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Cancellations, Course Complications, Refunds & Rainchecks

Sea Dwellers Dive Center has always made your safety and enjoyment our number one priority.  We feel it is best to be as transparent as possible, and have put together what we feel is a comprehensive policy regarding variables that can result in cancellations, course complications or potential refunds/rain check requests.  These policies are in place based on industry standards.  Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with these policies.

Dive and Snorkel Trips - General Safety Policies

  • Check-in time is one hour before your departure time. We attempt to accommodate all guests, and are generally unable to delay departures for late arrivals. Please plan your trip accordingly as late arrivals that result in a missed trip are subject to full payment, and no refunds or rain checks will be issued.
    Please arrive ON TIME with waivers completed in advance...  We can not hold the boats due to late check-ins.  Check in for all morning trips begins at 7:30 AM and ends promptly at 8:00 AM. Check in for all afternoon trips begins at 12:00 PM and ends promptly at 12:30 PM. If you miss check in, you miss the trip. 
  • Our standard dive trips DO NOT include a guide. We do offer guides available for a small additional charge, at small ratios (6:1). Please contact us in advance if you would like a guide so we can schedule accordingly.  All of our guides are instructors or divemasters, and are paid employees, not interns... which is the reason we currently charge for guides. Solo Divers:  In order to dive, it is required to have a dive buddy. If you do not have another dive buddy coming with you, we will try our best to pair you up with another solo diver(s) on board.  If, at check-in time, there are no other solo divers on board, you will need to pay for a guide.  For everyone's comfort, safety and enjoyment, we will not pair solo divers up with a pre-existing buddy team/group. The reason for that is that is when adding an unknown diver into a buddy team/group there is often a mis-match os skills, experience and preference which tends to result in dissatisfaction to all involved. 
  • If it has been more than one year since your last dive, you will be required to hire a guide for your first dive trip.  If it has been MORE THAN TWO YEARS since your last logged dive, you will be required to do a Scuba Skills Update in the pool with one of our instructors prior to diving in the ocean. Pool sessions are conducted in the morning, and are based on availability. You may also provide proof of successful completion of an approved refresher course with a recognized training agency taken prior to arrival. 
  • At least one diver in your group is required to have a timing device on all dives.  If you do not have a watch or computer you can dive with, we are happy to rent you a computer.  Computers are required for each diver on deep dives.
  • All divers must present a valid certification card for the appropriate level of diving they are scheduled for at check-in.  Any dive over 60 feet requires a minimum Advanced Open Water Certification.  Nitrox, Full Face Mask, and other speciality diving require certification cards as well.  
  • All snorkelers and divers must know how to swim, be in good general health and be comfortable swimming in open ocean, in water which is too deep to stand.
  • Sea Dwellers does not allow full-face snorkel masks.  We do allow full-face dive masks for divers who are certified.  Divers must show proof of certification, must have dived within the last year on full-face mask, and must be accompanied with a dive buddy who is also full-face mask certified. 
  • “No-Shows”, inability to provide dive certification card upon check-in, extended times out of water requiring a refresher upon check-in, and late arrivals resulting in missed trips are all subject to 100% payment and no rain check will be issued.  No refunds will be given for divers or snorkelers who do not review policies in advance, and refuse or are declined to attend a trip due to any safety requirements set forth by Sea Dwellers Dive Center.

Dive and Snorkel Trips - Guest Cancellation

  • Sea Dwellers has a 72 hour cancellation policy on non-private dive and snorkel trips. This includes any party that is not a scuba course or a private boat charter.  You may reschedule or cancel your reservation anytime more than 72 hours of the trip start time.  All refunds are subject to a 10% processing fee.  This means that if someone were to cancel or reschedule less than 72 hours prior to the trip start time, they are subject to 100% payment.  You can reschedule at any point more than 48 hours prior to the start of your trip with no penalty. Requests to reschedule less than 48 hours prior to the start of the trip will be assessed a 25% rescheduling fee that must be paid prior to us being able to reschedule your trip.  
  • Holiday weeks/weekends have a 7 day cancellation policy for all activities, and rain checks will not be issued or valid during these dates.  Holiday weeks are: 1/1 - 1/3, 3/5 - 3/25, 5/25 - 5/31, 6/29 - 7/10, 8/29 - 9/5, 11/17 - 11/28, 12/20 - 12/31.

Private Charters - Guest Cancellation and Rescheduling

  • You may reschedule your trip anytime more than 7 days before the departure date. Trips that are rescheduled more than 7 days are not subject to any fee. Rescheduling private charters less than 7 days prior to departure will require the remaining balance due in addition to a 25% rebooking fee to be paid in full at the time of rescheduling. 
  • Cancellations made less than 7 days prior to the private charter date are non-refundable and are subject to 100% of the total charter cost. There will be no refunds or rain checks for private charter cancellations less than 7 days prior to departure.  Any private charter that is cancelled at the request of a guest more than 7 days in advance forefits the non-refundable deposit paid at the time of booking, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Scuba Course - Guest Requested Cancellation or Reschedule

  • Guests may reschedule or cancel a course anytime more than 7 days before the start of the course.  All course deposits taken for are non-refundable, regardless of time of cancellation, NO EXCEPTIONS. This is due to the fees Sea Dwellers incurs when we open academic courses with PADI and SSI. If canceled more than 7 days before the course, all other payments (other than deposits) will be refunded minus a 10% processing fee.  
  • Cancellations made less than 7 days prior to the start of the Scuba Course date are non refundable and are subject to 100% of the total course cost. Sea Dwellers takes pride in keeping our student to instructor ratios smaller, and we have to hold spots in our classes that could have otherwise been sold to another guest. For these reasons, there are no refunds or rain checks for course cancellations made less than 7 days prior to the start of the course.

Weather General

  • Weather is unpredictable, especially in the open ocean. In regards to diving in the Florida Keys we are focused primarily on wind speed and direction. Our Captains and Crew have years of experience in assessing conditions, however weather forecasts have degrees of variance.  We can not guarantee a particular location or boat. If weather/conditions or other factors arise, the Captain or Crew may select alternate locations or boats for the best experience. We do our best to go to locations scheduled, however if a Captain or crew select a different location/activity we will not provide refunds for the trip.

Dive and Snorkel Trips - Inclement Weather

  • In the event conditions are sportier than normal (3ft+ seas) but the boat is still running, you will be given the option to reschedule to a different day or a raincheck for the full amount paid.
  • If Sea Dwellers cancels a trip prior to departure, you have the options to reschedule, receive a raincheck, or receive a refund, whichever you prefer.
    ***Refunds due to weather cancellations are in full, and NOT subject to fees.  This includes deposits paid for single day courses such as Refresher or Discover Scuba courses.  (Open water certification, AOW, or any course that has online academics are non-refundable as this pays for your course online)
  • There are absolutely NO REFUNDS for seasickness, unused tanks or equipment, or “one and done” trips canceled due to unforeseen inclement weather or medical emergencies.

Scuba Course - Inclement Weather

  • In the case of inclement weather, Sea Dwellers can offer two alternative Scuba locations at no additional charge: in the canal where our boat is docked, you have a chance of seeing the “docktopus” (an octopus that lives on the dock and comes out to visit students sometimes) and members of the resident huddle of nurse sharks that call the canal home, or Rowell's Waterfront Park (a shore dive in a semi-enclosed waterfront park) with nudibranchs, seahorses and sea stars.  For an additional cost and time permitting, we can also dive at Jules Undersea Lodge (a waterfront lagoon with an underwater hotel), in which you will pay an entry fee directly to Jules. If you have attended the pool training and choose to not go to one of our alternative options we can offer a rain check valid for the amount of the incomplete portion of your course that is good for 2 years. (Remainder Course Rain Check Values: Open Water Diver dives 3 & 4 $150; Refresher or Discover Scuba dives $125) 

Scuba Course - Failed Medical Form (Day-of): No Refund/No Rain Check

  • Please review student medical forms entirely before your arrival.  Sea Dwellers is not responsible for failed medical forms at the time of check-in and there will be no refunds or rain checks for failed medical forms. The medical form can be found on our website, in confirmation emails, and on PADI and SSI websites.  In the event that you check into the shop and have a medical questionnaire that requires evaluation by a medical professional and you have not received medical clearance, there will be no refunds given if you cannot obtain medical clearance.  The absolute best we can do is try to move your class to another day pending availability (yours AND ours) or you may elect to bubble watch or snorkel (no refund will be given for the difference in any price).

Scuba Course - Failed Swim Test: No Refund/No Rain Check

  • 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.

Scuba Course - Performance Based: No Refund/No Rain Check

  • Throughout the SCUBA training process, there are minimum performance requirements that students must achieve in order to pass.  If for any reason if you are unable to complete the minimum performance requirements for your course, depending on the progress of your course, you can schedule another time to come back with us within 1 year.  Generally, we would advise that you return to the pool or additional open water dives within that same week.  If you are unable to return, we can issue a referral (case by case) for another dive center to finish your course within 1 year.  
  • Open Water Courses include two pool sessions (if required) and two Checkout Dive Sessions.  If a 3rd Pool Session Required, there is an additional fee of $120 per student.  If an additional Checkout Dive Session is required, there is an additional fee of $225 per student.
  • Our instructors are held to a high standard, and make every attempt to get you through your course.  It is not often, however in the rare situation where it is deemed unsafe for a student to continue to the ocean, no refund will be issued due to inability to achieve the minimum performance requirements set forth by PADI and SSI.

Scuba Course - Medical Related Cancellations (equalization issues, etc.)

  • If for any reason you start a course and are unable to finish due to any unforeseen medical issues, Sea Dwellers will issue you a rain check for the monetary value of any additional training dives needed.  Per your request, Sea Dwellers can issue a letter of referral to finish your course with another dive center.  No refunds will be given for any incomplete instruction.  We recommend that you see your physician prior to coming down and getting a good check up to make sure you are in good health and not getting sick.

Rain Checks General Policy

  • Unless stated otherwise, all rain checks expire two years from the date of issuance.  Rain checks are issued for a monetary amount, and are applicable to any boat trip (dive or snorkel), or towards Scuba Instruction.  Rain check usage is dependent on the availability of the boat, and can not be used during holiday weeks.  Rain checks ARE transferable with your consent by email.  All rain checks are put in our system with your name and number so if you lose your rain check ticket we should be able to find it for you. To use your rain check, simply call us to make your reservation.  Rain checks can not be applied towards merchandise.

Why A 10% Processing Fee

  • Banks like to win… Unfortunately they do this through small family businesses like Sea Dwellers Dive Center.  We are charged a processing fee when we take a payment, AND when we refund a payment.  While different cards have different fees, an example is if you pay $100 to Sea Dwellers and our fee is 5% for that card, we pay $5.00 when we take your payment and an additional $5.00 when we refund.  That $10 fee is a direct loss, on a trip that we have earned zero on.  In order to avoid this, we highly recommend planning trips in advance and having backup plans in place, or (when applicable) a rain check for the amount paid.