LEARNING TO DIVE IN OUR LAKES
When you take a course through us, our goal is to provide you with the training you need to perform at or above the level required for the course you have registered for. As you take more advanced courses, this requires honesty on your part as well about your past experience, how long it has been since you've been in the water, and the conditions you have been diving in. Here are some commonly asked questions about courses, local diving, and how to take the plunge.
Training and Courses FAQ
I paid for my course, does this mean I am guaranteed a certification?
This is a great question, and there can be misconceptions surrounding it. When you book a course, you are registering and paying for training to get you to that level. Each course will have a number of classroom sessions, pool sessions, and/or dives to be completed to cover the course materials.
I am terribly nervous about certain parts of my course. What do I do?
It's ok, very few of us actually like the mask removal skill (that's the most popular one).
I'm taking my Advanced Open Water Course. I haven't been in the water in years. I don't remember anything. Help!
This is one we get a lot. The Advanced Open Water course is an amazing way to get back into diving, and a phenomenal way to transition from warm water diving to cold water diving.
I am taking my Open Water Course, but feel I can't keep up in the pool. What should I do?
The Open Water Course is SO exciting - it's your first step to learning to become a diver! It also means it can be a lot of information all at once. As everyone has a different learning style, sometimes the pace of learning this volume of material can be overwhelming.
I have physical limitations that may impact my ability to dive. Are there ways to accommodate those?
Absolutely! First thing's first - depending on your limitation, you may require a doctor to clear you to dive. We encourage you to have the conversation with them to ensure that diving is safe for you.
Local Diving FAQ
Ok. Just how cold are these lakes you speak of?
Ah, the biggest question of them all. Our local lakes vary in temperature depending on the time of year, water depth, weather, and water movement. Here are some general temperature ranges:
What is the visibility like?
Mountain lake visibility is notorious for being less-than-ideal, but that is a bit of a perception thing. Our lakes are very different than tropical oceans - they have a different bottom composition, which affects the suspended particles in the water, and thus - the visibility. In the tropics, you have sand which is a larger particle and settles quickly. In lakes, you have silt (which is a combination of eroded rock and soils), which is very fine - and does not settle quickly at all.
What is shore diving like?
Our diving in our lakes is primarily shore diving. This means you will bring your tanks and gear to the lake, get kitted up, and walk into the water. This takes a little practice, as cold water dive gear is heavier than tropical dive gear, and you do need to watch your footing. It's amazing practice for places like Bonaire, where shore diving is the primary way we dive.
I'm taking a course at a local lake. How do I pack my gear?
Great question! When we train divers, we train them to be responsible local divers - divers that can get their gear and head to a lake for a fun dive with minimal assistance.
What will I see in the lakes?
If you take the time and look closely - more than you think! Alberta's waterways are amazing, and actually have more life in them than you think. Our lakes are home to a variety of fish, vegetation, small critters (some lakes have crayfish and little snails), and a variety of lake habitat such as submerged trees and rocks. The Bow and Elbow are home to a number of fish species protected under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and sometimes, if you're lucky, you see one in the rivers! It's a treat!
What do you wear to dive in a lake?
Because of the water temperature, our standard issue kit is quite a bit different than tropical diving:
Are there special rules for diving in National Parks?
You might call them special - but they're really common sense items, and being a decent human:
Is there a permit required for diving in Waterton?
A watercraft permit is required when diving in Waterton - this is a self-inspection permit that you can complete at the lake, and is in place to reduce the transmission of invasive aquatic species such as zebra mussels and whirling disease. Forms are available at the park gate, Cameron Bay and Emerald Bay, and are available in a brown box mounted to the permanent 'Scuba Diving' sign. Just fill in the declaration, rip off the bottom portion, and deposit that portion into the box. Keep the top portion with your dive log, and have it ready to present in case you are asked. These self-inspection permits are free, and valid for one year from the date they're filled out.