If you are spending some time in Dubai you may wish to learn how to dive, or you may wish to check out some of the local dive sites. There are various dive shops in Dubai,  Here are four dive shops/centres which can recommend.

The Pavilion Dive Centre based at the Jumeirah Beach hotel: www.jumeirah.com

Pavilon is a PADI Gold Palm IDC Resort and National Geographic Dive Centre and has very high quality facilities for learning and is extremely safety conscious. The rent-able dive gear is of top quality and Pavilion has excellent boats to take you to the dive sites. Most of Pavilon's dives are in the Arabian Gulf -  just off the coast of Dubai.

As Dubai has no natural reef environment, diving in the gulf is more wreck diving. Some of the wrecks date back to the first gulf war and before. The wreck sites are only accessible by boat.  The general visibility in the Gulf is pretty bad, between 5 and 15 metres, due to the currents and the huge amount of dredging that has taken place to make the fake islands. There are some quite strong currents in the gulf, but the dive masters control ascents and descents and so you should really not have any problems.

The diving at Pavilon is quite expensive in comparison to many destination diving locations, such as Egypt, Thailand etc. But you are also paying for quality gear and boats, safety and some unusual dive sites, so it is still a reasonable price (circa 50 Euro a dive).

 
Al Boom Diving www.alboomdiving.com

Al Boom has various locations: Al Wasl Rd Dubai, Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, Le Meridien Al Aqah in Fujeirah. Jebel Ali offers trips in the Gulf - same kind of sites which are offered by Pavilon. Al Wasl road is the shop and pick up point for trips to Musandam and Fujeirah. The staff are really courteous and friendly and make your dive a great experience. The team is extremely safety conscious and the rent-able dive gear is all in top condition.

If you are staying in Dubai and want to dive Musandam and Fujeirah Al Boom is an excellent option... but beware of the extremely long day! You need to be in Al Wasl Rd at 6 am for Musandam and 6.30 for Fujeirah trips.

The Musandam weekend day trip is fantastic.  You go on a traditional old dhow and sail up the coast of Musandam set against an almost moon-like landscape of orange brown mountains. There is plenty of soft drinks on board, the food is delicious and better still is the huge amount of room on the boat. There is an upstairs sundeck on the dhow, where you can lie down and relax (and sleep!) between dives.

The dives are predominantly sloping sides descending from the mountains. The sites are beautiful, with plenty of corals and teeming with sealife - including turtles, rays, morays, fusilleers, cuttle fish etc. There are some dives with great swim-throughs. The visibility is far superior to the Gulf dives. The water can be around 30 degrees in November - so almost no need for a wetsuit. You hear about strong currents in Musandam, however if you are a reasonable swimmer, with a reasonable level of fitness you shouldn't have any problems at all.

The day trip to Fujeirah is also an extremely early start. From Dubai Al Boom takes you over to their base in Le Meridien Al Aqah in Fujeirah. You go by speed boat to the local dive sites, which tend to be big underwater rocks or coral beds on the sand. The sites are not very deep - so perfect for divers who only have Open Water certifications. The sites are packed full with sealife, huge schools of fish, turtles which will let you get up right close to them. Because the dives are quite shallow it means you can stay under for much longer... which when the water is 30 degrees is just perfect. Again you will be swimming with and against currents, but most people should have no problem with that level of exercise.

The prices at Al Boom are about 35 Euro per dive plus the costs of the transfer to the East Coast. This price is definitely worth it because the diving is fantastic.

Divers Down www.diversdownuae.com

Divers Down has 2 locations in the UAE, Dubai & Fujairah. Both centres are PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centres and Dive Rite dealers. Interestingly they off the use of Dive Rite wings for rental equipment, but if you don't fancy it they still have traditional style BCD's in Fujairah.

The Dubai centre deals with mostly courses, refreshers and offers lots of classes for kids. It's located at RIVA Beach Club on the Palm Jumeriah.  At present the Dubai centre does not have a boat so is unable to reach the West Coast sites, but the centre will arrange transfers to the East Coast for diving. 

The East Coast centre is based from the Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort near Dibba and offers 3 dives daily (+ night dives on Friday) to 13 different dive sites. The centres 2 speedboats are well equiped for diving and offer plenty of shade. The sites themselves range in depth, but many divers highlight the Inchcapes (1 & 2, local wrecks), 3 Rocks and Martini Rock.  Diving is possible all year round on the East Coast and prices for dives start at 40 Euro per dive. 

Prodive Middle East Dive Centre - Based in Al Barsha: www.prodiveme.com

Prodive Middle East is a PADI Dive centre, based in Dubai, but covering the whole region and offering diving in the wonderful East Coast too. This is a highly professional and ethical dive company - who espouse the moto - 'It's not just about the dive - it's about the adventure' - and has the higest standards of training, quality and safety within the UAE.

Dubai diving offers a range of entry level diver experiences to experienced and skilled dives, with a wonderful warm water termperature to really make the most out of your dive time! Prodive use only the very best equipment and provide excellent facilities for your training. They also are unique in offering divers chocolate brownies during surface intervals. A welcome sweet treat after the saltyness of the water!

Prodive offers dhow cruises to the mighty Mussandam - which has some of the regions best dive sites. All within easy reach. They offer international holidays, company experiences and days out, they also offer Emergency First Response life saving courses.