you do those un-escorted. Or until you have more experience. It's swift current, low-viz diving where you grope for fossils in the riverbottom. I've heard you share it with gators also...wouldn't surprise me, we did at the golf courses...lol.

    People also dive Lake Jocasee. IDK anything about it but look in our Deep Dixie sub-forum for others that do.

    Probably the closest decent shorediving to you is in Florida. Either the Destin (panhandle) area or farther down the east coast. Not exactly a day trip unfortunately.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
    GlowWorm likes this.
  6. Mike2Fst

    Mike2Fst Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Arden, NC
    Check out Lake Jocassee Dive Shop, Salem SC. Awesome lake diving with lots of history. 2 tank charter is $40, or you can Shore dive off the Boat Ramps, closed to boats and has lots of dive attractions set up. Gear rental is no too costly. Also there is lots of diving in the Chareston River, low vis but folks find lots of Megladon teeth. Good luck.
  7. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    First, $240 seems like A LOT of money for a charter. I don't know which LDS in the Charleston area you use but at least one of them posts much lower prices on their website. What, exactly are you getting for that $240?

    Second, you may find that buying good, used gear might offset the continued cost of rentals. While it is comfortable for us to say, 'Rent for a while, then decide what you want', it is also reasonable to suggest that you buy some modestly priced gear initially, that you can use extensively. In reality, all the discussion about back-inflate vs jacket BCDs, which regulator brand, steel vs aluminum tanks, etc. is relatively trivial for the new diver who just wants to get wet. A simple, inexpensive, (used) jacket BCD, (used) warm water regulator, and (used) aluminum 80 rig can be acquired for a couple of hundred dollars. The problem is, as a new diver you may not have the background to evaluate what is a good 'deal' on used equipment. I would ask your LDS about used gear, I would Google Craigslist in SC (and also in FL) for used gear (someone is always selling scuba gear, and a road trip, even to FL is not out of the question to get some good gear).

    Third, one of the ways that some new divers reduce the cost of diving is going for local / freshwater / quarry diving. A $20 admission fee is cheaper than a $120 charter fee. I don't know what, if any, inland sites are available in immediate your area. Jocassee may be a bit of a drive since it is on the other side of the state (~250 miles), but not that bad if you split the costs with others.

    Finally, I would echo the comments suggesting that you look for a local dive club, which can be an avenue to gaining information about diving opportunities, finding others to share travel costs with, etc. If you and your boyfriend are newly certified and don't know others who dive, a local dive club may be a very good way to expand your network, and awareness of local diving opportunities.
  8. Mike2Fst

    Mike2Fst Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Arden, NC
    Sorry GlowWorm, gave you some wrong info as the coffee has not kicked in yet. Lots of divers dive the Cooper River in Charleston, Lake Jocassee Dive Shop does keep a boat over there for charters. Check them out on the internet and give them a call. If you're looking to acquire some inexpensive gear, I'm letting go of a couple of dive lights, One is a PrinctonTec Miniwave LED (primary) and the other is a PrinctonTec Miniwave 2 (secondary). $100.00 plus shipping will get them both. PM me if interested. Good luck on finding some dives.
  9. GlowWorm

    GlowWorm Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Charleston, SC
    I was very mistaken when I said 240! I looked again and diversteve you were right, 160 was the most I saw for Charleston Scuba. I guess that's not bad for 2 dives but it's still hard for me since I'm only working a part time job and going to school. (my budget is quite small). I guess I just have to suck it up for the time being until I make some new diving buddies who can help me out! I'm just so excited about this sport and I want to be able to do it as much as I can, I really love it and so far I've only done it in a pool! Next weekend I'm going up to Fantasy Lake to finish my OW cert. Has anybody been diving there before?
    FiremanIRFD likes this.
  10. gypsyjim

    gypsyjim I have an alibi ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: capital region of New York
    Glow Worm, I just did a quick check on the net for dive clubs in your area, and found this: Lake Diver :: South Carolina Dive Clubs

    Most clubs welcome [-]fresh meat[/-], er new divers, and often are a great way to get your feet wet afford-ably, and meet new friends. Don't be afraid to check them out and see if there is a fit for you.
    Rhone Man and GlowWorm like this.

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