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How Much Does Scuba Diving Costs?

by Corné Ligtermoet

The single most asked question in any dive shop is: How much does scuba diving cost? There is no simple clear cut answer to this because prices vary all over the world. Therefore I will give you a ball park number to what I think is a reasonable price to get you in the water.

There are a few things you’ll need to get started. First of all you will need some dive training. An Open Water Course is the way to start here but the best is to seek some additional training on top of that. Next up you will have a choice, you either rent equipment of buy it yourself.

Dive training

To get everything in motion you first will need to get some dive training. The best way to do this is to start with a Open Water course. It does not really matter if you do this at PADI, SSI or some other agency. The most important thing is that you seek out a dive operation where you feel confident and safe.

The cost of an OWD training varies greatly. You can get a full course for as low as $ 350.-/ € 325,- in Thailand. If you choose to get your certification closer to home, let’s say New York the price rises dramatically to $ 1200.-/€ 1100,-. Most certifications in and around Europe will go for about $ 425.-/€ 390,-. Again advisable is not to look for the lowest price but for the dive operation where you will receive the best training.

Open water training prices:

Thailand (Asia)$ 350.- / € 325,-
Spain (Europe)$ 425.- / € 390,-.
New York ( United States)$ 1200.- / € 1100,-
Bahama’s (Caribbean)$ 410.- / € 380,-

Further training

Once you’ve finished your initial training you are allowed to dive to a depth of 60ft/18 meters. Something where all new divers struggle with is their buoyancy. Hence I would suggest you’ll take the buoyancy specialty. This will make you a far better diver right from the get go.

Buoyancy specialty course prices:

Thailand (Asia)$ 160.- / € 150,-
Spain (Europe)$ 170.- / € 160,-
New York (United States)$ 220.- / € 200,-
Bahama’s (Caribbean)$ 150.- / € 140,-

One big thing to consider it the fact that on holiday destinations dive instructors generally have less time to complete a course. If you run into some problems during your course because you can’t, for example, get a skill right. There is less time to fix this. Also the groups are generally bigger and the diving environment easier than you may encounter back home.

Renting or buying equipment

Do you need your own all the dive gear yourself? The clear answer is no. Almost every dive operation offers rental gear but keep in mind that when you start to dive more and more the cost will rise quickly. That being said it’s wise to start out renting equipment since you want to be sure you will continue to dive in the future before you buy all the gear.

Dive gear rental price a day:

Thailand (Asia)$ 32.- / € 29,- includes a dive
Spain (Europe)$ 17.- / € 15,- extra to the price of a dive
New York (United States)$ 50.- / € 45,-
Bahama’s (Caribbean)$ 40.- / € 37,-

Even though you will rent most of your gear in the beginning I would recommend that you buy three things: A mask, snorkel and fins. These items are rather in expensive and increase your comfort by a lot. A good ABC-set will set you back something in the ball park of $ 100.-/€ 80,- to a maximum of $ 250.-/€ 235,-

Get your own gear

Eventually getting your own gear is inevitable. How much this will set you back is dependent on where you want to go diving. If you are diving in colder waters the initial price of your gear will be significantly higher. This is because you will need more protection in these waters. Extra items are a hood, gloves, booties and maybe even a dry suit. When you are diving in warmer waters these items are not necessary and thus the initial price is much lower. 

Warm water scuba set$ 1500.- / € 1500,-
Cold water scuba set$ 2500.-/ € 2500,-

At first glance the price of a full scuba set seems steep but there is one thing you need to remember. A average set will last you well over 10 years if maintained well. Maintaining your dive gear consist mainly out of servicing the regulator which almost all dive shops can do. This is normally around $ 100.-/€ 100,-.  

Scuba Travel

You probably didn’t complete your open water course to sit at home and stare at the certification card. You want to dive the sevens seas of the world, and you should. In many holiday destinations which you already visited when you where not diving you can dive. This means that it is almost always possible to make one or two dives during a regular holiday. A normal guided dive will set you back around $ 50.- / € 45.-. 

It is also possible to book a dedicated dive holiday on a live aboard. During such a trip all the dives are included and you will stay on the boat during the whole trip. A typical live aboard on the Maldives will run you something in the neighborhood of $ 2000.- / € 1900,-. This is excluding  a plane ticket there by the way. 

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