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Rec Dive in Hawaii

I am going to Hawaii with my son. I want to know of the adviseability of renting dive equipment for the two of us for recreational dive in Hawaii. I was thinking of instructing my son in the basics and restricting our dive to two atmospheres just for the start. He is a good swimmer with no dive experience. I have been certified with two cards and three open water dives. Is it vital to get instruction before our  trip ? Can we trust the rental equipment and tanks at rental shops ?
My last dive was in Hawaii; the equipment and inflatable vest worked well.
Finally, remind me of your gearing up process: what equipment goes on first and what is the last to put on?
Your thoughts please.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your question regarding the training of your son and the advisability of renting gear in Hawaii.

Renting gear from a well-maintained dive shop should not pose any undue risks for you.  I would ask to inspect the gear you're proposing to rent.  Check the regulator for things such as damaged mouthpieces, frayed hoses (especially at the ends) and check the first stage inlet filter for signs of corrosion.  Check the BC for loose stitching, leaks, missing straps and check the low pressure inflator for ease of operation and signs of corrosion.  The BC checks can be done by simply inflating the BC completely and checking each of the features for ease of operation.  If any of the above arouse your suspicion, I'd find another dive shop.

Gearing up consists of first putting the BC on the tank, then attaching the regulator.  Next put on your wetsuit, followed by your weightbelt.  Don the assembled scuba unit and then your mask.  The fins should be last.  

Most shops will insist on seeing a certification card for each set of dive gear rented so you may run into trouble if you attempt to rent two sets of gear with a single certification card.

Jim, I'm very concerned about the prospect of you training your son.  I've never met you so I cannot judge your instructional abilities.  However, the question you posed about the proper gearing up process leads me to question the safety of providing instuction to a new diver.  You indicated that you've only got three open water dives and that also tells me that you really need to concentrate on your own skill development.  While diving isn't difficult, there are a number of things which could result in serious injury if not properly handled.  I'm not sure you want to take that sort of risk.  After all, it's too late to ask questions when you're 60 feet under the water.

My suggestion on dive instruction for your son would be to enroll him in a class and complete the certification prior to your trip.  That way, you can both enjoy the underwater experience in Hawaii without unnecessary safety concerns.  Your son will receive a temporary certification card immediately upon completion of the course and can dive with it immediately.  Many schools (mine included) welcome certified divers to accompany their children in our classes.  It serves as a review for the diver and also provides an opportunity to set up families as buddy teams from the start.  Each of you will then be using the same pool of knowledge for your dives and it makes the diving experience much more pleasurable for both of you.

Jim, I hope this provides the information you needed to make an informed decision on the items you presented.

Best Wishes and Happy Diving!!

Mike Giles
Mike's Dive Center

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