This is a review written by an instructor who recently left Rocket Frog after working for a year and a half. For those of you who have dove with us recently, this was Jason.
I was an instructor at RFD and did my training from PADI advanced open water diver all the way to instructor and dove with this team for 1 1/2 years. And have recently left to pursue other life options. I hope to leave an informative review for professionals to consider when choosing a training center.
So, if you are a recreational diver or dive group planner, there are other options, they are all good at what they do, but RFD is the best, dive with all of them and you decide.
For people who want to develop as divers and invest in their money in training, there are a lot of options and everyone will have an opinion as well, so here is mine 🙂
When you are developing, your training needs to be supported by experience as well as opportunity, you won’t get better staying dry. Everyone at Rocket Frog get the opportunity to dive 2x day everyday, plus many 3rd dive options, unlimited beach diving, as well as the occasional night dive, the first dive center I interned at got me 18 dives in 99 days, with RFD I have logged over 600 dives a year, and have 50+ certs and 75+ DSDs. With leadership like Mike and Nere (co-owners) and Scott (PADI staff instructor last I checked) at the reigns there is an abundance of experience and knowledge regarding all things diving, dive medicine, and dive careers.
You want to be able to feel like you are being treated fairly, this is important to address and understand, as a “newbie” everyone can complain about moving mountains of tanks but being humble and understanding what you are getting in return is worth your money, from pre-dive master, to full time instructing/leading, I was provided ample opportunity to dive with the Bull sharks out at Bat islands (google it). Everyone will tell you they can get you there, but only Rocket Frog goes there regularly (March thru till December usually) and fast, the 45 minutes on their boat can sometimes be bumpy, but worth every moment when you get out there and see the beauty above and below this area has to provide, honestly I’m a little biased to tell you to go to Rocket Frog Divers because I got to go out to Bat Islands 100+ times (200+ dives) in my time with them, but I promise every other diver working for other shops never got near these numbers, some never got to go. Everyone at RFD gets to go.
You want to keep your integrity in tact, we all have had a job or boss that would make compromises for the business, and all to often in this industry this translates to safety issues. Now I know nothing and will say nothing regarding any other shop in the area, pertaining to safety, to my knowledge they are all safe, follow good practices and keep equipment in in good and working order. Now what sets Rocket Frog apart for me is the shear volume of new equipment, and the continuing maintenance to the operating equipment that goes on here, with out going on about how new and awesome everything is, because it’s only new once, I’ll say this, never was I asked to use or provide anything that wasn’t in 100% working and safe condition. As for travelling divers with your own equipment, I have been able to repair a ton of divers regs who “just got them serviced” I never once minded to help and I was provided with ample tools and supply to ensure everyone got to dive on their own gear, many times fixing kit without charge, thank Mike for his kindness there! Lol I always said to charge money for these services, but this is the kind of operation they are, if it’s small it’s free, if they have to replace parts, than you pay, fair is it not? As well as being provided good and safe lol also get to learn how to clean, maintain, and service all types of equipment.
You need time to learn? or are you an Oxford student that finds the physiology taught in PADI dive training redundant, and can excel threw the academic portions in days? Ive seen dive master students take as long as 3 months and drag it out cause they had time on their hands (this isn’t all that fun and you don’t get much responsibility or leadership skills this way, but it is acceptable if that’s how long you need). And I’ve also seen ace students finish their dive master in as few as a couple weeks, well the PADI portion at least, then continue to develop their skills leading and safety diving which is why you do the divemaster coarse. Always being able to develop at you own pace is important, and allows yourself to enjoy it all and this area of Costa Rica, RFD provides this in a healthy safe environment.
What else can I say, these guys are a real class act. Sexism/racism and all the other isms and ists are never an issue as Mike and Nere share the load of operations are of different genders and descents so all sides are represented and never judged. Boys, girls and non specific genders are treated equally and respectfully. Things can get busy and things can happen quickly, but making a good healthy and safe work environment is a key to the success that RFD has, and I am sure they will continue to have.
So I know this is a long read and I did share somewhat bias opinions but I hope you are able to understand why, as many people don’t know much so they take a chance and are let down or are taken advantage of, and I hope this never happens to you, and I can ensure you this won’t happen if team up with RFD, just read some of the other reviews, and consider your name could be mentioned as mine was, it’s a proud day when someone calls you out by name giving you praise on TripAdvisor, means all the work and training is paying off and you are able to get this chance with RFD.
Thanks everyone who helped me along the way, I hope you turn out many more great dive masters, instructions, MSDTs, staff instructors, Rocket Frog Divers, you’ve been a great chapter of my life and I just wish the content of this would make it on TripAdvisor as so professionals never get to hear a point of view often over looked on customer review sites, as a developing diver I was a customer, RFD just took me further than I imagined I’d ever go and made me feel like family