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Scuba certification on Grand Cayman - who to use?

Discussion in 'Caribbean Timesharing' started by Strong1, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Strong1

    Strong1 TUG Member

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    Hi,

    Two couples will be travelling to Grand Cayman in March of '07. Three of the four of us going want to certify for scuba while we are there. Right now, we are leaning towards doing the course at home and then completing the open water dives on Grand Cayman. I live in Canada, so the thought of open water dives around here gives me the chills - literally. I prefer the warm ocean to our lakes, no matter how beautiful our lakes are!

    We will be staying at Morritts, and I understand they have a dive center on site. I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations of who to use to do our open water dives. I am specifically hoping for a very small group so that we can take our time, have a high ratio of dive master to divers and feel safe.

    Has anyone done their scuba certification on Grand Cayman? If so, who did you use and how was your experience?

    Any help greatly appreciated!
    Colleen
     
  2. Spence

    Spence Guest

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    Already certified and have been with both outfits on the East End. I liked Ocean Frontiers better than Morritts outfit. OF is right down the road and has a presence next door to Morritts at Royal Reef.
     
  3. jtridle

    jtridle TUG Member

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    I would agree to doing poolwork and study at home and do open water at Cayman. We've also used both Ocean Frontiers and Morritt's Red Sail. My husband prefers Ocean Frontiers and they were probably a little better. They really take care of you. Also if you are doing PADI certification and have an RCI membership, you can get a special price for certification through an RCI/PADI program. Just call 877-527-7234. You can do just what you suggest with a combination of work at home and open waters with Ocean Frontiers. They will work with your home dive shop. Our kids certified with Ocean Frontiers in June 2004 and we highly recommend them. At that time the cost using this special program was $340. But I think there is nothing wrong with using the dive shop at Morritt's. If you go with Ocean Frontiers, you can drive the short distance up the road to their shop, or they will pick you up at Morritt's. There is a small Ocean Frontier satellite shop at the Reef timeshare resort right next to Morritt's.
     
  4. caribbeansun

    caribbeansun TUG Member

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    Good plan and Ocean Frontiers is definitely the way to go. Enjoy!
     
  5. kccpa

    kccpa TUG Member

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    As a birthday or Xmas gift...can't remember exactly which it was...I gave my boyfriend the certification class at Ocean Frontiers at the Reef. He did his open water "book work" here and then did all his check out dives in Cayman. He LOVED it. He worked on his open water stuff, I think it was about 3 days in the morning/early afternoon and then was free the rest of the day. After his cert we had some of the greatest dives I've ever experienced. I'm back there May 20th for a week and can't wait!!

    I think getting open water cert in Cayman is the best way to go! Not cheap but soooooo worth the $$. Go for it! :)
     
  6. Strong1

    Strong1 TUG Member

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    Thanks guys!

    Looks like we now have a plan. Now all we have to do is WAIT - ugh!

    Colleen
     
  7. Cat

    Cat TUG Lifetime Member

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    Additionally, Ocean Frontiers will pick you up and drop you off if you don't have a car.

    No comparison between the two operators. Ocean Frontiers is the Mercedes of dive operators. They tailor their dives and classes to you and what you need, not the other way around. The costs are relatively equivalent, so why not treat yourself to the best (read any dive industry magazine on the subject for verification.)

    OF is, however, a very busy operation. Be sure to contact them a couple of months or as soon as possible before you arrive to let them know what you will need. In your position, I would definitely complete the written coursework at home, because the last thing you want while in paradise is to be sitting in a classroom. It's much easier to do the drudge work at home at your leisure. Then, you can obtain a referral from your local dive operation and do your water portion at Grand Cayman.
     
  8. JMSH

    JMSH TUG Member

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    Strong1: Keep in mind that your "out of country" medical insurance does not apply and will not respond if you are a non-certified diver. So if something goes wrong while doing your check out dives your medical insurance is null and void as you will yet to be a certified diver. Just a word of caution.
     
  9. caribbeansun

    caribbeansun TUG Member

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    I don't know that this is necessarily true - it doesn't make sense to me that coverage by OHIP would be dependant on whether you are certified or not. OHIP out of country coverage is iffy at best regardless. Their biggest non-covered expense is transport to a decompression facility - they have one in Georgetown on Grand Cayman BTW. If you have to be Medivaced to Miami you'd be out of luck though.

    Perhaps you are thinking of coverage by DAN (Diver Alert Network)?
     
  10. daventrina

    daventrina TUG Member

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    [​IMG]
    We always make sure that our DAN (Divers Alert Network) insurance is up to date. The cost is minimal and well worth the money. They also have insurance that covers non-diving medical emergencies. We would never dive without it. http://www.diversalertnetwork.org As DAN says, "You don't want to have to pay for that $20,000 airplane ride" Many insurance companies don't cover diving activities, and even if they do, they won't always get you access to expert diving medical services.
    We would look for a PADI (http://www.padi.com) 5 star dive shop and would get a PADI certification. As an alternative, we would consider a NAUI (http://www.naui.org). We’d stay away from SSI and the other certifications. We don’t think that the programs are as well developed and effective – It’s your life at stake so it’s important.
    You certainly wouldn’t want to spend your vacation time doing the book work. While they have done most all of their diving in Hawaii, both of our kids were certified when they were 12 in Monterey. While it was cold, and much more effort for them, when the got in the warm water with great viz they felt extremely comfortable in the water.
    While cold water diving can be “uncomfortable” so to speak, it tends to carry with it a greater level of respect when you walk into a dive shop or get on a boat.
    Shortly after we were certified, we went to dive the eagle wreck at 130 feet in Florida. The told us it was an advanced dive and asked if we had an advanced certification. We said no. They asked where we were certified. We told them Monterey. They said Oh, no problem. We almost did our advanced certification on Maui when one of the dive shops had a $99 special. We decided to do it in Monterey instead, even though it cost more than twice as much. We’re glad that we did; we learned so much more that if we did it in Hawaii. How hard is it to swim a hundred feet and back when the viz is a hundred feet. Now doing it when the viz was 10 feet was a good learning experience.
    BTW: we almost never dive in cold water anymore…;)
     
  11. JMSH

    JMSH TUG Member

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    As I am a diver as well as an insurance broker in Ontario Canada I can assure you that OHIP will pay there normal max amount of coverage for out of country expense. I am not positive but I believe the limit is $200/day. I can guarantee that any "out of country" health plan that you would purchase to cover the short fall of OHIP excludes diving emergencies for non-certified divers. I am wondering if the DAN plan covers for non-certified divers. The catch here is that when you are down there doing your check outs that you are not yet certified.
     
  12. daventrina

    daventrina TUG Member

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    DAN - Divers Alert Network

    DAN insurance covers non-certified student divers.
    As a FREE DAN Student Member, you will receive: (Student FAQ)
    • Up to $20,000 dive accident insurance during entry-level training (decompression illness only - refer to the Insurance Record (PDF: 76 MB) for details)
    • A DAN Student Membership Card
    • One FREE issue of Alert Diver magazine
    Student coverage begins at 12:01 a.m. on the date of your first required
    dive after the Student Roster is received at DAN. Coverage ends
    in six months, or when you complete the last required dive for
    certification, whichever occurs first.

    You can upgrade your DAN membership to receive additional DAN dive and travel benefits before you complete your entry-level training program.
    DAN insurance provides the following coverage (depending on the specific plan)
    • Medical Dive Accident Coverage
    • Decompression Illness Expense
    • Other Dive Injury Medical Expense
    • Snorkeling / Skin Diving
    • Coinsurance for Dive Accident Medical Coverage
    • Accidental Death & Dismemberment / Diving
    • Permanent & Total Disability
    • Extra Transportation
    • Extra Accommodation
    • Lost Diving Equipment
    • Planned Maximum Depth Covered
    • Medical Non-Dive Accident Coverage
    • Diving Vacation Cancellation
    • Diving Vacation Interruption
    We carry either the Preferred Plan or the Master Plan, depending on our travel plans.
     

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