At the Water's Edge, Inc.

Last Updated: 1/26/2011

Time to have Visuals, Hydros, and Inspections done.


Contact Prof SCUBA

Dear Professor SCUBA

I just did my first Night Dive.  It was so different from a daytime dive!  In fact it was fantastic.  I want to do more!  What was your best Night Dive?

Ted C

Dear Ted:

For some of us, every dive is the best - until the next one.  That makes it hard to answer your kind of question.  That said, there was one night dive ( part of an Advanced Diver course) that has to be among the most memorable.  It was in Jamestown, RI, at Fort Wetherill.  The water was calm and unusually clear, and the students performed admirably.  The stars were bright and there was no moon.  Then, as we reached shore the town of Newport set off their fireworks.  We told everyone that it was being done in honor of the students performance!



Dear Professor SCUBA

I was told to treat my scuba tanks as if they were made of glass.  Why?


Dear TL

SCUBA tanks are made of thick aluminum or steel.  Most people think they should be bombproof, and treat them as if they were.  If only it were true.  Allowing tanks to slide around in the back of a pickup truck, or in the trunk of a car can result in a condemned tank.  Dents, gouges and dings may cause enough damage to require a tank be removed from service.  I just had to tell a customer that the approximately 1" x 1" x 0.07" gouge in his year old tank turned it into a large paperweight.  He was not happy!  Please prevent your tanks from sliding about or being dropped.


Dear Professor SCUBA

Where is your favorite dive location?


Dear JD

That is a hard question to answer.  I could say every one is my favorite, just because I love to dive.  There are many different favorites - for different reasons.  Rockport has Northern scenery and lobsters.  Salem is great for scallops (but a lot of mud).  The Keys have the advantage of warm, beautiful and reasonably convenient.  I truly love Bonaire, even though it is inconvenient, moderately expensive and a long, long way away. 


Dear Professor SCUBA

How much does it cost to become a SCUBA diver?

Peter M


Dear Pete:

I came across this comparison on the web.  It should give you a feel for the expense and the value:

Compared to other popular adventure sports and outdoor activities, learning to scuba dive isnít expensive. Once you get certified and buy the gear you need, all you have to do is find water.

For example, you can expect to pay about the same as you would for:

 ● a full day of surfing lessons

 ● a weekend of rock climbing lessons

 ● a full day of surfing lessons

 ● a weekend of kayaking lessons

 ● a weekend of fly-fishing lessons

  ● a full day of surfing lessons

  ● about three hours of private golf lessons

  ● about three hours of private water skiing lessons

   one amazing night out at the pub!


Dear Professor SCUBA

I heard that commercial divers make a great deal of money for doing what they love - diving.  How do I join them, what do I need to know?

John R.

Dear John:

Well, they do not make a lot of money for diving.  They make their money for doing things, while diving.  Usually the diving is cold, dark and dangerous.  They often are called to travel to remote locations with little notice, and are expected to go.  You must be healthy, in good physical shape and it helps to be young.  If you are still interested, master some useful skills like Emergency Medical Technician, Welding, Non-destructive materials testing - things that take time to learn properly.  Take SCUBA class, and then attend a Commercial Diving School.  There are several, around the country (there are some links on our "Dive Links" page).  Remember, it is far easier for them to teach a welder, how to dive, than a diver, how to weld.  If you decide to go, drop me a postcard from time to time about your travels.  P.S.

Dear Professor SCUBA

Why does air cost so much at the shop?  Isn't it free?

Tim C.

Dear Tim:

Unfortunately, its not free.  There are many factors that tend to drive u p the cost.  Here are a few that I found on the web:  In 1980 the price of a first-class stamp was 15 cents.  Today it's 42 cents.  Gas was $1.13.  You know what that is today.  A dozen eggs in 1980 cost 80 cents and today it's $1.40.  Electricity/500 kWh was 27 cents in 1980 compared with 51 cents today.  The price of apples, bacon and bread has almost doubled.  Incomes have also climbed; otherwise we would all be much poorer paying so much in higher prices (everywhere).  Twenty-five years ago a customer who wanted to go dive could fill his tanks for $3 to $5, and he can fill them for $5 today.  Considering inflation, the cost of air has gone way down.  That seems odd when you consider a few things:  First, the cost of filling tanks in most operations exceeds the income, so from a business standpoint the price probably should be higher.  Next, air is a necessity; it is the gas of life that allows people to dive, and they can't dive without it; they have to pay the going price.  Also, it cannot be purchased anywhere else.  Finally, $5 is a cheap price of admission compared with practically any other activity that you can think of. It just isn't that much money to consumers today.  Everyone who is buying air would still buy air if air cost a few dollars more, and the folks who sell the air would be better able to keep providing it.  Remember also, there is the cost of  owning, operating and maintaining his compressor, budgeting for repairs, the percentage of rent allocated to the air fill area, payroll, training and so forth.  Even  $7 or $8 per fill, would still be below the rate of inflation, so AIR IS A BARGAIN!.  P.S.

Dear Professor SCUBA:

My girlfriend wants to take SCUBA classes, but I am not sure that I want to.  It seems intimidating to me.

Peter L.

Dear Pete:

This is a decision that only you can make.  You need more information to make a good decision for you.  Stop in the store and have a chat with us, about the process, training, marine life and equipment.  There are videos of many divers having fun underwater.  Finally, you can try a SCUBA Experience where you try it out, in a pool.  It takes about two hours, half in a class, and half (the short half) in the pool.  I hope that you will want to join us underwater.  P.S.

Dear Professor SCUBA:

I would like to dive on a shipwreck.  What do I need to know?

Adriane J.

Dear Adriane:

The simple answer is a lot!  First, what kind of wreck?  A modern steel ship is very different than a Spanish galleon - the galleon is likely to be a pile of ballast stones, rusting cannon and maybe a pile of gold.  Second, how deep?  That will restrict your time and type of equipment needed.  Third, how experienced are you?  You need perfect control of your buoyancy, to be relaxed and aware of your surroundings, and equipped for the conditions - lights, ascent line, even multiple tanks.  Fourth, you need to know yourself.  Are you interested in this because you love risk (bad choice) or because you want to expand your horizons (good choice).  Finally, if you are considering entering a wreck, you NEED to be trained to do it safely.  Wrecks are places where there is no leeway for error.  P.S.

Dear Professor SCUBA:

What do you recommend for a new regulator?

Jerry Z.

Dear Jerry:

That is a hard question to answer.  Have you done any research; looked in catalogs; visited dive shops?  What features are important to you?  Remember to think about the octopus and gauges or computer, also.  Which regulator lines are available at your local shops?  How much spare cash are you willing to spend?  If you wanted, it would be easy to spend over $2500 on a titanium setup.  You do not need to do that!  There are perfectly fine setups for less than 1/4 of that.  Since you already have a regulator setup, you could save a  lot by transferring  your octo and computer from to old to the new.  Now answer those questions and you will have a framework for making a good decision.  P.S.

Dear Professor SCUBA:

I do not want to "rust" over the cold season.  How do I remain "Sharp"?

Tom M.

Dear Tom:

Good attitude.  To many people think that once they are certified, they will always remain in shape, and remember everything.  That is not how the world works.  For starters exercise,  swimming with fins is best, but anything that keeps up your aerobic capacity is good - bicycling (stationary or real), running if you do not have to contend with ice or very cold air, skiing (mountain or downhill).  Do what you like, and you will do more of it.  Second, take an advanced course.  You probably have a nearby dive shop where you can take an Advanced class, Rescue, U-W Photography, Master diver or other class.  Beyond that, how about learning how to handle a small boat properly.  In spite of what advertisements show, a boat is not a car that floats.  Even if you do not own a boat, its good to know what to do if you ever help someone else on their boat.  P.S.


Dear Professor SCUBA:

I went out to the garage and noticed that my wetsuit had been nibbled on by mice.  Can it be fixed?

Billy F.

Dear Bill:

Probably.  It all depends upon the amount of damage.  Isn't it amazing what those critters decide is tasty?  How old is the suit, and how much diving did you do with it?  That condition will help you decide what you will do.  If the damage is extensive, you may be in the market for a new suit.  Bring it in for our opinion.  SCUBA gear should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from the oil burner (ozone producer), BUT it also needs protection from our four-legged (friends?).  P.S.

Dear Professor SCUBA:

When is a good time to start my sister in SCUBA classes?

Joseph L.

Dear Joe:

SCUBA classes, in a pool go on year round.  Checkout dives, at the end can be done here (Note: Its still possible to dive in New England, though we would wait till the last minute checking the weather reports for a couple of good days); or they can be done at some tropical resort, with a student referral; or they can wait until Spring.  I have had students choose from all three of the options.  The biggest problem people have is DECIDING TO START.  Former students often return the next year and complain: "Why didn't anyone tell me it was so easy and so much fun?"  If she is willing, run, not walk to the nearest class and sign up!  P.S.

Dear Professor SCUBA:

I need help in choosing a SCUBA class.  There are three local dive shops here; which one is best?

Thomas G.

Dear Tom:

The easy answer is: " Our store."  But that may not be true for YOU.  Visit the stores, and talk to the people there - employees and customers - ask questions, seek opinions and advice.  Do you feel welcome; a part of the group - or do you feel ignored?  Which place would you like to be spending time at?  One caution though, Thursday or Friday evenings, while they are trying to outfit a class for their checkout dives is not the best time to seek individual attention.    PS.


Dear Professor SCUBA:

My brother doesn't SCUBA dive any more and I want to learn.  He will give me his tanks.  What do I need to know about them?

Ann T.

Dear Ann: 

Question #1 is why did your brother stop doing something so much fun and so good for him?  That aside, is there still air in the tanks?  Yes, is good, because air pressure keeps out water vapor which induces corrosion.  Next, tanks need to be visually inspected every year for problems and every five years they need to be pressure tested.  That means overfilled to see if the tanks can safely hold the pressure.  Your local dive shop should be able to do these tests for you, or to send them out for you.  Its good to see that someone in your family is brilliant.  I'll be looking for you underwater!    PS.


Dear Professor SCUBA:

I have been diving for several years and want to get a Dry Suit.  There are a lot of brands and styles and the prices seem high.  How do I make a good choice?

Mark S.

Dear Mark:

You made a good start by asking questions.  Drysuits are not for novices.  Novices do not yet know if they truly love diving.  It is a big investment - one best chosen after you answer that question.  Lets start with price.  A wetsuit will last an avid diver for 2 - 4 years.  I got cold in my two-year old wetsuit and froze when it reached three.  A new one will be $300 - $500.  My current drysuit is 23 years old.  Drysuit prices range from about $1000 to about $3000.  So, price is not the most important criterion.  Which brands are available at your local store?  Get some opinions from people who use them.  Bert loves his Seasoft suit, I prefer my DUI compressed neoprene.  Read some comparisons (see Links page for starters).  In other words, do some research.  You need to match your type of diving to the suit you choose.  Trilaminate suits tend to slide on and off easiest, but create a lot of drag.  Neoprene foam suits may not need heavy underwear for much of the year, since the fabric insulates well (like a wetsuit).  Viking suits are highly recommended for people who dive in polluted waters, since very little sticks to the rubber fabric.  Compressed neoprene tend to be the most streamlined (and most expensive).  Take a few months to decide.  When you do, please have an Instructor help you to learn to use it properly.  It is a whole new world of buoyancy control and ,......being warm is sooo nice!  P.S.


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