7 Tips For Shore Diving For Beginner Scuba Divers

7 Tips for Shore Diving for Beginner Scuba Divers

In our video on making the most of a scuba diving trip to Grand Cayman, we mentioned taking advantage of wall diving and trying out different dive shops. Another thing we mentioned is the value of doing as much shore diving as you can. So, from the Bahamas to Grand Cayman, what are the benefits of shore diving? and how can you make the best of your shore diving experience?

Why Shore Dive?

It’s cost-efficient 

If you’re diving from a boat, you have to pay for:

  • The captain
  • The dive master
  • Fuel
  • Any other miscellaneous expenses

This results in typical two-tank boat dives running somewhere between 80 to 120 dollars. With shore diving, if you have all of your equipment, normally you just have to rent your tanks and weights.

You are on your schedule

If you’re not a morning person and the thought of a 7:30 boat meetup on vacation horrifies you, then shore diving is a great option for you. You rent your tanks and weights, and from there YOU decide what dive time is. If you feel like doing multiple shore dives a day, it’s completely up to you as long as you are fully-equipped.

You can visit dive sites that boats don’t serve

Some dive sites are close enough to the shore that they are easy to swim out to, yet so close that it doesn’t make sense to take a boat there.

7 factors to consider when shore diving as a beginner 

Local dive shops will most likely be happy to share any hotspots, tips, and tricks with you. However, what’s most important to find out is what the local regulations are about shore diving. Some questions to ask include:

  • Is shore diving even allowed in the area?
  • If so, do you need a flag?
  • Do you need to have a DSMB up?
  • What are the regulations?

A dive shop can give you all of this insider information, so make sure to check in with them. Also, make sure to check conditions frequently, especially in regards to current.

When planning a shore dive, before you get in the water make sure you know how you are going to get out, whether that be swimming back to shore or using a ladder or stairs. Basically, before you jump off a pier that has no ladder in sight, make sure you have an exit strategy.

Once your exit is planned, you can go ahead and plan your entry. If the shore dive is from a beach, you’re probably just going to be walking in from the sand. If you are at a particularly popular dive site, there might be multiple entry points provided.

Why does fin selection matter if you’re diving from ashore? To protect your feet while you’re entering and exiting the water. If you’re diving from a beach and the Sand is soft, there’s no problem using full foot fins and entering and exiting the water barefoot. However, if you have to walk across crushed coral or shells, you absolutely want to be wearing scuba diving boots and have open heel fins to ensure that your feet are protected.

Established shore diving sites typically have benches that you can set your gear up on, put it on, do your buddy checks, and get in the water. After your dive, you can take your gear off and know that it’s secure. If you are more remote, you can use a tree branch or the trunk of your car. It’s really hard to put a set of scuba gear down on the sand, put it on and get to your feet- so, if you are shore diving from a beach one option would be to put your kit on in shallow water if conditions allow it.

Some questions that you should ask yourself are:

  • Are you going to enter and exit from the same point?
  • Are you going to do a one-directional shore dive? Meaning you enter the water at one point, drift with the current, and exist somewhere else?

If you choose to do a one-directional shore dive, you will have to consider how to get you and your gear back to your starting point once you have exited the water (usually where your transportation is parked)

You are still going to need to leave your keys and wallet somewhere unless you take a dry bag with you, which aren’t always reliable. So, for this reason, it’s important to find a place where you can secure your possessions. The most typical solution would be to lock everything in your car, but that doesn’t solve for car keys which can’t be taken into the water with you. So, always have a plan as to where you are going to secure your valuables.


While boat dives are fantastic ways to dive sites that you wouldn’t be able to from the shore, like the wreck of the USS Kittiwake; shore diving is a great way to see the lesser-visited sites that can’t be accessed via boat. Additionally, it’s a way to make your diving vacations more cost-efficient.




See our specific products used in the links above, and for a full list of the gear James keep in his dive bag, see his Gear List.
Shopping Cart

Meet James Blackman

With a career in diving spanning twenty years, James has seen a thing or two in the dive industry. James grew up on the Southwest coast of Britain and learned to dive in the frigid waters of the English Channel. If your first dives were like being placed in a cocktail shaker full of cabbage soup and you come away with a love for the sport, then you know it’s going to be a life-long pursuit.

James spent his twenties in the British merchant marine which afforded him the opportunity to travel to and dive in far flung locales… 177 countries and counting. Between stints onboard a variety of vessels, James used his shore leaves to level up his scuba training… Rescue diver in Tanzania, DM in Indonesia, Instructor in Honduras, Tec Instructor in the French West Indies.

His last ship before moving to a shore-based life style was an expedition ship where he notched up some of his most impressive dives, including briefly holding the world record for most northerly scuba dive… 82 degrees north in the Russian arctic; diving the Amazon river; the Antarctic; and virgin reef systems in Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.

Moving ashore in his early thirties, James took on the role of General Manager for a luxury dive operator in St Martin and never had a dull moment! Hollywood visited the island and called upon James’ underwater skills for on-set safety. When Cat-3 hurricane Gonzalo devastated the area, James switched hats to salvage and public safety diver to help with the recovery.

Scuba Diving has given so much to James in his life… and first on that list is his brilliant wife Karina whom he met whilst teaching her AOW class! Yes, that old cliché! James and Karina are also business partners and co-owners of two power-house scuba brands. Miami Technical Diving has become the premiere scuba training facility in South Florida. Tired of seeing other dive shops compete in a ‘race to the bottom,’ James decided his model for teaching scuba would focus on keeping the quality as high as possible; using the best gear possible; teaching beyond the minimum standards on a 1-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio. The fullness of the MTD training calendar shows that people – student divers – prefer to receive premium, quality tuition, as opposed to cheap and fast.

James is the personality and knowledge broker behind ‘Divers Ready!’ a super influential Scuba Diving YouTube channelwebsite and brand. In just a year, Divers Ready! has become the fastest growing You Tube channel in the Scuba Diving niche, with 1000s of new divers joining every month. Their weekly videos range from Mouthpiece Mondays – where James shares his insider knowledge and opinions about controversial topics in the dive industry – to practical ‘hints & tutorial’ style videos, all with one simple goal in mind – to make you a better diver!

James and Karina started small group luxury dive trips for the Divers Ready! audience.

James and Karina live in Miami, FL with their rambunctious dogs; Ziggy The Husky and Bonham the Mutt, and their Maine Coon cat Foxy, who remains unimpressed.