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Ronnie and Joey McLamb began their dive adventure in 1978  by enrolling in a Skin Diver course at N.C. State. They became certified scuba divers in the Spring of 1979. They immediately fell in love with the sport and began taking all of the scuba classes available and buying equipment as their budget allowed. They earned their Divemaster and Assistant Instructor certifications as quickly as possible. After assisting another instructor for several years and gaining experience, they made the decision to become instructors. With a growing number of divers in the area and after many of those complained about the lack of a local dive center, they decided to open a professional dive shop. In 1987 they incorporated Pro Scuba Center and opened the doors in March of 1988 in Rocky Mount, NC, as a PADI Dive Center. Within a year they achieved the highly recognized and sought after rating of Master Instructor & PADI 5 Star Dive Center. Unfortunately, an automobile accident in 1994 ended Joey's diving. After much soul searching and prayer, the couple decided to continue with Pro Scuba Center. In Joey's words, "We have met too many good people along the way to abandon them now. And besides, there are a lot more good people to meet." Joey concentrated on the retail end of the business while Ronnie conducted the training portion. Together they ran the travel program.

 Many good decisions have been made along the way, most of them based on their earlier experiences. Through it all, they have never forgotten those first anxious breaths underwater, the excitement of their first open water dives, the exhilaration of learning new skills, the friendships developed and the good times shared. This is what "we" wanted to bring to Pro Scuba Center and to you. We wanted to develop a dive center with small classes and travel that is fun with people whose friendship you enjoy. We wanted to develop a dive center that you can call your scuba home. Where you always feel welcome. Where you know that you are among friends. Where the atmosphere is warm and inviting. Where you know that you are going to get honest straight forward answers to your questions. Where you feel comfortable sending your children to dive. This was our vision, not to be the biggest, but to provide a warm personal environment where you can dive throughout your diving adventure.

 Continuing with our love of diving and expanding our "diving family" Pro Scuba Center has transitioned to a Training and Travel Center, which allows us to be more flexible with scheduling both training and travel and more social time with you, our customers and friends. We are very excited about this change and greatly appreciate everyone's support as we make this transition. We look forward to many more social events at our "Diver's Den" as we grow our dive club, the Underwater Buddy Association or "UBA". Whether we're training and traveling locally or off with a dive group to exotic islands, we love our close relationships with our students and customers who become very dear, lasting friends and we want to extend this feeling of family to you.

 It is our sincere hope that this is what you have found online and when you walk into our little piece of heaven that we call Pro Scuba Center.



Learning to scuba dive with PRO SCUBA CENTER 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. With PADI's online Open Water Diver program you can get started immediately with the knowledge development portion of the course and work at your own pace using the PADI eLearning system. This convenient, interactive study option works great with busy schedules allowing you to learn anytime and anywhere you have an internet connection or with Touch offline. PADI Open Water Diver Online uses videos, audio, graphics and reading to help you learn, plus short quizzes that let you gauge your progress, and offers a review of anything that you happen to miss. At the end of the course, you'll take a longer quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down.

We're here to answer any questions as you progress and will conduct an equipment orientation and consultation before you jump in the pool to practice dive skills with your instructor. You and your PRO SCUBA CENTER 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 or body of water with pool-like conditions. 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. During the course, you'll complete five confined water skill sessions with each building upon the previous. Over the course of these skill sessions, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.

3. Open Water Dives - Locally or on Vacation.

After your confined water dives, you will continue learning during four open water dives with your private PRO SCUBA CENTER PADI Instructor at a dive site. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course. You may make these dives at local dive sites or on one of our fun filled trips under the supervision of your PADI instructor.

The PADI Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means that PRO SCUBA CENTER can offer a wide variety of schedules, paced according to how fast you progress.

Your instructor's interest is in your learning to scuba dive, not in how long you sit in a class. So, training is based upon demonstrating that you know what you need to know and can do what you need to do. This means that you progress at your own pace – faster or slower depending upon the time you need to become a confident scuba diver who dives regularly. You can start learning to scuba dive online right now with PRO SCUBA CENTER and PADI eLearning.

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. Each piece of scuba equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.

When you start learning to scuba dive, as a minimum, you want your own

  • scuba mask
  • snorkel
  • boots
  • scuba fins

Included in the cost of your PADI Open Water Diver course, PRO SCUBA CENTER will provide a:

  • dive regulator
  • scuba BC
  • dive computer
  • scuba tank
  • scuba wetsuit
  • weight system and weights

 It's recommended that you invest in your own scuba equipment because:

  • you're more comfortable using scuba gear fitted for you
  • you're more comfortable learning to scuba dive using gear you've chosen
  • scuba divers who own their own scuba diving equipment find it more convenient to go diving
  • having your own scuba diving gear is part of the fun of diving

The kind of gear you will need depends on the conditions where you dive. You may want:

  • tropical scuba gear
  • temperate scuba equipment
  • cold water scuba diving equipment

Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. The professionals at PRO SCUBA CENTER are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. 


If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI scuba diver. You'll also want to keep in mind these requirements:

Minimum Age:

  • 10 years old
  • Students younger than 15 years, who successfully complete the course qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15. You must be at least 13 years old to take scuba lessons online with PADI eLearning, due to international internet laws. If you're younger, you can still learn to dive – just have your parent or legal guardian contact PRO SCUBA CENTER.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you're ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your dive physician (SPUMS) must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you're fit to dive. In some areas, local laws require all scuba students to consult with a physician before entering the course.

Waterskills: Before completing the PADI Open Water Diver course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic waterskill comfort by having you:

  • swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
  • float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

About Physical Challenges: Any individual who can meet the performance requirements of the course qualifies for certification. There are many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements. Individuals with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Even individuals with more significant physical challenges participate in diving. Talk to your PADI Instructor at your local PADI Dive Shop or Resort for more information.

Learning Materials : Unless you choose PADI eLearning, you'll need and use the following training materials during the PADI Open Water Diver course, and for your review and reference after the course:

  • The PADI Open Water Diver Manual
  • PADI Open Water Diver Video on DVD or the PADI Open Water Diver Multimedia (combines manual and video for computer based learning).
  • You will also need your PADI Log book and Recreational Dive Planner (Table, The WheelTM or eRDPTM).

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
  • level site
  • accessibility
  • conditions and interests

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!

Your local dive site can be anything from a special pool built just for divers like one found in Brussels, Belgium, or more typically natural sites like Belize's Great Blue Hole, Australia's Great Barrier Reef or Japan's Yonaguni Monument. It may be a manmade reservoir or a fossil-filled river. It's not always about great visibility because what you see is more important than how far you see.

The only truly important thing about where you dive is that you have the scuba diving training and experience appropriate for diving there, and that you have a dive buddy to go with you. PRO SCUBA CENTER can help you organize great local diving or a dive vacation. Contact us today to get started!

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.

Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function or heart function or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person's individual risk. Physicians can consult with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary when assessing a scuba candidate. 

DAN has information available online if you wish to do some research.

Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are preventable 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 PRO SCUBA CENTER for information about exposure protection needed for any of your diving.


When you're lucky, you'll get to see a shark! 

Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare.  Most commonly shark encounters primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger eractic feeding behavior. Sharks main food source is fish and if they can get a free feed they will. 

Most of the time, if you see a shark it's passing through and a relatively rare sight to enjoy.

Some myths, about sharks, that you have heard may be dispelled by checking out Australian Geographic.

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.

With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 130 feet. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 60 feet unless you are age 10 or 11 then it is 40 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 40 feet where the water's warmer and the colors are brighter.

That's not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you'll learn in your PADI Open Water course with PRO SCUBA CENTER.

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern 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 PRO SCUBA CENTER, 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.

PRO SCUBA CENTER keeps classes small so that we can give you more time to get comfortable with the amazing world of diving.