4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

When you can’t get to the ocean, and you need to dive to keep your skills sharp, work on skills, test out new gear, or just get another dive in the log; here are some alternatives. From free to pretty expensive; there are options for sneaking in a dive even if you are far from the coast.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh
Is this a tank or a pool?

Pools

Ok, getting desperate now? Finding a pool with a depth of 10 feet might be difficult. Check your local YMCA, dive shops, and dive clubs. Keep asking around for a location that is Scuba-friendly. Or, find a friend, hotel, apartment or condominium complex and ask permission to dive.

Don’t discount the practice involved in gathering all your gear, assembling it on location, donning it, then even a short dive to practice breathing and buoyancy control. Any practice is probably better than no practice.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

The pool above is at Quiescence Diving Services in Key Largo. It is unusual, but I suppose counts as a pool – or a tank! The pool below is in Havana, Cuba at the Packard Hotel. We stayed at an Airbnb in the yellow building across.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

In a pool, the ability to test out new gear is valuable. Be careful of concrete surfaces that chew up your bathing or wet suit. Also mind the bottom – no practicing weight belt drops on tile, and careful with your tank for don/doff practice.

Heavily chlorinated and salt-based pools both necessitate a good, thorough fresh water rinse of your gear.

How about the homeowner who didn’t want to have to travel to practice in a pool, so he built a $2 million Scuba diving pool on his property!

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

Quarry Dives

For work on cold, stress, and lack of visibility, or just for testing out new gear or keeping refreshed, quarries are an increasingly popular option.

Many are being cleaned out, then redesigned specifically for diving. With the possibility of plenty of silt, it’s an excellent inspiration to master buoyancy control.

Subsea has a good beginning guide to the why and how of quarry diving. Also, Dive Training offers an article about the evolution of quarry diving, and an intro to the specific challenges of diving these often very cold locations.

A quick search for “Florida Quarry Diving” yielded the following:

“I know of one in Okahumpka Fl. , the family lets me dive out there any time I want. It looks beautiful from the surface, you can stand on the edge of the cliff and see the bottom perfectly (about 20′ deep at that point) . But in actuality it’s only about 25 ft vis on a good day and only 40′ max depth. There are a couple of boats on the bottom that would be great for lift bagging, but other than that just old beer bottles and spent shotgun shells.”

Apparently they are more popular in the Midwest, but worth searching “my state… quarry diving” to see what results you find. I’ve read a lot about quarries cleaned out, then restocked with a virtual diving playground.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

Springs

Again, you might have to conduct a bit of a search for “spring diving in your state.” These semi-confined spaces allow for work at depth, buoyancy control, silt control, and sometimes you even get to see a fish or turtle!

The geological formations are often very interesting. With a guaranteed 72 degrees year-round, they are refreshing in the summer and warmer than the air in the winter.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

Here in Florida, we have plenty of options. I’ve tried them all, and never turn down the opportunity. While it may seem like the dive would be the same over and over, there are a couple ways to keep your interest.

For the first dive, travel in one direction. For the next dive; go the other way. It’s surprising how much more you will see on the second dive.

The other way to make it special is to simply enjoy the company of who you are diving with – take the opportunity to review hand signals, go over each other’s gear, and familiarize yourself with your and your partner’s new gear additions.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh
One of my favorites at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa.

Aquariums

No, silly, not your friend’s living room version – but the real, big, commercial aquariums.

Contact one near you, or near where you are traveling, and make a reservation. While it might seem odd to dive in such a pre-fab, simulated environment; what a great way to get up close and personal to sealife!

It’s still an opportunity to practice all your skills, and get to see some of whatever they have in their tank. At the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, I got to see not only sharks, but also adorable penguins!

This often is rather pricey, so be sure to have a friend go as well and get some really great photos of you diving from the other side of the glass.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

Extend the Trip Just a Bit

If you must travel over two hours to your non-ocean dive destination, or, leaving right after work the night before would extend your available daytime; consider extending your trip. Maybe you can sneak in three or four dives on both weekend days by staying locally.

To keep our dive costs down, one trick we use is to book through Airbnb. That not only allows us to stay overnight cheaper than a hotel; it also eliminates late-night noisy motel arrivals, wailing children, and other hotel/motel disturbances. Most likely your dive gear cleaning system will be a bit easier to accomplish at an Airbnb than at a hotel as well.

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

Airbnb – Make Your Trips “Off The Chain!”

Ok, so, here are two Airbnb discount codes. Try either one! The offerings from Airbnb change every couple months, so use whichever gives you the best deal. You can only use a code one time, so compare, choose whichever gives you the best deal since they change periodically, and make it count!

As of today, this one, Airbnb says, “Kimberly gave you up to $55 off your first trip.” Friends who sign up for Airbnb with my link will get $40 off their home booking. And they get $15 to use toward an experience worth $50 or more.

Also today, this one, Airbnb says, “Deep gave you up to $415 off your first adventure. I’m ready to book from this one right now! I’m thinking it’s a computer glitch – so jump on it fast!

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

Sunscreen and Mask De-Fog Safe for Water

Here’s an easy way to do your part in saving our oceans. No matter where you plan to dive, whatever you put on your body will eventually find it’s way into a waterway, river, lake, stream, or ocean. Do your research! Then order reef-safe mask defog, sunscreen and hair products at Stream2Sea.com, use my code “KimW” for 10% off. AD: affiliate links used. Stream2Sea Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 20 or Stream2Sea Tinted Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 20!

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

What to Read Next

What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

How We Cut Our Dive Gear Weight by 38 Pounds for Travel

Updated December 15, 2019

, 4 Places to Dive When You Can’t Get to the Ocean // Keeping Scuba Skills Fresh

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