There are thousands of Dive Centres around the world and scores of various diving buisnesses here in Cyprus alone. So what makes a good all round Dive Centre and what should you look for when choosing one for any diving requirements ?
Of course one of the top priorities in any dive business is it's staff. With so many Dive Centres now you can have an owner and staff who have very little experience.
Unfortunately this is down to the relevant Dive Agencies who allow someone with very basic experience to become a professional, and without any working experience then become an Instructor straight after. What knowledge and experience of the many aspects of the diving industry are they even familiar with let alone be experts in ? Worst of all these so called Instructors can then open up a Dive Centre or even take over a 5 Star Dive Centre !
The implications of this and for the people they then assist, sell equipment to or train we can see every day in the general poor quality of divers abilities and diving knowledge. Good Dive Centres should have good solid and experienced professionals who have some years of working in the industry and have good knowledge of the local dive sites. Multiple Dive Agencies and being able to provide a full range of courses is also a good sign. A good professional should know the local dives well, be an experienced diver at a number of levels and have good equipment knowledge. Good Instructors and other professionals should be able to handle all enquiries from personal kit issues to new equipment, course enquiries and local dive information.
Good Dive Centres should also have a large range of good quality dive equipment to suit all shapes, sizes and personal preferences. The staff should also ensure that the equipment you choose fits perfectly and that there should be a good range to choose from. We always ask our customers which fins they prefer or which they use at home for example and we have a majority of BCD's that also take integrated weight pockets so our divers can choose between belts or integrated weights.
A good stock and range of new equipment is also a good sign in a Dive Centre with a large range of accessories too. Divers often need a new hose, a clip or a strap etc when they unpack their kit or arrive at the Centre. Fins, Boots, Suits, BCD's, Regulators, Masks, Torches, Compasses and Computers should all be readily available.
A well decked out and equipped classroom is also a very good sign of a professional Centre as are well equipped toilets and changing rooms.
Very good Dive Centres will repair and service dive equipment for you and their own kit with cylinder testing also available on site.
Of course a well maintained air compressor is a must with good quality air filtration and the capability for Nitrox fills is a big advantage.
So overall a general air of professionalism, knowledge and range of what a Dive Centre provides all lead towards a good feel for a very good Dive Centre. Wherever you can always pop in for a chat and see what the Centre is about before deciding which to go for. This is not of course always possible when dealing online but the professionalism and knowledge should still shine through.