Scuba Diving Miami – 5 Centers for Beginners

When it comes to scuba diving Miami is a place that is more than blessed. The natural conditions and the history of nautical activities make it a haven for aficionados, or can make it a place for discovery for those who are not into them yet. Grasping the ABC’s of scuba diving has never been more accessible, opportunity-wise and costs-wise. So, without further unnecessary musings, here are our top 5 scuba diving Miami centers, who offer courses for newcomers.

scuba diving miami


5 Scuba Diving Miami Centers


1. Tarpoon Scuba Diving Center

Is a facility that aims to offer you the complete diving experience. It has two separate locations in Florida, with one of them being in Miami Beach, at 300 Alton Road. It boasts a rich history, its founder, Mike Kevorkian, having established the business in 1952. Today, the center features an impressive shop (where you can also get maintenance for your gear) that offers full services and rentals. Their greatest pride is in the 46-foot custom-built diving boat that is the only one of its kind operated by a private diving center at the Marina in Miami Beach.

Naturally, the Tarpoon Center also organizes scuba diving classes. A classroom and a pool on the premises are for beginners who wish to enroll in their initiation program – “Discover Scuba Diving”. At the end of the program, the customers will receive a certificate (PADI certification as it is officially known), which allows them to legally dive, at a depth of no more than 60 ft. at any location worldwide. The classes generally take 3 days to complete, are open to anyone over the age of 10 with a clean bill of health. All the necessary equipment is provided for, at a cost of $425/course.

tarpoon diving center

2. The H2O Diving Center 

Has been part of the northern Miami Beach landscape for over 20 years. Located at 14382 Biscayne Blvd., the center provides training for a wide variety of enthusiasts, from the youngest to the aspiring professional interested in search and rescue. If your skills are adequate, you can also sign up to become an instructor at the facility. H2O has an interactive and easy-to-use website, complete with an on-line shop for scuba diving gear.

The pre-requisites for enrolling in their beginner’s program are the same as those specified for the Tarpoon Center – minimum age of 10 and good health. What I found as being an extra incentive is that after you will have mastered the secrets of the BCD, tank, regulator, mask and fins, a one-day trip to one of the famous shipwrecks on the Florida coastline will be your graduation prize. Another awesome feature is the possibility of a class in underwater digital photography after you have grasped the ABC’s of scuba diving. The H2O Center caters to your preferences, providing both group programs and private programs. For information on class dates and rates, contact them here, though the most basic program starts at $199.

H2O Diving Center

3. Rainbow Reef Dive Center

In Key Largo, at a 63-mile drive from Miami. Complete with accommodations and a small “fleet” of four ships, the Rainbow Reef offers a multitude of packages, designed to suit every preference, including gear packages for beginner, intermediate and advanced level divers. Due to the mobility provided by the ships, the customer may visit reefs that are as shallow as 20 ft. or as deep as 90 ft. The diving courses that the center organizes are in the same vein, catering to almost every level or desire, though they are not quite as extended as those that we have already mentioned for Tarpoon Center.

Newbies are firstly wooed by their 1-day program (which is $175) that begins with a classroom presentation, followed by the quick jump into the water. The entry-level certification (PADI program) is organized in a series of 6 sessions over three days and costs $420. Fins and mask are not included, however, a BCD, tank, regulator, weights or dive tables are supplied by the center. If you are of the sophisticated kind, then you should customize your own diving experience at the Rainbow Reef Center, here.

rainbow reef dive center

4. Islamorada Dive Center

Just east of Key Largo, at 84001 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL, this dive center promises to have something on offer for everyone – from the curious first-timer to the seasoned diver. It operates a shop, and near it, the three ships that constitute their “fleet” are usually anchored. Eight enthusiastic men and women operate the business (along with two dogs) and plan to be your guide, whether it is advice on the gear you are about to use, or whether you are adept enough at exploring the nearby reefs or wrecks.

Their services include packages of “dive and stay” and courses for those who are interested as an enjoyable pastime while at the nearby resort, for those who desire certification, or for those already certified. For the PADI Open Water certificate, they organize a two-day course that costs $350 while the more advanced “full open water” class is a three-day, $450 affair. For more information check out their website, which features an enchanting introductory video.

islamorada dive center

5. Austin’s Diving Center

Has a tradition of over 50 years in diving-related activities, having a well-endowed shop and being an intermediary for diving instructors who wish to offer their services to customers. The idea of using outside personnel is an intriguing one, because in this way the instructor can focus on the coaching of the students without having to double as a salesman. The center also does maintenance on diving gear, with rates being available here. Their online shop is a joy to surf through, and they claim the best prices on all authorized products.

Currently, their website features four independent instructors, and the most interesting feature is their “Freediver’s Instructor Level 1 International” class, which, in addition to would be scuba divers, is also perfect for those who wish to master the art of free diving. Their facilities permit the recreation of natural conditions, with depths up to 70 ft. You may study correct breathing, advanced techniques for holding your breath, problem management, search and rescue skills. The instructors at the center organize classes with a maximum of six participants, so they do not lose focus with anyone. This course goes for $375, and for more information on dates and other classes just visit their website.

austin's dive center

These five scuba diving Miami centers have designed their service in order to cater mainly for tourists, but our take is that the locals should also have their say if we have overlooked a more important one, in the comment section below.

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