Choosing a Dive Shop

As new divers it’s important that you are aware of your safety while diving.  Although diving as a sport is safe in itself there are rules and standards that are set in order to protect you from getting hurt.  You need to be trained on these issues and the PADI / SSI / and NAUI along with some others all have a training course that you must go through to become certified to dive.  BE sure to check out all the dive shop options before you choose.  A free room and discounted course does not necessarily mean your safety is a number one priority.

In addition to the training standards that all instructors must adhere to, there are other things that you may want to consider while making your decision.

Things to Look For

Do they have a full tank of oxygen on the boat in case of emergency?

Do they have life jackets on the boat? Enough for all passengers? Do they have flares?

Do they have a means of communication on the boat? (Vhf in case phone does not have signal)

Are the tanks (both emergency oxygen and air tanks used to dive with) within the hydrostatic testing safety regulations? Both Air tanks and Oxygen tanks need to be hydro tested every 5 years.

Is the dive shop a charging the $2/day Chamber Fee? The Chamber fee’s go to the staffing of a Physician, the maintenance, upkeep, and improvements for the Hyperbaric Chamber so, in the event of an emergency, you will be well taken care of.

Are they supporters of the Utila Hyperbaric Chamber? (You can find this out by looking on the home page of the Chamber website which will tell you if they are active members or not.

Do they have an emergency plan? If so find out what it is.

Do They Have Their Air Tested?

Check to see if they have their air tested quarterly. This is a safety precaution that every dive shop should be doing to safe guard their clients from getting sick from bad air.  You can find this out by asking if they have a certification document from the company they do their air check with. (Tri Air is just one air testing company and is based out of Texas)  Below is the certificate that is kept up to date for the Chamber.


College of Diving


Manager:   Asa Croak

Phone:       +504 2425-3291



Underwater Vision


Manager: Tamara Cooper

Phone:     +504 2425-3103



Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center


Program Manager: Abi Smith

Phone:     +504 2425-3760



Utopia Village


Manager:  Paul Avenant

Phone:     (513) 333-1684 (USA)



Utila Lodge


Manager:  Marley Howell

Phone:      +504 2425-3143




Utila Dive Center


Manager:   Manny Lagos

Phone:       +504 2425-3126