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Unmasked A Modern Look at Scuba And Snorkel Masks

Unmasked A Modern Look at Scuba Masks And Snorkel Masks

Today we’re going to talk about Scuba and Snorkel Masks, which also hold true for FreeDiving applications.

Many Divers and Snorkels ask us “What’s the Best Scuba Mask?” Our answer is simple….The one that fits you best. Read on and learn the additional features that will make your dive mask the best.

Question For You:

Have you ever been to a resort where someone just hands you a snorkel mask our a dive mask out of a bucket and tells you to go and enjoy the water?  For some that can be a wonderful eye popping experience and for others it can be painful, irritating, uncomfortable or downright unnerving.

Today we are going to discuss some of the key features, technologies, materials, styles and levels of comfort you can come to expect from a good quality scuba or snorkel mask. 

Hopefully this will help you pick out the best scuba mask or snorkel mask for your every day water related activities.

Key Features

Some would argue that the more expensive the mask is, the better it will fit you or the better quality it is.  This isn’t quite the case.

The best mask on the market is the mask that fits your face first and foremost.

Factors that affect the fit of the mask are face shapes, facial hair, buckle or strap design, single or double lens, type of mask skirt material, lens glass and frame shape to name a few.

Generally speaking the bigger the face the larger the mask skirt and frame will have to be.  Someone with a narrow face like a woman or small child can fit a small to mid size frame, while most average size faces would benefit from a standard fit, larger faces may require a wide fitting mask.

There are a handful of brands who offer small/medium fitted masks, as well as wide fitting masks, while the norm is to make a mask for the average face.

Once you’ve determined the size of mask you may need its time to weigh options, for example, if you have facial hair, you may favour a stiffer mask skirt with a frameless designed that will sit slightly higher above the moustache versus one that lays across the hair preventing a full seal against the upper lip and under the nose.  

The Moustache: Moustache divers or snorkelers can be one of the more challenging people to fit, so we often gravitate to a few good “moustache masks”.  These masks are shorter and stiffer in the upper lip area and aren’t as affected by the facial hair which can break the seal of a softer skirted mask.

The BARE Frameless Mask, Atomic Frameless Mask, Mares X-Vision standard and TUSA Powerview have been some of our most successful options. 

Avoid The Dreaded Purge Valve!  Rather than going for a proper fit, some people choose to go for a mask with a purge valve in the nose that allows you to simply blow out to evacuate water, which is great, when they work, however, we believe a purge valve mask is an excuse for an ill-fitting mask.  

Purge masks also tend to fail over time having the valve curl or simply falling out causing the mask to fill up with water, so for this reason we simply don’t recommend or endorse the use of purge valves in masks, but are happy to add one into any mask you desire should you want one.

Wearing a Skirt?

Guys and girls both wear skirts when wearing a mask.  So what’s the difference in mask skirts?  Mask skirts can be made of a number of different materials including Rubber, TPR (transparent rubber), PVC, Silite, Silflex, Silter, Silicone, Crystal Silicone, Liquid Silicone, Liquid Crystal Silicone, Gummybear Silicone and more.

Rubber was the most common type of material throughout the infancy of snorkeling and scuba because it was inexpensive, created a seal, was black which helped the person see clearer without glare and refraction of light, but it was not a product that had offered a lot of longevity, however, in the late 1970’s silicone started to become more popular due to the fact that it didn’t break down in the sunlight, was more comfortable and chlorine resistant.

Alternatively TPR, PVC, Silite, Silflex, Silter are all harder skirted alternatives that cost less, are replaced more and are often found in the department stores.  Some manufactures promote a silcone mask/snorkel combo, however, a mask can be class as “silicone” with as little as 5% in the skirt.

You can tell how much silicone is in the mask vs. plastic or other materials by holding the clear skirt up to the light.  If the mask has an opaque colour that looks “clumpy” or more white it isn’t pure silicone.  If the mask skirt has an odour the smells like chemicals, its not pure silicone.

Many of our dive mask brands offer both “sport” quality and “dive” quality. Both can be suitable for snorkeling and in some cases diving too, however, fit and comfort are the 2 most important factors affecting your decision to purchase one over the other.

Pure Silicone mask skirts are still the most comfortable, last the longest, do not break down with repeated saltwater or chlorine immersion and are UV resistant.

Silicone masks can come in skirts that are acid washed to be perfectly transparent or they can be coloured black or other unique colours.  At DDS we prefer black silicone because it offers better vision through the process of eliminating excessive amounts of light which flow in through the normally clear skirt and then cause glare and refraction of light when compared to their black skirted brethren who provide eye and glare protection and less overall strain and eye fatigue.

Clear Skirted Masks Yellow over time.

Black skirted masks also age better maintaining their black colour, whereas clear skirted masks only stay clear for a little while, that is until the uv rays, dirt, sand, rubber and other factors start to cause a yellowing of the skirt and they become opaque over a rather short period of time, meanwhile the black skirted mask is still looking as fresh and good as it did the day it was purchased.

Regardless of the mask you choose it’s all about fit and comfort.  You can read review after review, but the mask should be fitted by a professional who understands your needs, wants and has a good selection.

We sell virtually every brand of mask, but have cherry picked among our entire staff the masks we feel to be the best fitting masks on the market.

Keep the gimmicks to a minimum.

The Fit

Make sure when you’re wearing your mask you can equalize your ears by squeezing your nose pocket, this will ensure you can get to the nose pocket when you need to.

Make sure the mask strap isn’t too tight.  A proper fitting mask only needs to have the strap snug, not tight because the water pressure is going to keep the mask on your face for the most part too.

Make sure the mask doesn’t sit against the brow area putting pressure on it if its a 2 lens mask (men generally have a protruding brow).

Make sure the nose pocket doesn’t dig into the bridge of the nose.

Wear the mask strap just over top of the ears centering it around the middle 1/3 of the skull.  Wearing it too high can cause the mask to push up under the nose causing chaffing and making it raw over time, so really pay attention to centering it and keeping it adjusted comfortably.

When wearing the mask you can check for proper width by looking in a mirror.  You don’t want to see the skirt too narrow that it sits on the eye, but you also don’t want it so wide that it lets water in through the top or sides.

Breath in through your nose without using the strap, see that the mask sits comfortably on the face.  If it does, put the strap on, snug it up comfortably and with the mask against the face exhale.  The exhaled air should go out the bottom of the mask not the top of the head by the temples or above the eyes.

High or Low Volume?  Which is Better?

Low Volume is always best.  The lenses sit closer to your eyes.  There’s a smaller airspace to equalize the masks internal airspace which is something you’ll notice when you go down on breath hold or on scuba.  With increased pressure the mask will suck to your face more and more and more eventually causing pain and discomfort.  To avoid this you’ll need to equalize the airspace by simply blowing some air through your nose into the mask to keep it from squeezing down.

tusa_panthes_mask_for_sale_online_in_canada
Black Skirted Masks maintain their colour and help eliminate light glare

Lower volume masks are more comfortable and are easier to clear water out of as well.  Imagine a big round window shaped mask and how big and how much water can fill that mask up.  Now picture a streamlined mask that has a similar surface area to that of a pair of swim goggles but with an enclosed nose so you can blow into it.  

Which mask is going to be easier to clear the water out of ?  The one with more or less water in it?  If you guessed less water in it you’re right.  The smaller the masks overall internal volume the easier its going to be to blow the air out of it.

Frame or No Frame?

Divers have long gravitated towards plastic framed masks that press the glass, plastic and frame all into one package with a lens retainer.  They’re durable, comfortable, most popular.

Frameless masks are a more modern concept that has less overall parts and simplified construction by simply moulding the silicone frame over the tempered glass lenses and bonding the silicone to the skirt.

The Different Mask Lenses

The market for different dive lenses have changed a lot since the initial introduction of simple tempered glass or polycarbonate lenses.

Tempered Glass lenses are still the industry standard because of their durability, relative cost effectiveness and the fact that they don’t shatter inwards due to pressure.  They can break like anything else, but generally the glass will stay together.

Tempered Glass is durable, they aren’t affected by scratches in the water, but they do have a greenish tinge to the glass which cuts back on light transmission.

Polycarbonate is plastic, scratches very easily and not suitable for scuba diving or much more than pool playing.  They’re typical of your department store masks which are cheap and not designed to last.

Ultraclear Glass Lenses introduced by Atomic Aquatics

Ultraclear glass is an optical quality glass with exceptional clarity and high light transmission, with no colour distortion.

Standard float glass (tempered glass) lets through approximately 86% of the available light but UltraClear lenses can allow up to 92% light transmittance. Combine that with the increased colour vibrancy and clarity and you’ll never want to dive with a standard lens again.

ARC Lenses or Anti Reflective Coating Lenses Introduced by Atomic Aquatics

Between 4-14% of light can be reflected back or “lost” by the standard “green float glass” mask lenses used by the more traditional mask makers.  ARC technology lenses are especially important for SCUBA divers underwater, where available light is quickly absorbed by the surrounding water because they help amplify available light.

Atomic Aquatics ARC Technology to reduce reflected light and actually increase the amount of available light transmitted to a diver’s eyes. The result is a greatly improved transmission of 98% of available light, compared to a loss of more than 14% of light with standard green “float” glass used on the majority of masks on the market.

ARC uses a multi-layer metal oxide coating process applied to both sides of the UltraClear lenses. This allows more light to enter the mask by reducing light reflections off the inside and outside surface of the lens. The metal oxide coating is only a few microns thick.

Anti-Reflective Coatings or ARC is a multi-layer metal oxide coating process applied to both sides of the Ultraclear lenses. This allows more light to enter the mask by reducing light reflection off the inside and outside surface of the lends. Clearer, crisper vision.  Reduces eyestrain, glare and prevents ghost images on the viewing area of the lens. A must for night diving and limited visibility conditions and underwater photographers.

Mirrored Lenses

Some Divers like the idea of mirrored lenses, however, they reflect back at the fishlife and can cause unwanted confrontations.  They also hide the divers eyes, which are essential when assessing diver comfort underwater, so for this reason we’d suggest staying away from mirrored lenses.

Types of Mask Straps

DDS Neoprene Mask StrapMost mask straps are made of the same material as the mask.  They’re designed to fit comfortably, not overly tight around the back of the wearers head and have side adjusters that allow you to often times pull the mask strap by tabs to tighten it.  

The straps can pull hair or can tend to be uncomfortable.  One way we fix this is by adding a neoprene mask strap backing or replacing the entire strap with a neoprene adjust-a-strap which uses Velcro on the sides and neoprene on the back of the head. 

You don’t need hair to enjoy a neoprene mask strap, they’re the best option for ease of donning or taking your mask off, plus they also float a little bit, so if you drop you mask into the water you may have faster response as it may not sink immediately .

Prescription Lenses

We can get a number of masks with prescription lenses.  We carry lenses in + or – diopters, as well as custom ground lenses for people needing lenses for different pupil distances and special features. 

The costs of lenses for negative diopters are very reasonable.  Positive diopters are more expensive.  Standard bio-focal lenses are also available.

We generally recommend TUSA or Atomic for prescription lenses.  They’re easy to install and the masks are the best quality you can buy.

Replacement Parts

When purchasing a mask consider the fact that this product will last you 20-30 years if you look after it.  My personal TUSA mask is one I’ve had since 1996.  Dan had a 30 year old TUSA mask.  When you buy quality products from reputable manufacturers who make their own masks (NOT OEM with a Log slapped on) you purchase a product that is going to have parts and service around for years (or decades) to come.

Mask clips can commonly break if dropped or stepped on.  Lenses can chip, mask skirt scan rip, lens retainer clips can break if you’re cleaning the mask and mask skirt on a regular basis.

Brands like TUSA, Atomic Aquatics, Mares Diving, Problue and Scubapro keep a range of clips and replacement parts in stock.

Pre-cleaning Your Mask

Pre-clean your mask with toothpaste rubbed on the inside of the glass and take a toothbrush with mild abrasive and brush the inside glass to remove a protective silicone residue that is tacked on the inside.  You can also carefully burn it off with a flame if you have a steady hand and trust yourself around silicone.

Pre-cleaning the mask will help prevent fogging and will give you a better chance of fog-free diving.

Defogging Your Mask

Mask defog is your friend.  Not because we’re a dive store, but because you don’t want bacteria ridden saliva in your mask that you may or may not fully rinse out.  We’ve seen divers with eye infections from using the communal “spit bucket” on the dive boats down south where 10-20 divers are all spitting in their mask and then rinsing in a communal bucket.

Commercial Mask Defog is awesome!  It lasts years and years despite the small affordable 2oz bottle it comes in.  McNett Sea Drops and McNett Sea Gold are the best defogs we’ve used.  No bacteria or eye irritation and you also don’t have as much black mould or bacteria growing in your mask after 6-12 months of using it vs. spit.

Spitting in your mask is a good temporary solution, but defog will prevent things from growing in the mask and give you the best fog free solution.

To use your defog properly though follow these steps. 

  1. Apply defog to mask lens dry 2-3 drops per lens or 5-6 drops overall if single lens max.
  2. Leave defog on the mask until you’re ready to hit the water
  3. Rinse defog off with your finger and water
  4. Put mask directly on your face or keep filled with water until ready to wear
  5. Keep mask on face, do not take off and let it air dry
  6. If taking mask off fill it up with water and leave lenses wet, don’t air dry

Maintenance For Your Mask

Your mask over time may get dirty, mildewed or saturated with salt crystals or sand which can get between the lenses.  Every 1-2 years or sooner, you should consider taking your mask apart and with hot water, some dish soap and a toothbrush, gently rinse and scrub every bit of the mask frame, skirt, lenses, and lens retainer clips (This isn’t possible with Frameless masks which do not come apart).

To learn more about care and maintenance of your scuba and snorkeling gear take our PADI Equipment Specialist Course.

In Closing,

The best mask on the market is the mask that makes you feel like its a part of your face, it fits naturally, it doesn’t hit off the brow, press on the bridge of the nose and doesn’t need to be overtightened.  It can come with a range of different lenses and price points, but at the end of the day its the mask that feels the best and has the features you want that’s the right one.

While technologies change, the fit criteria should all the same.  Comfort, ease of adjustment, ease of clearing because its low volume and it should look quasi-stylin’.

Matt Mandziuk
Recreational, Cave & Technical Diving Instructor
NAUI Cave & Trimix Instructor 45416
TDI Trimix Instructor 4767
PADI MSDT 207233
SDI Instructor 4767
IDREO Rebreather Instuctor (CCR)
Owner
Dan’s Dive Shop, Inc.
www.dansdiveshop.ca
matt@dansdiveshop.ca

Advanced and Specialty Diving Courses

Our Cancellation Policy: You may reschedule your class within a 2 week time period. No shows or last minute cancellations will be subject to rescheduling fee. If you can’t do the class, you may transfer your class fees to someone else who can.

Dive Course Calendar

Aug
8
Sat
2020
PADI Advanced Open Water Course August 2020 @ Welland Scuba Park
Aug 8 @ 9:00 am – Aug 9 @ 5:00 pm
PADI Advanced Open Water Course August 2020 @ Welland Scuba Park | Welland | Ontario | Canada

PADI Advanced Open Water Course August 2020

Our PADI Advanced Open Water course is the most thorough and progressive PADI Advanced Open Water Course available in the dive industry. The PADI Advanced Open Water Course introduces divers how to be more aware and how to participate in bigger, better dives utilizing more precision techniques, while exposing you to multitude of different diving environments.

The training dives are designed to allow you the opportunity to gain experience under the direct supervision of one of our PADI Instructors.

What’s unique about our Advanced Open Water course is that we also allow you to complete your class in a Drysuit if you would prefer to stay warmer and more comfortable than you would in a wetsuit.

Pre-requisite

Open Water Diver with 10 dives minimum over the age of 15yrs.

Junior Advanced may also be conducted to a maximum depth of 70′ for students under the age of 15.

Training Agency

PADI

Additional Details

Our course allows students to experience a multitude of different styles and types of diving including: Deep Diving, Wreck Diving, Boat Diving, Drift Diving, Night Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy Dives, Underwater Navigation, Discover Enriched Air Nitrox, Search and Recovery, Diver Propulsion Vehicle Adventure Dive and more. Attention is paid to proper buoyancy and fin techniques, air management, specialized equipment, proper gas reserves and dive planning.

Drysuit Option: Dan’s Dive Shop also offers all of our Advanced Open Water Course participants the opportunity to take advantage of a Drysuit Upgrade Option where divers can take your entire Advanced Open Water Course in a DUI Drysuit (requires an additional orientation dive session).

Cost:

$350+HST and includes PADI Advanced Manual and certification card

Additional Costs:

Scuba rental equipment, boat charter fees and park entry fees are not included.

PADI standards now suggest that all students have an smb (surface marker buoy) and a whistle. We’d also suggest for safety a reel to attach to the smb to deploy in an emergency situation from depth. All students must have a Dive Computer for the Deep and Wreck Dives, if you don’t own one, one will be provided for you. Students will also need a minimum of 2 lights (1 primary and 1 backup).

PADI Drysuit Specialty Option includes use of drysuit, undergarment, larger fins, but does not include any additional rental equipment as many of our divers already have begun to purchase some or all of their dive gear package.

Aug
11
Tue
2020
PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Course @ Dan's Dive Shop
Aug 11 @ 6:00 pm – Aug 13 @ 10:00 pm

PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Course Midweek

Join us as we kick it old-school with a more informative and fun live midweek PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Course Tuesday and Thursday Evenings 6:00-10pm at DDS with Cave & Technical Diving Explorer Matt Mandziuk

What will you learn?

Dive Longer, Feel Better, Upgrade your course to an Enriched Air Nitrox Open Water Course
Dive Longer, Feel Better, Upgrade your course to an Enriched Air Nitrox Open Water Course

Enriched Air Nitrox is the most interesting academic diving course with a greater understanding of what’s happening to your body:  decompression theory, gas laws, physiology, dive planning, managing oxygen exposure and so much more.

Nitrox is a great course for divers who want to learn more about dive science and benefit from a more efficient breathing medium that allows more bottom time, allowing divers to see more, dive more and do more dives per day with shorter surface intervals.

Prerequisites:

Minimum age is 12 years, however,  we feel 15 years of age is more suited to the scope of the academics, unless doing a simplified computer based nitrox course.

Take this course as part of your Open Water course or your Advanced Open Water Course.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Nitrox is the most popular dive specialty available now on the market.  Divers looking to advanced their diving to a more skill and theory oriented style of diving can use Nitrox as a stepping stone towards deeper, more advanced, technical, cave diving applications, as well as rebreather diving.

Diving Nitrox Allows Divers to:

  • Do more dives per day
  • Reduce Nitrogen Uptake  by reducing the risk of Decompression Illness.  By giving your body much needed oxygen to supply tissue/oxygen demands if diving nitrox as air, you on-gass less N2 and increase safety reducing the risk of DCS by up to 46%.
  • More Bottom Time increasing NO Stop dive limits. * For Example Diving an EAN40 (40% Oxygen/60% Nitrogen) gives a diver 240 min’s of No Decompression time at 60fsw vs. 60ft for 55min’s on regular air diving tables.
  • Reduce Post Dive Fatigue.  No more feeling burned out after air dives. Nitrox will make you feel better and more awake after dives.

At Dan’s we teach the Highest Quality Nitrox Course around.  No one has as much experience in the field of mixed gas and technical diving than Dan’s, so learn from the best.

Our facility has been the top nitrox and technical dive training facility since the 1990’s.  If you want the most thorough Nitrox training course, ours is the one you’ll want.

Cost: $199.95 includes book and certification card or eLearning code. call store for more specifics.

Where can I go from here?

Here are some popular examples of courses commonly taken by graduates of this course:

  • PADI Advanced Open Water
  • Deep Diver
  • Wreck Diver
  • Drysuit Diver
  • Underwater Photography
  • NTEC or Intro to Tech
  • Cavern Diver
Aug
17
Mon
2020
PADI Drysuit Course August 2020 @ Dan's Dive Shop/Brock University
Aug 17 @ 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm

PADI Drysuit Course August 2020

Taking the PADI Drysuit Course opens you up to a world of better diving with more comfort and warmth.  Drysuit Divers enjoy a substantially longer dive season (12 months of the year vs wetsuits 3-4 months). Complete the pool and classroom session on June 3 with Open Water Dives to follow. Option to pair it with our July Tobermory Trip Advanced Course.

No more freezing on the bottom, you can wear thermal undergarments, don and doff your exposure suit easier than a wetsuit and have more fun above and below the water with a drysuit.

What will you learn?

padi_drysuit_course_dive_dry
Drysuit Divers are happier! Dive all year long, Dive Deeper for longer and have more fun! Join us!

Have you ever really enjoyed diving cold?

Are you excited to dive in cold water in a wetsuit?

Do you smile after a dive like we do?

Drysuit Diving is simply easier than 5-7mm wetsuit diving, more fun, more comfortable and you’ll dive more often!

Want to stay warm? Want to extend your scuba diving season? Then its time to dive dry.

A drysuit seals you off from the water and keeps you dry, warm and comfortable, even in surprisingly cold water. There are more incredible dives, vibrant colours and adventure in the world’s cooler regions and in some areas, conditions are even better in colder months. Becoming a dry suit diver allows you to expand your boundaries and dive more places, more often, with more comfort and enjoyment.

Prerequisites:

If you’re at least 10 years old and certified as a PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver or higher, you can enrol in the Dry Suit Diver course.

Take this course as part of your Open Water course or your Advanced Open Water Course.

Availability:

Stop into DDS to enrol in the course and pick up a PADI Dry Suit Diver Manual.  We’ll arrange a course with you and setup a time for class and to watch the PADI Dry Suit Diving video or you can purchase the video crewpack. By reading the manual and watching the video before class, you’ll be ready to get into the water with us and start practicing with your drysuit or one of our rentals if you haven’t decided which suit to go with yet.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Reduce Diver drop-out and enjoy diving locally as well as away on trips.

Immerse yourself in total diving comfort year round regardless of depth or Temp. Take the Drysuit Specialty Course

Cold water diving is the most exciting type of diving you’ll ever experience, especially here in Canada with the worlds best shipwrecks, amazing wall diving, drift diving, ice diving, deep or technical diving and the most vibrant colours you’ll see diving places like B.C. or Les Escoumins, QC., Iceland and so many other cold water places that offer the most exceptional visibility.  It’s not uncommon to have 100-200′ visibility in Tobermory, Lake Ontario, etc.

You don’t have to dive wet and you don’t have to dive cold! It’s no fun and it’s more work.

A properly fitted drysuit and appropriate drysuit underwear system should give you the ability to dive in any thermal environment more comfortably and more enjoyably than a wetsuit.

Drysuits are easier to put on than wetsuits.

Drysuits last longer than wetsuits. 20 years versus 2-4 years.

Drysuits allow you to dive year round.

Experience diving smarter, not harder! Dry is more comfortable, less effort, warmer and extends your dive season!

The first thing you’ll discover is how much more comfortable drysuits are to wear.  Dan’s has a full rental fleet of mens and ladies DUI Drysuits (the best drysuits on the market) and we’ve focussed on offering you the most comfortable suit and underwear combinations.

Next, you’ll learn how to take care of your dry suit. During two dives, in addition to a confined water dive, you’ll practice:

  • Putting on and taking off your dry suit with minimal assistance.
  • Mastering buoyancy control using your dry suit.
  • Dive safety procedures when using a dry suit.

The first dive of this Specialty Course can count as a dive credit PADI Advanced Open Water certification.

Cost For Certified Divers:  $350+HST Includes Manual, certification card and drysuit rental. Save $100 if you own a drysuit.

Cost For Open Water Students: $175+HST as part of the PADI Open Water Course or PADI Advanced Open Water Course.

Required Equipment?

A drysuit is necessary along with your  basic scuba equipment.

Additional weights, likely a larger pair of fins.

Where can you go from here?

  • Anywhere
  • Cold Water Diving
  • Deep Diver
  • NTEC
  • Ice Diver (after Intro to Tech)
  • Technical Diver
  • Cave 1
  • Sidemount Diver
  • Underwater Photographer

Anything you do will be more fun in the right drysuit, so start enjoying better, warmer, drysuit dives today.

Aug
18
Tue
2020
PADI Diver Propulsion Vehicle DPV Specialty Course @ Welland Swing Bridge
Aug 18 @ 6:00 pm – Aug 19 @ 10:00 pm
PADI Diver Propulsion Vehicle DPV Specialty Course @ Welland Swing Bridge | Live Oak | Florida | United States

PADI Diver Propulsion Vehicle Specialty Course

The PADI Diver Propulsion Vehicle Specialty Course is one of the most fun ways to spend time breathing underwater is to do so exploring with a DPV.

Diving with a DPV is simply more fun, fast and makes any dive more exciting!  Cover more distance on a dive and use less air while smiling ear to ear when you dive with an underwater scooter.

Learn about the different types and features of DPV’s, maintenance, transportation, dive planning and safety, DPV diving procedures, as well as basic techniques of using a DPV, problems, hazards and more as you complete 2 open water dives with a SUEX or Halcyon Advanced Dive Vehicle (ADV) or Diver Propulsion Vehicles.

This course is available privately for individuals or groups locally or wherever you are located.

Pre-requisite

Certified Junior Open Water Diver and higher

Training Agency

PADI

Additional Details

Our PADI Diver Propulsion Vehicle Specialty Course (DPV) is a lot of fun!

DPVs offer a thrilling way to see a lot of underwater territory in a brief amount of time. They propel you through the water without kicking. Whether making a shore dive or diving from a boat, a DPV is a great way to see more and have a blast doing it.

One of the most fun ways to spend time breathing underwater is to do it on an underwater scooter. Diver Propulsion Vehicle’s are fun, fast and makes any dive more exciting!

Learn about the different types and features of DPV’s, maintenance, transportation, dive planning and safety, DPV diving procedures, as well as basic techniques of using a DPV, problems, hazards and more as you complete 2 open water dives with one of our SUEX Xjoy 7, XjVR, XJS or SUEX XK Diver Propulsion Vehicles.

We use only the highest quality diver propulsion vehicles, as the cheaper lower quality units are always leaking, breaking down or just don’t give you the ride you deserve. For this reason we have chosen SUEX ADV’s as our choice for quality and reliable diver propulsion vehicles.

Ride in style with us and learn the right way to dive and the right way to scooter around your favourite dive sites.

Using a DPV can benefit you when diving large bodies of water like Sherkston Quarry, or takes you off shore wrecks like the Kinghorn in Rockport, or the Raleigh off of Sherkston Beach, as well as large wrecks like the Empress of Ireland or the Roy A. Jodrey. Diver Propulsion vehicles are a tool to take you somewhere cool, be it quarries, wrecks, reefs or caves, a DPV is a lot of fun and you won’t want to leave home without one, so rent or buy yours from us today.

Diver Propulsion Vehicles also cut back your air consumption giving you more bottom time to explore (within NDL).

Minimum age 12yrs old.

Course Cost is $225 +HST includes PADI DPV Manual, certification fee.

Course cost does not include charter fees or park admission fees.

Course will run 6pm-9pm each night for 3 weeknights Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Evening or can be conducted over a full day of class/dry land and surface drills, followed by the open water dives.  Group or Semi-private or Private courses are available.

Aug
20
Thu
2020
Emergency First Response Course @ Dan's Dive Shop
Aug 20 @ 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Emergency First Response Course @ Dan's Dive Shop | Saint Catharines | Ontario | Canada

Emergency First Response Course

The Emergency First Response Course focuses on Primary (CPR) and Secondary Care (First Aid) with or without Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Add PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider conducted the same night for only $117.00+HST. PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Course is regularly $140.00+HST.

Know how to respond to emergencies – just in case.  Statistics show you’re more likely to give first aid to someone you know than a stranger. When minutes count, you’ll be the person to give the necessary aid to a family member, dive buddy or co-workers, before Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrive.

The Emergency First Response (EFR) Primary and Secondary Care course is an accredited CPR and First Aid program that helps divers advance their knowledge, providing the skills they need to potentially save a life.

The course builds the confidence and skills needed to provide basic emergency care. You won’t just watch a video, you’ll get hands on practice with a CPR mannequin, simulate bandaging, role play an emergency scenario and other skills. You’ll get to practice each skill until you feel comfortable.

While the material taught in this course is serious, it’s taught in a positive, upbeat environment.

Here’s what you’ll learn in the Emergency First Response Course:

  •  BLS (Basic Life Support) CPR and rescue breathing at the layperson level
  • AED (automated external defibrillator) use (optional)
  • Preventing and caring for shock
  • Spinal injury management
  • Use of barriers to reduce disease transmission risk
  • Basic first aid: Illness & Injury Assessment, Bandaging, Management of fractures & dislocations, and first aid kit considerations

After you complete the program, you’ll have the skills necessary to help others should it be necessary. By inviting friends or family members to sign up with you, those you care about the most will be better prepared in case of an unexpected emergency.

The  Emergency First Response courses build lay rescuer confidence to provide care when faced with a medical emergency. Students learn and practice the same patient care techniques and principles used by medical professionals, but at a lay person level.

This course is a prerequisite for PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Divemaster. Everyone should have First Aid and CPR. 

This course is also available privately for individuals and groups. Please contact us for more details. 

Aug
21
Fri
2020
Dive Picton DDS Wreck Diving Adventures 2020 @ Waupoos Marina
Aug 21 @ 4:00 pm – Aug 23 @ 3:00 pm

Dive Picton DDS Wreck Diving Adventures 2020

picton-katie-eccles-2
Tech 1 students exploring the shipwreck Katie Eccles in 100′ with Instructor Matt Mandziuk and TSL Grace Marquez
picton-katie-eccles-1
Tech 1 students working on valve shutdowns near the lake bottom of Lake Ontario.

Dive Picton DDS Wreck Diving Adventures 2020 brings you some of our most beloved and enjoyed dive trips ever, as we embark on a magical weekend diving the best shipwrecks in the greater Picton, Point Traverse, Kingston area.

Nothing brings a dive group together quite as much world class diving and adventure, so we will be offering 2 nights of shared lodging in a back country lodge (similar lay out to our Tobermory Dive Extravaganza), with a great selection of wreck diving and fun

Trip will include 2 days of morning 2 tank boat dives on some of the best wrecks in the area. Depths range from 80-105′.

Picton offers some of the most beautiful diving of anywhere in the country.  Pristine shipwrecks in crystal clear Lake Ontario water with many artifacts ideal for a photo opportunity, some light penetration and much more.

Cost is only $375+HST ( based on double occupancy). Trip price includes lodging and boat charters.

Not included is rentals, gas fills, food, gratuities and Waupoos Marina parking $10/day.

 

DDS TRIP POLICY To reserve your spot all guests are required to fill out a DDS Reservation & Liability Form and pay a $100 non-refundable deposit. Final payment is due 60 days prior to trip departure.

DDS TRIP CANCELLATION POLICY ALL TRIP PAYMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. If the trip goes full, or you are able to fill your spot, you will be reimbursed for everything except your non-refundable trip deposit of $100. To protect yourself against pre-trip cancellation or travel emergencies, we highly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance. Travel Insurance is available from Flight Centre Independent.

 

 

 

Aug
25
Tue
2020
PADI Sidemount Diver Course or NAUI Technical Sidemount Diver @ Dan's Dive Shop
Aug 25 all-day
PADI Sidemount Diver Course or NAUI Technical Sidemount Diver @ Dan's Dive Shop | Saint Catharines | Ontario | Canada

PADI Sidemount Diver Course Recreational or NAUI Technical Sidemount Diver

The PADI Sidemount Diver Course introduces recreational divers to Sidemount Diving  and the basic gear configuration, foundational skills and techniques utilized by more progressive sidemount divers.

Sidemount was once thought to be only for the advanced cave diver, but now open water divers are experiencing this wonderful style of diving, which adds redundancy, simplicity and a more streamlined diver profile in the water.

Learn about the development, configuration and techniques needed to safely dive sidemount as a stand alone workshop or as part of a specialty diver course.

Sidemount Courses are available weekdays with notice.  This course is available privately for individuals or groups locally or wherever you are located.

Recreational Sidemount Pre-requisites

Open Water Student(PADI)

NAUI Technical Sidemount Course Pre-requisites

Open Water
25 dives minimum
Intro to Tech certification
Training Agency

PADI
NAUI
TDI/SDI

Diving Sidemount was once thought to be only for the advanced cave diver, but now open water divers are experiencing this wonderful style of diving, which adds redundancy, simplicity and a more streamlined diver profile in the water.

DDS staff have been exploring caves and wrecks for years long before Sidemount was the newest coolest way to dive, as it is one of the best tools an explorer can use when diving a range of different environments.

Learn about the development, configuration and techniques needed to safely dive sidemount as an open water diver.

We use the Dive Rite Nomad XT, LT and the Halcyon Contour Sidemount or Halcyon Zero Gravity systems as our main sidemount systems.  We have also got experience using the Armadillo, Hollis SMS1000, SMS 50 and have worked on various other configurations.

What You will learn:

The history of sidemount diving
Reasons and opportunities for sidemount diving
Equipment considerations and rigging for sidemount diving
How to manage equipment problems
Skill refinement including buoyancy, trim, weighting, fin techniques, gas management, air sharing, emergency procedures, SMB deployment and more.

You will complete 1 academic session, gear rigging session, confined water pool session and 2 dives TDI/SDI, 3 dives PADI, 4 dives NAUI.

Cost:

Recreational Sidemount Course is only $350 +HST Does not include any park or dive charter fees. Students can save $50 when purchasing your Sidemount kit from DDS (Harness, Regulator package).

We love sidemount diving and have been hosting sidemount workshops and educational experiences since 2007.

Students from dive stores, clubs and individuals located out of town can benefit from this course as we can come to you or you can do the course on site with us.

Divers are required to have a complete STEC (Sidemount Technical Equipment Configuration) a standardized sidemount configuration promoting the same principles as our backmounted gear configuration NTEC (NAUI Technical Equipment Configuration).

 

Aug
26
Wed
2020
PADI Divemaster Course 2020 @ Dan's Dive Shop
Aug 26 @ 5:00 pm – Sep 16 @ 10:00 pm
PADI Divemaster Course 2020 @ Dan's Dive Shop | Saint Catharines | Ontario | Canada

PADI Divemaster Course 2020

Our PADI Divemaster Course is the first leadership level course in a series of Professional level scuba diving courses within the PADI System of diver education.

Divers will learn advanced dive theory including physics, physiology, decompression theory, dive tables, standards and procedures and more, as well as how to perform dive skills demonstration quality and how to supervise student divers and certified divers.

Prerequisites:

  • Minimum 18 years old
  • Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care certified (CPR & First Aid) within the last 24 months
  • A medical statement signed by a physician within the last 12 months.
  • Logged at least 50 dives

Training Agency:

PADI

Dates:

Class begins Wednesday August 26th for classroom. Open water and Practical Applications to follow upon successful completion of all pool and academic sessions. Please contact us for a complete schedule of dates and times.

Additional Details:

Becoming a PADI Divemaster is your first step onto the professional diving world’s sidewalk. It is very hands on and covers a wide range of responsibilities and rewards. As a career (or even part time career), divemasters are an essential part of Dan’s Dive shop and are often relied upon by other divers and students. As a divemaster, you not only get to dive a lot, but also experience the joy of seeing others have as much fun diving as you do. You’ll work closely with our instructors and be a role model to students, new divers and customers with the experience in the full spectrum of what recreational diving has to offer.

Some of the skills you’ll develop in your divemaster course and role will involve:

  • Supervising dive activities and assisting with student divers
  • Diver safety and risk management
  • Divemaster conducted programs and specialized skills
  • Business of diving and your career
  • Awareness of the dive environment
  • Dive setup and management
  • Mapping an open water site
  • Conducting dive briefings
  • Organizing a search and recovery project and a deep dive
  • Conducting a scuba review and skin diver course
  • Assisting with Discover Scuba Diving and leading Discover Local Diving programs

Candidates will also learn about Physics, Physiology, Decompression Theory, Equipment, Supervision techniques, the aquatic realm, and much more.

How do you get started?

If you’ve got the drive, proper mindset and discipline to succeed in a course of this magnitude, we’d be happy to have you. If you want to go the professional route –contact us at the shop today to see how to get started as a DDS Divemaster and the schedule for this exciting course.

Need a more flexible learning option but want to get started immediately? Sign up today for eLearning and you’ll be able to start learning immediately.With our eLearning option, you can complete the academic portions of the course online via the PADI eLearning process. Follow up with the shop to plan out the remainder of your course requirements.

What gear will you need?

Your personal recreational dive equipment, PADI Divemaster Crewkpak, SMB, Spool, Waterproof Notebook, extra weights, save a dive kit.

Costs

$500.00 + HST for class/pool sessions or $650 + HST for PADI eLearning.  Additional Costs: parking, dive admission fees, boat charters (if applicable), PADI Divemaster Crewpak (you get Member Pricing), any additional equipment rentals or specialized gear.

Where do I go from here?

Here are some popular examples of courses commonly taken by graduates of this course:

  • PADI Assistant Instructor
  • PADI Instructor
  • Intro to Tech
  • Technical Decompression Diver
  • PADI Self Reliant Diver
  • Technical Divemaster
  • Emergency First Responder Instructor

 

 

Aug
27
Thu
2020
PADI Self Reliant Solo Diver Course August 2020 @ Dan's Dive Shop
Aug 27 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
PADI Self Reliant Solo Diver Course August 2020 @ Dan's Dive Shop | Saint Catharines | Ontario | Canada

PADI Self Reliant Solo Diver Course August 2020

Our PADI Self Reliant Solo Diver Course August 2020 can help you from experiencing sheer terror on a dive boat…Have you ever walked onto a dive boat and cringed seeing a bunch of divers putting their gear on every way but the correct way? Have you ever walked on and felt like the most experienced diver on the boat? Are you the diver they always pair the weakest diver on the boat with who cuts your dive short because they have no buoyancy or airway control? You might be safer diving by yourself if this is the case.

Solo Diver certification gives you a license to enjoy yourself doing the dive you want to the depth you want without having to worry about anyone other than yourself. It’s a viable option instead of having to settle for a bad dive with inexperienced divers.

You’ll learn how to utilize safety equipment, redundant scuba air delivery systems, lift bag or surface marker buoy deployments with a spool and the benefits of utilizing a more progressive equipment configuration.

This course is available privately for individuals or groups locally or wherever you are located.

Students will be enrolled in eLearn upon sign-up at no extra cost.  Please make sure you supply an email address to us so we can send you your eLearn verification code.  We will require your date of birth as well.

Learn the art of self sufficiency and socially distance alone underwater.

Sep
12
Sat
2020
PADI Advanced Open Water Course September 2020 @ Welland Scuba Park
Sep 12 @ 9:00 am – Sep 13 @ 5:00 pm
PADI Advanced Open Water Course September 2020 @ Welland Scuba Park | Welland | Ontario | Canada

PADI Advanced Open Water Course September 2020

Our PADI Advanced Open Water course is the most thorough and progressive PADI Advanced Open Water Course available in the dive industry. The PADI Advanced Open Water Course introduces divers how to be more aware and how to participate in bigger, better dives utilizing more precision techniques, while exposing you to multitude of different diving environments.

The training dives are designed to allow you the opportunity to gain experience under the direct supervision of one of our PADI Instructors.

What’s unique about our Advanced Open Water course is that we also allow you to complete your class in a Drysuit if you would prefer to stay warmer and more comfortable than you would in a wetsuit.

Pre-requisite

Open Water Diver with 10 dives minimum over the age of 15yrs.

Junior Advanced may also be conducted to a maximum depth of 70′ for students under the age of 15.

Training Agency

PADI

Additional Details

Our course allows students to experience a multitude of different styles and types of diving including: Deep Diving, Wreck Diving, Boat Diving, Drift Diving, Night Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy Dives, Underwater Navigation, Discover Enriched Air Nitrox, Search and Recovery, Diver Propulsion Vehicle Adventure Dive and more. Attention is paid to proper buoyancy and fin techniques, air management, specialized equipment, proper gas reserves and dive planning.

Drysuit Option: Dan’s Dive Shop also offers all of our Advanced Open Water Course participants the opportunity to take advantage of a Drysuit Upgrade Option where divers can take your entire Advanced Open Water Course in a DUI Drysuit (requires an additional orientation dive session).

Cost:

$350+HST and includes PADI Advanced Manual and certification card

Additional Costs:

Scuba rental equipment, boat charter fees and park entry fees are not included.

PADI standards now suggest that all students have an smb (surface marker buoy) and a whistle. We’d also suggest for safety a reel to attach to the smb to deploy in an emergency situation from depth. All students must have a Dive Computer for the Deep and Wreck Dives, if you don’t own one, one will be provided for you. Students will also need a minimum of 2 lights (1 primary and 1 backup).

PADI Drysuit Specialty Option includes use of drysuit, undergarment, larger fins, but does not include any additional rental equipment as many of our divers already have begun to purchase some or all of their dive gear package.

 

Things to Consider

– Not all dive courses are created equal.

– A perceived “too good to be true” priced scuba course often is and there are hidden costs that price it well above ours, while the quality is well below ours.

– As Canada’s Oldest PADI Dive Center we have pretty much seen it all over the last 40 years as we have paved our own way in diver education offering diving education that is a cut above the rest.  We offer all PADI Courses,  from Open Water to Advanced Open Water courses, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Master Scuba Diver Courses, PADI Assistant Instructor, Drysuit courses, Dive Speciality Courses,  and much more – all taught well above the minimum agency standards.

Why We’re Different – Do Your Homework

We know diving, but find out what others are learning from us. Check out our Testimonials Page.

Learn more about the Dan’s Difference in dive training.

Read our BLOG to learn more about what we do, where we’ve been, upcoming events, articles, newsletters and to see first hand the differences in how and what we teach our divers.

Check out our Photos and watch our Videos to see our divers in action….You could be featured in there yourself once you’re certified like many of our divers are.

Whether you are a new diver or a seasoned diver looking for more challenges or control in your diving, we offer the best dive training from the most experienced and accomplished scuba divers in the country, while offering you the best selection and pricing on scuba diving equipment from all the best scuba diving brands, local diving trips, exotic dive travel, weekly local dives and more.

Want More Challenges?

transition into technical and cave diving courses

For divers wanting more of a challenge DDS specializes in Cave and Technical Diving Courses offering the most in depth technical diving programs in the country including Intro to Tech,  Decompression Procedures, Trimix, Cavern and Cave Diver Level 1 & 2, Wreck External Survey and Wreck Penetration, Ice Diving, Technical Wreck Penetration, Rebreather Courses, Deep Diving, Mixed gas diving, Specialty Diver Courses all of which keep the adventure of scuba diving thriving.