Dive Sticker

how much does it typically cost to get into scuba diving?

san diego area? i think it will be fun..but how much am i looking at? are their rentals?

You can spend a lot at once or spread it out over time. Here's a basic rundown.
1/ Cost of your open water certification can be anywhere between 200 to 300 dollars. Individual dive shops have slightly different rates and may or may not include the use of basic equipment for the course. Read the fine print.
2/ Personal gear: Most shops will insist that you own at least mask, snorkel and fins to start the course. This can run around 250 bucks for quality gear. Don't buy this stuff online. It needs to fit. A bargain that doesn't fit...is no bargain and can be potentially dangerous.

Rentals: Yes, once you're certified you can rent just about any piece of gear. People will go this route, usually, to try different rigs before choosing the type of gear they intend to buy, that suits their diving ability and future plans. What I list below can be rented or bought.

If you buy:

1/ Exposure protection: Anywhere from 100 bucks for a wetsuit shortie to 3 grand for a high end dry suit. If you need gloves ($30), Booties ($40), Hood ($25)
2/ BC (buoyancy compensator): Anywhere from 300 bucks to 2 grand.
3/ Regulator set: The cheapest I've seen 350 bucks for both first and second stage. The most expensive in the 900 dollar range. You'll need an Octo and console ( gauges and compass) too, there goes about 100 bucks more at the very least if it's not included in the reg set (not all do).
4/ Tank(s): Most divers that decide to own their own tanks will buy two. They start at about 200 bucks a pop for an aluminum 80 including valve. This particular item can be had at a good bargain if bought used, especially if it's been hydro'd and viz'd just before purchase. Typically any defects will be cosmetic in nature ( paint scratches, crazy dive stickers, etc). This is about the only item that I might consider buying online, other than a dive computer, on the condition that it's been recently inspected by a certified technician.
5/ Dive computer:300 bucks to 2 grand, depending on the options. You can purchase online if new in the box and under warranty, otherwise do it in person at a dive shop. This part of your kit is optional. It's a very handy thing to have but you'll be initially trained for your open water cert by not relying on one. You'll be doing it the old fashioned way, using dive tables , a little math and diving the profile that you planned on the surface, so not having one isn't terrible, so long as you have some form of timer that you can take down with you to watch your bottom times. Any waterproof watch good to a bit more than your maximum depth here will do.
6/ Lead: What type of lead (pouch or block) may depend on your BC. Many BC's these days are weight integrated and can use either. Typically, you'll look at spending more for the soft lead pouch than block. Prices vary considerably here. A simple belt and block lead set up can go for about 40-50 bucks. If you purchased a technical BC like a Dive Rite Transpac or OMS you might be shelling out 300 bucks for the lead and harness pouches. (shocking I know, but I own both and that's what I was dinged with a 10% discount to boot)

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