Sound Aquatics, LLC
20419 73rd Place NE
Kenmore, WA 98028
425-241-1113

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose a Scuba Instructor?

Unfortunately all dive training is not equal. I have had the both the pleasure and misfortune of working with and learning from scuba instructors on both ends of the spectrum. Choosing a scuba instructor is the most critical aspect of dive training. The cold fact is; the dive industry is a business. It should be compared to buying a home. The knowledge and skill you gain will last you a lifetime.

One of the problems faced with choosing an instructor is whose advice you should listen to. While asking friends, family and the local diving community can be helpful, it is important to note that no one knows what you want better than you. Listen to any advice you receive, but always investigate for yourself.

When looking for a dive instructor the most important thing to remember is to compare “apples to apple” not “apples to lemons”.

Interview the Instructor.

The first step in finding a quality Instructor is to ask questions.

Ask the instructor for a resume.

This will give you some idea of their training background and experience they possess.

Is the Instructor licensed and insured by a major diving certification association?

Although the quality of instructor is much more important than the training agency you select, this may still factor into your decision for continuing education. Some major agencies will accept training from other major agencies; other will not. For example a NAUI technical instructor can accept training from other technical training agencies after a screening process. Other agencies such as Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) will only accept students that have progressed though their training process.

Ask the instructor about their teaching philosophy.

One of the most important aspects of dive training is to become a diver that can think for their self. Throughout you diving adventures you will be faced will many challenges. Having the tools to make sound decisions will make a big difference in your diving experiences. Everything you bring or do underwater should have meaning to you. Do not blindly trust every piece of information you receive. Ask questions and make informed decisions.

Ask the instructor to describe the scope of the training they will provide you.

They should be able to describe the day by day activities involved in their course.

Ask the instructor about the training sites you will be diving in.

This will give you some idea of the experience you will encounter in you course.

Ask the instructor what kind of diving they do for fun.

Greater diversity means experience. It also means they more likely have encountered a broader range of challenges, experiences, and a vast variety of troubleshooting solutions. You will benefit from an instructor with a wide variety of experience.

In the end you need to be able to answer these three questions for yourself.

Does the scuba Instructor seem to communicate well and explain scuba concepts in a way you can easily understand?

Does the Instructor have a passion for the sport?

Does the Instructor have significant experience?

If the answer is yes, you will most likely receive a quality education and a pleasurable diving experience.

Why choose Sound Aquatics for your scuba training?

Instructor to Student Ratio

Working in the field of secondary education for the past 12 years has shown us the value of having a low student to instructor ratio. None of our normal classes have more than three students in the water at any time. On rare occasions, when approached by a larger group or family, we know several other quality instructors that are willing work with our classes to insure the integrity of the course.

Schedule Flexibility

When choosing an instructor it is very important to consider the course schedule. In today’s work force find the time to purse the activities we find enjoyable can be very difficult.

We will run a private course for you if you desire. While obviously more expensive than group courses, they’re often very cost-efficient, considering the fact that those courses fit around YOUR schedule.

Course Costs

The urge to save a buck wherever possible is human nature. Unfortunately this is often the only factor that is considered in selecting an instructor. Skimping on the costs of dive training too often leads to unpleasant experiences underwater. Expenses should be one the least important factors in selecting your Instructor. We are confident however, that when you compare our course to others in the area, you will get higher quality training, at a competitive price. No other dive facility can match the time we spend mentoring our students both during and AFTER our courses.

Some classes initially look like a bargain, but when taking into account additional expenses for class materials, certification cards, pool fees, breathing gas mixtures, dive charter fees and instructor costs, the actual course costs could be much higher than originally expected.

Continuing Education

We can provide continuing education, such as advanced certifications, specialty classes, professional (Divemaster and Instructor) courses, and technical dive training?

If you decide to continue your scuba education further and you received a pleasurable and knowledgeable experience, it is a nice addition to have the option of continuing your training with someone you feel comfortable with.

Making the decision to become a certified scuba diver is a big decision; one that also requires a major investment in time and recourses.

Please take your time to select the right Instructor for you!

What differentiates Sound Aquatics from other training?
  • Courses emphasize organized Team Diving
  • Continual mentoring process
  • Highest standards in the industry
  • BS and MA in education and curriculum development
  • Active in the local dive community
  • Classes are videotaped and reviewed
  • Free evaluations between training progression
Is scuba diving expensive?

You can usually obtain entry level certification and basic equipment (e.g., mask, fins, snorkel, boots, and gloves) for less than $500. After you are certified, you can rent equipment for about the same price as a ski lift ticket or a round of golf. However, most people who make the investment to purchase their own equipment find they dive more often. Technical diving involves a substantial financial investment in both training and equipment. Purchasing modular equipment (e.g., back plate and wing) will ease the cost of transitioning from recreational to technical diving.

Isn’t all training similar? Why is there such a wide range in course pricing from different facilities?

The urge to save a buck wherever possible is human nature. Unfortunately this is often the only factor that is considered in selecting an instructor. Skimping on the costs of dive training too often leads to unpleasant experiences underwater. Expense should be one the least important factors in selecting your Instructor. We are confident however, that when you compare our course to others in the area, you will get higher quality training, at a competitive price. No other dive facility can match the time we spend mentoring our students both during and AFTER our courses.

Some classes initially look like a bargain, but when taking into account additional expenses for class materials, certification cards, pool fees, breathing gas mixtures, dive charter fees and instructor costs, the actual course costs could be much higher than originally expected.

Do you do fun dives with students?

Yes. I regularly dive two to three times a week. These dives range from shallow recreational dives to deep technical dives. Students are welcome to join me on any dive at their current certification level. Often current and former students join me on such dives.

Why would I want technical dive training?

People seek technical dive training for a multitude of reasons, including:

  • Extending bottom time
  • Diving sites that are beyond recreational depths
  • Reducing nitrogen narcosis;
  • Using a variety of gas mixtures to accelerate decompression obligations;
  • Exploring internal and external wrecks; and
  • Observing aquatic life that only lives at deeper depths.
When should I move to the next Stage of training?

You should consider moving to the next level of training once you have explored the majority of dive sites at your current certification level. If you find yourself visiting dive sites repetitively it is most likely time to expand your training.

What is a DPV?

A DPV or scooter is both a dive tool and toy. It has been used by divers for years to overcome flow (current) in underwater cave systems so that exploration could go beyond normal swimming distances. Today scooters are used for a variety of reasons. They are used in locations that are current sensitive. They are also used to visit dive sites offshore. Further, they are used to get to a dive site more quickly so that you can spend more time at the dive site. Finally, scooters are used because they are fast and fun.

Why would I need special training to dive a Wreck?

There are many hazards associated with wreck diving. Even when exploring the exterior of a wreck, there may be dangers including entanglement hazards or sharp objects. Wreck penetration requires additional training and protocols to avoid potential hazards such as buddy separation, equipment failure, and navigation difficulties.

Am I ready for technical dive training?

We are happy to provide a free evaluation to help you determine which stage of Sound Aquatics dive training best suites your needs. Typically students wishing to pursue technical dive training should have a streamlined equipment configuration, solid buoyancy skills, a strong sense of underwater awareness, calm demeanor underwater, and a willingness to learn new ideas.

Why do you combine your classes into stages?

Different areas of the world present different diving conditions. The Pacific Northwest presents some of the most challenging dive conditions in the world. Sometimes individual classes do not adequately prepare a student for the environment that they will be exposed to. We combine classes into stages to prepare our students for the demanding conditions that they will experience diving in the Pacific Northwest. We have found that this methodology provides our students with the comfort, confidence, and the tools they need to safely execute dives in this area. As such, we find that our students are able to properly execute dives increasing both safety and enjoyment.

I did not start my training with Sound Aquatics. Do I have to start at the beginning?

No. We will be happy to do a free evaluation dive with you to determine what stage of training would best suite your needs.