Why are Living Seas courses so expensive?

At face value, the Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses offered at Living Seas are more expensive than other dive shops.

We are priced higher for a number of reasons, and we encourage you to read on and decide for yourself whether the extra you pay is worthwhile.

1. We teach a longer course
We conduct our Open Water course over four days instead of the typical three. This includes two days for a theory lesson and a pool practice (confined water dive) session , followed by another two days of ocean (open water) dives.

Our Advanced Open Water (AOW) course includes a theory class and a pool session on top of two days of diving. For certification bodies like PADI, the AOW course requires the student to complete five leisure dives with the instructor. This is typically done over two days, and the e-learning component is done in the student’s own time.

Between the ocean dives, Living Seas instructors take time to introduce and discuss concepts that would be relevant when you proceed to do leisure dives in the future on your own. We believe in preparing our students well and ensuring you are real divers, not just people who can do drills underwater.

2. We teach face-to-face, not online
You get more time learning with an instructor by your side, as opposed to doing much of your learning online by yourself. In our classroom, you’re able to ask questions, get feedback, and work through difficult concepts with your classmates and instructor.

Our instructors are also trained to guide students through the material, instead of just delivering what’s in the textbook. We think it’s important that our students truly understand what we teach, and be able to tease out the connecting threads between different concepts.

Diving is ultimately a sport, so practical training gets special emphasis. After our students understand the theoretical basis of concepts like buoyancy, we systematically guide our students through drills with thorough explanations of good diving practices.

We do not adopt a traditional “Just do as I say” method of instruction, and we don’t think it’s something that anyone should stand for these days.

3. We keep classes small
Our student to instructor ratio is always kept low—no more than four students are assigned to one instructor for any in-water activity. Safety is our priority, and keeping classes small means our students get more focused attention from our instructor.

With fewer students to supervise, your instructor is more likely to catch and correct your mistakes as you make them. With timely feedback, you’ll learn faster and more effectively. You also spend less time waiting, whether it’s for the other students to complete their drills or for your instructor to check your gear one by one.

Learn well during the pool session and you’ll have more time during the open water dives to swim around, get comfortable in your gear, and hone your diving skills.

This is Elaine who learnt how to dive in early 2016. Although this video shows her third-ever dive, she looks comfortable and controls her position well.

4. We include your hotel stay
Our Living Seas Open Water course package includes theory and practical lessons, gear rental and your hotel accommodation. The hotels we partner offer comfortable stays and decent amenities. If you opt to take the course in Bali, the hotel is also where our Indonesian office is based. The hotel pool spans 100-plus metres and is four metres deep. As it’s a big pool, you’ll have more opportunity to swim around and gain more experience before diving in open water. In Bali, no traveling is required on the days the course is conducted. Your room, the classroom, pool and restaurant are less than two minutes away from one another.

For courses based out of Singapore, we’ve also chosen a hotel partner that offers us the best logistics in terms of diving, accommodation and transfers. Who wants to go on a trip where more time is wasted on traveling than diving? Rimba Resort on Sibu Island is our base of choice as it allows for smoother transfers, a more relaxed schedule and a more comfortable stay.

5. We don’t upsell
As an ethical business, Living Seas believes in fair pricing. We do not support the practice of using open water courses as loss leaders. We would rather focus our attention on teaching our students to dive well, than on our bottom line.

Your learning is our priority
We believe that learning has to come first. We go the distance to make sure you have ample time, space and practice as well as comfortable accommodation, so you are less stressed and more focused on learning to dive safely.

It’s our commitment at Living Seas to make sure that you get the best learning, in the best way and format possible.

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

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