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Dive Center Frequently Asked Questions

Why dive Key Largo?
Beautiful weather, beautiful reefs, beautiful critters, beautiful waters, need we say more? 

What times do your trips leave?
We offer 2 trips daily.
Our morning trip departs the dock at 8:30 AM, (check in opens at 7:30 am and ends promptly at 8:00 am), and the afternoon trip departs the dock at 1:00 PM  (check in opens at 12:00 PM and closes promptly at 12:30 pm). Both trips are 2-tank two location trips.

How do I make a reservation for a Dive & Stay Package?
Call us at 305-451-3640 to reserve, We are open 7 days a week (excluding Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day) from 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Heads up, from 7:30 am - 8:30 am and 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, the shop is busy checking in guests and getting the boat ready for our trips so we might be multitasking!

What is your cancellation policy on Hotel Packages?
If you cancel more than 72 hours prior to your check in date there is no penalty. If you cancel less 72 hours prior to your check in date the hotel will charge you for one night.

What is your cancellation policy on Scuba, Snorkeling, or Instruction?
Please see our Cancellation Policy Page for detailed information. 

Where can I find the Instructional Course Medical forms if I am taking a Class?
You can find it here: Physical Examination RSTC

How much time do I get in the water at a dive location?
We offer 65 minutes of "Pool's Open" time at each location. Depending on how long it takes you to be ready to splash in after the Captain gives the Be Back time, most of our divers log around 50-60 minutes of actual dive time per site. 
Can I use my own full face snorkel mask?
Due safety concerns based on continued research both domestically and internationally regarding the risks and dangers of full face masks we don't allow them on our boats for anybody. Sea Dwellers includes masks, fins, and snorkels for all snorkelers at no additional cost!

What are the Scuba Course Swim Test requirements?
In accordance with minimum course requirements and training agency standards set with both SSI and PADI to ensure student safety, all scuba students must be comfortable in the water, and not pose a danger to themselves or to those around them both in the pool training sessions and in the ocean during the open water portion of the course; as well as ensuring students possess the minimum level of ability to affect self-rescue in the water in the event of an emergency. Each student MUST successfully demonstrate the ability to swim continuously for a total of 200 meters without stopping, without touching the bottom or sides of the pool and without use of a floatation device as well as be able to successfully complete a survival float for 10 continuous minutes either by treading water or floating on their back keeping nose and mouth above the water while not touching the bottom or sides of the pool and without use of a floatation device. In the event that any student is unable to successfully meet the minimum requirements the Instructor has discretion to grant an additional attempt on the basis of reasonable expectation for success with re-attempt. If a student’s demonstration of skills and ability during the first attempt were inadequate or unsafe enough that there is no reasonable expectation of success on re-attempt, the Instructor has the right to deny a second attempt. If for ANY reason, a student is unable to successfully meet the minimum requirements during a second attempt, our Instructors reserve the right to disqualify that student from continuing in the course for their own safety as well as for the safety of others in the water including the Instructor. The Instructor may grant permission to disqualified students to join the boat trip and enter the water as a snorkeler with additional safety measures required such as use of pool noodle in conjunction with holding onto the tagline on the boat IF the student demonstrated an ability to swim somewhat but not quite enough to meet the course requirement. Permission may also be granted to join the trip as a bubble watcher (rider) and remain on the boat at all times. If additional safety measures are required by the instructor for the student, the Captain and Mate will be notified and will ensure those measures are followed or entry into the water will be prohibited. There will be no refund or rain check provided for the difference in cost between the course and transitioning to a snorkeler/bubble watcher.

Are dive guides included in the price of the trip?

Our standard dive trips DO NOT include a free guide in the cost of the trip. We do offer guides for a small additional charge, at small ratios (6:1). All of our guides are instructors or divemasters, and are paid employees, not interns. See Dive & Snorkel Trip Prices page for rates.

Why do I have to pay for a guide when some shops include them for free?
When you see other shops offering a “Free Dive guide”…what they don't tell you is that EVERYONE on the boat is following just one guide…a kind of “Cattle Dive”…They don't slow down if you have issues with comfort, gear, ability etc., and nobody is really looking out for you, it's a 'keep up or good luck on your own' kind of thing. It's also VERY easy to get mixed up on where your guide went if other divers from a different boat are at the site as well which frequently occurs here in Key Largo. Additionally, getting to see the cool critters is HARD because having 20-40 divers all together tends to spook most critters in the area. Speaking of that many divers all jumbled together, who likes getting kicked, bumped, trampled on a dive? And lastly, what the shops that offer 'free dive guides' don't tell you is that their guides are usually interns or teens with very little experience managing that many divers let alone knowing the dive sites well enough to know where the cool critters tend to hang out so you don't get to see NEARLY as much as you could or otherwise would in a smaller group with an experienced pro. We don't think that this style of diving is very fun or fair. We would rather enhance your experience by offering you a very experienced professional in a small group and get you your money's worth out of your dive. We aren't knocking the 'free dive guide' shops, it just doesn't quite align with our vision, mission and what we believe in providing our guests. We are not the cheapest or most expensive shop on the island but considering that we are the longest standing dive shop in the entire Florida Keys, we figure that we have to be doing something right regarding the balance between what you pay and what we deliver. We firmly believe that you get what you pay for and with the level of experience, professionalism, and quality of our guides, they are ABSOLUTELY worth it. 

Private Guide vs. Non-Private Guide
Ok so you decided to hire a guide, now what? You need to decide whether you would like to be with a Private Guide or a Non-Private Guide. What's the difference? Our Non-Private Guides are a GREAT cost effective option for getting a great tour of the dive site and having one of our PHENOMENAL dive pros show you where the resident critters typically hang out as well as not having to keep track of navigation, depth, time, etc. All you have to do is follow your guide and check out the cool stuff they show you while mainly just having to tell them how much air you have as they periodically check on your supply. As the cost effective option, our Non-Private guides could have several other divers in their group. We try to limit the number of divers to no more than 6-7 per guide but sometimes depending on the circumstances might push it to 8 if absolutely necessary (ex, 2 groups of 4 or something along those lines). But there is the possibility of differing levels of skill, experience, ability, etc. and it's the guide's responsibility to #1 keep all divers safe and #1.1 show you an amazing time. So if someone is an air hog and you don't get as much bottom time as you would like, or someone has trouble equalizing and has to go back to the boat, etc., you may possibly experience some of the technical difficulties that come with diving with other unknown divers. If something like that happens, usually, the guide will bring the group to the surface and ensure the diver with issues gets safely back to the boat and then if time and air supply permit, will take the rest of the group down to resume the dive. Our Non-Private guides are PERFECT for divers who would like to be guided but save some money, divers that are very comfortable or experienced and would rather have someone else navigate or show them the hidden gems on the sites and divers who don't have a buddy and needed to hire a guide to join the trip. Our Private Guides cost a few bucks more, but you get WAY more. Our private guides are the exact same Dive Pros as our non-private guides and will still give you the same great tour and keep track of everything for you like navigation, depth, time, but since they are focused on you and your buddy/group ONLY, there is WAY more personalized attention and flexibility with planning the dive as you are the ONLY ones they are paying attention to. Private Guides are PERFECT for divers that have a bit of budget flexibility, divers who don't want to share their dive with strangers but still want a guide, divers who want/need extra assistance/attention and divers who want to be pampered and spoiled. See our Dive & Snorkel Trip Prices page for rates.

What is your policy on Solo Divers?
 In order to dive with Sea Dwellers, it is required to have a dive buddy. If you don't have a dive buddy joining you, we will paid you up with an 'insta-buddy' if we have any other solo divers that didn't opt to be guided. If, at check-in time, there are no other solo divers on the trip, you will be required to pay for a guide. In the event that you do not wish to pay for the guide, you will not be able to join the trip and we will not be able to provide a refund as our solo diver policy is stated on our website, online booking platform, all confirmation emails, reminder emails and is clearly stated during all phone reservation calls. 

Do you offer photo and/or video services for dives?
Sort of. We don't have a standard package that covers it BUT most of our guides have cameras with them on dives and are usually willing to take some photos/videos of you and send them to you. *Please note that they are doing this out of kindness and it's strongly recommended to show your appreciation in the form of a gratuity*. Some of our staff are absolutely STELLAR underwater photographers and if you hire them as a private guide and make arrangements with them ahead of time, they are more than happy to take photos/videos of your entire trip, edit them (color correct, crop, pop, etc) and send them to you after. *Please note that the cost of hiring them as a private guide does NOT cover the cost of them providing professional quality photos/videos. It will be up to you to negotiate and arrange compensation for that entirely separately with your chosen private guide. Also, please keep in mind that you get what you pay for, taking great shots/videos and being able to edit them well and deliver them in a timely manner takes a LOT of work and skill* A few of our staffers are professional quality underwater photographers (the only difference is they aren't doing it full time) and can do engagement shots, special occasions, 'Influencer style' photoshoots, etc. Private Guide photographers absolutely MUST be reserved in advance to ensure your desired Dive Pro is available. If your desired Dive Pro is scheduled to be off the day of your trip, most of them are willing to switch shifts to come in for you. 

Can Students bring a camera? Will the Instructor have a camera?
In accordance with training agency safety standards, no Student or Instructor can have a camera during the dives. HOWEVER, there's a bit of a loophole. You CAN hire a private guide to be your photographer if staffing availability permits to join your dives and THEY can take photos/videos for you. See the section above for more information. 

Been a while since your last dive?

As a certified diver, it is each individual’s responsibility to maintain his/her knowledge and skill levels through consistent practice and continued education. Please remember to bring your certification card with you.  We check all certification cards prior to boarding the Sea Dweller III. 

If it has been more than one year but less than two years since your last LOGGED scuba dive, you will be required to hire a guide for your first trip with us. If it has been mora than two years since your last LOGGEd dive, you will be required to complete a Scuba Skills Update in the pool with one of our instructors or provide proof of successful completion of an approved refresher course with a recognized training agency and signed by an Instructor in good standing and authorized to teach by that agency upon arrival. Failure to do so will disqualify you from diving until a refresher is completed or proof provided. ABSOLUTELY no refunds will be provided for trips missed due to this policy. The only alternative would be to join the trip as a snorkeler or rider.

Is Key Largo the best island in the Keys to dive?
The simple, non-politically correct answer is…YES. The reason why is geographic….without boring anybody, basically Key Largo is the closest point in the Keys to the Gulf Stream, with it’s clear, clean blue waters. Key Largo is also the longest continuous landmass in the island chain, which helps keep the western Bay and Gulf waters from impeding into the reef. Think about it logically, where is the concentration of dive shops the highest? The Upper Keys, specificially Key Largo and Islamorada. With the opportunity to make money, if diving were as good as anywhere else in the Keys as it is right here in Key Largo, there would be WAY more shops in those areas. The fact that there are not tells you everything you need to know...unless you simply prefer to dive in places that aren't jaw droppingly which case there are TONS of places to go that are much more affordable than vacations in the middle and southern Keys, but hey, we aren't judging!

Why should I dive Key Largo with Sea Dwellers Dive Center?
We are a PADI 5-Star Dive Center and Resort as well as a SSI Diamond Dive Center & Resort facility that has been serving divers in Key Largo since 1972.  Sea Dwellers is proud to have the title as the oldest standing dive shop in the Florida Keys!  We want to provide a safe, relaxed atmosphere for you so that you can enjoy your dive vacation to the maximum. You will not find any drill sergeants here barking at you because you forgot to put your snorkel in your mouth at the right time! Our staff and crew have been accurately described as "Playfully Professional" because while it's their top priority to keep you safe, we also understand it's your vacation and who wants to get stressed out or fussed at on vacation, so we will laugh and joke with you as we keep you safe and show you the beauty of Key Largo! Plus, you can check out all of our reviews on all platforms by clicking the icons below!


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