Id like to start scuba diving and want to know the average money id have to pay to do so.

I understand that there are different rates in different stores but a general idea could help get me started.

Also any additional advice for beginners is greatly appreciated

It varies by country, region, and depends on where the open water portion of the certification is conducted.

I’ve heard that around Chicago, it runs $600 to $800.

Here, in Portland, Oregon, it’s about $350 including all equipment rental, class materials, air fills, etc. That does not include weekend travel expenses to Puget Sound or the Oregon Coast (one night lodging, transportation, meals).

My advice is to talk to several different scuba instructors—an informal interview—and see which personality suits you best, and makes you feel most at ease. Some instructors are ex-military and use lots of structure. Others are more nurturing and reactive. Still others are more laid back or intellectual—there are all kinds, and the good ones love to talk about scuba.

The Basic Open Water certification is standardized across all scuba agencies and countries—the big difference is in the specific instructor.

Steer clear of introductory courses which require equipment purchase. That’s scammy. It isn’t a bad idea to buy a mask at some point, but take advantage of trying different masks from rental during training to find which is most effective. The most important piece of scuba gear is the mask. No other piece of equipment can cause as much grief during a dive.