WHY ARE OUR SCUBA DIVING COURSES
MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHERS?
If you're thinking of taking a scuba diving course with us, you may be wondering why our prices are higher than other dive centres both at home and abroad.
We wanted to write a little article to address this elephant in the room. Hopefully, it helps explain the higher price tag and most importantly puts your mind at ease.
We promise that investing your hard-earned cash and trusting us with your training is money well spent!
Here's 5 reasons why our scuba diving courses are worth the extra money
1. 1-2-1 training on your schedule
When you first start your scuba diving training, we believe you deserve the full attention of your instructor. You are forming the foundations of your skills and knowledge as a diver that will set you up for amazing adventures once you're qualified. That's why our Try Dive and Learn To Dive Adventures are taught one-to-one. (Or two-to-one if you're bringing a buddy along!)
With cheaper scuba diving courses, you may find that you are one student in a large group. PADI Instructors are allowed to teach up to 8 people in a session and can add more if they've got some assistants with them. While this can have some amazing social advantages (like having buddies to join you at the bar after the session!), we know from personal experience that you might not get the coaching and time you need during your training.
When an instructor has too many students to look after, it's hard to spend time with individuals in the group if they need extra help - especially if there's not much time to get skills done (more on this in a moment).
We've heard from lots of students who've been in this position at other dive centres. They tell us that it's knocked their confidence. They were pushed to the next stage before they felt ready and they let it happen because they didn't want to hold the rest of the group up. Some people we know have even dropped out of their scuba diving courses because of it.
We don't want anyone to feel like that! That's why we teach 1-2-1. Your instructor has all the time in the world for you and they will be more than happy to spend extra time helping you overcome any struggles that you face.
You may also find that your schedules are very rigid with cheaper scuba diving courses. You might have a set number of days to complete your training or your sessions can only be on a certain evening each week.
At The Fifth Point, you decide your schedule. If you prefer more intensive training, we'll arrange it. If you need to fit sessions around your shifts at work, no problem! We've got an on-site training tank at the dive centre which means you can jump in on weekdays, evenings and weekends.
When it comes to taking the plunge in the ocean, you'll start to meet new buddies. By then, you'll have learnt everything you need to know about scuba diving so it's time to put it into practice on a real dive, and that includes learning to dive as a team. Your instructor will still be by your side, along with their assistant Divemaster to take care of you. You'll work as part of a small group to explore the beautiful dive sites of Northumberland. We dive every single weekend. In the summer, we'll dive during the week too (we like to make the most of it whenever we can!)
To be blunt, because we're not relying on big group numbers and strict schedules to cover the cost of training, your 1-2-1 scuba diving course will be more expensive than others.
2. We pay our instructors!
It might shock you to learn that the majority of scuba instructors in the UK teach for free. They have their full-time 9-5 jobs during the week, and they teach scuba on the weekends. They do it because they love it! That's how passionate they are about diving and they want to share this passion with others.
Even though we think these instructors are absolutely amazing for offering their services for free, we don't agree with it. We don't think any instructor should give up their time and work so hard for zero rewards.
The awesome team at The Fifth Point consists of core members who are employed full-time and paid a living wage. We also have a bank of Instructors and Divemasters who help out part-time and earn a commission for their work.
And to be blunt once again, our courses are more expensive because we pay wages. Like any small business, wages make up the majority of our outgoings.
We think you'll agree that our team is worth their weight in gold. They're amongst the most experienced divers in the industry and they're passionate about their jobs. We'll continue to raise our prices regularly so that we can increase their wages. Our goal is to pay them above living wage rates and we're working extremely hard to achieve that.
3. We are committed to protecting the ocean
The ocean is our happy place, our playground and our office. Without a healthy ocean full of incredible marine life, scuba diving would be pretty boring!
Because we're committed to looking after this magical place, all of our adventures and activities have ocean protection at their core. You won't just learn how to dive during our scuba diving courses, you'll learn how to be an eco-diver who can use their newfound skills to protect the ocean.
Every dive we do is a Dive Against Debris. That means we pick up all of the rubbish we see on the seafloor. When we're back on dry land, we sort it, record it and report our findings back to the PADI AWARE Foundation. These surveys help provide evidence to support campaigns that impact ocean health.
You'll be able to get involved with these surveys during your scuba diving courses plus our regular beach cleans, river cleans and nurdle hunts. You can get more involved with our marine conservation activities here.
We are a passionate partner of the PADI AWARE Foundation. The Fifth Point is 100% AWARE which means that for every scuba diving course you take with us, we make a donation to the charity on your behalf. You'll also receive a limited edition AWARE design on your certification e-card.
If you're joining us on one of our grey seal snorkel safaris, a portion of your ticket is a donation to the Tynemouth Seal Hospital. The amazing volunteers at this unit inside Tynemouth Aquarium care for sick and injured seals found around the North East coast. They nurse them back to health with round-the-clock care before releasing them back in the wild.
Our promise to make our business as sustainable as possible led to becoming the first UK dive centre to be awarded a PADI Green Star. Everything from cleaning products to energy use was assessed against their rigorous criteria and even though we scored highly, we're always looking for ways to improve.
At the beginning of 2021, we started to offset our carbon emissions by donating to SeaGrass Grow, a project that restores seagrass meadows. One square meter of seagrass produces a whopping 10 litres of oxygen every single day. When you snorkel over a seagrass meadow, you can actually see them producing little bubbles of oxygen! They act as huge carbon stores, trapping the carbon dioxide that we release into the atmosphere and of course are home to lots of marine life.
When you take a scuba diving course at The Fifth Point, you're helping to protect the ocean through donations, education and direct action!
4. Our amazing team and top notch gear
The team at The Fifth Point are a progressive bunch. When it comes to the way we dive, our equipment and our teaching techniques, we try to stay ahead of the curve. We explore new ideas, continue with our own professional development and incorporate the best discoveries into our scuba diving courses.
We are very lucky to have team members who are experts in lots of different areas in the diving industry. Nic's passion for environmental conservation is infectious and her work to support dive professionals from all around the country grows daily. James has attended every servicing course under the sun - there isn't a piece of dive kit that he can't fix. Laura is a practicing Clinical Psychologist and founder of Fit-To-Dive, an organisation that helps scuba divers towards mental, emotional & physical wellbeing for diving. Aaron is our resident dive doc who's done his stint in decompression chambers, helping divers recover... the list goes on!
During your scuba diving course, you will learn from the best and brightest in the industry. Milk them for everything they know!
We also mentioned that our team like to have the latest scuba diving gadgets. You will be diving in exactly the same gear as your instructor. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you! We only use top brands like Halcyon, Apeks, Fourth Element and XDEEP so you know that it's going to be the highest quality.
All of our school scuba kit is wing and long hose configuration. This style of setup has traditionally only been associated with cave and technical diving, but it's such a cracking way of diving that everyone at The Fifth Point uses it - students and staff alike!
5. Our facilities are second to none
We think The Fifth Point is one of a kind. You'll not find another dive centre like it! Our co-founders Nic and James designed it from scratch and with the help of friends and family, built it! Following our environmental ethos, we used as much reclaimed material as we could get our hands on during the build.
When you walk upstairs, the space is light and warm. There's big comfy sofas, bean bags and a wood burning stove so you can warm up with a cuppa after a day's diving. You'll get cuddles from everyone's favourite Dive Dogs, Haldane and Buoy. Our divers tell us they love spending time here!
We have our own onsite training tank. It's just over 3m deep which is perfect for practicing all your skills - especially trim and buoyancy. There's a window in the tank so you can get awesome photos and videos of your session and it also allows you to see yourself in the mirror on the other side. It's not often you get to check out your positioning underwater and our students love the immediate feedback they get from it to help improve their skills.
We keep the tank cold. This lets us train in conditions that are as close to the North Sea as possible. You can wear full thick wetsuits, drysuits, hoods and gloves while practicing so there's no surprises when it comes to repeating them in the ocean! You'll be well prepared.
And talking of the ocean, as we're based in Blyth, we've got all of the cracking dive sites along the Northumberland coast within an hour's drive! We are spoilt rotten for options to explore shallow reefs from the shore, to get up close and personal with cheeky seals at The Farnes, or to visit sunken wrecks from World War 2.
So, what do you think?
We know that choosing the perfect dive centre is a tough decision. After all, there's lots to choose from! If you found this article useful, this one might help too: "5 tips to help choose a dive centre in the UK"
As soon as you know The Fifth Point is the right dive centre for you, why don't you come for a look around? You can meet the team and we'll give you a tour of the place. You can also sample dive dog cuddles too!