Discover the Red Sea with the Right Dive Centre18th August 2011 | Jackie Hutchings
Discover the underwater world … surrounded by colourful and fascinating creatures and bizarre coral formations. Let your mind run free, and find peace – all this and much more describes a dive in the Red Sea.
For many years, Egypt counts among the top diving spots in the world. A magnificent underwater world, plenty of sunshine, bargain holiday deals and short flight times between Europe and the land of the pharaohs create the perfect package for a diving holiday.
Particularly in the northern part of the Red Sea – Safaga, El Gouna, Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula – the diving boom has also developed its downside. Over the years, numerous diving centres opened their doors all over the place. At the peak period, there were over 150 diving centres alone in Hurghada!
Especially for novice divers or those who want to learn diving, the choice of diving centres is in fact overwhelming. So, which ones are good? What do you need to pay attention to?
Gather information BEFORE your diving holiday
- First, a thorough research on the internet is a good start. There are a number of platforms and forums that offer advice, experience and opinions by divers for divers. Scubadviser is a great resource for reading scuba diving reviews in the Red Sea.
- Look out for the CDWS Certificate (Chamber for Diving and Water Sports) – This Egyptian association makes sure, that safety and health standards are respected.
- Dive operators, which work on a worldwide level (for example, Euro-Divers) usually have strict standards regarding service, safety, training and equipment. Therefore, with them, you are in good hands, anywhere you go.
- Of course, there are also small, privately-owned diving centres (such as Dive Point Red Sea) which offer excellent service and good safety standards. A good guideline is the number and quality of comments you can read.
- Also, email responses can be quite revealing. Are your requests and questions answered promptly, and are they understandable and informative? If after three days you still didn’t receive an answer, well, this says it all: “They couldn’t be bothered, they have no time because they’re understaffed or they are so cool, that they do not need more guests.”
Visit different diving centres on site
- If you’re travelling with a tour operator, the diving centre your tour leader suggests might not necessarily be the best. Tour operators are working on a commission basis, which means it usually does not matter too much how good the diving centre is, but rather how much they get paid per guest.
- Once you arrive at the diving centre, pay heed to a few things to help you decide whether to dive with them or not.
- Listen to your instinct! Diving has a lot to do with trust. How are you welcomed? Are you offered information or do you need to ask for every single detail?
- Look around! First of all, look out for credentials of diving organization (PADI/CMAS/SSI/NAUI, etc.). They look mostly like a diploma. Is the diving centre tested and approved by CDWS? Again, a certificate should be visible.
- Are there photos of the team? Are diving courses are offered in different languages? Especially during theory classes, it is important that instructors and students understand each other perfectly.
- Are you offered a guided tour through the diving centre? Are you allowed to have a look into the compressor room? It should be clean – no oil layer on the floor and walls, have good supply and return air fans, and the air for the tanks should come from an outside area where fresh air is available.
- How does the rental equipment look like? New? Worn? Clean? (Salt crusts?)
- Some dive centre managers commit their staff to give new guests a complete tour around the diving centre – a good sign for absolute professionalism!
Open your eyes, look at a few diving centres and rather spend a little more, but enjoy safe and carefree diving. Safety while diving and a proper diving education are priceless!