Southern Maryland Divers, llc
We limit our class sizes to 6 students to ensure you get the quality training and experience you are paying for. If a class runs over 6 students, we bring in another instructor and hold a 2nd class. Often, shops run large classes of Open Water students. This results in "rushed" training and the students are the ones who suffer. This is especially true during the Open Water "Checkout" dives. Each "Checkout" dive will consist of a set of skills that must be performed by each student. When there are 12 students to rotate through the skills, by the time each student is done, it's often time to head back due to air pressure. With a maximum of 6 students in our classes, we get through the skills and then head off for a tour dive. This is where you REALLY learn to dive. Buoyancy is one of the hardest skills to master but it's one of the most important as well. You won't master that on a platform in the quarry, but you certainly will while diving around on a tour.
Southern Maryland Divers prides ourselves in quality training by highly qualified instructors. All of our instructors not only teach SCUBA on a routine basis, but they are also ACTIVE divers. This is very important when it comes to your training. Be wary of "Quarry Instructors" who only dive when they teach at the local quarry. They often leave out important experiences, "life lessons", that they have never experienced because they only teach open water at a local quarry. Our instructors bring all of that experience to your class, often referencing real life situations they have experienced during dives outside of instruction in the local quarry. Several of our instructors are also active technical divers and technical instructors. This added experience and training can bring a lot to a class.
While certainly not the industry "norm", Southern Maryland Divers provides an ALL INCLUSIVE experience. With exception of your personal gear (mask, snorkel, fin booties, and fins), you won't spend a single cent more on your certification class. Owner Paul Lenharr got suckered into his Open Water class with a "$195.00" Open Water advertisement. Little did he know, that was ONLY for the academic and pool work. Everything else required for the course was tacked on after he had signed up for the class. The end result was a tab that ran well over $600 to get certified. That bad experience led to our ALL INCLUSIVE approach to Open Water Training.
Don't get misled by a low course fee. Make sure to ask exactly how much the ENTIRE course is going to cost from start to finish. Other shops often tack on pool fee's, gear rental, air fills, quarry entry fee's, books, certification card fee's and much more. Don't get caught off guard paying more than you have to.