The Cost of Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving provides us with the opportunity to explore what’s under the great blue surface and explore a whole new world. It’s an adventure unlike any other, one that stimulates all our senses. But this sport is certainly not light on the pocket.
Allow us to walk you through the costs associated with becoming a certified scuba diver and how you can minimize these for the ultimate scuba diving experience.
Step 1: The Basic Certification
In the world of scuba, the certification required is known as the Open Water Diver (OWD) Certification. Divers are trained to reach depths of 18-60ft while being accompanied by a diving partner or instructor. This certification alone requires around 4 days at an approximate cost of USD 200-700 based on which country you’re in. Opting for locations such as Thailand and Indonesia is cheaper than getting your certification in the US.
In fact, for some countries, the entire expense, from equipment to certification can be covered in just USD 200!
Step 2: Getting Your Equipment
If you’re serious about becoming a scuba diver, be ready to shell out a few grand. The cost of equipment will of course depend on the quality you go for, but the overall expense generally averages around USD 2,000 at least.
Your complete scuba kit will include:
- A Mask: consider this to be one of the cheaper elements of your scuba kit. A decent scuba mask will cost anywhere between USD 25-85. In some cases even way more than that.
- A Snorkel: used to breathe underwater. This piece of equipment will cost you around USD 20-100.
- A Wet Suit: based on the climatic conditions in your region, the wetsuit will vary in thickness, and accordingly in price. It ranges from USD 100-1,000!
- Fins: you may love flapping your feet around in these, but they can cost a hefty USD 40-100/ pair.
- A Buoyancy Control Device (BCD): this plays the pivotal role of maintaining your buoyancy (inclination) to go deeper or rise towards the surface when you’re underwater. This will cost you anywhere from USD 30-600.
- Luggage: storing all your equipment securely and properly can reduce your bank balance by around USD 20-200 (if you’re really looking for the ultimate bag).
- The Octopus: a breathing device, which will also help you gauge and maintain the pressure in your BCD. This will cost anywhere between USD 125-1,500.
- A Dive Computer: costing anywhere between USD 200-1,200, the dive computer is a must-have for divers to gauge their current position under the water and determine the best way back to the surface.
- A Tank: this will go for about USD 200-400. Keep in mind that it will require refills which can add another USD 200/year.
Step 3: Making the Plunge
Once you’ve geared yourself with the required equipment and accessories, it’s time to get in the water. The cost of diving greatly varies based on where you are on the globe, but the basic cost is the same worldwide.
A basic dive will cost you around USD 80/day, although most services providers offer a minimal discount for divers who opt for 3-day or more packages, or come in large groups (this cost generally includes the cost of a scuba guide). For those who don’t own scuba gear, add that to the mix and this cost will go upwards of an additional USD 120.
If you’re not one to stick with a crowd and would prefer to charter a private scuba adventure, a full day can break bank by costing around USD 1,000.
If you have a long weekend, or simply love scuba diving, you may consider renting a liveaboard. However, this does not come cheap. The average daily cost of a liveaboard is around USD 200 – stay onboard for a week and you’re down by nearly USD 1,500.
The Big Picture
By this point, your brain is probably dizzy with all the numbers being thrown at you, so let’s start putting all this together.
The basic certification is costing you an average of USD 450. If scuba is a lifelong commitment for you, you’re likely to purchase your own equipment, and whether its new or secondhand, it’ll cost you anywhere between USD 760- 5,185 depending on the quality and other specifications you opted for. The diving cost is between USD 80-200/day. Each rental is an additional USD 200.
Right now, all you’re looking at is the cost of the equipment. You’re mentally breaking it down to find out how much of your income is going to be taken up just to purchase the equipment, and how many days you’ll have to survive on boiled rice. In your head, rentals seem like the better option. A 2-day scuba dive with the rental package sounds so much more economical because the cost looks significantly smaller than that of buying your own equipment – which is an investment.
But scuba diving is no ordinary activity. It’s a way of living and if you think of it this way, you need to invest now. Rentals are definitely cheaper in the short term, but if you’re in it for the long run – buy!
Scuba diving allows you to enter a realm that is magical and almost otherworldly. Once you’re hooked, you may end up going scuba diving every weekend if you’re close by, or plan your vacations so that you can indulge in this newfound love of the ocean.
At the end of a year, your scuba expenses for just rentals may go up to USD 20,000 which is around 4 times what buying your own equipment would’ve cost you. 2 years later and you’re down another USD 20,000. We can bet that the expense of USD 5,000 will not look so shabby then.
If the cost of the equipment seems to high to you, you can opt and compromise on quality. Opt for midrange equipment and within a year only, you will have still saved yourself nearly USD 15,000.
At the end of the day, if you’re someone who is interested in scuba diving, you know beforehand that it’s an expensive sport. Even if you opt for it semi-frequently, having your own equipment, best suited to your needs is likely to be friendlier on the pocket than going for many times used rentals.