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#4374 - 06/28/01 03:20 PM AVOID: Aqua Hutt Divers, Scotia, NY
scuba1066 Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/27/01
Posts: 230
Loc: Oneida, NY
My advice after just completing my 8 wk class and not doing my OW check outs was because our instructor placed us in what, I felt, were some of the worst diving conditions to newbies - do not sign up with ANY agency per se until you go talk to several instructors until you find one that you WOULD trust your life with. My 'gut feeling' from day one was not good with my instructor, and when it came to check outs I walked away from the dive site. Visibility was less than 5 ft, there was no dive boat or hand line, it was shore entry, vis was so poor it appeared to be a cave dive - Dive Masters were NOT escorting dive students out the the floating flags at 23 ft depth. Dive Masters were being seperated from divers under water - total chaos. BOTTOM LINE - go chat with an instructor and find all this out up front - if your not at ease with he/she - find a NEW instructor or agency! Good luck

Toothpickman
Member posted 05-12-2001 05:27 PM
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I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the majority of freshwater lake dives (at least in my area) have those conditions, shore entry, low visibility, and yes there is the threat of seperation, but if that happens you do you 360 turn and head up. My agancy/instructors were not new either, their store had been established for nearly 25 years at the time and they had several more years than that of experience. Not all dive spots are 100ft visibility, and great sea life. I agree that if you do not feel comfortable with the instructor do NOT go diving, until you find one you are comfortable with, but I also want to point out that those conditions are not that uncommon in many parts of the world, and that many divers, new and old dive in them


scuba1066
Member posted 05-13-2001 04:40 AM
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...then fresh water lake diving insn't for me...I got into this to dive in Florida like conditions, were 50 ft and better vis is often the case. I have, and never HAD, any intention of lake diving due to that reason, and reason of cold water conditions and the need for hoods, gloves, etc. I want to dive in waters that are 60 degrees or better and have much better vis than this. Problem is, agencies ASSUME that just because you want to take a course up here and get certified for when you DO go south, that you plan, would or want to dive in waters with lake-like conditions...I don't and never had.
I sport caved for 10 yrs and have been in some of the tighted and freikest caves there are; but I never one felt that my life was being jeapordized the way I felt at that dive. That lake was nothing more than a 'mud hole' - period. Thats why this sport has a high drop out rate...other instructors warned me about this 8 wks ago, and said "Why is he taking you guys there - thats the worst place he could take new aspiring divers. No wonder less than 10% of the students in SCUBA stay into the sport, and 75% drop out before the 25 dive mark."


newbi2scuba
Junior Member posted 05-13-2001 05:03 AM
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You should check into having a referral to do the OW check out in Florida, if you have completed all other aspects. I have seen this advertised as an option with some organizations. Hope you can complete the course out that way.

scubagrl
Junior Member posted 05-13-2001 05:46 AM
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I agree with newbi...get a referral if you can! When I decided to get my PADI O/W cert (I live in Milw, WI), I found out where my certifying agency was going to be doing their O/W dives--in a dark, cold quarry! No thank you! So I did the classroom and poolwork here, and the next trip I took to the Caribbean I took my referral and did the open water dives there. Good luck, and happy diving!

daver
Junior Member posted 05-13-2001 06:48 AM
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Whats your problem with lake diving? The instructor can't help that the lake your in is a piece of crap, but they could find another lake. And if the viz was really 5 ft, i don't think they would take uncertified divers in it, unless the dive instrutor is a piece of crap.

scuba1066
Member posted 05-13-2001 12:05 PM
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Well daver,
they did just that yesterday...one 16 yr old girl panicked during her mask flooding skills and walked away from it...31 people were to dive...after the first 12 got done with that cove, you couldn't see their fins where they were standing in 2 ft of water...

daver
Junior Member posted 05-13-2001 01:22 PM
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Sounds like the instructor is a piece of crap then.

scuba1066
Member posted 05-14-2001 02:59 AM
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As of Sunday, here’s the way things went…is this the way checkouts are supposed to go? Here’s the way it shook out…
One-diver ruptures an eardrum Saturday – instructor says, “She must have had an ear infection going on prior to this dive. Instructor then applies alcohol to students ear – naturally, student screams from pain.

One diver experiencing vertigo after the dive with ear equalization problems during the dive.

My dive buddy is experiencing the following all at once:

*Inflator on BC not working properly
*He is so over weighted that he is literally crawling on his hands and knees
*His weight belt is around his ankles
*He has lost his Dive Master escort
*He has lost his dive buddy
*Visibility is almost zero
*His dive buddy’s OCTO is encrusted with sand/mud prior to the dive from dragging it around during the dive

This is pretty scary stuff. And, this is what we KNOW of…since we both aborted the dive and didn’t go Sunday.



daver
Junior Member posted 05-14-2001 10:54 AM
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Defintatly not a good dive instructor. You should definately find another dive shop in your area, and report them to whatever organization they are "certified" through. I'm lake diving this weekend with an excellent instructor. I plan to enjoy it. Hope you have more enjoyable experinces in the future.

Narcosis
Junior Member posted 05-14-2001 01:42 PM
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scuba1066,
Dont give up diving Lakes because of 1 bad dive. You will be missing out on some of the best diving there is. I have dove over a couple hundred dives in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River on shipwrecks with vis from 20-75ft. Majority of the time its around 50ft thanks to the population of Zebra Mussels. There's nothing like it, I love doing research on ships that I plan on diving so that when you end up on top of them all this knowledge starts running through your head about how it went down, the lives that were lost, the artifacts that were left behind. I dive Key Largo and Grand Caymans every year and there is no way that wrecks or reefs in warm water could keep me away from cold water wreck diving. Oh one other thing 1000 Islands area of the St. Lawrence reaches 73-75f in the summer months.
So dont give up, you'll be missing out. I do have a question for you, I dont know wether I read it right or not but why would 5 foot vis be a problem for someone who has been diving caves for 10 years or why would you need to take another scuba course?


scuba1066
Member posted 05-14-2001 04:54 PM
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No,
I was a caver, NOT a cave DIVER! It just scarde me to think that our 1st dive EVER is a real environment was going to be in such poor visibility - coupled with mask flooding and clearing in such conditions.

scuba1066
Member posted 05-14-2001 04:57 PM
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We have contacted the YMCA is Georgia about obtaining a 'Universal Referral' since our instructor said that he cannot give us one unless we were to go OUT OF TOWN to do our check out dives.

SGHOWE
Member posted 05-14-2001 06:43 PM
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Your instructor is FULL OF ***! There is no rule anywhere that I know of that says you can only get a refferal if you are going out of town. On the refferal forms for PADI (and I would guess all of the other agencies) the portion that your original instructor fills out has nothing whatsoever to do with where you are doing your certifying dives. If it had anything to do with them you wouldn't need to have a letter of refferal. Tell this liar to cut the shit and give you a refferal letter. Or you could play his game and tell him that you have a trip planned somewhere
[This message has been edited by EricF (edited 05-16-2001).]


scuba1066
Member posted 05-15-2001 06:03 PM
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I tried that - he said that I would have to be in FLA. and the dive agancy would then have to call him for the Universal Referral...I said "Yeah, I'm gonna buy a plane ticket, fly to FLA, book hotel reservations, and THEN have them call you? I don't think so." YMCA called today to say that they have received my request and the Director has been spoken to about it and "they are working on it." No reply as to IF they WILL or WILL NOT comply. Can't tell you how this has soured me from the entire SCUBA industry so far - total lack or respect for MY rights as a diver to abort ANY dive, for ANY reason, ANY day or ANY time...totally unprofessional of this firm Aqua Hutt Divers in Scotia, NY. BEWARE!!

daver
Junior Member posted 05-15-2001 06:27 PM
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That place sounds like a real piece of crap, never go there again and find another dive shop

scuba1066
Member posted 05-16-2001 02:59 AM
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Thanks juts what I am doing - going to a DIR and PADI agency that came highly recommended to me in Brooklyn, NY called Scuba Devine as soon as I get my Universal Referral...thanks all...

TexasMike
Member posted 05-16-2001 07:30 AM
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If it were me, I'd consider writing a properly worded letter to the agency (PADI, NAUI, or whoever) certified this instructor explaining why you are not happy with the situation. Sounds like this person needs to be held accountable to the standards set forth by that agency.
Be sure to include his certification number along with just the facts (aka, keep the emotion to a minimum) and aim the letter more towards informing them and letting them take the appropriate action, rather than asking to have his ticket yanked.

Oh, and be sure to CC: both the shop, the shop's director of teaching, and the instructor.

--Mike


Toothpickman
Member posted 05-16-2001 06:14 PM
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I hate to tell you all this, but the majority of lakes here, in the midwest do NOT have good visibility. New divers ARE certified in them for the reason that is where they will be diving. It is NOT that the instructor is bad. Maybe not so many people are up for diving, but those that are, practice safe diving, and are good divers. If you want very clear diving, you have to go to the ocean, and that is good and well, but it is NOT the only place to dive. Sorry if you don't like lake diving, but some of us do. And depending on the time of year you are going diving 5 ft visibility is not uncommon, and does not mean the lake is "a piece of crap" as daver has deemed


jmsdiver
Member posted 05-17-2001 01:13 AM
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According to the information set forth here, I would say that this instructor didn't have his logistics worked out very well. This instructor should be held accountable to the standards set forth by his certifying agency. I agree with TexasMike about writing a carefully worded detailed account of what transpired and send a copy to the agency, the store, and others that may need to be informed about this.
I have to agree with the fact that one must feel at ease with their instructor and the addtional staff (i.e. other instructors and divemasters/dive cons) that may be assisting. The creation of that ease is done in the first few minutes/sessions/meetings that on has with that instructor. First impressions go a long way. But, one still needs to research and ask questions (i.e. may I see your instructor certification? How long have you been teaching? etc). One has to be accountable for their actions. Also, one needs to trust their lives to that instructor. I look at people and ask: would I trust this person tending my line while ice diving? If the answer is no, then it's no.

I have been diving in the midwest since 1988 and just love it. I can't afford to go to the carribbean or where ever just to do a warm water dive every year. I love diving, I love the serenity and peacefulness, and there's a world of opportunities in my backyard. Lake Superior (or any of the Great Lakes) offer a myriad of shipwrecks to explore; it's just an awesome experience to drift down upon a majestic steel or wooden testament to human diligence, history, and sacrafice. The water is cold (36 on a recent dive), the vis is 50 feet or better, and surface conditions can change during the dive. On the flip side, I also dive in a quarry that has 5 feet of vis on a good day. With vis conditions like that, it gives one a chance to practice skills and test the comfort level.

I don't think that people dismiss scuba in the numbers that have been posted because of their initial in-water experience; most people dismiss scuba because of their experience with the store and instructing staff. Customer service, upbeat personalities, and true concern for others goes a long ways in keeping divers diving.

I hope that your diving experiences continue and that you will revisit local lake diving. There's an adventure waiting for you in your backyard.

[This message has been edited by jmsdiver (edited 05-17-2001).]


TexasMike
Member posted 05-17-2001 09:20 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by jmsdiver:
I don't think that people dismiss scuba in the numbers that have been posted because of their initial in-water experience; most people dismiss scuba because of their experience with the store and instructing staff. Customer service, upbeat personalities, and true concern for others goes a long ways in keeping divers diving.

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Well said!!! Bravo!!

This is exactly why I brave almost an hour of horrible Dallas traffic to patronize Sand & Sea Scuba (near LBJ & Greenville Ave.) when there is a dive shop within 10 minutes of my house.

--TexasMike


Chris Johnson
Junior Member posted 05-25-2001 08:00 AM
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My wife had a bad experience with our ow instructor that our dive shop handled to our total satisfaction. The instructor in question didn't seem to want to be patient with my wife. My wife was maybe 15 minutes (that's right, 15 MINUTES) behind the rest of the class in getting comfortable snorkeling. The instructor pulled her aside and asked her if she was sure she wanted to dive. She (the instructor, a female, so no chauvinism issues should have been the cause), then proceeded to tell my wife that many women sit on the boat while the husband dives. The instructor then had my wife sit at the side of the pool while the rest of us worked on skills. I didn't do anything because I thought the instructor was going to work with my wife one on one. Not so! My wife just had to sit there, watching, while the rest of us finished. Then the instructor had to hurry off to go to a football game.
Needless to say, we were furious. We complained to the dive shop and they got another instructor to work with my wife one on one in a private pool. He was great! It took several sessions for my wife to regain her confidence, but he was very patient and helpful. That first lousy instructor almost ruined her diving life before it started. Well, my wife was certified by the good instructor, and now we are going to Little Cayman in August. She has also been Nitrox certified. By the way, I haven't seen the bad instructor since, so I assume they don't use her anymore. The good instructor seems to be in the shop every time we go there, so I think he won preferred status .


scuba1066
Member posted 06-13-2001 03:13 AM
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As of this time, the YMCA headquarters in Goergia has failed to supply me with my UNIVERSAL REFERRAL. I was contacted by the instructor - and was told by him that even IF they did give it to me - he would still have the final word on whether I was certified or not, even if doing my Check Outs with another agency. Needless to say, I am very disappointed and disgusted with this agency - I may just go to FLA this Fall, and do a 2-day PADI course there and do my Check Outs while there and be done with this fiasco.

NINman
Junior Member posted 06-13-2001 07:53 AM
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Sorry to hear about your mis-fortune with Aqua Hutt Divers in Scotia. I live about 25miles north of there. Archie of Stewart & Bergun instructed me and we had our open water check out in the Sacadaga Lake, which isn't the best lake to dive in, just last weekend. We had two groups one had 4 students and 2 assistant instructors and the other group had 3 students and 1 assistant instructor. We dived by a spill way and only went as deep as 25 feet at most. We had a great time. I am right now looking for some gear and I was going to give Aqua Hutt a call to see if they would compate in prices, but now I think I will skip over that dive shop. Once you get certified and if you would like to go diving some time just shoot me an email. Later.
Brad
ninman_ny@yahoo.com



jmsdiver
Member posted 06-14-2001 03:54 AM
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That's really bizzare with the YMCA. They sit on the RSTC along with several other organizations to develop industry standards in an effort to keep Big Brother out of the industry. The RSTC decided it would be of great benefit to recognize other agencies referrals because the training standards are the same for the entry level scuba course. Many agencies have subscribed to this philosophy. I think the YMCA chapter you are dealing with is being bullheaded and it's unfortunate that you have to experience this.
I wish the best for you as you enter the underwater realm


scuba1066
Member posted 06-16-2001 02:50 AM
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...as of June 16, NO Universal Referral from YMCA yet....more calls into them - again!

scuba1066
Member posted 06-19-2001 02:28 AM
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...As of June 18th, Instructor says he has my Referral info to give me next week when filled out - but, my final info from my check out dives from another agency still get forwarded to him, and he will be the final issuing person who approves or declines my certification in the end. Sound right or wrong? Can't say I'm impressed with the way that the YMCA has handled this entire matter.

jmsdiver
Member posted 06-20-2001 02:25 AM
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Seems to me that the individual doing the check out dives should be the one saying yeah or neigh, not the guy back in your hometown. So, that doesn't sound right to me. Let us know how it pans out...would like to see another new diver out there...

scuba1066
Member posted 06-27-2001 04:01 AM
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Thanks....we'll know the outcome in about 24 hrs!

scuba1066
Member posted 06-27-2001 01:24 PM
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As of 6/27 - no return phone calls or e-mails from Aqua Hutt Divers and two calls into the YMCA's headquarters in GA requesting that THEY fax me the Universal Referral slip....

scuba1066
Member posted 06-27-2001 01:33 PM
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6/28 Aqua Hutt Divers has blocked all e-mail correspondance from me and is not returning any calls.
They are as follows:

AQUA HUTT DIVERS
SCOTIA, NY

aquahut@aol.com

You be the Judge! You want to do business with a firm like this?



TexasMike
Member posted 06-27-2001 09:21 PM
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I wouldn't. But here's an idea....
Contact the Better Business Bureau. Once they take your complaint, they contact the business you are calling about and ask for a response and resolution to the problem. If the shop doesn't come through, then they get placed on the BBB's black list.

Also, have you tried going there in person and speaking directly to the owner/head dude?

[This message has been edited by TexasMike (edited 06-27-2001).]


scuba1066
Member posted 06-28-2001 03:18 PM
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All,
I received a call from the YMCA and the Instructor today - the YMCA says that they WILL get him to issue the Referral - or he'll face administrative action by them - he called me today and told me to come in tonight as he 'had something for me.' When I got there, he offered me a $200 check and said 'Take it, get the hell out of my shop, and there will be NO referral from me to you."
I said, "I can't do that - I can't be bought...I mastered the course material, made every class, passed the written exam, and I am NOT going to take this $200 in lieu of my Referral slip. He said, "You'll never get it from me."

The saga continues - I have ANOTHER call into the YMCA, and am going to take this individual to Small Claims Court AND file a complaint with the BBB and the NYS Attorney General's Office.

ALL scuba friends - be careful - avoid this shop AQUA HUTT DIVERS in Scotia, NY like the plague......he said that "Your Internet postings are affecting my business!" They ought to!

The POWER of the Internet is a very effective force - and thats why we NEED Mail Order SCUBA shops - they keep local dive shops honest!

In good diving...



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#4375 - 06/29/01 06:30 AM Re: AVOID: Aqua Hutt Divers, Scotia, NY
martinjc Offline
avid diver

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 8
Loc: Columbus, OH, USA
I used to live in upstate NY. In addition to the BBB, you may want to send a letter to the NY State Consumer Protection Board. Their address is:

5 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223

I utilized them a couple of times, and they were always very responsive. Make sure you send them copies of all the documentation you have.


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