For those who are SCUBA-enthusiasts, going on vacation can have a special draw: new water locations to explore!
But is it worth it to lug all your equipment with you? Or are you better off renting at your destination – and is that safe?
Here are some factors to consider.
Not everyone has bottomless pockets when going on vacation. If you only plan on one short dive while you are at your destination, or you are flying or are already traveling with a lot of gear, it would be most cost effective to rent at your destination.
SCUBA is a sport that deserves respect: exciting, fun, and educational, it is also very dangerous if not handled with care.
You know your equipment is safe: you keep up with inspections, replace worn parts, and exchange your tank when it expires. But will the rental place at your destination do the same?
In choosing a dive supply facility, it is important to do research. If they have a good reputation – which should be easy to check on-line – then you should consider them. Several companies have locations around the country or around the world, and those are probably the most dependable. If you aren’t familiar with any common names, PADI offers an online dive rental location list.
But what if they’re booked? Or don’t have a location at your destination?
Not every destination will have a reputable company providing rental services, and not every reputable company will have the gear you need available unless you book far in advance. When this happens, other alternatives can be looked at, such as smaller, local businesses. But what if they don’t have an online presence?
You have two easy options: if you know someone who lives at or frequents your destination, ask. If you don’t, you can contact the staff at the place you will be staying. Hotel/resort concierges often have a wide variety of reliable businesses they are comfortable recommending.
If you are planning a boat or guided dive, contacting the dive master to see if they have equipment for rent is an option. They may suggest only renting things that are hard to fit or too bulky to transport.
It may take some planning to transport the amount of gear needed for a safe SCUBA excursion, and businesses that rent SCUBA equipment do not stay in business long if their equipment is not in good condition, so longevity of the business is another thing to look for.
One last, important thing to remember: always dive with a buddy.