Welcome to Vancouver Scuba diving school, a boutique dive business specializing in one-to-one diver training, and guided tours of Howe Sound dive sites seven days a week.  

You want to experience the undersea world here in BC and wherever you travel... and I'd like to convince you that a private, customized PADI course run by an instructor with over 14 years professional experience - and 30+ years total diving experience -  is your smartest investment in quality training

My website is designed to provide you with important information and insight into the realities of learning to dive: detailed course outlines, must-read educational blog entries, dive site profiles, and images I've taken of the local underwater wildlife .  It's best viewed on a big screen, for easy reading.  Whether you choose to train privately with Vancouver Scuba, or in a large group at a conventional dive shop, a thorough browsing of this site will help you to make an informed decision. 

Mark Leichnitz

PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer

Safe scuba diving is all about risk management


What you need to know about diving in Vancouver vs diving in the tropics 

tropical diving

tropical diving

  • The PADI Open Water Diver course is the most popular entry-level diving certification in the world. It’s the ground floor of a lifetime club membership.

  • The certification enables you to rent equipment, dive with or without a professional guide, and take more training courses.

  • A single PADI instructor can teach up to 8 Open Water students in a group at the same time. This ratio is based on diving in tropical conditions: warm water, boat diving, lightweight gear and underwater visibility that's good enough for an instructor to see everyone in the group simultaneously.

  • This very same commoditized group course is sold in Vancouver area dive shops.

Vancouver diving

Vancouver diving

  • But...unlike in the tropics, diving in Vancouver is an extreme sport with profoundly different diving conditions. Cold water, shore diving, heavy gear and limited underwater "viz" make learning to dive in Vancouver much more physically, mentally and emotionally challenging for both the students and the professionals.

  • Most tropically-trained novices who attempt to dive in BC have great difficulty adapting to our radically more strenuous and challenging conditions.

  • Despite harsh cold water temperatures averaging 10C/50F, most Vancouver dive shops offer an off-the-shelf, commoditized Open Water Diver course at an artificially low, marginally profitable price point per student, and maximize the group size…it’s the same business model as in the tropics. Most instructors earn minimum wage or less after paying their overhead costs.

  • Large groups serve to seriously limit the amount of time that an instructor can devote to any individual student during an Open Water Diver course: averaging less than 45 minutes in the pool and 15 minutes underwater in the ocean for the entirety of the course!! Personal attention and mentorship are minimal. I know this because I taught large group courses for five years.

  • Most freshly certified Open Water divers will never dive again in BC after finishing a commoditized group course, mainly owing to a lack of skills and confidence.


What the dive accident statistics reveal about new divers:

Research reports have shown that inadequate training creates dependent divers, unable to think for themselves, lacking knowledge, experience and self-sufficiency to solve problems and manage risks competently. Statistics show that about 50% of all reported accidents, hospitalizations and fatalities happen to divers with less than two years experience!! Even more astonishing is that about 75% of non-medical fatalities involved violations of safe diving practices, implying that these safe diving practices were never truly learned in the first place.


Vancouver Scuba diving school offers higher quality diver training in BC

Our private scuba courses follow a more enlightened and thorough training model. Private one-to-one training is safer than group training, the training goes far beyond the minimum PADI standards offered in a group course, you'll have the instructor's undivided attention and mentorship, and you'll develop at your own natural pace. 


Vancouver Scuba diving school is a diver training business, not a retail dive shop.

Our training model is client-centered and tailored to BC's extreme diving conditions.



Before you decide to sign up for any scuba course, please read our Open Water course details, browse our Blog where we discuss real-world diving issues that you'll face as a certified diver, take 10 minutes to read  Understanding Risk, review this Diving Suitability Self-Assessment,  then make an informed decision.

  • We offer fully divemastered two-tank Howe Sound Day Trips at any time and discounted multi-day packages for certified divers.

  • For the convenience of visitors to Vancouver we provide all transportation from your hotel and organize the gear on your behalf.

  • Check out the photo galleries around the website and link to our You Tube videos for impressions of great BC and tropical diving.

More About Us

  • VSds is not a conventional brick-and-mortar dive shop. Rather, we maintain relationships with these shops which supply us with all the equipment and offer our clients discounts and deals on gear rentals and purchases. Contact US

  • You can follow VSds on Facebook to see new videos and photo galleries. Please like us. Link to Facebook Page