Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to your frequently asked questions!
When is Whale Watching Season?
Our Whale Watch trips at Coffs Harbour operate daily from June to October, in the beautiful waters of the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
How long is an average Whale Watching Trip?
About 1.5 hours. If we’re seeing performer whales, we quite often stay longer.
What do I need to bring?
Yourself! A jacket in case you get cold in the wind, and that’s about it.
Where do I go?
We meet at Coffs Harbour International Marina, at the FLOATING WHARF. You can find this opposite Attitude Burgers. If you could meet us 15 minutes prior to departure for an on time trip!
Will I get SeaSick?
If you get motion sickness in a car, it’s likely you might experience it on our boat. We do have a fast boat ride to get to the whales, so there’s less time for sickness, but if you’re worried we suggest taking some motion-sickness medication.
How do I book?
The easiest way is through our online booking portal! It shows you availability and times. You can also give us a call on (+61)2 66511 611 (we take credit card payment over the phone) or pop in store to see us!
Do you have to have a ticket to Scuba Dive?
Short answer, yes. You have to be certified, or be doing a Discover Scuba Experience (Which does not certify you) to come diving with us.
Do you have space on ______ day for ____ people for a double dive? And will you have ____ equipment for rental?
How often do you run dive trips?
We can run a trip every day – as long as we reach the minimum numbers to run our boat, and the weather is appropriate for our trip.
Do I need to book in advance to go on a dive trip?
Definitely – our weekend and school holiday boats often book out. You will need to leave a deposit to hold your position on the boat upon booking. Deposits are fully refundable if 48 hours notice before the trip is given. (Also refunded if trip is cancelled by us, due to weather) (Refer to part 29 of our terms and conditions for more details)
Will you go out if it's raining?
It doesn’t usually interfere with our trips. Rain does not constitute for bad weather, in fact it can be better weather. The fish usually come closer!
What about sharks?
When you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a shark. The Solitary Islands will often bless us with plenty of Grey Nurse Sharks, and wobbeygongs. Although “incidents” with sharks can occur, they are very, very rare, and since taking over the business in 1996, we have never had an incident with any shark. If you see a shark it’s passing through and a beautiful sight to see.
Do I have to have my Dive Card or proof of certification with me to dive with you?
We have to see proof of your certification. Luckily, with all PADI certifications we can search the database to confirm this. If you are not a PADI certified diver, you definitely need to bring proof of certification with you.
When is the best time of year to dive? Do you go all throughout the year?
All year is a great time! In our colder months, despite the chillier water temperature, we see more Grey Nurse Sharks. A lot of people prefer to dive when the water is warmer, but it is spectacular all year round.
Will I get SeaSick?
If you get motion sickness in a car, it’s likely you might experience it on our boat. If you’re prone to seasickness, or at all worried we suggest taking some motion-sickness medication.
Will there be photos of our dives?
It depends on who is on the boat on the day. You will have to chat to our friendly staff about this one, closer to the day of.
How deep do you go?
With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 40 metres. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 18 metres unless you are a Junior Scuba Diver then it is 12 metres. Although these are the limits, most of our diving sites are no deeper than 16-18 metres where the water’s warmer and the colors are brighter, and we will tailor to people’s experience and certifications when determining how deep to go.
I haven't been diving in ____ years. Can I still Scuba Dive?
Your Scuba Diving Certification does not expire. However, if it has been several years since you last dived and you’re feeling a bit rusty, we do run Refresher Courses for Scuba Divers. There is a bit more information on our Refresher Course page about whether you will need a refresher course before diving, but ultimately it comes down to how confident and competent you feel in the water.
Do women have any special concerns regarding diving?
Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Menstruation is not normally a concern.
It is important to keep in mind that the area we take our tours in is all Marine Park Sanctuary Zones, where it is forbidden to dump waste of any kind. For this reason, we do not have toilet paper available for our marine toilet, and dumping or “flushing” of sanitary waste will not be tolerated.
Do you have to be able to swim to learn to Scuba Dive?
Absolutely. Our PADI Open Water Dive Course requires you to be able to swim 200m continuously to meet the criteria for certification.
How old do you have to be to learn to scuba dive?
12 is the minimum age for PADI Open Water Certification.
Can Anybody dive?
We would like to say yes, but unfortunately there are medical conditions that can prevent somebody from Scuba Diving. If you suffer from Asthma, Epilepsy, or Diabetes for example, you may be under too much risk to Scuba Dive. Take a look over our Medical Statement form. If you have any medical conditions that are listed in the Medical Statement, you are required to complete an approved Scuba Diving Medical Certificate (AS 4005.1) with a Medical Physician. We can recommend local Diving Doctors for this Medical in the Coffs Harbour Area if required.
My ears hurt when I dive down. Will that keep me from becoming a scuba diver?
No, assuming you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses. The discomfort is the normal effect of water pressure pressing in on your ears. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ears – you just need to learn how. If you have no difficulties adjusting to air pressure during flying, you’ll probably experience no problem learning to adjust to water pressure while diving.
What happens if I use up all of my air underwater while scuba diving?
That’s not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times, and you are trained to maintain a safe reserve. As long as you are attentive to your gauges, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your dive buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. You learn all of the logistics of preventing and managing these situations in your PADI Open Water Dive Course with Jetty Dive Centre.
What if I feel claustraphobic underwater whilst scuba diving?
Generally, people find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Many of our scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training with Jetty Dive Centre, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly. We also keep our classes small so that we can give you more time to get comfortable with the amazing world of diving.
What are the most common injuries or sicknesses associated with diving?
Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are avoidable with over the counter preventatives. The most common injuries caused by marine life are scrapes and stings, most of which can be avoided by wearing gloves and an exposure suit, staying off the bottom and watching where you put your hands and feet. Contact us at Jetty Dive Centre for information about exposure protection needed for any of your diving.
Where can I Scuba Dive?
You can dive practically anywhere there’s water – from a swimming pool to the ocean and all points in between, including quarries, lakes, rivers and springs. Where you can scuba dive is determined by your experience, for example, if you’ve just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course, you probably won’t be diving under the Antarctic ice on your next dive. But, don’t limit your thinking to the warm, clear water you see in travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer than you think. Like at the Solitary Islands 😉.
What is involved in a Open Water Course?
Learning to scuba dive with JETTY DIVE and PADI is an incredible adventure! With PADI as your training organization, your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in three exciting phases:
1. Knowledge Development – Learn the lingo. During the first phase of your PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification, you develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives. You briefly review what you have studied in the five knowledge sections with your instructor and take a short quiz to be sure you’re getting it. At the end of the course, you’ll take a longer quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down. You and your Instructor will review anything that you don’t quite get until it’s clear.
2. Confined Water Dives – Scuba Skills Training. This is what it’s all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills by scuba diving in a pool. Here you’ll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get water out of your scuba mask without surfacing. You’ll also practice some emergency skills, like sharing air or replacing your scuba mask. Plus, you may make new friends and have a great time. There are five “modules” to our confined water dives, which we conduct all within one day – with each skill building upon the previous. Over the course of these five modules, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.
3. Open Water Dives – After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you’ve made continue learning during four open water dives with your Jetty Dive Centre PADI Instructor at one of our world famous dive sites. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course.
Great! How can I begin?
The easiest way is through our online booking portal. Here you can check our availability, along with choosing your dates. You can also give us a call no (+61)2 66511 611 (we take credit card payments over the phone) or pop in store to see us.
Do you have an accessible shop?
Yes. There is accessible parking directly in front of the dive centre. The entry doors are spacious and the floors in the retail area are smooth and carpeted. There are small inconsistencies in the concrete in the section of the shop used for courses and learning, which we endeavor to repair soon. The bathroom ammenities are not wheelchair accessable.
Are your boats accessible?
Yes! As both of our current boats are “rigid hull inflatables” this gives us quite the advantage for accessibility. The inflatable sides can be sat on, with one’s legs being swung to the inside of the boat to allow boarding. Our staff are more than happy to help out wherever required or desired to assist you. Our boats feature twin ladders for boarding. Our staff can help lift your gear up individually prior to helping you get up the ladders back into the boat if you wish, to save the strain of walking up the ladders with the gear on your back. For our Whale Watching Trips or Eco Tours, we require all customers to remain seated whilst the boat is in movement. The boat has space for a stroller or pram to be stored, but due to our requirements whilst the boat is in movement the pram or stroller can not be in use on board. With our new boat, prams, strollers, adn wheelchairs will be able to remain on board.
Is boarding your boats accessible?
We get you to meet us at Coffs Harbour International Marina for the Whale Watching Tours, which has ample parking (click here to check it out on google maps) and a ramp leading down the floating wharf to where you are to board the boat. We can assist you wherever required or desired.
Do you rent out Snorkeling equipment?
We rent out Snorkeling gear for our Snorkeling trips. We do not rent unless you are coming on our boat with us.
Do you rent scuba equipment outside of your boat?
For certified divers, yes. We will require proof of certification so you can rent equipment from us.
Do you rent wetsuits for surfing?
All of our rental wet-suits are front-zips, which will not work for surfing. We do have 3mm wetsuits with a back zip for sale for only $109.
Scuba Gear & Servicing
How do I know which scuba gear is the best?
Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. The professionals at Jetty Dive Centre are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. These professionals can get you set with the right stuff, plus they provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.
Do you service scuba gear?
Scuba Regulator Servicing is our Specialty! We service all major brands of regulators and equipment, for divers across Australia!
I was looking at buying some secondhand gear from a mate, is this a good idea?
Yes and no. Whilst you may get a good deal, it depends on what you’re purchasing. People have spend hundreds of dollars on what appears to be a “full set-up” that when attempting to get serviced costs them more than they paid for the regs. You must get a secondhand set of regs or bcd serviced before use as this is your life support equipment, and people may not have correct memory or may be completely misleading you when telling you when it was last serviced. Depending on the brand, we may not be able to source parts for the regs meaning you cannot use them. If you are considering buying secondhand regs, we recommend getting advice from a dive centre to ensure you’re not getting a bad deal.
ALWAYS remember – this is not just sport equipment. It’s your life support whilst underwater. Don’t risk your life just to save a couple of hundred dollars.
Will you service my ______ brand reg?
You can find more detailed information about what brands we service and our service prices here.
How long will it take to service my regs?
To be safe, we stick to a 2 week turnaround. This can vary in quiet/busy seasons, but generally 2 weeks is suitable. You can always contact us if you have specific dates you need it done by, and we will try our best to accomodate you! Just don’t leave it too late – especially if we need to order in specific parts for less common regulators, it can add time to the turnaround!