There are three Nanaimo dive shops currently active (as of Oct. 2012).
Listed oldest to newest they are as follows:
Nanaimo Dive Outfitters
Two of the shops, Sundown Diving and Sink or Swim scuba have been and are PADI representatives, which is the largest and oldest scuba training agency worldwide. While the third shop, NDO recently changed to PADI after years with SDI/TDI.
I consider Sundown Diving (PADI dive shop), owned and operated by Ed Singer, Nanaimo's "go to store" for Scuba Diving Services.
Sundown offers qualified instruction for beginners and right on up to advanced as well as technical training. This shop is fully stocked with equipment to either buy or rent, as well as being certified for repairs and maintenance to all makes and models of dive equipment.
Ed is a commercial diver himself and offers all manner of commercial diving services. He also has other commercial divers on staff to meet any of your underwater repair or salvage needs.
Sundown Dive Charters. For charters, Sundown has two of its own boats available which makes for a few less phone calls when you are making dive plans.
(Sundown dive shop 250-753-1880) or follow the link!
Personally I started my cold water dive training at Sink or Swim scuba which is a PADI dive shop. Ray and Shelagh co-own and operate this full service dive shop, offering all manner of services.
Qualified training for beginners or advanced divers as well as a fully stocked shop for sales, service, and rentals.
They also do repairs and maintenance on some equipment brands.
SOS scuba, Phone: 250-758-7946
(PADI stands for "Professional Association of Diving Instructors")
I was fortunate to have had Will & Maisa for my instructors, and I always felt 100% confident under their tutelage.
Thanks Will and Maisa!
While the third shop, Nanaimo Dive Outfitters has recently switched to being a PADi shop, apparently they still tout the SDI / TDI banner as well, which was developed by "Technical Diving International" to train sport diving to the public.
All of these shops offer similar goods and services but differ in some respects, particularly in respect to quality of service.
My personal preferences are to use either Sundown or SOS.
You can get either air or nitrox fills, rentals and repairs, new and used equipment, dive charters, guides, training, you name it!
Pretty much anything one needs to dive in the chilly but beautiful waters surrounding Nanaimo and Vancouver Island can be found at any of the three shops in town.
Check out their web sites or face book pages as well!
Nanaimo Dive Outfitters
There are often fun dives posted weekly through the local dive shops,
with groups of divers heading for local Nanaimo dive sites.
The shops also schedule mini vacations to some of the more special locations here on Vancouver Island.
Browning Pass off of Port Hardy on the north end of Vancouver island
has some of the best diving on the planet, or Hornby Island sort of north/central island has Flora Islet where the six gill sharks occasionally make an appearance, or even Barclay Sound on the west coast is another of Vancouver Islands best dive destinations.
If you are a diver but have not donned a dry suit to visit the temperate waters surrounding Vancouver Island, you may be missing out.
The diving here is spectacular, and seriously, a dry suit keeps you warm.
Cheers and safe diving.
A Caution Here!!!
Not all dive shops have "certified" repairers assembling and maintaining dive equipment.
So ask that all important question!
We dive with a ''life support system'' and hey, its your life!
Here is an excellent link to
tide and current charts
for Nanaimo, BC.
At the bottom of displayed
chart you will see two links,
"other tide stations" or
"other current stations"
follow these links for
information from California
and right up to Alaska.