FAQs

Aloha painted on rock underwater

General FAQ


Reef Pirates prides itself on offering a truly one-of-a-kind Hawaiian scuba diving experience. Here are answers to some of the questions we get asked most often.

  • Chevron down How long has Reef Pirates been in business?
  • Reef Pirates began in 2005 as a very small dive operation. We have grown, but we are still focused on providing a high-quality diving experience for our customers

  • Chevron down Do you have your own boat?
  • Yes, we own and operate our own 28-foot dive boat.

  • Chevron down What should I bring with me?
  • Swimsuit, sunscreen, and a smile!

  • Chevron down Do I have to worry about sharks? 
  • You are more likely to be killed by your own pet or a falling coconut than by a shark. It’s just that falling coconuts don’t make for the best action/adventure/horror movies. If you are lucky enough to see one or more sharks during a dive, you are bound to come away with an entirely different feeling about these beautiful creatures.

  • Chevron down Why should we pick Reef Pirates over all the other shops?
  • We believe the quality of service we offer is second to none. Additionally, while many dive shops on Oahu are packing 20+ people (some 40+) on their boats, we only take six on our dive boat.

    We truly believe in quality over quantity. We understand we cannot please everyone, but it doesn’t stop us from trying. For more on what sets us apart from the rest, click here.

  • Chevron down What happens if it rains? 
  • Rain does not pose any problems. Lightning and on-shore winds are a different matter. If conditions are not safe and we are forced to cancel, you are not charged and any payments made are gladly refunded. We do our best to notify you as soon as possible if weather is going to impede our dives.

  • Chevron down Do you guys do the manta ray night dives? 
  • No, we do not as they are on a different island. Those dives take place on the big island of Hawaii (off the Kona coast). The manta ray night dives are great dives and highly recommended if you are visiting the big island. We recommend Big Island Divers if you are headed that way!

  • Chevron down Should I make reservations? 
  • Yes, as we only take a maximum of six divers per trip, we highly recommend making reservations in advance.

  • Chevron down Can I dive with lava? 
  • The last lava flow on Oahu was over 70,000 years ago, so I’m afraid not. However, you can dive in ancient craters and see the wonderful volcanic topography that created Oahu.

  • Chevron down What is included in the price? 
  • Your charter price includes all equipment (tanks, weights, wetsuit, mask, fins, regulator, and BCD), transportation to/from Waikiki and our shop in Hawaii Kai, fresh water and light snack about our boat, a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, and a PADI licensed guide/instructor on all of your dives.

  • Chevron down What kind of discounts do you offer? 
  • If you are Active Duty U.S. Military, we want to thank you by extending a $10 discount. Please show your CAC along with your certification card at check in. We also offer a $15 discount if you have all of your own dive gear.

  • Chevron down Do you provide transportation?
  • Reef Pirates Hawaii includes complimentary round trip hotel transportation from Waikiki area hotels.

  • Chevron down What is your cancellation policy?
  • We have a 48-hour cancellation policy for all dive charters and a 72-hour cancellation policy for all certification courses and private charters. No refunds are given for failing to show up or cancelling within the 48 or 72-hour cancellation period, nor do we give refunds for dives you cannot complete. However, if Reef Pirates cancels all or part of a charter (for weather or sea-related issues), you can reschedule your charter or we can refund all or part of your fare, as appropriate.

  • Chevron down Are your dives guided?
  • All of our dives are guided by an experienced, licensed, and insured PADI professional instructor or divemaster.

  • Chevron down Is scuba diving equipment provided?
  • Yes, we provide all the scuba equipment you need. We also offer $10 off our dive prices if you need only tanks and weights.

  • Chevron down How long do the dives last?
  • Times can vary quite a bit depending on depth and air consumption rates. You always start with a full tank (filled to 3000 psi). Dives end when we reach our maximum allowable bottom time or begin to run low on air (700-1000 psi). We do not set specific dive times unless we are required to because of depth restrictions.

  • Chevron down What type of equipment are you using/renting/selling?
  • Reef Pirates uses Cressi BCDs and Atomic Regulators. We also partner with Oceanic and Sea Sports.  If you are interested in purchasing dive gear, we can either have it shipped directly to your home address (save on airline baggage fees!) or you can pick it up in our shop.

  • Chevron down Do you offer underwater photo packages?  
  • Yes, we do offer professional underwater photography services. For professionally edited digital photos with all the pictures of your dives and a print release, we charge $75. Your photos are made available in a secure online folder where you can download or share with friends and family. Divers can of course bring their own cameras and take as many photos/videos as they like.

  • Chevron down Do you provide snacks or drinks on your dive charters?
  • Yes, we do provide a complimentary light snack (pastry, pineapple, cookies, etc.) and water on all our daily Oahu scuba diving trips.

  • Chevron down How many days a week do you offer diving trips?
  • We operate seven days a week and most holidays. We are closed on the day of the Honolulu Marathon since the highway is shut down and makes it extremely difficult to access the Hawaii Kai area.

  • Chevron down How many people am I going to be diving with?  
  • We only take a maximum of six divers per dive trip, so there is never a crowd.

  • Chevron down What can I do about sea sickness?  
  • There are several steps you can take to avoid sea sickness. Products such as Dramamine and Bonine are designed to relieve motion sickness. However, they also have side effects such as drowsiness. To avoid this, take one pill the night before you plan to dive and another upon waking. Taking these products right before you get on the boat or when you start to feel sick doesn’t help.

    Another alternative is Sea Bands. These are wrist bands that were designed to combat motion sickness by means of pressure points on your wrists. They have no side effects and work for many people. You can find these products at most island drug stores. It is also a good idea to get plenty of rest and limit alcohol consumption and greasy foods prior to diving.

Scuba diver underwater in distance

Certification FAQ


We have compiled a list of questions any potential scuba certification student should ask before making a reservation for a scuba certification course.

  • Chevron down What is PADI?
  • Reef Pirates scuba certifications are all done through PADI, the world leader in diver education, and therefore are recognized and accepted worldwide.

  • Chevron down How long does the open water scuba certification course last?
  • Scuba certification is performance-based, meaning there is no set amount of hours required for completion. You move from one level to the next during the scuba course at your own pace. Most PADI scuba certification courses advertised are based around an estimated three-day timeframe for completion. For the average person, this is generally enough time. However we understand this may not be enough time for everyone, and can add additional days as needed.

    If you have completed the PADI eLearning course, the course can take as few as two days to complete.

    We at Reef Pirates strongly suggest enrolling in our scuba certification course prior to coming to the island. Upon enrollment, we send out a package to you including study material, course text book, etc. Reading the text book and completing the knowledge reviews for each chapter prior to arrival ensures you’re not spending any of your vacation in your room studying.

    Our PADI Open Water scuba certification courses take three days to complete (as few as two days if you have completed the PADI eLearning course). Course days last 4-5 hours each, and we can schedule our scuba courses to accommodate your busy schedule.

  • Chevron down Do I have to pre-sign any forms?
  • No; however, we do recommend that you familiarize yourself with the required information so that you are able to fill out the forms properly on day one. You can review those forms here.

  • Chevron down How much does the scuba certification course cost?
  • Lowball prices are designed for two reasons: to attract your attention and to get you in the door. The hidden charges for the course, such as books and equipment rental, are conveniently never advertised.

    Look for an all-inclusive scuba certification course experience. Remember, in the end, you get what you pay for.

    Most of the dive companies on Oahu advertise a low rate but don’t tell you the books are extra, or that the course is done as beach dives, or that you have to purchase a mask, snorkel and fins, etc.

    We do not! Our certification course prices include all scuba certification course material in our prices as well as all gear needed to complete your Oahu scuba diving certification courses. Additionally, all our certification dives are boat dives! Their are no hidden charges!

    Additionally, we limit our boat to six divers or less, ensuring more fun and a much better learning environment. We keep our scuba class sizes small to ensure students get the best instruction possible. Choose Reef Pirates for a truly amazing Oahu scuba diving experience.

  • Chevron down Do both the instructor and the student use similar equipment during the certification course?
  • When both scuba instructor and student are using the same brand of scuba gear, and have similarly designed equipment configurations, it allows students to learn faster and easier, both in and out of the water, during the certification course.

    We at Reef Pirates use only the latest scuba gear from Aqualung. Our scuba gear is in new or near new condition. Both you and your instructor wear almost identical sets of scuba gear.

    We are not your average Oahu scuba diving company. We don’t pack our classroom or our boat. Come see the difference with Reef Pirates.

  • Chevron down Who is the scuba instructor?
  • Our staff of Oahu scuba diving instructors are all PADI liscensed and insured and have been instructing on the islands for a minimum of one year (some as many as 10 years!). We limit our groups to six divers or fewer and are proud to boast a perfect safety record.

  • Chevron down How long is the PADI scuba certification good for?
  • PADI scuba certifications are good for life, though we do recommend taking a refresher course if you have any long breaks between dives to refresh your dive skills.

  • Chevron down Can I get a student discount after completing a certification course with Reef Pirates?
  • Any reputable dive operation should give you a generous student discount towards future diving activities and/or scuba equipment purchases you make from them in appreciation for taking their scuba certification course.

    Reef Pirates offers a 10% discount on all future dive charters, certification courses, and new equipment purchases for anyone completing one of our Oahu scuba diving certification courses or continuing scuba education courses. Choose Reef Pirates for all your Oahu scuba diving needs.