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So you can't wait to share your love of scuba diving with your children or nieces and nephews...it's easier than ever! Industry regulations have lowered the age limit as well as creating specialized programs for kids. Sea Saba has not only the professional instructional staff you expect but also equipment to fit your child, an important concern to make sure the first experience is a great one. But, before we just 'sign you up', we hope you appreciate that Sea Saba believes training kids to dive and taking kids diving warrants serious attention--both before the decision is made and during training and diving. In January 2003, our 10 and 11 year old niece and nephew came to Saba so the fun but also the serious issues inspired us to address an entire webpage to kids and diving...
Summer 2003--More kids than ever!
July 24, 2003--Wow! Between local Saba kids, children of medical students, tourists and visiting teen summer camps, Sea Saba has exponentially increased their roster of junior certifications. One of the keys to our success with kids under 15 has been to keep class sizes small so that we can cater the academic material to the child's comprehension levels. Reading skills and watermanship, more often than not, are natural with kids that are eager to learn to dive. Judgment is an issue--making sure that the child isn't just memorizing the correct answer but truly understands the principles.
Is your child ready to dive? PADI and most organizations in the industry now allow scuba diving training to begin as early as 10 years old. With this new age limit comes new and specific teaching methods, training ratios and depth regulations to assure the utmost in safety. So be assured, it's not something the industry takes lightly. At Sea Saba, we address children and diving on a case-by-case basis. As a parent we hope you appreciate that we look at the maturity level, physical size, and attention level to assess if diving at a younger age is right for your child. However, first and foremost the question should be whether the child really wants to dive or if it's more a story of you really want the child to dive. The first diving experience for all divers whether adult or child should be a great one that encourages the new diver to want to continue to explore the underwater world. We feel it's better to think of the long term and wait a year or two if the child is not keen. What we have found to be a key to success is to not push the idea of diving instead to put it out there as an offer. By starting with snorkel trips, the child can get comfortable with being in the ocean, meeting our professional crew AND getting excited to see the underwater world as well as dealing with water in the mask, how to kick, etc. If they are truly "gung ho", we can begin with a one-day course. The new methodology allows divers to build upon a basic one or two day course without up-front obligation. The Training & Courses page of our website has full information on the various options for courses from one to four days.
Saba's Dive Sites and Kids...If we do go ahead and teach or take your child diving, there are definite depth limitations---maximum 40' or 12m for children 12 and under--sorry, no exceptions. By industry standards, a junior diver (under 16 years) can enjoy all that Saba has to offer---however, Sea Saba reserves the right to assess each individual situation. The decision will be made based on the particular child, weather and sea conditions and other divers on board. We ask you as a parent or guardian to understand our concern both for your child's safety and enjoyment but also for the other divers on board. We have had a number of junior divers enjoy the best of Saba. But we have also had occasions when we feel the situation warrants the hiring of a private guide for full attention or simply prohibiting certain dives for the child. Saba has famous deep water sites but they are not necessarily conducive for all ages :-). See our All About Saba's Diving page of this site for loads more information. Our afternoon dives are always to shallower sites, calmer surface conditions so this works fine for beginner divers and snorkelers-we also have a kayak on board.
Saba as a Family Destination...Saba is probably the most unique island in the Caribbean and perhaps even on a grander scale. Beautiful both topside as well as below, exotic but safe--drink the water but don't worry about the bugs...Our first-hand experience has taught us that "the right family" can have a great time on Saba with "never a dull moment". We've entertained kids from 8-14 years old with great success if they are energetic and enthusiastic. But without a beach, Saba doesn't have many of the things SOME travelers feel they can't live without---fast food restaurants, casinos, flashy night life, shopping, etc....We hope you are realistic and if your kids' idea of a good time is playing Nintendo or riding water bikes, then perhaps Saba is not the ideal destination for you for a full week. We can make suggestions for great combination trips to the nearby islands of St. Maarten, St. Barth's or Anguilla. A combination two-island adventure may be just the answer to please the whole family.
Saba offers an array of soft adventure
for the junior explorer. A variety of hikes can be done from 1-4
hours with supervision--Sea Saba can arrange a professional guide or an
enthusiastic 'babysitter' depending upon the situation. Explore a real
sulphur mine; climb in to the tide pools, summit Mt. Scenery, or just take
a safe walk after dark for star gazing...We have found our junior divers
can be readily entertained in the mornings while parents are enjoying
Saba's renowned pinnacle dives. The afternoons offer shallow, easier
sites to be explored diving, snorkeling or on a kayak. By
appointment, we can arrange for you to participate in the island's Tropicbird
research project, a hot
glass class or a day of sport fishing.
This page last updated on 09/22/2006 from our Windwardside office.
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