How is a dive shop like a coral reef? Both are extremely important to scuba divers, environmentally and for the future of the sport.

Coral reefs are just fine without people around, but dive shops are the complete opposite. Shops fully depend on a steady flow of paying customers to cover staffing and numerous operational expenses. With travel still limited in many regions, this is still a scary time for dive shop owners, but there are things we can do to help support your favorite dive shop – even if we’re experiencing lean times ourselves.

Dive Local

You don’t have to buy expensive equipment, such as a new BC or dive computer to help out your local dive shop (although, if you need one, they would love it if you did!). It’s important to remember that the little stuff helps and adds up, too. If every diver bought just one small thing from their favorite dive shop, such as a bottle of defog or wetsuit cleaner, it could make a massive difference in helping to keep them in business.

Because, wouldn’t it be a shame if many of our dive shops were closed by the time we were ready and comfortable to begin diving? As a community, it’s up to each and every one of us to ensure that this doesn’t become a reality.

Whether you have disposable income or just some extra free time, here are 16 ways to support your favorite dive shop or resort.

1. Purchase a gift voucher for your future self or one of your dive buddies.

Gift vouchers are a wonderful way to support businesses through this time. Many are still struggling and this is an easy way to support dive shops, even if you don’t know what you’ll need yet or want to let your dive buddy pick a gift of their choosing.

2. Get your dive gear serviced (yes, you should definitely do this!).

Check both your regulator and your BC for servicing in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually once a year. Even if you don’t feel comfortable heading to the shops yet, take advantage of curbside drop-off and pick-up options that many dive shops have implemented or mail your gear to the shop. Make arrangements with the shop prior to shipping to ensure staff will be there to accept the delivery.

3. Use the list of scuba diving essentials (below) to create a gift package.

Do any divers you know have birthdays or special occasions coming up? Of course they do! Grab a few essential items, such as a tank light or O-rings, and put them in a dry bag or dry box, then add a dive shop t-shirt, water bottle, or dive club membership to make the gift extra special.

Support Dive Shop

4. Postpone (don’t cancel) any courses or trips you have booked.

Instead of asking for a refund, support your dive shop by rescheduling instead. This way, you aren’t taking business away from the shop and, as an added bonus, you’ll have a dive trip or course to look forward to in the future. It’s a win-win!

5. Book a dive trip for later this year or next year.

Many popular destinations that are normally booked out months in advance may still have open availability because of the uncertainty of travel over the past year. Take advantage of this by booking an upcoming dive trip, while supporting your favorite shop or centre at the same time!

6. Enroll in a PADI eLearning course!

Keep your knowledge fresh or start your training from home today and then take it to the water as destinations and shops begin to open. There are many options available as PADI eLearning courses. Plus, you can choose to continue your in-water portion with any PADI dive shop you choose. This means you can dive locally, or include the dive portion in your next vacation agenda!

Check out PADI’s eLearning Courses – online scuba training at it’s finest!

PADI eLearning

7. Complete an entire PADI course online via video chat.

Some PADI courses can be completed entirely via video chat. Here are three PADI certifications you can complete entirely online and, as an added bonus, they count towards your Master Scuba Diver™ rating! Check out the descriptions of these courses by following the links:

Then, contact your favorite local dive shop to see if they have upcoming course dates available.

8. Contact your local PADI dive center to start an online course in photo editing, citizen science, etc.

Many dive centers are offering special online courses during this time, and likely will continue doing so. Many of these aren’t PADI certifications, but they will help you become a more well-rounded diver from home. If there’s something you’re interested in learning more about, DM or phone your shop to inquire. Dive Instructors love to pass on their passions within the realm of diving and ocean-related topics. Take advantage of this and have fun learning more about the sport you love!

Support Local Diving

9. Ask if your dive shop is still hosting fun dives from shore or on properly-distanced boats (while following social distancing best practices, and local regulations, of course).

Many dive shops are still taking divers out in smaller groups on boats, or from shore, while following social distancing best practices. Support your local dive shop and the industry as a whole by diving locally and exploring your home turf!

10. Invest in an air fill card.

Similar to gift cards, air fill cards are the gifts that keep on giving, and can be used in the future when you need it, while supporting your dive shop in the present. Plus, many shops have special deals for air fill card holders. You can’t go wrong!

11. Sign up for the shop’s dive club (if they have one).

Dive clubs are such an amazing way to meet other divers and like-minded ocean lovers in your area. The best way to keep your spark for diving, even in these strange times, is to connect with your community. Plus, many dive clubs offer more than just connections, with discounts and exclusive trips on the agenda. When it comes to joining dive clubs, we definitely give this idea a big OK!

Support Dive Shop

Or, support with these completely FREE ideas – Zero Cost, Massive Help!

When it comes to supporting businesses during this ongoing and uncertain time, you don’t just have to support with your dollars. You can also support with your time and free efforts as well. So, if you don’t have disposable income at this time, these next three ideas are perfect for you..

12. Comment on, like and share the dive shop’s social media posts.

Social media has become the life-blood of many businesses throughout the pandemic, and with so much of business heading into the online space, it doesn’t look like this will be changing anytime soon. Support your favorite shop or centre by liking, commenting, or sharing their social media posts when you see them come up on your timeline. This takes two seconds, but makes a big difference for businesses!

13. Leave a positive review on TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.

Just about everyone does a quick search for reviews before booking an experience or purchasing a service. Positive reviews are the backbone of all service and experience based businesses, and they rely on happy customers to write reviews to be seen by others. Take a few minutes to write about your favorite experience with a shop. This doesn’t take much time, but may very well push the next potential customer to choose their shop.

14. Convince one person you know to try scuba diving as shops begin to open up.

If you had an amazing experience learning to dive with a shop, bring this up in your family and friend circles and recommend that shop to them. They’ll thank you, as this is a great way for others to experience life again after a couped-up year. If they’re unsure about committing to the Open Water Diver course, tell them about the Discover Scuba® Diving experience.

Support Dive Shop

15. If you don’t have a save-a-dive kit, why not put one together?

Your future self will thank you the next time you’re heading out for a dive and have an O-ring snap or a mask strap catastrophe. Plus, the things you need for a save-a-dive kit are fairly inexpensive and, as any experienced diver will tell you, it’s not if but when you’ll wish you had these items:

  • A spare regulator mouthpiece
  • Zip ties
  • A cutting tool or multi-tool
  • Replacement fin strap
  • Tank O-rings
  • A replacement mask strap
  • Regulator port plugs
  • A new snorkel keeper
  • An extra tank light

16. Now’s a great time to stock up on scuba diving essentials below.

Buy the things you’ll need someday right now, and help ensure a better tomorrow for your local dive shop. Many of these items are inexpensive, but if every diver made a small purchase from a shop, it would improve their business.

  • Defog
  • Drysuit zipper wax
  • Wetsuit cleaner
  • BCD cleaner
  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • BC clips
  • Gear marking pen/paint
  • An octo holder

Support Your Favorite Dive Shop, Save the Ocean

By supporting local dive centers and resorts, we also shore up protection for reefs and waterways. How? Dive shops are some of the strongest defenders of local ecosystems and we can’t afford to have their voices silenced.

The bottom line: we’re all dreaming of diving as shops begin to open up, but we can’t do it without our dive shops. Whether your favorite PADI® Dive Centre is in a tropical location or hours from the nearest ocean, we need your help to sustain these essential outposts of ocean protection.

Can you choose one thing on this list and take action? Show appreciation for the incredible underwater experiences you’ve had, and plant the seeds for adventures yet to come.

Locate a local PADI dive shop and support the scuba diving industry today!

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