Hang around the diving scene long enough and sooner or later you will be invited to a dive club. Is belonging to a dive club really worth your while? Yes. If you dive any more than a couple times a year, you will benefit by belonging to a dive club. Consider some of the benefits:
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of joining and belonging to a dive club but the least publicized and understood. If you are new diver, or just a bit rusty, you will be diving with people more experienced and in tune than yourself. And it has been my experience that these folks are notoriously open in sharing their expertise and skills. Even if you are fully capable diver, belonging to a group puts you with people that, odds are, have had a large variety of experiences different than yourself in dive locations, underwater situations, gear, etc. Without a doubt you will benefit from the collective experience of the group. And they will benefit from your experiences. These kind of relationships are generally informal, relaxed and friendly.
Some dive club specialize in a specific area of diving. Belonging to them is especially helpful in your enhancement of your diving experiences in that particular realm. Of particular note are the Underwater Photographic Societies. The California Wreck Divers membership hold some of the foremost authorities in their field. Then there are clubs that emphasis underwater hunting.
FREE EDUCATION AND ENTERTAINMENT
California scuba clubs usually meet monthly at a public location like a restaurant. At each meeting are informative speakers, sometimes top authorities in their diving related field, with multi-media presentations. The presentations are not just informative and educational but entertaining as well. By the way, in most cases, you do not need to be a member to attend the meetings. Club meetings usually are open and welcome guests.
DISCOUNTS AND SAVINGS
Most dive clubs are supported and sponsored by local professional dive stores and other dive related businesses. In their support they offer discounts on gear, trips, travel and air fills. Dues to join a club are generally inexpensive and the discounts easily exceed the small expense. Belonging to a dive club is not an expense, it is savings.
Another savings benefit is their collective purchasing power when it comes to local dive trips and exotic travel. Clubs charter entire boats and then pass the savings on to their members. Group travel is always cheaper and with a club the savings again are passed on to the membership.
FUN, FUN AND MORE FUN
Of course, there is the diving, but there is also barbecues and parties, as well as seasonal events like underwater Easter Egg hunts, pumpkin carvings and more. Some clubs participate in charity events. Others show up in force to popular dive events like the Avalon Underwater Cleanup, Chocolate Lobster Dive and annual SCUBA Show expo. You do not need to be a social butterfly to enjoy a dive club but if you are one, you will certainly enjoy this benefit!
A dive club is not just a bunch of diving fanatics planning their next underwater conquest at every meeting. While there are exceptions, these are surprisingly normal people. Some members have out-and-out an passion for what they do, while others just like to have fun. Most clubs are a nice comfortable mix. You will most definitely benefit by belonging to a dive club. Some smart divers belong to more that one! Join today.
For a listing of dive clubs in your area, a brief description, meeting place and time as well as contact information take a look at the Dive Club section of this publication. There are over five dozen active clubs in California.