Tag Archives: scuba diving

Challenges Will Reward Your Longterm Scuba Diving Goals

Challenges Will Reward Your Longterm Scuba Diving Goals
by
Matthew Mandziuk 

In life nothing good comes easy without a fight or working to earn it, unless you win the lottery.  The same can be true moving through a more Progressive Scuba Diving training philosophy where the divers are taught a higher level of knowledge, skills and techniques. Your Personal Challenges will reward your longterm scuba diving goals.

At DDS we pride ourselves on staying ahead of market trends and instead we lead the charge forward towards better diving.  For nearly 20 years we’ve taught our open water divers about the benefits of learning and buying the right gear and the right skills and techniques after over 20 years of doing it the old school way.

We pride ourselves on teaching divers a different (better) way to do things at the open water level where they can move forward with better skills, finesse and discipline allowing them to struggle less, maintain the visibility of even the siltiest environments or most fragile coral reefs, while continuing forward progressing successfully into deeper, more advanced courses, environments and experiences with more comfort and efficiency as they challenge themselves with training that is more exciting, more disciplined, more regimented and more rewarding than some of the “more traditional”  courses which have become stale or outdated as we power ahead into a new age of diving.

As human beings we can always learn more and the same is true in scuba diving, except most dive training has become outdated and boring.  All divers should be more aware of their dive profiles, gas requirements with proper gas reserves built in, no stop time limits and what is happening within their bodies as they spend more time underwater and as they ascend or descend.

Many of these common concepts are lost on the masses because theory is passed over quickly as we tend to suffer from a condition that demands “instant gratification” and dive shops that depend more so now on eLearning doing the work of the instructor for the shops and instructors, so the personal element of sharing stories and experiences with the students is lessened (or in some cases completely lost as there is no classroom sessions), so the students don’t create an emotional bond with their instructors, classmates or Divemasters.

Bad Diver Lots of Silt
A poorly trained diver in silts out the bottom as they have no buoyancy, trim, awareness or cares in the world. Don’t Be Like This Diver.

 

Train Hard

If divers took more time to learn about dive planning, gas calculations, gas consumption, decompression theory and dive sciences, they would be much more ready to take diving to the next level.  This knowledge can help us not just in diving, but also in every day life.

Divers who are taught to manage stresses underwater are more able to handle the every day curveballs life throws at you on a daily basis, as well as how to focus better on challenging tasks, yet the number of divers who progress through Advanced and Rescue diver courses drops as students seem less engaged in some graphic regions than before.

Where a diver can go training wise and the training opportunities available to them make or break the likelyhood of creating a “Lifetime Diver”.  If a diver only dives once a year or 3, they’re better off just doing Discover Scuba Diving Experiences.

A certified diver who goes from Advanced, Nitrox, Drysuit  to Rescue is doing things better, but the key is to find a trainer who can teach you what you need to really know.  If as a diver they tell you it’s okay to be standing, kneeling on the bottom, to rely on holding onto an ascent line and be vertical on an ascent or safety stop as you take up 6-7′ minimum of line with your fins dangling down kicking the divers below you, that’s okay to overweight yourself so you sink or that violating thirds (your gas rule you should be ascending at), that it’s okay to flutter kick and silt out the bottom, wear flimsy floaty plastic fins, split or hinge fins and have stuff dangling off you like a Christmas Tree, it’s time to find a new instructor.

A diver who progresses towards more foundational skills classes like our NAUI Intro to Tech program will have the chance to perfect themselves better than any recreational diver, regardless of if they ever become a tech diver or not, as Foundational Skills Development courses like “Intro” offer the most through and engaging training possible with a combination of dry land drills, confined water drills and open water dives.

Divers who learn the foundational skills to make themselves a better diver and put the time in to become proficient in all aspects of their diving often become a much safer, more aware diver with superior team diving skills, refined buoyancy, flawless horizontal trim, proper ascents and descents, better fin techniques (utilizing a modified frog as their primary kick, modified flutter, ability to turn 360 degrees and do a reverse frog kick to go backwards) rather than flutter kicks, and exceptional problem solving skills.  You even master surface marker deployment, rescue techniques, valve or regulator failures and more.

Your biggest assets in diving are TIME IN THE WATER and BUOYANCY, BUOYANCY, BUOYANCY.

DON’T try and fast track your way through training.  Learn the foundational skills, start diving in the proper gear, train and dive with divers who are better than you are.

NAUI offers the highest standards of any training agency in foundational, technical, cave and overhead training, which is the reason they’re our primary agency for those courses, but we offer training from several other agencies too.

A Properly Trained Diver with Good TrimA properly trained DDS Diver working on trim and buoyancy during a NAUI Cavern/NAUI Intro to Tech Foundational Skills course.

Fitness in Diving

Some new divers complain that lead weights and tanks are heavy, while more Technicall Advanced Divers dive with sidemount or back-mounted double tanks.  Diving with a drysuit also creates more buoyancy, drag and resistance while swimming through the water, so there is an element of fitness required to dive.  Carrying tanks to the water, stage bottles, rebreathers, camera systems, scooters, all these things have weight to them.  Its part of diving, so get fit and get ready to handle the gear you’ll be using.

To get more comfortable handling these items a strength building program to strengthen arms, legs and abs are very beneficial.  30 push-up’s a day, 100 ab crunches and a light jog even 1-2km a couple of days a week will help make a difference in your strength and overall well being, while also improving cardiovascular health.

Swimming will help give the body a resistance free total body workout too and if you can’t take the impact from running or rowing, may be a better option for you and its fun!

Some dive courses require a specific distance to be swam before a specific time, don’t lose out on some great diving because you can’t make the cut.  It IS worth it and it WILL take time.

How Did We Get Here?  It Wasn’t Over Night

Dan’s has become the go to shop for recreational, advanced, technical diving education over the last 20+ years. DDS was established in 1974.  We are Canada’s Oldest PADI Dive Shop and 2nd oldest worldwide currently.

 With the help of a Canadian Diving Pioneer John Reekie (passed away several years ago) we helped introduce the Canadian Diving Market to Technical Diving and Cave Diving gear and procedures as early as 1986!  We were one of the first North American Dive Stores to offer Nitrox as an alternative breathing gas in 1992 when the traditional agencies were anti-nitrox and causing riots at dive shows because they honestly believed Nitrox to be Voodoo Satan Gas!  True Story!

By the mid 1990’s we were offering old-school technical diving and rebreather courses.  By 2000 we were introduced to more progressive diving and upgraded our training, which allowed us to see a different side of diving, one that was less limiting and more progressive.

DDS Divers enjoy a cleaner, more streamlined gear body, gear configuration and ability to share air more effectively than traditional short hose divers

We began offering Progressive Doing it Right based (DIR Diving) training and equipment, including the offering of backplates to new open water sport divers a part of basic training and introducing recreational divers to the long hose/short hose regulator configuration or the Hogarthian method of diving.

In 2007 we began offering more modern and progressive Sidemount training.  We are happy to be offering training on several different rebreather configurations, especially the modular and most vesatile machine on the market, White Arrow Explorer Rebreather System, capable of any configuration.

Every recreational diver can benefit from our experience, the new skills that we offer and every day diving techniques that we introduce from basic open water programs. Horizontal Trim, Buoyancy, Team Awareness, S-Drills, Bubble Checks, SMB Deployments, Air Sharing horizontally in neutral buoyancy with a long hose regulator, Team Diving Protocols and more.

backwards frog kick intro to tech
Learning your foundational kicks without fins or gear on is the first step to perfecting your forward, turn and backwards kicks during an Intro to Tech Course

While not every diver is introduced to this from every instructor around the world, we also offer Foundational training to start experienced divers off right as well, as many of the concepts we teach aren’t taught elsewhere unless the divers have been taught by a certified cave or technical instructor. At the end of the day we want everyone to learn to be better and dive with more confidence, comfort and awareness, so we offer workshops like NTEC which is a great way to prime yourself to learn the foundational skills you should know in a class and pool setting showing you a better way to do things in the right gear.  This also prepares you for a glimpse into your diving future should you want to progress towards Wreck Diving, Cavern or Cave, Ice, Technical and more.

Our experience in expeditions and exploration projects have also helped shape our divers into the best divers in the water.

Get More Technically Correct

When a diver starts to get more “technical” it helps them become a more complete diver.  It doesn’t mean they have to aspire to achieve a new super deep world record sort of depth where they hang for hours on decompression stops, however, it does break through the misconceptions, boundaries of conventional training and opens you up to a lifetime sport with the ability to go anywhere with your diving.

We believe Technical Diving is simply extending your range both with respect to knowledge, but also extending the scope of your abilities beyond what is known and offering new challenges along the way.

Our NAUI Intro to Tech Course has been called the “Best Dive Course” by nearly everyone who’s taken this amazing foundational skills class.  Regardless of whether a student completes the course successfully the first time or not, “Intro” is where better diving begins.

Our Intro course begins with the tightening up of the divers buoyancy and trim, cleaning up and streamlining the entire equipment configuration, introducing new surface protocols and pre-dive regiments like safety drills, SADD checks, Bubble Checks and Heat to Toe checks which improve safety and awareness.

Intro also begins to stress the team concept of diving, which is something talked about but rarely enforced in traditional recreational diving.  We introduce the benefit to 3 person buddy teams, which are often taboo in traditional training as well, as we believe a second set of hands to help and eyes to see are very important should a diver require assistance.

NAUI Intro to Tech Students Air Share
NAUI Intro to Tech Students working on trim and buoyancy while sharing air during their confined water session.

After classroom sessions are complete students are introduced to a combination of dry land surface drills that allow the instructor to demonstrate skills such as trim, fin kicks, flat horizontal body posture, air shares, valve shutdowns, diver rescues, lift bag deployments and many other skills topside as they can talk about each skill attribute and show it off before the students are expected to demonstrate it both on the surface and then the skills are executed by instructors and students under the water in a shallow pool or confined water area suitable for this sort of training.  Upon successful completion of the pool sessions candidates are then taken to open water and will complete all skills in a shallow open water environment where No Stop Times are not an issue.

During Intro to Tech a staff member will video record the students skills throughout the program so they can break down their progress frame by frame and discuss thoroughly throughout the course dives in debriefing sessions.

Students love the fact that this style of training is done intensively as repetition helps them improve and learn at a quicker rate, especially upon review of each dive during de-briefing when we break down all of the skills done that day with video review.

Through clear and concise de-briefings the students know exactly what it is they need to work on and how to improve as we take corrective action with them and continue to show them how to properly execute each skill breaking down the skills as clear and concise as possible.

Just the Beginning

Many divers love the challenge that Intro brings and those divers who work hard and succeed will enrol in their next challenge.

Divers will be using more equipment which creates a need for better fitness, stiffer fins, stronger dive abilities and confidence.

Imagine being perfectly neutrally buoyant without a bottom below you as you stare below into the abyss without any fear or concerns

Intro to Tech is a stepping stone to bring divers more safely into the realm of deeper diving or overhead environments as the foundational skills and trim learned here ensure that those divers are going to be able to perform the rudimentary skills like horizontal buoyancy, frog kick, modified frog kick and to be able to fin backwards for 10′ without hitting the bottom or silting out the dive site because Zero Impact Diving is such am important skill to possess as it saves the reef, fragile clay patterns, maintains the water clarity (especially in a wreck or cave where a diver will have to navigate safely back out of a zero visibility environment) and makes the diving more pleasurable for all.  The other important skill is something we teach at Open Water and again at Advanced Open Water and Intro to Tech, which is being able to deploy and send an SMB up to the surface ascending on a reel stopping every 10′ and then ascending to 15′, 12′, 9′, 6′, 3, surface many of those divers will engage in their next adventure.

Intro to Tech is simply the holy grail of recreational diving because you see what is lacking when you compare it to someone who’s been coaxed into taking a different more traditional Master Scuba Diver sort of approach.  Rather than being taught to dive properly, most divers are taught to pay for an instructors time, a paper manual and a plastic certification card.  While there are some phenomenal recreational specialty courses (Nitrox, Equipment Specialist, DPV, Cavern, Drysuit) most dive stores don’t have the talent or the ability to teach some of these more useful classes and favour a quick payout instead of committing their divers to more in-depth training.

The most popular courses Intro graduates challenge themselves next with range from Wreck Penetration to a Cavern/Cave 1 class, DPV class, Technical Decompression with Helitrox (Tech 1) Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures.

Growing Your Experience

Regardless of the certification level a diver achieves it requires regular diving to maintain that level of proficiency and regular dives to that highest level of certification.  We usually recommend 20-25 dives annually at that level before moving to the next level.

At DDS, We are NOT a certification factory that tries to push our divers from Intro to Tech to Trimix Rebreather in a month.  It’s not about numbers, its about the quality of the diver and those divers that are making poor choices have no real world underwater dive skills and often lose buoyancy, panic or are a complete embarrassment to the sport.

DDS Divers are some of the highest trained divers in the country and they show a lot more finesse and discipline than most.  Those divers who choose to work hard and grow their diving abilities are often asked to join in on bigger, better dives, as well as for support projects both local and abroad.

Expedition projects are conducted yearly and its always great when new members can be integrated into the Divers Edge family, which is our training and exploration group.  We have partners worldwide through several organizations that we do international projects with for caves and shipwrecks.

Get Involved

Regardless of your goals the key in anything is to keep involved and dive with divers who share the same views and the same goals in training and equipment.

We have taught and continue to teach divers from around the world and are more than willing to put on a presentation for groups, clubs, other shops as we’ve been doing for decades.

If you’d like to get involved and benefit from better training, equipment configuration and future diving opportunities, reach out and let’s get you involved with DDS Today.

We have trips, charters, training year round. Your first step is to reach out and make contact, the rest comes easily from there.

Diving Dry with Doubles

Diving Dry with Doubles
by
Matthew Mandziuk

Have you ever noticed that the most active divers on the dive site are the one’s who are Diving  Drysuit with Doubles?  Quite often its the same 10-12 divers who sign up for a lot of the same trips and who often prefer diving together with the group.  The reason for that is comfort, with their kit, with the group, with themselves in the water, whereas the other 10-12 guests are a revolving door of divers with a ranged diving background.

In this blog we are going to talk a little about the benefits of diving Diving a Drysuit with Double Tanks.

By the end of this reading you should have a clearer understanding of the partnership between diving with a drysuit and doubles, the benefits of diving with a drysuit and doubles, some of the training offerings with divers in a drysuit and doubles and where diving in a drysuit and doubles can take you.

Why Dive Drysuit and Doubles? 

At first it sounds a little much, diving a nylon or neoprene full body suit, hood, gloves and then more weight than we even used in a wetsuit?  Drysuit divers wear approximately 6-8lbs minimum in fresh water (more in salt because of the added buoyancy)  more weight than a diver in a single piece 7mm jumpsuit (or about the same weight as they’d wear with an old school farmer John and Jacket).

That added weight can be inconvenient at best.

Where does one put that extra weight?  

Most of our DDS Divers utilize a backplate and harness system which promotes better horizontal trim, posture and streamlining , it’s expandable and fully adjustable to accommodate the drysuit much easier than a jacket bcd can and is far more comfortable.

To learn more about backplates in general, please click the hyperlink above.

Divers diving in Canada with a single tank often times use a stainless steel backplate with a weighted single tank adapter, that system has a total negative buoyancy weighting of approximately 10lbs.  Nearly enough to sink anyone in a 7mm wetsuit with 2-3lbs maximum per side additional, however a drysuit diver is going to require an additional 6-8lbs minimum depending on the undergarments they wear.

In an attempt to  promote proper horizontal trim, the diver will want to re-distribute the weight evenly around the body with a maximum of 4-5lbs per hip pocket and up to that much weight on each of the single tank straps for a total of up to approximately 20lbs of weight plus the backplate system = 30lbs. Doesn’t that seem like a little much?  

In an attempt to minimize the weight the diver wears, many will go to a single steel tank which can be 2-8lbs negatively buoyant by todays standards diving with a Faber steel cylinder.  

A few years ago Worthington cylinders were preferred for their additional negative buoyancy characteristics with the X7-100 and X8-130 being the 2 most popular options.  In Faber the FX100, FX133 and LP85 are our most popular sizes.  Strangely enough the 100’s and 130’s were also the most suitable tanks for doubling up for deeper dives.  

Faber FX100 swings from -8.41lbs full to -0.59lbs empty.
Faber FX133 swings from -9.08 full to +1.45lbs empty
Faber DVB85 swings from -3.8 full to + 2.32 empty

Worthington X7-100 had a swing of -10lbs to -2.5lbs
Worthington X8-130 had a swing of -11.7 to -2lbs

Having a tank that is negatively buoyant allows divers to reduce overall weight required and keeps some of that negative buoyancy behind you which helps improve your trim rather than having all that weight on the hips, but you don’t want to overweight yourself with tanks too heavy and underwear too thin.  Try and find the balance.  Many divers will even favour aluminum tanks for shallow shore diving with thin garments.

Adding an extra tank minimizes or eliminates the need for additional weight while adding a safer configuration that builds on our progressive single tank system utilizing a long hose/short hose and spg on 24″-26″ HP hose and it gives divers  the ability to solve a catastrophic failure thanks to redundant regulators.

Aluminum twins are popular option for divers looking for a great wetsuit set that can be used with a drysuit, however, they are more suitable for use on shallow dives.  When worn with a drysuit the diver will have to wear a heavier steel plate, a v-weight with lead down the centre of the tanks and a compact and streamlined wing.  They are easy to dive with little learning curve.

Steel tanks will take the diver further through deeper dives, caves, wreck penetration and offer more reserve gas on the divers back to deal with emergencies.

Vertical Divers with all the weight on the waist in a jacket bcd with dangling everything
DDS Diver John displaying perfection with great trim, buoyancy, control and style as he swims around the Tugs in Tobermory, ON

Many divers prefer the additional gas capacity of the steel tanks as well as the larger sized tanks allow divers to dive deeper and stay longer in comparison to the standard aluminum 80 tank which is still the most popular scuba diving tank on the market.

 

Drysuit Divers and DDS Divers have better trim because a drysuit surrounds the entire body with a little bit of air (less is better).

Redistribute weight, minimize weight and enjoy easier diving.

 

As divers tend to dive more off the dive boats and spend more time on their favourite dive sites, divers start looking at how to get more bottom time.  

Diving Nitrox allows divers to gain up to 50% more bottom time on sites around 100′ and deeper, while yielding even more bottom time shallower, however, the limiting factor at that point tends to be their breathing rates and the sizes of tank they use, so a steel tank will in fact increase their bottom time an allow them to achieve their dive plans up to the Nitrox NDL most dives.

For divers who find even on Nitrox, the NDL isn’t always long enough, extending their range into decompression diving often is the trick, as a diver learns how to properly and safely plan their dives with a little bit of decompression utilizing advanced nitrox mixes to accelerate decompression times.  This is where doubles are most beneficial.

DDS Divers practicing bottle handling

When a diver combines the drysuit for maximum exposure protection and comfort along with a set of twin tanks, they no longer have to worry about switching out their tanks on that rocking dive boat in between dives, they no longer have to worry about adding weight to their hips or anywhere usually on their body, and they can certainly benefit from the increased balance and comfort that doubles offer.

You’ll also find divers enjoy just going out and working on foundational skills is easy to observe as our divers are always out in open water honing their skills.

Diving Dry with Doubles allows for more even balance in the water as the tanks are placed over top of each lung rater than down the spine like a single tank, while giving the diver a more comfortable suit to don and doff.

Drysuits are easier to put on than a 5-7mm wetsuit.

Drysuits are more effective for warmth retention.

Crushed neoprene or trilaminate Drysuits don’t compress with depth like wetsuits which get thinner with each atmosphere making the diver heavier because of the initial weight they start the dive with, as well as making the diver colder because those thick suits become much thinner every 30ft/10meters they descend.

Are Doubles For You?

If you can carry them on your back, reach your valves and dive with them comfortably, the answer is yes!

DDS Divers working on valve shutdowns on dry land getting the sequence down.

Look at the number of accidents that have happened in recreational diving situations with single tanks, especially on deeper dives.  Most recreational diving accidents occur in a single tank with no redundancy (pony bottle, sidemount, h-valve, doubles) or lack of training.  

A diver breaths their tank empty, their buddy runs out of air and they didn’t reserve enough gas for them and their buddy to ascend, they went in cold water and the regulator froze up, they hit the regulator or tank valve off a shipwreck or overhead environment creating a catastrophic failure, the BCD freezes, their dive computer blows off the end of their high pressure hose (another reason to wrist mount your computer) so they panic seeing bubbles streaming out of the high pressure hose, etc….

Minimize the risk, Increase the Fun and Learning and be more mentally and physically prepared with more advanced training.

If you’re interested in diving deeper than 80′, cavern or cave diving, technical diving, ice diving, mixed gas diving or wreck penetration, you should do it on doubles.  To many people did it wrong and it cost them their lives.

Be the best diver you can be.  Get involved with DDS and we’ll make you the best diver you can be with our training, experience dives, trips, charters and exploration offerings.

We’ve found these factors to be some of the most beneficial tools to extend your diving into a more fun and exciting world:

Dive Planning: Plan Your Dive, Follow Your Plan, Have an overplan, bailout plan, but don’t deviate from the main dive plan

Gas Management: 1/3 down and around, 1/3 back, exiting water with 1/3 of your gas supply 

Redundancy: Doubles allow the ability to shut down your regulator in the event of a failure, free flow, freeze-up, burst disc failure etc. Isolation manifold allows to shut down and switch over by isolating and shutting down the offending post or just shutting down the offending post.

Narcosis Management: Don’t Dive Deep On Air.  You’re narc’d at 130ft/40meters whether you know it or not.  Don’t dive deep on air, it’s silly, outdated and unsafe with education and helium training available now.

Team Diving: Serious Diving requires divers you can trust in an emergency and in an pinch. Don’t just dive with the randoms you find on a boat down south, they’re usually once a year divers with horrible habits and inferior training.  Dive with divers you have a positive history with or as ask us and we can refer you to more progressively minded shops

No Solo Diving on Deep Dives: Solo Diving is popular now, we’d likely choose this option if diving south with random divers instead of having to buddy up with people that we don’t feel comfortable diving with, however, deeper dives require piece of mind, extra equipment and a proper plan with lots of “what-if’s” to be safe guarded against.  It’s not worth solo cave, solo deep (exceeding NDL) or solo overhead environment without buddies

Analyze Your Mixes: Always, Always, Always analyze your mixes when you pick your tanks up, make sure they’re labelled and if diving with a fill that was “just filled” and you have to grab and go, analyze it again before your day of diving begins.

Practice , Practice, Practice: Complacency Kills.  Work on trim, buoyancy, bottle handling, dealing with simulated emergencies, smb deployment, alternate fin kicks, etc.  Be the most polished and best diver you can be.

Fit is Everything

Don’t just jump into drysuits and doubles blindly.  It requires the right fitting suit and undergarments first and foremost.  Many brands of drysuits are inferior in fit and quality, even the brands offering “custom fit”.  

You’ll notice most shops try and pedal the cheaper suits that are like garbage bags or garbage bags wrapped in lycra to cover up the garbage bag look. This is like buying a drysuit from McDonald’s!  Don’t Waste Your Money

If you truly want to LOVE your drysuit and want to enjoy using it, take the time to get properly measured and properly fit.  Don’t just let the dive store hand you a suit off the rack and tell you that it’ll fit you perfectly, we’ve had that happen to several students from out of town that couldn’t complete their required skills during Intro to Tech Training and ended up renting suits from us to finish the class, then ultimately buy a brand new suit from us.

Do it Right.

We are partial to Diving Unlimited International because they offer the best quality, service, workmanship and there is an actual after sales service with them.  They are our top choice for hard to fit people too.  It’s all about comfort and fit with them.

DUI have great value priced suits with their Coronado, San Diego and Yukon II suits and the new Cortez (2019) suits obliterate most brands “top of the line suit” for quality, features, performance, as well as coming with user replaceable quick change ZipSeals, meaning you don’t have to send the suits away for service unless you damage the suit or zipper!  No brand can compete with that!

DDS Divers enjoying a winter getaway to Muskoka

Santi offers a great quality and great looking suit.  We do their stock and modified stock suits.  You’re allowed up to 4 alterations at no extra cost with them and they do offer custom too.  Suits are very tough and stylish with a beautiful Euro look of elegance and colour.  They do take some time 2-3 months typically (sometimes less sometimes more).

Fourth Element offers the most flexible drysuit on the market.  It’s durable and looks great and they’re using technology to their advantage instead of dive stores who can miss measure someone by using BIOMAP technology to digitally create an image of the person to cut the suit for.  Great suits for a great price with great service…it might just take a bit more time to get the suits made 2-3 months typically.

BARE offers a great stock suit at a good price depending on what you get with the suit from your LDS.  Just but it from DDS and you’ll be happiest.

The Drysuit Underwear is as important for fit and mobility as the drysuit itself.  Santi offers modified stock and custom underwear, DUI offers DuoTherm ultra stretch polartec suits for custom fit as well as a great selection of stock sizes in up to an XM450 material which is exceptional underwear for cold water.  Fourth Element offers an amazing range of suits for a range of conditions made with some of the nicest feeling and fitting materials.

Learn more about diving doubles by stopping in or sign up for a Discover Doubles NTEC night with us.  

NTEC will introduce you to the doubles configuration, foundational skills you should master, emergency drills and more. It’s a perfect prep-workshop that introduces divers to the principles that will help lay the groundwork moving forward towards more regimented training with the right guidance, education, exercises and more to help ready you for our NAUI Intro Class.

Our NAUI Intro to Tech Course is a Rudimentary Elements of Diving Course that will highlight the foundational skills and develop them from a recreational perspective that will dovetail into more advanced and technical diving activities and show recreational divers a preview of what their diving can be like by testing and honing a divers finesse, comfort, trim, buoyancy, effortless skills, problem identification and reactions, team diving, smb deployments, buoyancy refinement, fin techniques and so much more.

wreck-diving-lake-michigan-1
Matt exploring the Car Ferries James W. Curran and John A. McPhail in Lake Huron

NTEC and Intro are the 2 most exciting, modern, challenging classes that will help improve your skills and enjoyment in the drysuit the most. Tie in NTEC and your PADI Drysuit Specialty Course together and see diving with a  different mindset than what you’d hear/see/learn in a traditional PADI system of diving education.

Diving Dry allows for longer bottom time in cooler water or more dives per day. A more comfortable gear up experience from a boat.

When you look at our DDS dive trip pics on Facebook or Instagram you’ll notice aside from a pool or an open water course weekend, the majority of the divers you see on our trips and con-ed classes are all in drysuits and you’ll notice that a lot of the same divers come out year after year on our charters and trips because their level of enjoyment is substantially higher than a wetsuit divers.

A friend of ours had a shop in Massachusetts and they trained their divers exclusively in drysuits.  They offered by far the most expensive open water course from NY-Maine and everywhere in between, yet their continuing education rates were 400% vs a national industry average of about 25% of divers who go diving and train after open waters.

So they found enormous success training their divers and promoting colder water diving trips because like DDS, they realized the best diving in the world was around the Great Lakes, Atlantic wrecks, Florida and surrounding areas. They were right.

In Closing

Drysuits will last you longer than a wetsuit, will give a diver buoyancy control that is easier to maintain when you where a little “squeeze” on the suit vs a wetsuit which compresses and changes depth the deeper or shallower you go.

Drysuits will allow for colder water immersion and more dives per day, while in between dives the divers will warm up faster, so the energy that is rejuvenated is much higher, especially with todays’ warmer Thinsulate’s and heated systems.

Combining a drysuit with a set of doubles sets a diver up for a lifetime hobby where anything is achievable.  

The divers can spend more time under the water enjoying their hobby.  They don’t have to change tanks awkwardly on the boat in between dives like single tank divers do.  They add a larger gas source to deal with emergencies such as low on air or an equipment failure, while also adding redundancy in the event of a regulator or valve failure.  

Aside from a little extra weight on land, there isn’t much difference between a single tank and a lot of lead to sink a recreational diver and a set of doubles.  

For divers who can’t wear a set of doubles, try Sidemount!  Sidemount is a great option for divers who don’t have the ability to reach back to shut a valve down or who have had back surgery or a physical limitation that negates the ability the wear doubles on their back.

At Dan’s we believe in a more fun progression, so training our divers the right way from the very beginning is so imperative and gives them so many more options moving forward beyond Open Water, Advanced, Drysuit, Rescue, Divemaster and Instructor.  Don’t get caught in the boring progressions that the recreational agencies endorse, there is a much more fun, challenging and enjoyable progression ahead.

Experience more in the world of scuba diving instruction with Dan’s and let us show you a better way to do things that makes more sense and creates better divers.

Dan’s is an innovator of progressive recreational and technical diving, bringing the most modern skills and philosophies forwards before anyone in Canada as we continue to lead and offer the highest standards and most exceptional dive training for recreational and technical diving and have helped shaped some of the finest explorers in the world of scuba diving too.  Train with Dan’s and see a brighter diving future.

 

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Spring Is In The Dive Air – Spring 2018 DDS Newsletter

Spring Is In The Dive Air – Spring 2018 DDS Newsletter

Our latest DDS newsletter is online now have a peak at all the upcoming trips, charters, new gear and some great promotions.

2018 promises to be an incredible dive year as evidenced by the flurry of activity already for trip and course signups and much more.

We even released this years dive trip/charter/weekly dive theme.  Dan’s The Dive Slayers!  You’ll love it.

Learn about some of the new Sidemount harnesses on the market from Light Monkey, Halcyon and Sub-Gravity.

CLICK HERE for online viewing. 

 

 

Wednesday Night and Local Diving Schedule for 2017

Wednesday Night and Local Diving Schedule for 2017

The Wednesday Night and Local Diving Schedule for 2017 is well underway.  Get involved and get diving some of the best dive sites in the area this summer. 

All of our trips are full for the season now, so spend less time driving and more time diving shipwreck sites that are even better than most of the Tobermory shipwrecks by sticking around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario this summer.

We have some phenomenal end of season dives too which are shore based and some amazing DPV dives too, so lets get diving.

Charters and weekend dives require advanced sign up.  There is a charter form that will need to be filled out. Please book well ahead, many dives are already full or filling up.

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Divengers Age of Ultra Diving Wednesday Night Dive Schedule 2017

May 31st Ontario Rd. Bridge (Welland)

June 7th International Train Bridge (Ft. Erie)

June 14th Navy Hall (Lower Niagara River)

June 21st The Barge (Upper Niagara River)

June 28th Netherby Rd. (Upper River)

July 5th Swing Bridge (Welland)

July 12th Kings Bridge Park to Boat Launch
(Chippawa Creek)

July 19th Boat Launch to Stanley Ave. (Chippawa)

July 26th Peace Bridge/Thompsons Hole *

August 2nd International Train Bridge

August 9th Frenchman’s Creek

August 16th Ontario Rd. Bridge

August 23rd Barge (Upper Niagara River)

August 30th Netherby Rd. Drift

September 6th Swing Bridge (Welland)

September 13th Kings Bridge Park to Boat Launch

September 20th Boat Launch to Stanley Ave.

September 27th Navy Hall

October 4th Thompsons Hole *

October 11th International Train Bridge

October 18th Swing Bridge

October 25th Frenchman’s Creek

November 1st Navy Hall

Wednesdays require you to be on site by 6:30pm, gear up and dive in by 7pm, most dives are an hour in duration followed by a “Debriefing” at a local establishment.

A * Denotes Advanced Dive.  A ** Denotes Technical Dive. Charters have a Charter fee.

Gratuities for staff and boat personnel greatly appreciated.

DDS Weekend Charter Dives, Trips, Events 

Sunday May 28th DDS DEMO DAY & BBQ @Welland Scuba Park $15/person. 

June 11th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM * (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

June 18th Father’s Day Tiller Wreck Charters * (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

Thursday Night June 29th Lyman Davis/Sligo Charter off of Humber Bay, Toronto *

July 2nd Lake Erie Carlingford/Benson *
July 3rd Lake Erie Crystal/Tradewind *
July 7-9 Tobermory Dive Extravaganza 2017 * (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

Thursday Night July 13th Tiller Wreck 2 Dives *

July 22-29 Newfoundland Trip Wrecks, Whales, Mines and More!

July 23rd Lake Erie Acme/Stone Wreck *

August 6th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM *

Civic Monday August 7th Lake Erie Finnie/Niagara 

August 11-13 Rockport Thousand Islands Dive Weekend (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)
August 20th St. James/Arches Technical Charter or Picton Wrecks **

August 24th Oakville Wrecks Birmingham/Barge *

September 1-4 Northwind Expedition 2017 (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

September 17th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM *

September 22-24 Tobermory Dive Extravaganza 2 *

October 15th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM *

October 19-21 Brockville Dive Exposé *

October 28-November 3rd Blackbeards Bahamas Liveboard Dive Vacation (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

October 29th Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest 2017

Friday November 3rd DDS RENTAL GEAR SALE

November 5th Rockport Wall Shore Dive

November 12th Waome Dive Carter Gravenhurst*

November 19th Bon Echo Park Scooter Dive (DPV’s available for rent with DPV Cert)

November 25th– December 2nd Mexico Cave Trip

December 3rd Brockville Daryaw *
December 8th DDS Christmas Party

December 29-January 6th New Years Mexico Cave Trip **

February 11-17 Florida Springs Trip (Intro to Tech, Cavern, DPV Training) *
February 18-24 Florida Springs Trip (Cave 1 Training) *
February 25-March 3rd Florida Springs Trip (Cave 2 Training) **

Dive Sites subject to availability. Locations subject to change. Please register in advance for all charters and weekend dives.

 

 

Canada Day Cleanup 2016 Another Great Day For The Environment

Canada Day Cleanup 2016 & September 18th Cleanup

There was a light drizzle and dark skies flew overhead of the dive site, DDS divers had a happy Canada Day this year.   Eventually though, the dark overcast clouds made way to bright and beautiful weather for the great group of scuba divers who participated in the annual DDS Canada Cleanup Dive Against Debris, which was hosted by Dan’s Dive Shop of St. Catharines, ON.

This year the team decided to clean up the underwater section of the Welland Swing Bridge, as well as topside along the canal bank.  and a beaver dam that was interwoven with bleach bottles, construction foam, socks, plastic bottles and cans all throughout the wooden home of this local area resident.

Scuba diving is a beloved leisure activity that is conducted virtually anywhere it is safe to dive and explore, and divers are often times very protective of the earth and its resources, animals and countryside, which is why it was so great to see another amazing group of volunteers show their support for the environment on their day off.

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Surface support retrieving mesh bags full of garbage for the sorting and documentation process
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An inhabited beaver dam made of sticks and garbage

For those curious about what was removed from the dive site, the divers removed a pair of smart phones, lawn chairs, an entire garbage bag of random clothing items including shirts, hats, boxer shorts, sweaters, underwear, jackets and more.  An entire garbage bag was filled of items just from the beaver dam, with other bags being filled of just plastic bottles and plastic cups, another of soft drink and alcohol cans, glass wine bottles, beer bottles, fishing lures, electronic equipment, bicycle handle bars, antique bottles, an entire garbage bag of old plastic bags, strings of Christmas lights, bits of an artificial Christmas tree, plumbing supplies, toilet seats, aerosol cans, a wall safe and many other odds and ends.

 “It’s bittersweet conducting a cleanup because you feel good about yourself, but also frustrated with the naivety or outright selfish
nature of some people who carelessly or intentionally dump their trash where so many people splash.” – Matt Mandziuk owner of Dan’s Dive Shop, Inc.

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Matt assisting divers with gear and entry down to the water

Mandziuk also concedes that “On any given day in the summer you see children swimming, dogs playing, people wading in the Old Canal and if they only knew how much trash was tossed into their playground, they’d likely feel uneasy swimming in an underwater garbage dump.”

The scuba divers hoisted out hundreds of pounds of garbage and this is just from an isolated spot in the Old Welland Canal, where they then had to separate, document and then weigh the different types of garbage found.Divers participate in the Canada Day Cleanup yearly and have cleaned up locations between Lincoln Street Bridge to the Swing Bridge, as well as Sherkston Quarry and continue to make their way around the area doing their part for the environment, but when you see bags and bags of trash being hauled out of these small isolated areas, it makes you wonder what lies throughout the rest of the lakes and oceans.

Dan’s Dive Shop hosts this event yearly, with otherIMG_2473 cleanup initiatives offered on other dates as well, as the Dive Against Debris title is one coined by a not for profit 
environmental agency called Project AWARE, which is backed by the worlds largest scuba diving training agency, PADI, the Professional Association of DivingInstructors, for whom Dan’s is the oldest training facility in Canada and about the 3rd oldest now worldwide

This year dive patron Barbara B. took the initiative to have a meeting with Walker Industries, who happily agreed to accept our garbage and recycling free of charge as a debt of gratitude for the dive communities hard work and environmental awareness.

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DDS Divers doing their part to clean up the place we love to be the most….Underwater

As Canadians we are very fortunate to have such a beautiful country, with so much open space, fresh water, clean air, however, if we continue to take for granted that these resources will always be there for us and we don’t change our environmental habits, continue to litter,  over consume, over pollute, overuse our natural resources as so many people do, it can ruin this beautiful country just like so many other countries populations have done to their own lands.  

As a country everyone should be reminded that fresh water only stays fresh by keeping it clean, that the air only stays fresh by making sure we reduce the amount of combustable chemicals we put in atmosphere and that we replenish the trees and oxygen giving plants that we cut down to make way for new shopping malls and communities.

Do your part to keep your country beautiful.

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On September 18th, DDS Divers and the Welland 9th Regiment Scouts participated in another clean up dive in Welland where another truck bed full of garbage was removed from the Welland Recreational Waterway.

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The Welland Swing Bridge is one of the prettiest and most enjoyable shore dives in the area, with visibility often best in and around the dock pilings but its a haven for garbage as people throw everything off the bridge from guns to safes to shopping carts and bikes and everything in between
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DDS Divers cleaning up the shoreline and entering the water to retrieve more garbage.
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A great gathering of good hearted people.

 

 

Truk Lagoon DDS Divers In A Wreck Diving Paradise

Truk Lagoon DDS Divers In A Wreck Diving Paradise

A little over three years ago DDS Divers booked a trip of  a lifetime to Truk Lagoon in Micronesia, a pre-war Japanese territory which housed their air base, naval station and in the aftermath became a wreck diving haven of some amazing World War II shipwrecks and victorious systematic attacks throughout the islands by US Naval and Airforce teams, in what was a retaliation effort by the United States for the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Operation Hailstone
Operation Hailstone began February 16/17, 1944

The US launched operation Hailstone which began on February 16 and 17th most notably, but also sparked a long term battle which lasted months after, as the US forces maintained pressure on the Japanese throughout this time and kept kicking them harder and harder when they were down, eventually starving out many of the Japanese officers who were unable to receive supplies from merchant ships and instead had to resort to cannibalism of local islanders, Korean comfort girls (they estimate 10’000 women were taken from their homes and forced to perform as companions to the soldiers) and some of their own wounded or dead troops.

The stories of the war on this side of the world was fascinating and there are many books, documentaries and videos available if you’re interested in finding out more.  In the meantime, lets discuss the planning, the journey, the local area, how plans can change, shipwrecks, diving operations, diving itself, the experience and of course the very sad journey back home to reality.

The Journey

Have you ever heard the age old adage that if it was easy, everyone would do it?  We think that rule would apply here, you see, Truk (Chuuk)Lagoon is an area in the state of Chuuk in the Central Pacific region of Micronesia, among a series of beautiful islands that are located between Guam, Honolulu and the Marshall Islands (which are of interest to us, home to the worlds largest Shark Preservation Sanctuary covering over 200’000 square kilometres or 772’000 miles os protected ocean, as well as being home to another future dive destination….Bikini Atoll).

We departed Toronto in the wee hours of the morning with sand still in our bloodshot eyes as we marched like cattle off to an untimely fate….customs and baggage inspection stations.

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White Arrow Rebreather is compact, streamlined, versatile, fits in carry-on!

I carried on my White Arrow Rebreather and the majority of my sensitive equipment, which I knew was going to be a unique experience for all involved, as we usually have quite the ordeal when it comes to getting regulators and a canister light through inspection points. I was searched or had to demonstrate application of the unit everywhere I travelled. 

Air Canada was the carrier that took us to LAX, where it is highly likely they will want to weigh your carry-on bags.  It’s about $400 if you had to check an additional bag all the way through round trip, so its worth chancing it or packing as lightly as possible.  My checked bag had a weight allowance of up to 50lbs and was mostly clothes, fins, wetsuit, boots, trimix analyzer in a heavy duty pelican case and my shaving kit.  I think the comment was made that divers should bring 1/2 as many clothes as they think they’ll need and twice as much money.

My carry-on backpack housed my regulators, backplate and harness, some books (I didn’t even have time to read), liquids, gels, pills, and I was able to stow my jacket and sweater in there.

My carry-on bag had the rebreather, wing, counterlung, breathing loop, tank bands, isolation manifold, canister light, backup lights, spool, primary reel and 2 Shearwater computers.

Once you switch airlines to United there is a much less of a chance that the carrier will weigh your carry-on bags.

Once we arrived at LAX we disembarked and had to change terminals, which involved walking 1/2 way across the entire airport and going through baggage check and customs yet again, this is where I got hassled and detained for the better part of 45 minutes because they kept insisting the rebreather canister was a scuba tank and that I was going to have to check the baggage, until finally after the 4th person tried to tell me this, they located a scuba diver on their inspection staff who verified that it indeed was not a scuba tank and they decided to X-Ray it one more time before letting me go to board my plane which was only minutes away from boarding by this point.

From LAX we flew to the beautiful Central Pacific Island of Honolulu, where we overnighted, got a great meal and a wonderful Teppenyaki experience at Benihana restaurant in Waikiki, where they chef did a fun choreographed show as he prepared our meals right at the table.

Flight Route to Truk Lagoon
Our Route to Chuuk included 5 island hops from Honolulu to Chuuk. Total distance from YYZ, LAX, HNL, TKK was 13220km’s over 32 hours

With our bellies full and anticipation high, we returned to the hotel, got a few hours of sleep and readied ourselves for the final leg of the trip, which would prove to be the longest as well, as we participated in the island hopping to 5 islands including our final stop in Chuuk.  

 

After a total distance (approximate) of 13220km’s and about 32 hours (over 22 hours were spent in the air) we arrived to our final destination. 

The Local Area

Chuck state was so beautiful, very reminiscent of when I was a child and my parents would take me on vacation to Caribbean islands that now are modernized and built up, but back then were very authentic, often poverty ridden and full of local culture that is unspoiled by foreigners.

The airport was located on the island of Weno, where we saw first hand a very simple and modest single story airport that had only 1 lane, a large single un-airconditioned waiting room with a giant fan at the snack bar fanning the patrons, while all the rest were trying to fan themselves as the a/c units were either not turned on or broken.

The runway was a single landing strip where the plane fly’s in and takes off from the same landing strip and they can only host 1 single plane at a time or they’d run out of room.

Chris lets out a bit "Yes!  We Made it"!
Chris lets out a bit “Yes! We Made it”!

Like all of the landing strips we saw on the way into Chuuk, they were all on a picturesque and beautiful ocean backdrop, often times coasting into a narrow passage on the atoll that in this case developed into a beautiful island with lush greenery, while others were not much more than a sand island with a few palm trees and buildings and others were lush with mountains, their own microclimate and some lovely fishing bays and villages.

After a short distance but very long drive on an uneven road with potholes the size of a small crater, we made our way down past the shipping port and marina where the petroleum shipments, sea containers and any imports and exports take place in a bus playing some local authentic Chuukese folk music that was reminiscent of Bob Dylan or Yoko Ono, but yet strangely intriguing and hypnotic, but then again it could’ve been the jet lag starting to set in too.

12039539_10156748944395037_7629883196897363183_nWe travelled at a snails pace of approximately 10-15km/hour and arrived a mere 3km’s later 25-30 minutes into the future at the Blue Lagoon Resort having driving through a very simple, poor and absolutely beautiful countryside with large mountains, palm trees as far as the 1917441_1178647278814533_3342327891376429440_neye can see, bunches of bananas in trees, local children playing ball, chopping coconuts with machete’s, girls dressed up in their best school clothing, giggling and waving as we passed by them, while we also noticed many buildings that were old wartime barracks converted to Churches, school houses, homes and more.

We were told that many of the roads and buildings are still the original constructed ones from over 70 years ago when Japan was ruling this territory.

Even The Best Laid Plans………

12144665_1178647065481221_6526104153967548143_nWe booked this trip 3 years ago, with its intention to dive in style and enjoy a brand new 5 star dive experience aboard a boat that hadn’t yet been built, but last March that boat, newly minted and not even a full year of age (designed not for the rigorous winds, constant waves) built for a peaceful serene environment like Thailand, was caught in some unpredictable weather when a full out hurricane blowing winds of 100 miles an hour or more blew the ship around like a paper, sending it on a trip around the lagoon before its final fate of being beached on the reef, where it was later stripped by the crew of its valuables and burned to the waterline and then blamed on the locals who now truly resent their returned presence and would love to see the next boat sink after making such slanderous comments.

When such a tragedy befall upon our trip plans, many of our original guests were crushed morally and since time was of the essence, we had to quickly look for other alternatives to keep the forward momentum of the trip going.

We turned to “Plan B” which was a combination land and sea package with 4 days on resort at the Blue Lagoon Resort and Dive Shop, which are both located at the end of the islands west/southwest point.

We hadnt the faintest idea what to expect with a number of the reviews being so mixed about the resort, which was the now known as the first leg now of what had turned into 2 part trip with the  second leg of “Plan B” to take part on a live aboard dive vessel that also had good and bad reviews.

The Blue Lagoon Resort was a blessing and having the opportunity to stay on land, it gave us time to reset our internal clocks, slowly get used to the time change and soak up the sun and scenery as much as we wanted, with dives in the morning and afternoon if we wanted them.

Truk Lagoon Ocean View
The view from the boat as it departs the marina looking back on the hotel
Truk from the Air
The view of the atoll all the way around as we prepare our descent into Weno

Flying to Chuuk put us ahead in the future 15 hours as we are normally in Eastern Standard Time, so we took the time to adjust to the changes, enjoying some well needed sleep, some awesome local cuisine and our first series of 2 tank dives, which turned into a late morning early afternoon start by the time all of our gear was setup, tanks obtained and rigged, rebreathers (for those diving CCR) setup, calibrated, tested, doubles (for those diving twins) assembled and checked and then aboard the dive boats we went.

The photos online didn’t do it justice, but we figured regardless, the diving would be fabulous, we were surprised how much fun we had!

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Looking down the island towards the direction of town as the sun begins to set in the sky

The resort staff were kind, food was great at the restaurant, the dive staff spoke english very well and the boats were efficient, although nothing special.

We are already planning our trip back here because it was such a great experience and a great value.

If you want glamour and glitz, you’re in the wrong sport, this rating of 5 star is for divers. 

The Sun Kissing the daylight sky goodnight as it sets and another night begins its shift
The Sun Kissing the daylight sky goodnight as it sets and another night begins its shift

Bare in mind we are visiting and diving in a Third Worldcountry, if you want to be pampered find a different hobby or rent a luxury yacht for a week and try it yourself.

Additional Costs:

Be prepared to pay a lot for tank rentals and such at BLDS, unless you can pre-arrange a dive package, that was the only negative , as all of our divers had a $200-$300 tab at the end of the week, despite pre-paying for the lodging/dive charters ahead of time.  If you’re diving single tanks its not an issue.

For rebreather divers, Sofnolime was available by the keg for purchase, while helium is stocked, so you don’t have to pre-pay for an entire bottle which ships over from Guam on a boat, which is what we had to do on the 2nd leg of the trip.  Divers could request whatever mixes they wanted and the state of the art blending system made mixing quick and easy, so we were quite happy overall.

Helium is expensive as in around $5.75/ft3 in US Dollars, so blending for best mix or lightening up your END (equivalent narcotic depth) may be an option.  Don’t expect to be blending 18/45 every day, unless you brought $1150usd cash with you (credit card add 3-3.5% most places) and want to burn through several K cylinders, which are rated at 217 cubic feet of gas per cylinder at 2015psi.

Next trip we’ll be looking into tank/gas packages with BLDS, as we got spoiled on the Thorfinn.

“Plan B” Leg II SS Thorfinn

As the week progressed we neared the final tenure at our Blue Lagoon Resort time and began to look ahead to the second leg of the trip aboard the Steamship Thorfinn or SS Thorfinn as its know as.

1688380_1178646948814566_728906357114400059_nAt first glance online the Thorfinn looked older, had a few less amenities than our fantasy boat that was becoming an artificial reef with each passing day, and the reviews were not all that promising, nor was the massive black cloud of of coal smoke that was spouting out sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, soot, and ash as it slowly chugged towards us for pickup on the resort.

For a brief moment we stared eyes wide, mouths open, asking ourselves if we could just spend the rest of the week on the resort where we had land and clean air, but then we met the staff who came to collect us and our bags with 2 of the nicest laid out rigid hull aluminum chambered dive boats we’ve ever seen and they were nice and friendly and helpful, so we took the leap of faith off the dock and proceeded forward on to the next chapter of our journey.

The SS Thorfinn was massive, which makes sense as they’re known as the Largest Liveaboard dive vessel in the world at 170′.  

Chilling between dives
Chilling between dives

The SS Thorfinn was originally a Norwegian whaling ship in its former life, prior to being sold.  It was known as the “luckiest ship in the fleet” because it often got closer to its prey catching the most game because the hull was made out of military grade type 201 steel, which was non-magnetized, therefore masking its signal and having the animals swim along side the ship rather than avoiding it.  That benefit cost the company a little bit of extra money, as sailors are a superstitious bunch, so it costs more to purchase the “luckiest ship in the fleet”.

 After a little bit of a backstory of the ship, we were even more excited now and began to suspect that this part of the trip was going to be amazing.  

As I wandered around the ship, I was suffering from sensory overload as there was so much area to explore.  The ship was reminiscent of one of my favourite liveaboards, the  Nautilus Explorer (whom we are a travel agent for), which was a similar looking ship with a similar layout, however, we weren’t expecting the SS Thorfinn to be as well equipped or stable.

The common room was where we could be found most days between dives, it was spacious, offered a wide array of movies, had wifi (10 mb per day is your daily allowance) so we could check emails and sparsely use the internet.  There was small bar that the hospitality staff kept open from morning until 11pm for divers wanting cold water or non-alcoholic punches during the dive days, coffee or tea to warm up and a few drinks for those feeling so inclined after the day of diving had ended.

The decor inside the ship was cozy, clean and the hospitality staff were so efficient at picking up after us when we dropped a food item or left crumbs on a table, which was very impressive.  Cleanliness is a huge thing aboard the Thorfinn which is what you want, as liveaboards in remote areas have to content with insects and rodents that are in abundance in an island paradise.

Our briefing and orientation was conducted by the captain himself, Lance Higgs, who at first glance instantly reminded me of Lloyd Bridges.  He had a deep voice, reminiscent of a radio announcer, narrator, or a movie star, which made sense as to how Captain Lance was so natural at keeping the audience of excited scuba divers engaged for the duration of the speech.  

At 78 years of age, Captain Lance has over 1/2  century of experience sailing around the world, until his journey took him to Chuuk where he has run diving excursions throughout this area for many decades.  We hope he continues for many more.

The Rooms on the SS Thorfinn were very clean and comfortable, with the bathroom facilities impressing me the most, as they were spotless.  The beds were made daily and they were comfortable to sleep in.  The air-conditioning could’ve been a little more powerful but the oscillating fans did their job and most nights we had good sleeps overall.

The Food on the ship was great, although a little more North Americanized in comparison to Blue Lagoon, so we were treated to eggs, toast, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, spam, bacon, ham.  Lunches were very good and varied but usually had a soup or salad, meat and veggie entree with a side and dessert, oh so many desserts, one for lunch and one for dinner on this ship.  

Dan Celebrated his 71st bday on the trip.  He was renamed Young Tan
Dan Celebrated his 71st bday on the trip. He was renamed Young Tan

Our dinners were great with the kitchen staff working hard to keep us well fed.  They even made Diver Dan a very special birthday cake as he turned 71 on the trip!  The last night we were on the boat they even had a massive barbecue for us as a thank you.

The Staff on the ship were quieter than on Blue Lagoon, as some were more shy or less fluent with the english language, but we had 2 dive guides (Katsashi and Erik) who were both very quality oriented and very kind, caring individuals, especially Erik, who was the recreational boats guide.  Its so nice when you can feel the positive energy that the staff project, especially having been on some not-so-good trips on ships where the staff are infighting and don’t want to be there.  Some of the staff care about the ship, the success and know the value of having happy divers, because they know they’ll try their best to come back if they had fun.

The SS Thorfinn is essentially a floating hotel and from this floating hotel divers depart aboard the ribs (rigid hull inflatable boats) that take the groups to different dive sites.

The Boats on the SS Thorfinn tries to vary where groups go daily, encouraging divers to mix it up and get a sampling of as many different sites as they can hit.  Each boat goes to a different location unless otherwise agreed upon to facilitate the needs of advanced/technical divers, as well as less experienced/recreational divers, which is what we had, a mixed group of both rec and tech divers.

600434_10156720473035512_5606804602022712273_nThe dive boats were aluminum hulled air ribs that were perfectly laid out for recreational and technical divers.  Divers had a bench seat that opened up and had more than enough room for all but the largest camera systems to keep the deck free and clear.  The ladder could’ve been 1-2 rungs longer and on more of an angle, but the surface staff handled the logistics of getting the divers back on the boat very efficiently in rougher surface conditions.  

The Diving (The Part You’ve All Been Waiting For)

Simply put, it was awesome!

1558564_1178647778814483_5052794766133479853_nAnytime you put giant steel battleships in the water to dive around and through and there are guns, tanks, airplanes, trucks, cars, torpedoes, ammunitions, mines, portholes, artifacts, gas masks, human remains, great visibility, sharks, beautiful sea creatures, some varied coral formations and nice clean interiors free of coral to see the ship as it once was, you’re going to have a phenomenal experience.

1610075_10156720481255512_6496198950869951096_nMost of the sites were within recreational limits with some wrecks being in 65fsw/20msw, most being in the 100′ range, while a few more were in the 100-150′ range, a couple in the 160-180′ and the deepest dive, the San Francisco Maru at 210′.

Many of the ships were upright, with a couple of them laying on their sides.

Our dive logs looked something like this:

Yamagiri – Maru a stunning ship laying on its port side.  The Yamagiri was hit by bombs or a torpedo on the starboard side.  It features some fabulous swim-through’s with access to the entire ship.  As you swim through this wreck you notice cases upon cases of Saki and empty bottles throughout this wreck and the many wrecks.  Maximum depth was 100′ and we saw a cool black and white Lionfish on this dive.

Skull Lodged into the ceiling
Skull Lodged into the ceiling

The most notable feature of this wreck is in the engine room there is a skull wedged into the ceiling from a soldier being blown to pieces and the rest of his bones below and strewn around.  There was possibly a second skull where it looked like only the back of the cranium was embedded into the wall and a large number of bones atop the machinery down a catwalk. 

This was a phenomenal dive!

Momokawa – Maru lays in 90-130′ and features some stern bomb damage, while boasting a beautiful bridge area and torpedo casings throughout the holds.  

10600582_1178647098814551_155630827414111913_nS.S. Nippo – Maru was one of our personal favourites because we had the ability to dive a beautiful upright ship that had guns on the bow, truck frames inside the bow hold, direct access to the engine room via the hatches atop the ship or by going down onto the seafloor, you can swim in through the torpedo hole.  As you make your way through the twisted metal, you see the damage explosives can do until the metal reforms back into a recognizable ship again after entering about 20′ in and up and through the hull.  As you make your way towards the bridge the ship boasts a beautiful telegraph and a pair of Howitzer guns after of the bridge.

The Nippo featured some beautiful hallways to explore with access forward or aft.  This was one we dove a few times.

Rio De Janeiro – Maru was one of the last wrecks we dove.  It lays in a maximum depth of 100′, starboard side down and features helmets, guns, a phenomenal engineroom, a large aft gun, plenty of cargo holds full of goodies, including cases of saki stacked floor to ceiling up the walls.  

San Francisco – Maru was our most favourite of the dives, not because it was the deepest, but because it was the best.  

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Matt hovering in awe over the tanks on the deck

This wreck starts at 140′ to the bridge, 160′ to the deck and had a little bit of everything from torpedoes and shells in the holds, 2 tanks on the starboard side bow, 1 on the port side, trucks and truck bodies in the bow hold, a large bow gun in 150′, a pretty windlass on the bow, sharks, skulls, turtles, fish, it was our favourite dive for a reason.  

We did 3 dives here, including 2 in the same day.

Maximum depth was 210′ and most of us dove this wreck as a technical dive on CCR or Open Circuit Trimix.

Shinkoku – Maru gave the diver the bonus of diving a beautiful coral encrusted ship from the mid ship point to the stern in a reasonable depth range of 30′-125′.  The wreck sits upright and featured great fish life and a fun wreck with lots to see.

10421303_1178646878814573_5215844947796027395_nShotan – Maru was a more technical dive in terms of depths with the average depth ranging from 140-180′.  The ship was a lovely upright wreck featuring a gorgeous windlass, crane trucks in the cargo holds one off the port side mid-ship.   An anti-aircraft gun was one of the highlights on the mid stern of the ship, with a stern gun as well.

Aikoku – Maru  was one ship we were the least enthused to dive, yet, it was one of the most impressive wrecks and one of the most fun.

Skulls and Bones on the Aikoku Maru
Skulls and Bones on the Aikoku Maru

The wreck was involved in a freak explosion when the side gun on the stern shot down a US plane that crashed into the first cargo hold where the ammunition was stored.  The explosion apparently was a massive mushroom cloud reminiscent of an Atomic bomb, as there was so much in the way of explosive mines, shells and torpedoes that everything instantly blew up, taking the front 1/2 of the ship off.

The bridge section of the wreck was ripped off by the liveaboard vessel the Odyssey, which was very unfortunate, as we would’ve liked to have explored that more, but it was ripped and lifted and twisted like a can of sardines.

535316_10156720450900512_7335541029952717658_nThe Aikoku was double the size of the San Francisco Maru making it the largest ship in the Lagoon.

A commemorative plaque is placed before the destruction of the forward section and there are lots of human remains around.

What made this wreck so interesting was the layers of what looked like melted, shifted and randomly laid out sheets of metal on the bow area.  As the ship ceased looking like a ship suddenly, it became a scrap metal pile that dipped down deeper and deeper sagging down towards the seafloor at 205′.

We’re looking forward to exploring this wreck again on a return trip.

Fujikawa – Maru is a very fun dive in 80-120′.  It has everything from planes in the holds, to scenic swim-through’s, to pretty deck corals, ammo all over the ship inside and out and it sits upright very prim and proper like she’s on display for all to see her and her former glory.

Betty Bomber is a Mitsubishi G4M bomber that now rests in 50′ of water.  The motors are a long swim from the sandy resting place of the planes nose and port wing over a bit of coral and about 300-400 feet away.  

This is a great spot for the last dive of the day or for the beginner recreational diver. 

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Can you find the diver?

Gosei – Maru is a great intermediate to advanced open water dive with loads of great penetration and lots to see.  You start the dive on the bow in 15′ and make your way down the starboard side going towards the structures, holds and other sections.  The wreck is 270′ x 40′ and max depth is 110′.  You can see a torpedo hole on the starboard side midship.

I-169 
is a submarine and one of our more fun dives.  It was not a remarkable wreck as far as penetration, but it was fun because it offered great wildlife with lots of manta rays and other critters.  It also posed a fun challenge when we were told the Japanese soldiers who served on this wreck were only 4 feet 6 inches tall typically, so we wouldn’t be able to get inside the wreck…….Challengewas accepted and the fun began from there, as a couple of our divers were able to enter at midship and make their way forward, until part of the wreckage collapsed on us and we turned the dive at that point because the wreck was very unstable.

Depth range 70-90′

Kansho – Maru This wreck suffered some stern damage above the waterline, so there were some questions as to how it sank.  The ship featured yet another stellar engine room, where boiler gauges were still in great shape, dials and even a clock still were in place.  Like many of the engine rooms, there were switches and levers galore, and a beautiful propeller and rudder.  Depth range to the stack was 40′ and the deck 65-100′.

Back To Reality

This Trip was one that had so many positives and it was thanks in part to the dive sites, the dive operators, the travel providers, but at the end of the day it was the guests who participated in the trip that made it all worth the distance.

We had such a magical group of people who shared in the experience, the unity, the inside jokes that random people will never understand (Turdle), but I can honestly say that this trip felt like family, and we’ve all become closer as a result of it.

We travelled together, watched each others backs, made sure that everyone was always accounted for, all the while trusting each other above and below the surface.

Truk was a trip that I think has stayed in all the guests minds and memories of late, with random texts being received, messages being shared and people reliving the moments that mattered on a regular basis.

We are very lucky as a shop to have such great divers, customers and friends whom we can share in these adventures with and for that I am truly grateful.

Here are a few random pics from the trip, we hope you enjoy them and we’ll see you on our next trip to Truk hopefully.

DDS and Diver Edge Hailstone Explorers
DDS and Divers Edge Operation Hailstone Explorers 2016

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 12376328_10156720475540512_8097174299207725872_n10609623_10156720482405512_2832622785675553857_n10408734_10156720449985512_5990753267401911733_n12512220_10156720476915512_7871921944820413972_n 12140686_10156720512555512_5844307561345765935_n1930418_1178647272147867_2116367414096140079_n
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Additional Videos and Information:

 

 

Justin’s Green Ranger Blog 

Do Backplates Tip You Face Down on the Surface?

Backplates Tip You Face Down on the Surface?
by
Matthew Mandziuk

There is a common misconception in the world of scuba diving that backplates  and wings can push a diver facedown on the surface.  Those people are wrong.

In this blog we will outline with video evidence how a properly setup and weighted backplate does not push you facedown, but in actuality can be the most comfortable, efficient, most streamlined and safest buoyancy system available.

Misconceptions

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Backplates keep things simple and streamlined above and below the water.

The false mindset that backplates tip you forward on the surface  has ultimately come from divers who were using an improperly balanced back floatation bc with a horseshoe wing shaped bladder that was wider/thicker on the bottom of the wing and narrower/thinner in shape closer to the top. Other causes could be that there are high capacity integrated weight pockets located horizontally across the waist area of the bcd causing the force of gravity to shift.  This is why we opt for a vertical pocket that sits back towards the hip area. Or they just plain have never tried it.

A back floatation bcd with an improperly shaped wing design as described above coupled with front loading weight pockets that put the weight pocket closer to the front of the body laying the pockets from the middle of the body to front of the body rather than how they should be oriented, which is from the back of the hip moving from the middle of the body to the back of the body towards the backplate can create a very troublesome scenario with respect to body orientation and tipping.  As a matter of fact, some jacket bcd’s will even push you facedown.

Halcyon Active Control Ballast positions weight from the hips backwards towards the plate, which helps sit the diver vertical on the surface
Halcyon Active Control Ballast positions weight from the hips back towards the plate, which helps sit the diver vertically on the surface

A backplate doesn’t generally have this problem because it is a more balanced rig offering a wing that generally allows for even air distribution around the bladder like a circle or a doughnut that allows the air to move unrestricted and doesn’t trap air. Some units even offer a weighted single tank adapter with up to 6lbs/2.2kg of lead placed inside the STA with little to no weight needed with even the thickest wetsuit in salt water.

Divers may experience a tipping sensation on the surface from any bcd due to the action of over inflating the wing or a jacket bcd, however on a backplate and wing style system like a Halcyon Infinity MC System you don’t generally have this issue as shown in the video below.

Join the Zero Weight Club

There's nothing more freeing than enjoying your backplate on a DDS dive trip to Mexico
There’s nothing more freeing than enjoying your backplate on a DDS dive trip to Mexico

Ideally You’ll want to get to a point where you aren’t wearing much/any weight with a wetsuit and have a balanced enough setup that you can simply just swim your gear up without having to kick hard to get there.  The more weight you have on the surface, could pull you facedown if the weight pockets are in the front of your harness and the wing is overinflated.

Explore shipwrecks with the right gear and comfort
Your Backplate can grow with you from singles to doubles, wet to drysuit, recreational or technical and rebreather diving. 1 bcd for everything.

If you’re using a drysuit you may need a little more weight, but a steel tank is also a suitable option or a set of doubles.  They balance you out even better and for diving locally offer redundancy in the event of a regulator failure.

How do you tell you’re overweighted?  Go up to 10 feet/3 meters with a 1000psi in your tank and see how much air is in your wing.  If you reach back and can feel a substantial amount air try venting the air out while laying horizontally and lifting your rear up, orienting your head slightly downwards to get the air to the highest point and use the back dump to vent the gas.  If you start going down quickly you’re overweighted, but this is another conversation to discuss in another blog post.  You should basically have no air in the wing and be able to hold a stop at 1000psi in an aluminum 80 at 10-15′.

To This
Hovering horizontally motionless underwater enjoying total diving freedom. No bulk, No clutter, No discomfort

The Unsung Hero

Backplates are the most streamlined, balanced, and versatile diving system for recreational divers, cave divers, technical divers and rebreather divers, offering you ONE uniformed diving system that grows with you throughout your diving career, making it the best option for a new scuba diver who doesn’t know where their diving will take them because they won’t outgrow their unit.  It can be dived with any exposure or tank configuration, in any environment, while offering the most streamlined swimming profile and neat and tidy equipment configuration when rigged properly for modern and progressive scuba diving activities.

Backplates allow for better buoyancy distribution and promote body position
Backplates allow for better buoyancy distribution and promote body position

A backplate can allow you to minimize bulk and clutter if you keep the harness clean, also streamlining your body if you are utilizing proper trim and posture, which should allow for you as a  scuba diver to maintain horizontal orientation in the water when swimming and when just sitting there hovering horizontally, even on ascent and descent, rather than being pushed or pulled vertical, which is the position a jacket or a bcd with the weights in the front of the harness generally do by pulling your body knees and fins down towards the bottom.

Backplates allow for motionless hovering keeping the diver within 10% midline of horizontal underwater but allowing you to lay perfectly flat and comfortable with head out of the water on the surface.

Simple and Streamlined

Backplates are more robust than a more traditional bcd, which are often ladened with excessive fabric, padding, straps, d-rings and breakable plastic buckles, whereas a Backplate simply has 1 release buckle if rigged properly, which is located just off to the right side of the waist and is right handed release like a weight belt buckle uses.  

Backplates and Wings are available in all different shapes and sizes including regular, short and even tall plate lengths
Backplates and Wings are available in all different shapes and sizes including regular, short and even tall plate lengths

Clips and Buckles on a jacket bcd can increase task loading and may prolong rescuer response in comparison to a  backplate, as you’ve got a minimum at least 3-4 clips and a cummerbund to free the diver from their gear in a jacket compared to a simple right hand release buckle on the waist followed by pushing the harness free of the divers body.

Since more clips create a delay in freeing the diver in an emergency divers may want to avoid a jacket style bcd with fancy clips, gadgets and clutter in favour of diving more simple and streamlined.

Some backplates offer adjustable cinch harnesses to allow for easier donning and doffing, while not compromising the structural integrity of the harness with breakable plastic clips. To operate the cinch you simply pull the waist straps to tighten shoulders or lift the shoulders up to loosen the harness. There is no sternum strap to compress your chest and inhibit breathing, so you aren’t starved for air on the surface, the backplate thanks to a crotch strap and a proper fit prevents the bcd from riding up on the surface, and there is no chance that the backplate can crush your stomach and ribs like a jacket bcd with a wraparound aircell can when fully inflated.

Progressive Dive Training

Many of our divers are mindblown when they begin their journey into scuba diving and they see the poor job that the vast majority of dive stores and instructors are doing with scuba diving certifications.

Training with a more progressive dive store is a great way to get solid diver training, however, they are few and far between.  

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Good Trim, Knees Up, Fins away from the reef. This is a great example of Progressive Diving.

At the time of this article Dan’s Dive Shop is the first and only dive store in Canada to be offering entry level training in a backplate system and a long hose/short hose regulator configuration at the Open Water Diver level.

Buoyancy and Trim and the most important skills a diver will learn and as such, those skills, along with air sharing, proper horizontal ascents and horizontal descents are things that need to be perfected.

Perfect Example of what not to do.
Perfect Example of what not to do.

Progressive Diving means to have the right skills, abilities, diver and team awareness, safe diving practices and understanding that they need to maintain their skills through practice and repetition on a regular basis.

In some circles this philosophy is known as Hogarthian, DIR, Doing it Right, NTEC and more. In all cases these methods have made diving safer, better and more enjoyable.

Buy it Once

If someone told you you could have 1 BCD to take you from singles to doubles, wet to dry, down south dives and on warm reefs and walls to the most beautiful cold water shipwrecks, cold water reef and walls or ice diving, would you listen?

Take a look on Kijiji or any of those used gear websites and you’ll see something that often states Jacket Bcd used only 6 times or 12 times.  When you talk to the owners a lot of the time you find out they upgraded to a backplate, or they bought a drysuit or a 7mm wetsuit and their original jacket doesn’t fit.

Not only is a backplate the most stable diving system, but it is also built to be the first and last bcd you ever need.  

The Proof is in the Pudding

If you have been told that backplates tip you face down please take the time to share this video with the source of this misinformation.  Not all back flotation bcd’s are innocent, some will push you facedown, but a properly shaped wing and proper weight distribution and pocket design will not.

PADI Scuba Courses – Learn to Scuba Dive

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
21
Wed
2019
PADI Drysuit Course August 2019 @ Dan's Dive Shop/Kiwanis Pool
Aug 21 @ 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm

PADI Drysuit Course August 2019

Taking the PADI Drysuit Course August 2019 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 August 21 with Open Water Dives at a later date.

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:  $275+HST Includes Manual and certification card.

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

Required Equipment?

Clearly 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
23
Fri
2019
Dive Picton DDS Wreck Diving Adventures 2019 @ Waupoos Marina
Aug 23 @ 4:00 pm – Aug 25 @ 3:00 pm

Dive Picton DDS Wreck Diving Adventures 2019

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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 2019 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′.

PADI Advanced Open Water Certification dives are available on this trip as well for those wishing to complete deep, wreck and boat Adventure dives.

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.

We will have kitchen facilities, great dining and attractions nearby. We are looking at the possibility of a meal plan, but at this time it’s undecided.

Minimum level of certification would be a diver enrolled in their PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course.  More advanced, deep or technical divers are free to join in on the diving and complete a reasonable dive profile within their training and limitations as well.

Cost is estimated at only $375+HST. Trip price includes lodging and boat charters.

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

TRIP IS SOLD OUT. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the waitlist.

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 online from our travel partner Fly and Sea Dive Adventures.

Looking to book your next travel adventure? Contact our DDS Flight Centre Associate today!

Fawn Messer, Travel ConsultantFCA.logo
info@dansdiveshop.ca 
phone: 905-984-2160, fax: 905-984-2167
Flight Centre Associates
Head Office: 1 Dundas St W, Suite 200, Rm M, Toronto, ON M5G 1Z3
1-416-368-4221 TICO#50016384

Sep
7
Sat
2019
PADI Advanced Open Water Course September 2019 Local @ Welland Scuba Park
Sep 7 @ 8:30 am – Sep 8 @ 2:00 pm
PADI Advanced Open Water Course September 2019 Local @ Welland Scuba Park | Welland | Ontario | Canada

PADI Advanced Open Water Course September 2019 Local

Our PADI Advanced Open Water course is the most thorough and progressive PADI Advanced Open Water Course available in the dive industry. This course is available privately for individuals or groups locally or wherever you are located. 

Those wishing to complete the academic portions via the eLearning process may do so by joining our eLearning website click here or can purchase the course with the standard PADI Advanced Open Water materials which are included as part of the course price.

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).

A classroom session will take place prior to deep diving where a thorough understanding of the features, beneifts and safety aspects of deep, wreck diving are covered. Diver’s will learn what advanced diving is all about and what’s required to be an Advanced Diver. Additional training and information is conducted on the dive site prior to the dive.

All students must have a Digital Depth and Timing Device 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).

This is the most through Advanced Course offered in the business and the most enjoyable!

Cost:

$350+HST includes Course and Instructor Fees, PADI Advanced Open Water Crewpak 60303, Certification Fee.

Advanced Open Water “By the Dive” Cost $450+HST.

PADI Advanced Open Water Course with PADI Drysuit Specialty Certification Option $450+HST Not Available “By The Dive”

Minimum Age 15, 10 logged dives is recommended, however, is ultimately up to the instructor.

Additional Costs:

We do not include any scuba equipment rentals in the basic Advanced Open Water course fee.

Any Park entry fee’s or boat charters are additional unless otherwise specified, however, if you join us for your Advanced course on a Trip to Tobermory, Kingston, Brockville, Picton or anyone of our other great local dive destinations, the cost of the trip will include all charter boat dives.

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.

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.

Advanced your dive training in Canada with Dan’s Dive Shop, Canada’s Oldest Most Respected PADI Scuba Diving School.

Sep
9
Mon
2019
Emergency First Response Course @ Dan's Dive Shop
Sep 9 @ 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 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.

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

Sep
14
Sat
2019
PADI Rescue Diver Course 2019 @ Dan's Dive Shop
Sep 14 @ 9:00 am – Sep 15 @ 5:00 pm

PADI Rescue Diver Course 2019

Join us for what many of our students call their most favourite PADI Scuba Course, the PADI Rescue Diver Course.  Let us take you through the most exciting core PADI scuba diving course and help prepare you better mentally, physically and emotionally for what can be some of the most serious, rewarding and smartest way to scuba dive. 

Join us Saturday September 14 and Sunday September 15 from 9am-5pm with classroom and Open Water Dives both days.

The PADI Rescue Diver Course is the most essential scuba diving course and the minimum level we would recommend all divers achieve, and rest assured that after we’ve added a little bit of our own insight and experience you’ll have a new outlook on diving.

Most dive accidents are a direct result of human error, and many accidents that happen often happen to the least experienced or less aware divers, learn more about prevention, anticipation, rescue techniques and much more.

What will you learn?

You will learn how to prevent, assess and control problems above and below the water.

You should know how to handle a situation when things go wrong underwater or on the surface.


Make diving safer for you and everyone with the most fun PADI course – Rescue Diver

This is the one dive course that many graduates would call their favourite and most Memorable PADI dive course.  

If you’ve got the Advanced Open Water Program under your belt, this is your next step towards your PADI Master Scuba Diver Rating.

Students will gain life saving skills that will help them to save themselves and other divers from a potentially dangerous situation and test their own personal limits and comfort.

Who should take this course?

This course is a must for anyone whether you’re an avid diver, or even more importantly, the diver who dives down south on vacation, as once a year divers are more likely to experience a diver in distress.

Many divers have received improper training from other shops or instructors, many divers have NOT kept up their level of proficiency or personal diving skills, equipment configuration or knowledge.

Training Agency:

PADI 

Details of what you’ll learn:

Dan’s Rescue program encompasses advanced dive theory, rescue techniques such as prevention, readiness to respond, First Aid, CPR, decompression injuries, underwater search and recovery, specialized equipment, equipment care and maintenance, and open water sessions.

There will be a weekend of Open Water Training Scenarios where Divers will experience simulated “real life” situations that they could encounter in a real diving situation such as out of air divers, missing divers, a panic diver, diver with a pressure related injury, diver requiring immediate first aid, unconscious diver and many other scenarios.

Our course is well over 25 hours of action packed information, diving and excitement.

What gear do you need?

You will need your personal scuba equipment, along with a surface marker, safety reel or spool 100′-150′ of line, waterproof notebook or dive slate, cutting tools, CPR/O2 pocket mask, audible surface signalling device.

DDS will supply all oxygen related first aid equipment, rescue throw bags, etc.

Prerequisites:

Divers need to be certified Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Maintain Current First Aid/CPR (Emergency First Response and Oxygen Provider Courses are available and often run near the Rescue dates), Minimum age of 15 years old.

Cost is only $350 + HST and includes PADI Rescue Diver Crewpak, Certification Fee.

If you’re interested in this course come in and get your books and start your journey to safer diving today.

Where can I go from here?

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

  • Master Scuba Diver
  • PADI Divemaster
  • Enriched Air Nitrox
  • Intro To Tech
  • Solo Diver
Sep
18
Wed
2019
PADI Drysuit Course September 2019 @ Dan's Dive Shop/Brock University
Sep 18 @ 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm

PADI Drysuit Course September 2019

Taking the PADI Drysuit Course September 18, 2019 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 September 18 with Open Water Dives at a later date.

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:  $275+HST Includes Manual and certification card.

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

Required Equipment?

Clearly 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.

PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Weeknights @ Brock University
Sep 18 @ 7:00 pm – Nov 3 @ 4:00 pm
PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Weeknights @ Brock University | Thorold | Ontario | Canada

PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Weeknights at Brock University September 2019

Get ready for the Spring Dive Season with our PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Weeknights at Brock University and enjoy the fun, adventure as you become an underwater explorer with Dan’s Dive Shop, Canada’s Oldest, Most Respected Scuba Diving School.  The course runs every Wednesday Night starting September 18 – October 30, 2019 from 7:00-10pm over 6 weeks with your Open Water Certification Checkout Dives to follow.

Learn to scuba dive with one of North America’s most respected, most experienced, most progressive and visionary dive shops.  At Dan’s we teach you the right way to dive from day one.

Learn how to Scuba Dive and spend your life exploring local and exotic locations.  Dive Ontario and the rest of this amazing world underwater as a DDS Diver.  There are tons of great dive sites both locally and away, as well as exciting wrecks and beautiful aquatic life.

At Dan’s we offer you a more thorough and modern approach to your scuba diving education. We believe in teaching you how to maximize your potential and see where the tides take you.

We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training aimed at taking you further through the life long adventure sport of scuba diving. 

DDS Divers are the most skilled and respected recreational and technical divers  in the water because they are taught to be more comfortable, utilize precision buoyancy, possess higher skill and techniques underwater, with more academic and team awareness.

Prerequisites?

Minimum age is 10 years by PADI standards, however we strongly recommend 12-14 years (Unless accompanied by a parent).

How can you enroll?

Complete the academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace with eLearning followed by 6 new classroom sessions with your Instructor who will introduce many revolutionary diving concepts not taught in more traditional dive training for a more informative and beneficial dive training experience.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Class Schedule

Pool & Classroom on Wednesdays 7:00pm -10:30pm every week from September 18- October 30 (except for October 16).

Open Water Certification Dives on November 2 & 3rd, 9:00am -4:00pm both day.

Costs:

PADI Open Water Pool/ Class Only $350+HST

PADI Open Water Course Full Certification $500+HST  ALL INCLUSIVE  eLearning activation code and PADI Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!). Includes class, pool, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkeling gear), certification fees and more.

PADI Jr Open Water Course $600+HST ALL INCLUSIVE

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.
You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

Our Cancellation Policy: If less than 14 days notice is given there is a $100 fee to cancel or reschedule. No shows forfeit all course fees. Redeemed eLearning is non-refundable.

Sep
28
Sat
2019
PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course September 2019 @ Dan's Dive Shop
Sep 28 @ 9:00 am – Oct 6 @ 2:00 pm
PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course September 2019 @ Dan's Dive Shop | Saint Catharines | Ontario | Canada

PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course September 2019

Learn to scuba dive this autumn and explore the amazing dive sites in your own backyard with our PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course September 2019.  Get your PADI Open Water Diver certification and you will enjoy the greatest sport in the world.  

Learn to scuba dive with one of North America’s most respected, most experienced, most progressive and visionary dive shops.  At Dan’s we teach you the right way to dive from day one of our PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course.  More knowledge and higher skills are just the start.

At Dan’s we offer you a more thorough and modern approach to your scuba diving education. We believe in teaching you how to maximize your potential and see where the tides take you.We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training aimed at taking you further through the life long adventure sport of scuba diving. 

DDS Divers are the most skilled and respected recreational and technical divers  in the water because they are taught to be more comfortable, utilize precision buoyancy, possess higher skill and techniques underwater, with more academic and team awareness.

Prerequisites:

Minimum age 12yrs old. Must be able to swim non-stop 200 meters free-style or 300 meters with mask, fins, snorkel and be able to tread water for 10 minutes.

Agency:

PADI

Class Schedule

You complete the Open Water Diver Course classroom component on eLearn . We will have you complete all academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace and will meet up for Classroom with your Instructor as we fill in many of the gaps left in traditional dive training with a more informative and beneficial dive training experience. Students will complete additional classroom and Pool Training sessions on September 28 – 29 and then complete the PADI Open Water Certification Dives the following weekend, October 5 – 6. 

Saturday September 28th, 9am-9pm

Sunday September 29th, 9am-2pm

Saturday, October 5th 9am-4pm

Sunday, October 6th 9am-4pm

Costs:

PADI Open Water Referral Course, Class/Pool Only $350+HST

PADI Open Water Certification Course Only $500+HST ALL INCLUSIVE

PADI Jr Open Water Certification Course Only $600 + HST ALL INCLUSIVE

Full OW Course Price Includes: PADI eLearn with Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!). Includes class, pool, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkeling gear), certification fees and more.

Private Courses available at an additional fee.

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.
You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

How can you enroll?

Come visit us at 329 Welland Ave, St Catharines or call 905 984 2160 or email info@dansdiveshop.ca.

 

Our Cancellation Policy: If less than 14 days notice is given there is a $100 fee to cancel or reschedule. No shows forfeit all course fees. Redeemed eLearning is non-refundable.
Nov
4
Mon
2019
Emergency First Response Course @ Dan's Dive Shop
Nov 4 @ 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 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.

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

Nov
6
Wed
2019
PADI Open Water Scuba Course Weeknights November 2019 @ Brock University
Nov 6 @ 7:00 pm – Dec 11 @ 10:30 pm
PADI Open Water Scuba Course Weeknights November 2019 @ Brock University | Fort Erie | Ontario | Canada

PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Weeknights Brock University November 2019

Make winter 2019 awesome with your PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course. Have fun and learn to dive right with Dan’s Dive Shop, Canada’s Oldest, Most Respected Scuba Diving School. 

Get your PADI Open Water on  Wednesday evenings from November 6 to December 11, 2019 from 7:00-10:30pm with your PADI Open Water Certification Checkout Dives to follow in June 2020. 

Learn to scuba dive with one of North America’s most respected, most experienced, most progressive and visionary dive shops.  At Dan’s we teach you the right way to dive from day one.

Learn how to Scuba Dive.  Why not make this year awesome and learn to dive? Spend your life exploring exotic locations as well as diving around  Ontario and the rest of this amazing world underwater.  There are tons of great dive sites both locally and away, as well as exciting wrecks and beautiful aquatic life.

At Dan’s we offer you a more thorough and modern approach to your scuba diving education. We believe in teaching you how to maximize your potential and see where the tides take you.

We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training aimed at taking you further through the life long adventure sport of scuba diving. 

DDS Divers are the most skilled and respected recreational and technical divers  in the water because they are taught to be more comfortable, utilize precision buoyancy, possess higher skill and techniques underwater, with more academic and team awareness.

Prerequisites?

Minimum age is 10 years by PADI standards, however we strongly recommend 12-14 years (Unless accompanied by a parent).

How can you enroll?

You complete the Open Water Diver Course classroom component on eLearn . We will have you complete all academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace and will meet up for Classroom with your Instructor as we fill in many of the gaps left in traditional dive training with a more informative and beneficial dive training experience.

Upon successful completion of classroom and pool sessions, students will need to complete an Open Water Diving component usually held over a weekend.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Open Water Dives are required for Open Water certification and are included in your full course price and completed locally.

Scuba courses are available 12 months of the year.

Costs:

PADI Open Water Class/Pool Only $350+HST

Full PADI Open Water Certification Course Cost is only $500+HST ALL INCLUSIVE for the standard course with eLearning activation code and PADI Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!). Includes class, pool, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkeling gear), certification fees and more.

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.
You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

Our Cancellation Policy: If less than 14 days notice is given there is a $100 fee to cancel or reschedule. No shows forfeit all course fees. Redeemed eLearning is non-refundable.

Want Some New Challenges?

transition into technical and cave diving courses
Transition into technical or cave diving courses for new and rewarding challenges in your diving

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 from rudimentary elements of diving courses like Intro to Tech,  Decompression Procedures, Helitrox, Trimix, Cavern and Cave Diving courses, Wreck External Survey, Wreck Penetration, Ice Diving, Technical Wreck Penetration, Rebreather Courses, Deep Diving, Technical DPV Courses, and many more, we keep the adventure of scuba diving thriving.

We also offer a full range of Recreational Diving Specialty Courses, Professional Level Leadership Courses as well as First Aid, CPR Courses and Oxygen Provider Courses.

Staff & Instructors

The Dan’s Dive Shop store Staff along with our instructional team of Recreational and Technical scuba diving Instructors,  Divemasters and Assistant Instructors are the most dedicated, experienced team of professional level scuba divers in the diving industry.

Our scuba diving instructional team offer the most comprehensive learning of recreational scuba courses, Cave Diving and Technical Diving courses, Enriched Air Nitrox and Sidemount diving courses, while utilizing the most progressive diving methods, equipment, technology and by teaching our students the most comprehensive scuba diving courses on the market.

DDS Staff @ Sherkston

Our staff are all active diving enthusiasts who love scuba diving and all that the diving life style has to offer!  

They’re progressive divers who are learning and advancing their personal diving careers on a regular basis through continuing education courses and training, while also preparing mentally and physically for more demanding advanced dives.

Our staff are often required to test dive new dive equipment, trying different styles of diving, which gives them a perspective on the amazingly fun styles of diving that we specialize in like single tank diving, diving double tanks, sidemount, drysuits, diver propulsion vehicles, rebreathers and so much more.   The bottom line is that our staff are expected to be leaders in the local scuba diving community, they help shape our divers into the most informed divers in the water and mentor a lot of our newer divers as well.

10376263_888687784477152_4041367016795761012_n
We have a lot of fun at DDS. Join the family.

You can trust that our staff have a good amount of diving experience and good overall knowledge, while many of them are still learning, so if you have questions on gear or training that exceeds their level of knowledge, please be patient as they defer more technical questions to Matt, Dan, Chris, Fawn,  or another qualified staff member who can get them the answers in a timely fashion.

One of the best things about our staff is the fact that we get out and dive on a regular basis for fun with our clients, who often times become regular dive buddies.  Very few dive stores have staff that dive, let alone their owners, whereas DDS staff and owners are out diving frequently interacting with or engaging their clients and having fun doing it.

Please be advised that only 2 of our staff are experts at custom wetsuits (Matt & Dan), while Matt, Fawn and Dan are DUI Factory Trained drysuit and drysuit undergarment fit specialists at measuring for DUI, while Matt and Dan are able to measure for Santi and Bare, so please call ahead of time prior to your anticipated trip to book an appointment with us.

History

A Brief History of Dan’s Dive Shop

The Early Years

Dan’s Dive Shop was established in 1974 by Dan Mandziuk. The store was originally located at 48 Lakeport Road in Pt. Dalhousie and was a landmark for over 20 years. We are currently located at 329 Welland Ave., in St. Catharines, ON, Canada.

original Dan's location, Scuba Courses
Dan’s original Port Dalhousie location 48 Lakeport Rd.

Dan’s was born when Dan decided to share with the world his love of diving. In 1971, Dan began following his dream and became an ACUC Scuba Instructor. Not long after Dan began teaching, he opened up a store front and signed on with a small organization in the mid-1970’s called PADI. Dan had a feeling that they would become a major player in the industry but had no idea that they would become the Worlds Largest International Dive Training Agency. Our store was the 23rd store Internationally to sign on with PADI. Since then we have become a household name synonymous with Excellence in Diver Education receiving numerous prestigious awards for our instruction over the last 35+ years.

Dan believed in stocking the gear you would be purchasing. There wasn't any internet shopping back then!
Dan believed in stocking the gear you would be purchasing. There wasn’t any internet shopping back then!

Dan has always believed in stocking a large amount of equipment so you can try it on and make a decision by physically touching, feeling and wearing the equipment you’re about to spend you hard earned money on. Looking at pictures doesn’t tell you how a product will fit. Our expert staff, exceptional selection and most competitive prices will ensure you get the best gear for the best value.

Throughout the 80’s and 90’s Dan innovated many new concepts and helped utilize new equipment.

Our name was becoming synonymous with the largest selection and best pricing.  Suppliers were lining up to get in our doors and we had a lucrative mail-order business as well as in store.   in 1986 we began selling Dive Rite a monumental brand of deep, cave, technical diving equipment that was established in 1984.

We were a Top Stocking Dealer and Award Winning Dealer for many of our top brands, a trend that we have gained even higher regards in this modern age.

In the early 1990’s Dan became one of the first if not THE first of 2 Canadian Nitrox Divers in 1992.

While Deep Diving was shunned back in those days, Dan was intrigued and a few of our early DDS Divers and Instructors started their journey towards more advanced diving.

Continuing to lead the way

In 1997 Matt Mandziuk (Dan’s son) came into the picture full time in the store after many years growing up in the store, learning about the sport and bringing in new life, new ideas and new techniques to the recreational and technical diving community.

Dan’s commitment to the industry is very dedicated and a full time offering. We have worked hard in this industry. Over 20 dive stores have come and gone in this area. We have grown up into one of North America’s Largest Dive Stores by rating in the Top 20 with many of our suppliers.

Dan’s has lead the way as the trend-setter paving the road scuba diving throughout Ontario, Canada and North America bringing to diving some of the most progressive, modern recreational, technical diving and equipment concepts of diver education available in Recreational Diving, Wreck Diving, Deep Diving, Ice Diving, Technical Diving, Cave Diving and use of semi-closed and fully closed circuit rebreathers.  Regardless of your diving experience we are the right choice in diver education and equipment.

Dan’s goal has always been to maintain our high level of service, our large selection of equipment, our vast knowledge of diving and keep you smiling and actively diving through local trips, weekly dives, charters and trips around the globe.

The evolution of Dan’s

Dan’s was purchased over 5 years ago by Matt Mandziuk who indeed has had a big set of shoes to fill as Dan backs out slowly into semi-retirement and ultimately retirement. We have enjoyed the new concepts Matt continues to bring to the store, as well as fresh and fun ideas.  There are many new and exciting changes with Matt at the helm. While most things have remained the same, the main goals have been to get things running more efficiently and to make the sport more accessible to everyone involved.   One of the most successful changes within the brand was offering in-store financing, renovating the layout of the store, as well as the addition of a number of great new dive trips and charters.  Our goal as a shop is to keep expanding, growing and improving at every turn.

Matt Mandziuk after a fun trimix dive in Tobermory. His favourite colour is red.

Matt’s vision for the Dan’s brand has also expanded into the creation of Divers Edge – our technical dive training arm. With a solid and proven foundation of recreational diving, the Divers Edge brand aims to further technical diving and exploration with some exciting new projects and trips specific to technical divers.

2019 marks the 45th anniversary of Dan’s Dive Shop. To hit the Forty year mark in any business is a huge achievement – let alone the dive business – is no easy task. We couldn’t have done it without you – our customers and students. It’s been a great ride full of learning, improvement, more learning and lots of bubbles!

Thank you for your continued support of the DDS brand and we look forward to adding more to our history!

See you in the water,

The DDS family.

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Scuba Diving Courses

Scuba Diving Courses

Dan’s Dive Shop has shared the thrill and adventure of Scuba Diving through Progressive Scuba Diving Training Courses, Trips, Local Events and more throughout Niagara, Southern Ontario and surrounding areas for over forty years.  

Dan’s is the countries leading innovator of diver education.  We have set the trend and have lead the dive industry towards better diving skills and techniques that allow for a higher level of understanding, experience, philosophy and evolution in scuba dive training from recreational scuba courses through into cave diving courses and technical diving courses.

At Dan’s we’re fortunate enough to have taught and continue to teach students from all over Canada, the United States and different countries who visit us, fly or drive out to them to give them the scuba diving education they deserve. We are totally mobile, willing to travel and teach anywhere you need us.

There’s a lot more to scuba than just breathing underwater and we’re here to share the fun and learning, as well as help you overcome challenges and live the excitement of scuba diving.

As Canada’s Oldest PADI Scuba School, we are a PADI 5 Star Scuba Diving Facility and 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 Dive Courses,  and so much more. 

For divers who want more of a challenge taught to the highest standard of learning, 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.

All of our cave & technical diving courses are taught through our affiliated training facility Divers Edge who provides all of our NAUI Technical Diving Courses, TDI (Technical Diving International) SDI (Scuba Diving International), PADI, IDREO (International Diving Research Exploration Organization) and many more.

Dive Different

Our training approach continues to pave the way in diving, utilizing the most modern “DIR/Hogarthian/Team Diving” philosophies and trends in the industry, utilizing the best technology and equipment to set us well ahead of the other dive shops who are still teaching outdated techniques in a less modular and more complicated and less streamlined equipment configuration.

Dive Better

We teach all courses with zero impact to the bottom, teaching you how to properly descend horizontally and ascend horizontally which is the most efficient and easiest way to go up or go down.

 You do not kneel on the bottom in our classes which is  a very bad habit that causes damage to the fragile aquatic life and impacts the visibility.  We streamline your body, your equipment and your posture in a way allows you to complete your skills perfectly horizontal and with proper airway control and weighting you will not be floating up or down out of control.

We teach you how to fin properly utilizing a modified frog kick, modified flutter and a full frog kick right in the open water course, as well as how to turn and back fining, so you never have to use your hands to skull or flail like the majority of the diving community does, you’ll never need to push off the fragile shipwreck, delicate coral reef or millions of years old fragile cenote.

Dive Right

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.

We offer you the best selection and pricing on scuba diving equipment from all the best scuba diving brands.

We Take You diving offering both local diving trips, exotic dive travel, weekly local dives and more.

Have Fun Underwater

By diving smarter, not harder, you’re going to have a lot more fun underwater.  

You won’t be struggling to maintain proper buoyancy, trim or position and instead will have more breathing gas to explore.

Your tanks will last you longer with the right fin kicks and not flailing your hands and legs all over the place.

You’ll look better in pictures and videos than the majority of the divers around the world too, which is a great feeling when you can outperform Divemasters and Instructors.

Practice Makes Perfect

Diving is the most amazing sport in the world, but you need to keep active, maintain your skills, continue the learning and personal development and engage in the most amazing lifetime sport. 

You can dive anywhere, any time with the right skills, techniques and equipment.

Small Groups & Personal Attention To Detail

Have you ever felt like an activity was moving along too quickly or that you didn’t feel as though you had time to absorb the material or ask questions?  This is common in the sport of scuba diving where many dive stores overbook their classes because they believe discounting and sheer volume are the way to get people into the sport.

At DDS, we believe in small groups with our weekend classes being capped at a maximum of 8 participants with 2 staff members offering a 1:4 ratio.

This means we can move at a reasonable pace, while spending more time making you a good, solid, proficient diver, rather than herding you towards the next level of your open waters.

This semi-private instruction doesn’t really cost that much more than what the other shops are charging, yet gives you so much more value, confidence and awareness.

Cheaper courses are never better, especially comparing price vs quality.

No other store has the experience, or the personal commitment to delivering high quality training and service like Dan’s. 

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Dan’s Dive Shop pioneer of Progressive Scuba Diving Courses and Equipment Sales

Vintage Diver Dan 1970’s

Established in 1974 by Dan Mandziuk, Dan’s Dive Shop has shared the adventure of scuba diving in Niagara, Ontario for over forty years.  We are Canada’s innovator of higher level progressive scuba diving education in Recreational, Cave & Technical Scuba Diving instruction and a purveyor of the highest quality scuba diving equipment in recreational, cave and technical diving. 

At DDS we are known for offering the highest level of scuba diving education at every single level of training we offer.

We teach many of our scuba diving courses locally in Niagara, however, we also teach abroad anywhere our students want us to be, which includes other cities, provinces, states and even countries.

Matt Mandziuk carry’s on the legacy of DDS with Progressive Gear & Courses

Not Just Niagara….Dan’s is totally mobile and we are able to teach scuba courses anywhere we can drive to or fly into.  We’ve taught students from all over the world who have sought out the best scuba diving education and we have delivered time and time again.

We’ve taught students from every province in Canada, a number of the US States and other countries.  

We attract a large number of students from the greater Hamilton area, as well as Burlington, Oakville, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo,  Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.  Northern Ontario is a popular destination for us to teach in as well as we can cover Sudbury, Espanola, Little Current, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and much more with the utilization of eLearning, Skype, FaceTime or Podcasts, with watermanship sessions held in the most convenient locations possible, especially for our students in Northern Ontario.

Unmatched Retail Shopping

Shop with us Online

We are proud to offer Canada’s Largest Inventory and selection of scuba diving equipment from the top brands in the industry.  

We carry the largest selection of scuba and snorkeling equipment offering the highest quality snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, as well as swimwear and metal detectors.

Our pricing is the  most competitive and we offer you the best pricing and service guaranteed on all the scuba gear we sell.   We will not be undersold.

Customers from all over North American and abroad shop our online dive store regularly for the best deals on scuba and snorkeling equipment, as well as expert drysuit sales and service.

Why pay more buying gear from your local dive shop or buying it out of the U.S. when we guarantee you better pricing, equipment choices and service?

We take away the hassle of crossing the border, paying duty or brokerage fees, or expensive shipping.  Let us do the work for you and get the best gear at the best price.  Email or call us for a gear quote.

Fun and memorable dive trips

We love diving locally around the Great Lakes and surrounding areas.

We honestly believe that we have the best diving in the world right here in Ontario and some of the other coastal provinces (Quebec, BC., Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to name a few), so we are pleased to offer both local and down south scuba diving trips and excursions to cater to divers who like diving in any environment warm or cold.

Experience a fun day charter, a fun filled weekend trip out of town diving  the great local Canadian sites, U.S. sites, or join us for a week or more doing some further more exotic scuba diving destinations on one of our dive travel trips around the world. 

We run amazing trips South as well!  We routinely run trips to Micronesia, Mexico, Honduras, Florida, Bahamas and many other warm water destinations too.

Count on our team

Get to know our great team of staff and instructors who are all active and constantly learning divers. We love what we do and are always looking for like minded people to join our dive team.

The majority of our dive team are local Niagara area Divers, with some of our team covering the Toronto and Burlington regions. If you want to learn to dive using a different philosophy that focuses on diver comfort, development of foundation skills, team diving with the ability to go anywhere you could possibly imagine in scuba, the possibilities are endless here at DDS.

E-Learning at your pace

Whether you’re just starting out or are already certified –  PADI’s eLearning is a flexible and convenient way to take more dive courses online at your pace. Sign up and get started right away with the instructional videos and interactive learning modules. Register Dan’s Dive Shop as your local PADI Dive Centre when you sign up and you can come in any time to ask us questions about what you’re learning. 

Active in our local community

We’re involved with many charities and events such as: Project Aware Foundation, We Are Water Project, Dive For A Cure, United Way, Terry Fox Foundation, Race Against Autism, Old Timers Hockey, St. Catharines and Welland Rotary Clubs, Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit, as well as local hospitals, police departments, fire departments,  schools and many other organizations.

Experience the difference

Come in and see the difference we can make in your diving career. It’s fun, challenging and you’ll get a lot more out of this sport with the right store backing you in the right gear with the right skill and techniques.

Let us help you become the best diver you can be – join Dan’s Dive Shop and Divers Edge training. 

See you in the water!