Scuba Diving Covid
By erik

COVID-19 Update from Beyond Diving

COVID-19 Update

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post regarding the steps we are taking at Beyond Diving in Playa del Carmen to protect you and ourselves during this unprecedented situation.

For starters, our return to operations will be a very gradual affair.  We will not simply one day reopen as though nothing ever happened.  Although our local, state and federal governments have allowed for dive centers to reopen and operate at 30-50% capacity for the time being, we have opted to err on the side of caution and remain closed for now.

During the past several months, I personally got involved with the development of a sanitizing solution which is now approved by the EPA, USDA, FDA, SAGARPA and many other government agencies.  This sanitizing solution is not toxic to us, animals or the environment, is 100% biodegradable and it is not corrosive or reactive towards our equipment.  This is the sanitizing solution that we are using at the shop, and many other shops and businesses in Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Puerto Morelos and elsewhere in the Riviera Maya are also using it.

When we do reopen at some point in the next few weeks, we will not go over 30-50% capacity at any point even if we are allowed to be at 100%.

The safety & well-being of our divers, staff, and crew are a Top Priority here at Beyond Diving.  We have changed a few things around the shop and implemented new policies for the dive boats and trips to cenotes, and appreciate your help with these safety measures. 

If you are feeling unwell or sick (i.e., persistent cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, OR at least two of the following: fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell), please give us a call to reschedule.  DO NOT enter the Dive Shop. DO NOT Dive. This list is not all-inclusive: please seek medical advice as soon as possible.

All of us at Beyond Diving want to help you get back underwater as safely as possible.  These are the changes that we have implemented that will allow us to take you diving.

Checking In at the Dive Shop:

  1. Please fill out the Beyond Diving Waiver Form that we will email you prior to arrival and Email your completed waiver form to us. This will help us eliminate paper waste and limit exposure to contaminants passed on through paper.  Please have your certification card out and ready to show to our staff.  Don’t forget your Nitrox c-card, if you are planning on diving Nitrox.
  2. We will be taking everyone’s temperature before allowing people to enter the shop, and everybody must step on the sanitizing pad at the entrance of the store to disinfect shoes prior to entering.
  3. All Staff & Guests are asked to wear a face cover.
  4. We will be limiting the number of people in the dive shop, please make sure to maintain Social Distancing while in the dive shop and outdoor area.
  5. The dive shop will be disinfected throughout the day, please avoid touching things unless necessary or purchasing.
  6. All rental equipment and tanks will be sanitized by our staff members.  Please do not touch other diver’s gear.

On the Dive Boat and Trips to Cenotes:

  1. All Dive Crew & Guests are asked to wear a face cover.
  2. Please have all your dive gear (excluding tanks) inside a gear bag or bin upon boarding the dive boat or truck.
  3. Please practice Social Distancing while on the boat, truck and in open air areas.  Scuba tanks will be spaced on the boat to help with this.
  4. We encourage everyone to bring their own reusable water bottle.
  5. Please remember to bring a towel, snacks or lunch, and personal disinfecting products.  No bleach products allowed .
  6. Please do not spit in your mask or on the deck of the boat.  If you do not have Defog solution, we have spray bottles of Defog.  There will be NO communal mask rinse bucket.  We will have jugs of water to splash into your masks if needed.
  7. The dive boat and trucks will be disinfected throughout the day..

Tips to help keep you safe and minimize risk for exposure.

  • Divers should sanitize their dive equipment, especially – masks, snorkels, whistles, orally inflated SMB’s, BCD oral inflators, and second stages of regulators.  All Beyond Diving rental dive equipment is be disinfected immediately after each use.
  • Use a defog solution instead of spit for your mask.
  • Dive buddies should not use/share the same mouthpiece unless it’s an emergency situation.
  • Carry disinfectant solution in your dive bag in case needed.
  • Wear a face cover (i.e., face mask, gaiter, buff, bandana, etc.)
  • Practice Social Distancing while in the Dive Shop, Outdoor areas, trucks and Dive Boats
  • Practice proper hygiene, including frequently washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow and not touching your face.

We appreciate your help and understanding with these guidelines that we have in place for your and our health and safety. 

 

Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Kind Regards,

 

Erik Rosenstein – Owner, Beyond Diving

 

PADI Vs SDI
By erik

SDI or PADI? Things to consider

What is the difference between SDI and PADI?

Entry level students often ask us the difference between SDI and PADI. Today, I would like to address that question and the reason we choose to do the vast majority of our recreational diving courses through Scuba Diving International.

I have heard the phrase ‘I want to get my padi’ or ‘I did my padi with X or Y dive shop,’ so many times that if I got a nickle each time I hear it, I’d be able to take my wife out for a fancy dinner at least once a week!

Today, I want to clear the air, and get rid of any misconceptions or misunderstandings about scuba diving agencies.

Keep in mind that Beyond Diving does offer training courses through both PADI and SDI at our Playa del Carmen dive center.  You are probably wondering how that can be, so let’s begin.

Let’s talk about the WRSTC  –

The WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council) are the nice folks who set the bar for all scuba diving training agencies.  They tell every agency (who in turn tells all of their professional members) what the minimum requirements are for each course taught. Therefore, most training standards are pretty much universal. The core curriculum of the courses is basically the same across the board.

Now you’re probably wondering…

‘Who to choose?’

‘Which is the safest?’

‘Can they be safe or good if I’ve never before heard of them?’

Let’s really drill this down. What really effects market share in our mass consumer world?

VISIBILITY

Perhaps you have a friend who has completed their PADI Open Water Diver training and another who completed theirs with SDI. Both loved it and are looking to dive again. They have invited you along on a dive trip to Playa del Carmen with them, yet you are not a certified diver.

You did your research. You checked Tripadvisor and Scubaboard, and narrowed it down to a few dive centers in Playa del Carmen.  You can’t wait to complete your open water course in Playa del Carmen, but you are totally confused…you ask yourself:

‘Can we all dive together if we were certified through different agencies, and who should I choose – PADI or SDI?’

I’d like to explain the reasons why at Beyond Diving we prefer to teach SDI courses.

 

The team at PADI do a really great job at promoting their brand. Those PADI posters you’ve seen, that dive show you attended, those magazine spreads you’ve read. These all stick in your head, and have turned the name “PADI” essentially into a generic for “scuba diving certification”.

SDI on the other hand, have a much smaller marketing budget. A budget that they gain from smaller dive agency fee’s, smaller certification cost fee’s and smaller staff budgets (I guess they don’t have a big fancy marketing team working from a new shiny office). Yet, they still do a fantastic job creating a buzz about the agency, keeping in touch with the instructors and dive centers affiliated to the agency, and most importantly, making themselves available to all members. Not to mention every person who works at TDI-SDI Headquarters is an active diver, dive instructor and/or instructor trainer for different levels of recreational and technical diving.

So just because you are aware of one more so than the other, is it fair to say that they offer a different service? A service that is less safe, that has less quality? Less educational value?

OF COURSE NOT!

We prefer to teach SDI because of these reasons:

Student Focused Learning:

SDI Instructors can modify their teaching methods to suit the students pace of learning but PADI run their courses in a strict set order. To give you an example, think of it as McDonald’s and your favorite local eatery. You go to any McD’s in the world, and you pretty much know what you’re going to get with very little room for modifications (if any), but if you go to your favourite restaurant, you can get your food made according to your needs and wants.

Order is good, isn’t it? Or why should this matter to me?

Imagine you are taking a PADI course, and you have problems with Skill A. Well, according to PADI standards, Skill B cannot be started until Skill A has been mastered.  If you continue to struggle with said skill, then the course starts to loose its fun factor, you stop enjoying it, your confidence goes down, and that sucks.

With SDI’s proven methods, your instructor can move on and come back to that particular struggle area at a later time, making you feel more comfortable, less stressed – ultimately more safe and in control in the water at any given time, which greatly increases the level of fun and enjoyment.

In Playa del Carmen, currents can sometimes reverse, pick up or die down, so it is important for us to be able to be flexible when conducting our training dives.

SDI started from technical diving:

SDI is the sister agency of TDI (Technical Diving International). This means that it was created following the strict protocols and procedures needed for conducting advanced technical dives. While we don’t expect you to become a technical diver right away, we will train you with the hopes that some day you will and a solid foundation.

Instant Certification E-Card:

With SDI, besides you getting a physical card in the mail, you will be able to download your electronic card free of charge. This means that although the card might take a few weeks to get to you, you will have the card in your phone ready to go. Also, in the event of you losing your card, you do not have to worry. You have it in your phone. You can dive anywhere in the world, even if the next dive center you choose is only offering PADI courses. PADI actually charges you over US$20 for an electronic version of your card.

The benefits of chosing PADI over SDI?

Well, that one is really up to you.

Let’s go over the similarities once again…

Both are governed by the WRSTC – so PADI & SDI have quality of training and safety – check!

Both offer the same format – videos, theory, knowledge reviews, confined water training, open water training, exam – check!

Both have been around for over 20 years – professional and have longevity – Oops I missed that, well, here you have it!

DID YOU KNOW?

You can even move between certification agencies, do your Open Water with SDI and then switch to PADI for your Advanced course, all the way up to professional Instructor level. Keep in mind that through SDI, to earn the level of “Advanced Diver” you must have 25 dives and 4 specialty ratings (only 1 of them can be a specialty that doesn’t require dives – such as Equipment Specialist). With this, you can actually call yourself an “Advanced Diver”, whereas with PADI, the Advanced Open Water Diver rating is achieved after completing 5 dives (deep and navigation are compulsory) in the course. In SDI, we call that “Advanced Adventure Diver”.

SDI Scuba Diving Courses

Conclusion:

Which is better PADI or SDI?

Well, honestly when it boils down to it, it’s your decision. There’s no difference in training quality, world wide recognition or experience level.

We always recommend  that you make your choice based on the instructor rather than the agency. Pick the dive center you feel most comfortable with, the one who you have connected most with. The one that is the most informative, the one that doesn’t ‘bash’ the competition based on a negative, mostly uninformed, fictional view of  other certification agencies.

To reiterate, at Beyond Diving we can teach both PADI and SDI courses, we just prefer SDI based mainly on the flexibility allowed and in the agency’s roots in technical diving.

 

Similarities

Internationally Recognized – Dive anywhere in the world

Interchangeable – you can get certified as an Open Water Scuba Diver with SDI, then Advanced Open Water Diver with PADI. Or even better, stay and progress with SDI.

Safety – Science, Skills and Techniques are essentially the same

Insurance – if your insurance covers scuba diving, you’re covered!

Theory (AKA book learning)–

SDI: E-Learning or Manual.

PADI: E-Learning or Manual.

 

Differences

Water Flexibility and Skills –

SDI: Yes. The instructor can adapt the course to fit the pace of learning, ensuring a student focused training program. Students are taught to always maintain neutral buoyancy and horizontal trim. The courses are taught with the use of dive computers.

PADI: None. Skills performed in rigid sequence with no wiggle room for changing water conditions or student learning pace.  Neutral buoyancy and trim are generally not introduced into the course until it is well on its way. If you do change, you break standards. If you teach more than what is required in the course, you break standards.  Courses are still taught using dive tables only, adding unneeded complexity and [in my opinion] antiquated materials in the age of dive computers.

Certification Cards –

SDI:  Sent to your home (physical card), and free electronic card to keep in your mobile devices.

PADI: Sent to your home, 90 day temporary card issued, extra charge for electronic card.

e-Learning –

SDI: Yes. And if you get stuck along the way, they have a nifty “Chat with an Instructor” button which will connect you to one of the instructors at HQ to answer your questions. The transcript of the chat is then emailed to us so that we may follow up with you.

PADI: Yes. However, if you get stuck, you might have to wait hours before you get a reply from your instructor to answer the questions you may have.

 

 

Ultimately, the decision  of taking a PADI or an SDI course is yours.  If you train with Beyond Diving, you will get a course that is second-to-none. Regardless of the agency.  It is very commonly said that the instructor, rather than the agency make the difference, however, we truly believe that the right instructor coupled with the most advanced and best method of teaching can and do make a gigantic difference in your training and future enjoyment as a certified scuba diver.