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Oyster Diving | PADI Scuba Diving Blog

All the latest news about scuba diving, travel and PADI training courses from Oyster Diving.

The World’s 7 Most Unique Diving Locations

Here at Oyster Diving, we love discovering new dive locations. Diving in serene waters full of various fish and colourful corals never gets old. But sometimes, we like to discover diving locations that are a little further off the beaten track (so to speak). That’s why, we have decided to explore some of the most unique diving locations in the world. This article lists some of our favourites for you to explore! Read on to find out more.

Bonne Terre Mine, Missouri

Hidden in Missouri, Bonne Terre Mine is one of the most popular diving adventures in America and it’s easy to see why. Underwater pillars, archways and ceilings stretch for miles in all directions, mapping out this stunning submerged mine.

This stunning diving location originated in 1961 when nearly 100 years of mining ceased. The world’s largest lead mine was all mined out, the pumps were turned off and the water trickled in to fill the void. Fully submerged, this mine has year-round 100ft visibility and is one of the most unique diving locations in the world.

Silfra Fissure – Iceland

Have you ever thought about swimming between two continents? Well, that’s exactly what you can do at the Silfra Fissure in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park. The National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its geological uniqueness.

The unique landscape of the Silfra Fissure is caused by continental drift which causes the two continents to separate by a couple of centimetres a year. This diving location is also renowned for its crystal-clear waters, unlike anywhere else, that are the result of freezing glacier water which is filtered through lava fields for years before ending up in the lake. As a result, the lake has an abundance of fish species but they don’t usually venture far into the Silfra fissure. For a unique diving location, this is as good as it gets!

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The 7 Best Beginner Diving Areas in the World

Many people come to Oyster Diving seeking adventure and deep sea exploration. However, as of late, more and more people have approached us seeking lessons before they go off on their summer holidays, and one of the most common questions they ask after completing their course is, 'what are the best diving areas for beginners?'

This got me thinking about the best areas I could direct them to, as I could only name a few places off the top of my head, I thought I'd do some research into some of the best places around the world for diving beginners!

This takes into account, warm, clear water and a very low and if possible, non-existent current.

So, I've done some research and decided on my 7 best beginner diving areas!

 

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Diving Treasures: The 7 Biggest Finds

Diving Treasures: The 7 Biggest Finds

Diving discoveries and buried treasure are sure ways to get someone’s ears to perk up out of curiosity. Treasure hunting is always fun, regardless of what age you are, and some people make a living out of doing so. Some people spend most, if not all of their time hunting down treasure, and commonly find that they end up finding nothing but old boots or scrap metal. However, others who are simply having fun with a metal detector have dug up artefacts worth millions of pounds. I guess it’s both blind luck and knowing where to look!

So, today we’ll be looking at some of the most fascinating treasure finds underwater.

Frigate Mercedes – Atlantic Ocean

A sunken ship full of nearly 600,000 gold and silver coins was found at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean by a private treasure hunting company called Odyssey Marine. A priceless hoard of gold coins and hand-crafted golds chains were found inside the ship, which was called the Frigate Mercedes and became the centre of controversy when Spain claimed ownership over the gold. A legal battle ensued between Spain and Odyssey marine and lasted half a decade before the Spanish government prevailed. In 2015, Spain finally flew their 17-tonnes of priceless coins across the Atlantic.

Israeli Coin Hoard

Amateur divers were exploring an old sunken dock off the coast of Israel when they discovered 2,000 gold coins hidden in the seabed. The centuries old currency was miraculously unharmed by age or water damage! There is no current estimated monitory value of the coins, but they are considered extremely rare and valuable to historians. Even at the time of their minting in 900 A.D, they were considered a royal some of money.

Coin Hoard – Florida

Back in 2015, 60 rare gold artefacts were found in shipwreck in Florida. The ship was sailing from Cuba to Spain in 1715 and was meant to deliver a large payload of gold to the Spanish King Philip the Fifth. Though, it was destroyed in a hurricane off the coast of Florida. Professional scuba divers only had to dive 15ft to find the hoard, which is now valued at over £1 million pounds.

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Cheap Wetsuits: Top 5 Best Reviews

Cheap Wetsuits: Top 5 Best Reviews

Choosing a wetsuit boils down to more than just how it looks, or how cheap or expensive it is. Cheap wetsuits are usually poorly made and don’t stand the test of time, though you don’t want to go off and spend over £400 on a suit that isn’t tailored to your needs.

It can sometimes be a tricky process.

However, that’s why we’re here. At Oyster Diving, we understand the difficulties that come with picking and choosing diving gear. In fact, we’ve reviewed the best diving watches, cameras, the best places to dive in the Red Sea, shark diving the UK and even the most mysterious shipwrecks, because we’re more than just a diving website.

So, below you’ll find our best wetsuit reviews, in no particular order, as we’ve judged them based on what they’ve been specifically made for.

5. Rip Curl

E-Bomb Rip Curl have been on the scene for nearly 50 years now, and are constantly creating fantastic products. While not exactly new, the E-Bomb wetsuit has really stood the test of time, and can stand proud next to its more expensive brother, the Flash Bomb wetsuit.

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Scuba Diving Cornwall: What’s So Good About It?

Many think that the UK isn’t blessed with the most exotic, clear waters for diving exploration, and they would be wrong.

The UK is littered with some fascinating diving locations, just take a look at our article on Where to Suba Dive in 2017 for some solid proof that we do have some amazing dive sites around Britain.

However, that’s not what we’re talking about today, today, we’re looking at arguably the best diving location in the whole of Britain, Cornwall.

Diving in Cornwall?

What makes Cornwall such a sought-after diving location, is that it has depths that will suit anyone.

For the people that enjoy the shallows and simple sea life exploration, to the ones who want to dive-in deep and scout for sunken wrecks, Cornwall is a place that truly has it all.

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6 of The World’s Most Incredible Diving Discoveries

There are myriads of things to explore in the deep blue of the world’s oceans. And yet, some areas are so deep that scientists have yet to fully explore because their equipment simply cannot reach that far. According to the National Ocean Service, we have explored less than five percent of the ocean to date. Here at Oyster Diving, we have a passion for all things diving and underwater exploration. There is so much to explore and, over the years, there have been thousands of treasures and unusual discoveries uncovered by divers. Many discoveries, as we know from our diving experiences, are sea life and colourful creatures which is always wonderful to see but divers have also uncovered some of the most shocking discoveries lurking in the deep. Read on to find out some of the world’s most incredible diving discoveries.

Indian Temples

3. Dwarka Gulf of Cambay India 5 Mind Blowing Underwater Cities

 

Historically, Indians grew up hearing stories about great temples that used to exist in Mahabalipuram. The story was that there used to be seven magnificent temples, so magnificent that the gods became jealous and had six of them swallowed by the sea so that only one remained. Historians and many others simply dismissed the stories as local legend, certain that the one temple on the land was the only of its kind.

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PADI Approved Youth Training Centre

Here at Oyster our association with PADI is synonymous with our continued growth and development as a supplier of all things Scuba. We are now one of the first dive centres in the world to be awarded the prestigious accolade of being an Approved Youth Training Centre. This means that not only does this confirm our position as one of the market leaders in the industry but also reinforces the confidence that PADI has in our ongoing business plans. Over recent times our status has grown from being a small dive centre to becoming a leader in dive certification growing in many new and exciting areas of leisure. We have corporate days and events planned as well as the commercial arm growing in the supply of scuba equipment to super yacht manufacturers and owners.

This latest endorsement means that we can now provide children as young as 5 years old with an experience associated with Scuba Diving, the sport which not only introduces them to an amazing team spirit but also educates them in all things to do with the oceans. Environmental awareness is vital in this day and age so highlighting to the young information encouraging respect of the oceans can only be a good thing for them and the planet.

If any of you are interested in hearing more about Oyster Diving and our latest offers please do not hesitate to contact one of us at www.oysterdiving.com where we will be happy to chat over where and when we teach Scuba Diving in and around London but also at various other locations throughout the Southern part of the UK.

In brief Oyster Diving teach courses at all levels from beginners through to the professional qualification in a friendly, fun and safe environment. We also teach at schools including trips taking groups of children to many dive destinations throughout the world. Commercially we hold team building events where we incorporate a fun pool session to introduce scuba diving to the team followed by lunch, other fun activities and drinks receptions into the night. We have an online shop where you can purchase your dive equipment at price matched rates. Oyster also supply design input, equipment and tuition to the worlds leading super yacht manufacturers during the construction phases as well as retrofit options should a dive centre facility be an option on-board the vessel.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.........

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How Long Does it Take to Complete the PADI Open Water E-learning and Touch

How long does it take to complete the PADI Open Water Online Learning?

 

The PADI Open Water Touch and E-learning contain a series of short presentations, videos and quick quizzes. The knowledge development is split in to 5 sections. At the end of each section you will need to complete a knowledge review and quick quiz. At the end of section 5 there is a link to take the PADI open water exam. This consists of 50 questions and is multiple choice and is relatively simple once you have completed the previous section.

You can stop and start the open water touch and e-learning whenever you complete a section. Therefore it really depends on how many sessions you complete the online learning over as well as how fast you learn.

One of the beauties is that you can go at your own pace and you can always go back if you want to go over a particular section again.

However in our experience it normally takes 10 to 12 hours to complete the PADI open water online learning. Our best advice is don’t leave it until the last minute!

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Shark Diving UK: Swimming With The 7 Deadliest Sharks in Britain

Shark diving isn’t exactly the most mass-appealing activity to take part in. It’s quite literally an activity you’ll either hate or love, mainly due to the fact you’re usually locked inside a cage with sharks swarming around you.

Not exactly the most relaxing experience.

However, for the adrenaline junkies and shark diving enthusiasts, this is a dream come true. Sharks are wonderful creatures, they dominate our seas and hold the title as king of the food chain throughout our planet’s waters.

Here at Oyster, we seek to break the stereotype surrounding the fear of diving with sharks in the UK. If all the necessary safety regulations are in place, then there is really no need to fear diving with these magnificent beasts.

However, obviously, sharks aren’t exactly the most placid of creatures. In fact, part of the reason people enjoy shark diving is because of the fear factor. Part of what makes our job fun is the element of surprise, knowing that we may encounter a shark during our dive makes it all the more exciting!

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Scuba Diving Locations UK: Where You Need to Visit in 2017

When you think of scuba diving, the first thing that would come to many people’s minds are vast, tropical paradises, colourful fish, and warm weather. However, many people simply do not have the funds, nor the time to escape from their busy lives in order to pursue these scuba diving desires.

Don’t worry though, here at Oyster we understand the struggle of finding time to go deep-sea exploring, so we’ve selected some of the best places to scuba dive across the UK! Despite not exactly being a tropical paradise, the UK is blessed with multiple diving benefits:

Incredible shipwreck exploration sites (some of the best in the world)

You’re never more than 72 miles from the coast

  • Seas are accessible all year round
  • Cold water reefs
  • Cave systems
  • Wall diving
  • Gullies and shallow bays

While scuba diving in the UK is becoming increasingly popular, people seem to forget that our diving areas can rival some of the best locations in the world. if you’re brave enough, you can also dive-in with the seals and basking sharks, and explore the reefs within their territories.

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Atomic Aquatics Titaninium T3 Review

Atomic Aquatics Titaninium T3 Regulator Review

Having owned the same set of regulators for the last 15 years which have covered over 2,500 dives I decided I was due a new set. I probably don't need a new set of regs in all honesty, but I do like my gadgets and the Atomic Aquatic Titanium T3 seemed the perfect choice.

Having received a demo by Justin from Atomic, he took a set apart and showed me the individual parts. I am no engineer but I can see and appreciate precision engineering when I see it. The Titanium T3’s are the most expensive set in the Atomic range and all of them are built to the same standard with a few differences between them. What particularly drew me to these were they were light weight, and when I say light I mean under 1kg. In fact when the box arrived I thought it was empty. It also has a turret which allows the first stage to swivel to reduce the amount of pull on the hoses. The second stage also has a titanium ball joint which means that the regulator hose can move with your head, thus reducing the feeling of the reg being pulled out of your mouth.

Most regulators on the market require them to be serviced every 100 dives or every year whichever comes sooner. The Atomic T3’s only need one service every 2 years or 300 hundred dives. I had heard a story about a famous underwater photographer who has owned a set of Atomic Regulators for over 10 years, done thousands of dives and never once had them serviced, with no problems at all. This may well be true and but I would strongly advise against this, insurance companies will do anything to weasel out of a pay out and if you are an Instructor or Divemaster then it goes against the HSE regulations.

When they arrived a I took them for their first dip in Wraysbury in March, meaning that the water was still pretty cold. The regulators performed as I hoped they had. A smooth breathe, little resistance and you could almost forget that you were breathing underwater. I was on a fun dive with my young 10 year old nephew it meant I could concentrate on him rather thinking about my breathing.

Another fact I really liked that there is just one simple nob to turn the resistance up and down, not that I really needed it.

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Amazing Diving Spots in the Red Sea

Diving in the Red Sea is truly an unforgettable experience. Egypt is the number one diving destination for UK divers and it’s easy to see why! Egypt has been consistently ranked in the world’s top ten diving destinations and, with sunshine throughout the year and some of the world’s most incredible reefs, it’s got to be seen to be believed. However, Egypt doesn’t just offer up incredible diving experiences, it is also an area full of rich culture and history. So, be sure to take a day or two out of the water to check out the incredible historic sites such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum and take a cruise up the Nile to see the Valley of the Kings. There is so much to see and do here but let’s take a look at what diving in the Red Sea has to offer those of us who are diving enthusiasts.

About the Red Sea

]The Red Sea, situated between Africa and Asia, is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean. Just beyond the shore lie beautiful shining waters, stunning coves and millions of fish species. With great depths and extensive shallow shelves, the Red Sea is noted for the beauty of its marine life and corals. One of the world’s northernmost tropical seas, the Red Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. The Red Sea is a rich and diverse ecosystem. More than 1200 species of fish have been recorded in its waters and over 10% of these cannot be found anywhere else. The rich diversity of marine life is due, in part, to the 2,000km of coral reef extending along the coastline. These coral reefs are visited by hosts of creatures and species of fish, including some of the 44 species of shark.

Diving in the Red Sea

The combination of climate and the diversity of fish makes the Red Sea a good year-round diving destination and one of the most popular diving destinations in the world. With myriads of colourful corals, fish species, ship wrecks and swim-throughs, there is something to inspire everyone. What we love most about the Red Sea is its suitability for all levels of diving and snorkelling. Many resorts even offer their own house reefs which provide safe snorkelling for those perhaps less experienced.

The Main Resort Areas Within the Egyptian Red Sea Are:

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The 5 Best Diving Cameras You’ll Want to Explore With

Underwater photography may initially strike you as a hobby that might break the bank a bit… And guess what, you’re right!

This, for those who are fairly new to the diving world, is a gear-intensive hobby and the options that encapsulate deep-sea diving are almost endless. Cameras aren’t the only piece of kit you’ll need either, as you also have to think about lighting, ports, housing (for the camera) lenses and other niche accessories.

This definitely isn’t a cheap investment.

Despite this, choosing a camera to take with you on your underwater explorations doesn’t have to be stressful and expensively boring! It’s important to know what sort of equipment is on the market, and arguably more importantly, you’ll want to know which cameras are going to be the best value for your money. So, I’ve put this list together, and hopefully it will simplify the difficulties that surround buying underwater cameras and their equipment!

Canon S120

Reason: Best quality for price

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Scuba Diving Holiday Makadi Bay Review

Scuba Diving Holiday Makadi Bay Review

Scuba Diving Recce to Makadi Bay for October 2017 Group Holiday

Having ran group diving holidays to Sharm el Sheikh, Marsa Alam and areas around Hurghada many times, it was time to explore somewhere new.

After some extensive research I stumbled across the resort area of Makadi Bay. Makadi Bay is as its name suggests is a large bay situated around 30 minutes South of Hurghada airport.

With lots of direct flights from across the UK, Hurghada airport is easy to reach and is generally less expensive than Marsa Alam, and with the current ban on Sharm airport it makes sense to look at this area.

As well as taking this trip as a recce it was first and foremost a family holiday for myself, partner and our 4 year daughter. We decided to stay at the luxurious 5* Cleopatra Hotel which is ideal for couples and familys who like a relaxing, laid back and quiet holiday. The all-inclusive buffet was varied and good quality.

For a group trip I decided that this was possibly a little too expensive and sedate for a group diving holiday. Instead I was collected in the mornings and taken to the dive centre at the Fort Abaresque resort. The Italian run idive centre was friendly and relaxed and they some great facilities including classrooms, dive boats and a house reef.

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Easybreath: The Innovative Snorkelling Mask

Easybreath: The Innovative Snorkelling Mask

What is the Easybreath?

Easybreath was designed with snorkel-shy people in mind. Many people are deterred by the concept of snorkelling because of the fear of being underwater and relying on a breathing apparatus to keep you, well, alive. Breathing through a snorkel can seem a daunting prospect to a newcomer diver, but Easybreath snorkel changes all of that with its innovative design.

This is the main reason Tribord introduced the first full-face snorkelling mask, because it puts new diver’s minds at ease. The Easybreath mask allows you to delve into the oceans and breath as naturally as you would on land! The mask also allows for a massive 180° field of vision, in comparison to many other masks that sometimes sacrifice vision for comfort and practicality. Your field of vision is also prevented from the usual fogging up of the lens due to its innovative dual air flow system, identical to what you’d find in domestic extraction fans.

Tribord’s Work

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Open Water Diving Course at Rye St Antony

Open Water Diving Course at Rye St Antony

PADI Diving Course at Rye St. Antony School, Oxford April 2017

Day 1

We are really pleased to be back at Rye St. Antony for the second year to teach our PADI open water referral course. The school is planning a trip to Honduras next year and some of the students have already planned their summer holidays where they will be able to explore the underwater world.

I was introduced to the students who all seemed really keen and were excited to get started. As a testament to the school the students are all very polite, have fun personalities and were keen to learn. Teaching children is one of my favourite courses as they have so much potential in front of them and plenty of time to achieve it. One of the students had a note from their GP explaining that they can suffer from anxiety. I explained to her parent that this shouldn’t be a problem; it just meant that we paid close attention to her and gave her lots of reassurance. I also explained that if she really struggled she was welcome to come to one of our other courses if she needed more time to get comfy in the water.

The two day course kicked off at 10am with a few introductory videos and a chat about the fascinating world of diving and how easy it is to learn.

After the student record files were completed we kicked off with Section 1 of the theory. This involved watching a video and going through the knowledge reviews. Section 1 talks about how pressure can affect divers and what steps to take to adapt to these changes. It then explains about buoyancy and how to control it and how to become weightless while under water. Students are introduced to the scuba equipment, what it does and how to use it.

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The Top Underwater Games You Can Try With Your Scuba Gear

It goes without saying that diving is one of the most enjoyable sports out there. So, how on earth could you make it more fun? Well, it turns out that there is such a thing as diving games. These games are most commonly used for children who are learning to dive, making the instructional process more interesting and helping them to engage more during lessons. However, many adults also take part in these activities to help develop their motor skills, swimming, agility and general diving technique. So, whether you are looking to improve your diving or you simply want to have some fun, we have listed our top 5 scuba diving games for you to enjoy.

1. Egg and spoon race

The egg and spoon race is something most of us are familiar with, having competed against our peers in school races. But what about an egg and spoon race underwater?

Of course, it is not sensible to use a real egg for fear of it contaminating the water. Instead, we would recommend you use a ping-pong ball, held under water by the spoon (a kind of upside down, underwater egg and spoon race). This race is good for those of you with steady hands and nice even swimming. If the ball is dropped and floats to the surface, the diver may catch it but only with the spoon. And they must return it to the bottom of the pool before continuing.

This event can be played as a relay or simply as a race. You could even increase the difficulty level by adding a few hoops and other obstacles along the way.

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Is the PADI Rescue Diver Course Worth Taking?

Is it worth taking the PADI Rescue Diver Course?

The PADI open water course teaches you how to dive, the Advanced open water teaches you to be a better diver and qualifies you to dive to 30m. The Rescue Diver course teaches you to be a safer diver, be a better buddy, help to anticipate and avoid potential problems and assist your fellow divers if a problem does occur.

So the main questions are do you need to be a safer diver, and do you care enough about anyone that you dive with to be able to assist them if they have an emergency?

You’ll always hear people who have taken the Rescue Diver course that it is the hardest yet most rewarding dive course they have taken. It puts you through your paces teaching you about self-reliance, how to avoid problems, how to assist a diver in distress or panicking and what to do if your buddy or another diver needs saving.

Our Rescue course takes 2 full days with some online learning to be completed in advance. You don’t need all of your own equipment but as a responsible diver it is worth thinking about as it is more familiar to you and more reliable than rental gear – especially in some parts of the world!

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Is the PADI Advanced Open Water Course Worth Taking?

Is it worth taking the PADI advanced open water course?

Naturally you would expect me to say 'yes'. However it really depends on you and the type of diving you are going to be doing.

So first of all, what is the advanced open water course? It consists of 5 adventure dives and a small bit of theory. So it is much less time consuming then the open water course. There are compulsory adventures dives; navigation and a deep dive. A deep dive is considered anything between 18-30m. The other 3 adventure dives are then decided between you, your instructor and the dive centre. Often the dive sites can dictate the best options, for example you couldn't do an ice dive in the U.K. in July (as we were once asked). The most popular adventure dives we conduct are drift dive, dry suit, SMB, wreck, peak performance buoyancy, night dive, full face mask and search and recovery.

So the main benefits are that you get extra supervised instruction which can build confidence and make you a better and safer diver. Many people take it because they want to be qualified to go deeper. It's worth noting that if you go beyond the 18m depth limit of the open water course your insurance company are unlikely to pay out as you have gone beyond the depths of your current training level.

You don't need to be an advanced diver to take the advanced open water course. In fact you can jump straight on to it as soon as you have finished your open water.

For some divers it is sometimes worth doing a few extra fun dives before signing up. This allows them to gain some experience in shallower water and enjoy being in the water without worrying about completing the skills briefed by an instructor. You don't want your instructor teaching you how to dive, you want them to make you a better and safer diver.

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7 Fantastic Diving Watches for Scuba Divers on a Budget

You might be surprised to hear that dive watches have been around as early as the 1950s. they are usually chunky and bold in appearance, and this is due to the fact that their essential ‘shell’ must be able to withstand the pressures of underwater exploration.

From an aesthetic standpoint, a dive watch is fairly easy to spot due to their robust, solid framework and a moveable bezel – usually external – is also a crucial giveaway. Not only do these mark the sign of a dive watch, but they serve an incredibly important function, to measure how much time you’ve been underwater for. Next are the chunky hands of the watch and the markers, big and easy to read, these are minor, though essential details that will help visibility underwater (some even has luminous materials applied to them for improved visibility).

Before we crack onto my top 7 recommendations, a quick word regarding Depth Rating will help you pick the diving watch that’s right for you.

Some of these watches claims that they can go 100 metres below the surface, whilst others claim they can go as low as 1,000 metres. Despite these the boasts of these powerful watches, the lowest ever recorded was just over 300 metres. So, unless you plan on strapping your watch onto the fin of a blue whale, I wouldn’t worry too much about depth ratings over 300 metres. In short, 100 metres will be able to easily handle your average swimming and snorkelling needs, and 200+ will do a good job for expletory diving.

Anyway, onto the watches, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the best scuba diving watches on the current market. Starting with the cheapest and going up:

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PADI SCUBA DIVING AND HOLIDAY CENTRE

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Oyster Luxury Travel and Diving: S.E. London & Kent, Soho Central London, Brighton & Hove, Surrey & Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Our main facility is at Marshall Street Leisure Centre, 15 Marshall St, Soho, London W1F 7EL

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