Every time divers plan a diving holiday, the first thing they have to decide is who is going to be their diving provider.
Here are a few tips to help with finding the best option.
Location. Where is the dive centre located? Ideally, it should be close to your accommodation because you don’t want to spend your precious time travelling. In Malta, some dive centres can offer transport and accommodation.
Type of dives offered. Not every diving centre can offer you all the dives available on the islands. Not everyone can offer boat dives. If you are planning specific types of dives, conduct a search. Bear in mind that these offshore dives are more expensive than the shore ones.
Range of services to meet your needs. Do you need to hire equipment? Do you only need dive guiding? Do you need transportation or are you going to rent a car?
Price is important but don’t go for the cheapest option. Sometimes a cheap price means not very good equipment. If you’re on a budget, it may sometimes be possible to negotiate discounts. Don’t skimp on equipment.
Reputation. This is very important and nowadays relatively easy to find. Learn through the experience of the others. Use Google, access dive forums and communities, specialised websites and Twitter to drill down to the information you need. Other divers will be more than happy to help you.
If you are experienced divers you might not need a diving center. The best option may be an experienced local diver to lead you and show you the best places for diving. Such people can also help you if you need to hire small bits of equipment, such as weights. Again, the Internet – including the authors of diving articles on this site – will help you find the right person.
If this is not your first diving holiday in Malta, and if you know the place and are experienced and confident enough, you can buy one of the few books for diving here and use them instead.
But in any event, don’t underestimate your planning. Although scubadiving is a reasonably safe sport, careful preparation is part of the game.
Photo: Dragan Donkov