My husband and I are interested in scuba diving when we take a trip to Florida. Although we are both good swimmers and frequently snorkel, we have never tried scuba diving. We have looked in to taking classes and they are very pricey. To get certified in our city, it will cost us $500 and that does not include equipment. I think it is a little pricey especially since we might shell out all the money and not enjoy it as much as snorkeling. I see scuba diving excursions in Florida all the time, do you have to be certified to go on a beginner dive? Can we take a dive excursion that offers not certification but a quick beginner lesson before going out? My husbands ready to sign up for the certification classes but I’d prefer to try it out first. Any advice appreciated

Scuba diving is a funny thing: No, you don’t have to be legally certified (no government agency is going to arrest you for diving without certification), but no dive shop will let you sign up for a dive, rent equipment, or get air fills without a certification card. The diving industry is pretty self regulating like that.

A "Discover Scuba" course sounds perfect for you! Basically, they will take you on a short dive, after a pool session and some brief classroom work. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see if scuba diving is for you, before you shell out the $500 for the certification course.

Another option might be PADI’s Scuba Diver course. It’s a shortened form of the standard Openwater certification course, and is designed for divers who intend to dive only occasionally on vacation. It allows you to dive only under the direct supervison of an instructor and only to fairly shallow depths. This course tends to be cheaper than full certification, and takes less time, too.

Hope this helps!