Waco Scuba Certification by Hugh Riley

SCUBA Certification Program FAQs

Where is this SCUBA program taught?

The program is taught at the Waco Family YMCA ( 6800 Harvey Dr, Waco, TX 76710) by Dr. Hugh H. Riley who donates his time and equipment free of charge.

How much does the program cost?

The SCUBA program fee is currently $110.00 ($75 YMCA Pool Fee, $35 Equipment Maintenance Fee).  Although Dr. Riley does not charge anything for his time, there are other necessary expenses ($20 for Certification Card, $10 Log Book, and $10 Dive Tables) and expenses associated with checkout dives due to park entrance fees (approximately $65)

Do I have to pay for this scuba program even if I am already a Waco Family YMCA member?

Yes, the course fee must be paid by the beginning of the second class, and no refunds will be given for course withdrawal.

But I am already a Waco Family YMCA member, and I have also heard that the scuba instructor is a non-paid volunteer, so why do I have to pay for this program and to use the pool?

Although our scuba instructor, Dr. Hugh H. Riley, is not paid to teach this course, the Waco Family YMCA recently bought a compressor to fill his scuba tanks for this course, which represented a substantial YMCA investment in this program. Additionally, this compressor needs routine maintenance, which the Waco Family YMCA also pays for. Finally, the Waco Family YMCA occasionally reimburses Dr. Riley for the inspection and repair of his equipment. Given all of this, it only seems fair that those who benefit from this course should financially help to support it.

What do you do with my scuba course fee?

The Waco Family YMCA is a non-profit organization, which provides a wide array of quality programs for our community, and always within a caring and Christian environment. Your scuba course pool fee is used to support the scuba program, as well as all of the other many fine programs that we offer at this facility.

If I want to practice my scuba skills at the YMCA after the course is over, is there a charge?

You can use the Dr. Riley’s scuba equipment and the YMCA facility for free if you are a member.  If you are not a member, there is a $10 facility fee for individuals over 18 and $5 for individuals under 18.

Is the Waco Family YMCA scuba program a good value?
  Dive Store  


Cost of the class $300.00 $100.00
Required equipment that the student must purchase (masks, fins, snorkels, booties) $350.00 $0.00
Course Materials (logbook, dive tables, certification card) $150.00 $40.00
Checkout Dive Expenses (park entrance fees, airfills) $66.00 $66.00
Opportunity for students to borrow equipment after the course is over at no charge N/A Always

Cost for a future scuba refresher course



$10.00/day for Non-Members;

Free for Members


Opportunity for scuba certified family members to sit in on the course



$10.00/day for Non-Members;

Free for Members

Opportunity for those certified family members to borrow equipment at no charge N/A Always
Students’ ability to set the schedule for the course N/A Always
Students’ ability to choose the destination for their checkout dives N/A Always
Opportunity to take additional certification courses (advanced, nitrox, etc) from Dr. Riley at no charge other than the cost of the course materials, checkout dive expenses, and certification card  




Total $1016.00 $176.00

Now let’s take an even closer (expanded) look because the table above doesn’t tell the whole story:

  • The table above shows that the course materials for our course are just one-fifth the price of these same materials at a dive store. This is because you can buy these materials at Dr. Riley’s instructor-discounted prices by coordinating with him to do so. However, if you can buy them cheaper elsewhere, that’s fine too.
  • If you borrow Dr. Riley’s scuba equipment for a recreational dive after this certification course is over, you will typically save $50.00 to $75.00, which is the cost of a one-day rental for this equipment. So, if you borrow his equipment twice, or if you take him up on his offer to take a scuba refresher course at no cost, or if your certified family members sit in on your course, or if you or your family member(s) take an advanced or nitrox course for only the cost of the course materials and the certification card, you will easily save much more than the cost of our course fee.
  • At every dive store, family members who are already certified are never invited to participate in the course with their loved ones. Rather, if they want to repeat the course, they must register and pay for it, even though they are already certified. In our program, Dr. Riley always invites scuba certified family members to join their loved ones and he also loans to them all of the equipment that they will need. Further, they do not even pay the YMCA fee for the course because we want our scuba program to be a bonding experience for families. However, there is a very nominal facility fee for using the pool for non-members (see above), but doing so is entirely free if the family member is a YMCA member.
  • Often, a previously certified diver will want a refresher experience before a scuba trip, and this is especially true if it has been a while since they received their scuba certification. In Dr. Riley’s classes, you are always welcome to conduct a scuba refresher experience as often as you need and always at no charge (except for the facility use fee for nonmembers, as mentioned above).
  • In every dive store, the instructor sets the schedule for the academic, pool, and openwater dive sessions and they also choose the location for those openwater checkout dives. In Dr. Riley’s classes, the students collectively determine these issues.

As previously stated, Dr. Riley has 42 years of experience teaching scuba and he is a certified scuba instructor in virtually every area of diving and also for multiple scuba certifying agencies. In those 42 years of experience, he has certified over 12,000 students and none of his students have ever experienced an accident or injury during the certification process. We challenge you to find a comparable level of Dr. Riley’s experience, expertise, and safety record anywhere.

upcoming events

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