Below is a sampling of some of the most Frequently Asked Questions. Not seeing your specific question? Contact us and we’ll be happy to provide an answer!
Q: Is it customary to tip? If so, what’ an appropriate amount of gratuity?
A: Your Boat Crew, Dive Guides and Instructors do work in a service industry, so it is customary to leave gratuity. As for how much…whatever amount you feel comfortable with and however much you feel the service warranted. Some people prefer to tip like they do in a restaurant: 10,15, 20%, etc. Others prefer a flat rate, like $10-20 per crew member, or more if they took a class. As always, tips are appreciated but not required.
Q: What can I do to prevent seasickness?
A: Many over-the-counter products are available to help with seasickness. We recommend Bonine, which you can find at our store. The best thing to do when you feel seasick is to get in the water and dive. Once you get under the waves, you will feel much better!
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
A: Cancellation within 48 hours of the Dive Charter, Class or Guided Dive will result in no refund. Of course, if Pura Vida Divers or the charter boat operators must cancel for any reason, there is no charge to you. Once a charter departs, no refunds will be issued for seasickness, weather, etc. Please note, cancellation policy may vary by the activity booked or over holidays. Check your confirmation email for cancellation policies specific to your booking.
Q: How do I finalize a reservation?
A: To finalize a reservation, Pura Vida Divers requires the following information: diver name, verification of certification, rental tank and tear requirements, contact phone number, contact email address and credit card number. Any other dive-related activities to be conducted on the boat, such as instruction, must be noted at the time of booking to ensure that all necessary preparations are made.
Q: How many divers go out on a boat?
A: The vessel Sirena can accommodate a maximum of 12 divers. Pura Vida Divers does frequently book with additional charter boats in the area and can accommodate groups up to 36 divers.
Q: Is a Dive Guide provided on boat charters?
A: In-water Dive Guides are provided by the boat charter operators on trips, excluding Technical Dive Charters. Dive Guides are there to keep divers on the briefed dive site, carry the float ball, and point out all of the amazing creatures. They are not dive buddies and will stay down until the last diver begins their ascent. If you’d like a designated buddy, you can hire a dive guide to accompany you on the dive and stick with you or your group.
Q: What amenities can I expect on charter boats?
A: The charter vessel Sirena is fully stocked with filtered water, sodas, fruit and snacks. Additionally, warm, dry towels are provided onboard. Sirena has a hot water shower, a marine “head”, and Christmas-tree style ladders for your comfort. You are more than welcome to bring your own “treats”, food, and/or drinks, but no alcohol please.
Q: Is hunting allowed onboard Sirena?
A: Spear fishing is not allowed, however, Hawaiian slings shorter than five (5) feet may be used to spear the invasive Lion Fish. Lobstering is permitted during lobster season, as long as participants carry the required Florida State Lobster licenses. You can purchase your Lobster License from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission here.
Q: What gear is required to dive aboard Sirena?
A: Each certified diver must have the following: mask, fins, snorkel, current BCD (no horse-collars, etc), regulator with alternate second stage, pressure gauge or computer, timing device (watch or computer), safety sausage or lift bag. All gear must be maintained and functioning. Any diver who arrives without the proper gear MUST rent or purchase missing pieces before being allowed aboard Sirena. Each charter operator provides a set of spare gear on their boat available for rent in the event of a missing or faulty piece of dive equipment. For Technical Diving Trips, please contact us for a list of required gear.
Q: What is the diving like in Palm Beach and what are the trips like?
A: The charter operators dive all of the famous wrecks and reefs in the area, and even some secret spots only their captains know about! West Palm Beach’s reef line stretches for several miles and is home to millions of creatures. The Gulf Stream, which most closely approaches Florida right here in West Palm, brings tons of critters to local reefs… tropical fish, rays, eels, turtles, sharks, dolphins, etc. You never know what you might see out there! Because the Gulf Stream comes so close, all of the offshore local diving is drift diving. This means that divers let the current drift them down the reef ledge. At the end of the dive, the boat is right there to pick them up. It’s the best diving in Florida! The whole trip lasts about four hours from departure to arrival back at the marina.
Q: Can I request a specific dive site?
A: Dive site requests made at the time of booking are welcome, however, the dive site choice cannot be assured. The charter boat operators will make every attempt to dive specific sites when a preference is noted, but the final decision is subject to the Captain’s discretion based on sea conditions and safety. Charter operators reserve the right to change the site if conditions are not conducive to safe diving at the planned location.
Q: Is proof of certification required to dive?
A: Yes. Divers must bring proof of certification by a nationally recognized agency with them at the time of check-in or they will not be allowed to dive. Additionally, divers wishing to use Enriched Air or Trimix must bring appropriate certification cards.
Blue Heron Bridge:
Q: Where can I find the high tide times for the Blue Heron Bridge?
A: Check out our Blue Heron Bridge webpage, which features lots of helpful information about the shore dive, as well as a site map. Click here to download the 2018 High Tide times and get started planning your dive!
Q: Its been years since my certification and I haven’t dove. What should I do?
A: Before your next dive, consider taking a Refresher Course, or hiring a Private Dive Guide who will accompany you every step of the way on your dives. You can also sign up for a PADI Scuba Review to review your in-water skills and basic dive knowledge. We offer all of these options for your convenience.
Q: Where can I go snorkeling?
A: There are several local options for snorkeling here. The Blue Heron Bridge is the most popular and easily-accessible snorkel site, followed by some excellent ocean sites. Stop by our shop for a complete site briefing, and to pick up a site map and tide chart. We also work with snorkeling catamarans to accommodate boat snorkeling excursions. Follow this link and use PVD as your referral code to book.
Q: Do you have a map that shows the location to the different snorkeling sites?
A: We carry a snorkeling and shore diving book that highlights all of the local sites with a complete map for each site.