By Kevin Stewart Padi Instructor# 188980
It’s time to take your dream dive trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and you after doing some research you know that you want to scuba dive the most on the Kona side of the Big Island as it offers some of the best overall diving in Hawaii. You have booked all of your incidentals for you stay on the Big island of Hawaii and now it’s time to decide which Kona Dive Shop you want to dive with. Like the rest of your dive trip planning choosing the right Kona Dive Shop for you is a very important one as a great dive shop really can make a difference as to whether or not you have a great dive trip. There are quite a few dive shops in Kona to choose from but all Dive Shops in Kona are not the same and offer more or less in terms of services and how they go about their diving operations. How to choose a dive shop that is right for you will depend on a lot of things both generally and personally so let’s go over some things you should consider.
First thing you should know when choosing a Kona Dive Shop is that not all dive operators in Kona Hawaii actually have a dive shop! In fact, there are way more dive operators who offer either boat or shore diving but do not actually have a physical dive shop or store which means they cannot offer you a full range of diving services you should expect and possibly need. Like any other business you choose to spend your hard-earned dollars on dive gear should offer you high quality service first and foremost so they should be able offer you more than just a dive! You should choose a dive shop near you that offer sales of high-quality dive gear in a large range of choices as you may have forgotten to bring something from home or you have decided you want to upgrade your gear but did not have time to do it before leaving and only a quality local dive shop near me can offer you these things. How about diving apparel, most divers want to get quality dive bling such as shirts, hats, possibly a sweat shirt for winter and a boat only operator cannot offer you the kind of selection that a Dive Shop in Kona can.
You should choose a Kona Dive Shop that can also service your dive gear if needed as not all of them have a service department. Your gear may have been working just fine before leaving home but you all of a sudden you have a free-flowing regulator or need a hose replaced and can a dive shop help you with these types of problems? If you cannot find someone to fix your gear on your dive trip you may have some real problems completing your dives unless you can rent some gear? This is why you should choose a dive shop in Kona that rents high quality gear. Does the dive shop offer rental gear that is not only well maintained but also changed out on a regular basis so as not to be worn out? Do they rent weight integrated BCDS which can be really important to a lot of divers who do not enjoy wearing a weight belt and will they rent gear you can take away from the shop for shore diving if you want as some dive operators may not?
When choosing a dive shop near you does it matter what dive certification agency they represent? Padi is the most common in Kona Hawaii but there are some others and if it matters to you then you should do some research and does the dive shop offer instruction such as Padi if that is what you’re looking for? A lot of Kona Dive Shops do not offer much in the way of certification courses above the open water course so if you want to do your “Deep Diver Specialty” course while on vacation then you will want to find a dive shop that offers you a wide range of quality instruction.
You should also choose a dive shop near you that offers you the type of diving you enjoy from either boat or shore as the Big Island of Hawaii has quite of few different dive sites to choose from for both. If boat diving is your thing do you have a preference as to what type of boat you most enjoy to dive from. Some divers enjoy a bigger boat with lots of room to move about on and a sturdy dive platform to giant stride from. The larger boats can also offer things like hot water showers and bathrooms and will take more divers on them so you can bring all your family and friends to dive with you. Or you may prefer a more intimate experience on a smaller boat that only takes six or less divers on it and is probably faster so as to be able to get you to farther away dive sites more quickly. Some dive shops only offer one type of boating experience and some have more than one type of boat to choose to dive from if you want a little of both? You will also want to choose a Kona Dive Shop that can offer more than just a standard two tank dive unless that is all you really want to do? Kona Hawaii is famous for “Manta Ray Night Dives” and has become one of the best places in the world to do what is called “Black Water Night Diving” which I would highly recommend! You should also choose a dive shop in Kona that has great dive guides to not only tell you about all the incredible sea life Kona Hawaii has to offer but actually be able to find it for you on your dives. You will know that you have chosen a great dive shop in Kona when you come back year after year and the same friendly and knowledgeable faces are still around which means the employees love the dive shop as much as you do!
You should book all of your diving needs with a full-service dive shop in Kona such as Kona Honu Divers who can meet all these expectations I have mentioned and many more!