Aquatic World is one of the leading dive centers in Central New York. With a staff of seven full and part-time employees, they serve the diving needs for hundreds of dive enthusiasts throughout central and upstate New York.
Aquatic World has been a PADI shop for more than 30 years. They began as Diving Center of Liverpool (New York) in the 70’s, becoming Aquatic World in the 90’s. They’ve been in their current format since 2003.
Like most dive shops, Aquatic World offers sales and service on premises. That includes tank fills and inspections, regulator and “BC” service, and dry suit seals. Anything they can’t fix on-site can be sent out for their customers. They divide their business into four main areas: sales, service, training, and travel.
Training is accomplished by Aquatic World’s own staff of 11 instructors and 25 dive masters, averaging 300 students per year. They are also a PADI Five-Star Instructor Development Center. Local students get to do their “open water” certification on the St. Lawrence Seaway, either at Cape Vincent or Alexandria Bay, NY.
Their goal is to offer reasonable, entry-level packages. Discover diving orientations start at just $25.00, equipment included. Open water diving certification is only $590, which includes classes, books, and equipment rentals. Their idea is not to make a profit off of their customers, but to establish long-term relationships.
Aquatic World offers a wide range of classes, including PADI advanced and specialty courses. While they don’t have their own dive boat, they are the only dive shop in the area which has its own on-site pool. That makes it convenient for folks trying the “discover diving” orientation and for beginner classes.
Aquatic World offers the opportunity for their students to receive their training locally, and then to get “referrals” to other certified PADI operations for their certification. This is especially great for individuals and families who want to combine their certifications with a vacation!
Dive travel is the “specialty niche” of Aquatic World, offering from five to seven trips a year. Some of their destinations include the Philippines, Fiji, Roatan, Bon Aire, and Little Cayman. They also offer dive packages to state-side locations, such as Dutch Springs, PA.
A special “jewel in the crown” for Aquatic World is a trip they’re planning for the Philippines in 2013 from June 27 through July 9, at the Atlantis Resort in Dumaguete. “We are also offering an ‘add-on’ option for a week on a live-aboard to the Azores,” following the trip, according to Sharon Corcoran. Sharon is the trip and travel coordinator for Aquatic World.
Sharon said, “We will never take a group to someplace we haven’t been ourselves.” They rate each venue on their qualities of accommodations, food, service, and diving adventures. Aquatic World has strict policies on dive trips to ensure the experience of the customer. They insist on a ratio of two trip leaders per 10 or more customers.
If the number surpasses 16 they’ll add one or more trip assistants, and their requirements for trip leaders and assistants is rigid. “They have to have been on a trip with us before,” Sharon said.
Aquatic World has a policy that once a trip is “on the board” that they will run it, regardless of how many people sign up. That way, their dive customers are never disappointed. “We’ve taken trips with as few as three people, but as many as 32,” Sharon added.
Aquatic World prides itself on exceptional customer service during their trips. Their focus is to exceed expectations. “Our philosophy is to promise a number of things, then deliver more,” Sharon said. “We emphasize connecting with people, laughing and having fun,” Sharon said. “It’s all about bonding and creating memories.”
Aquatic World is in the fifth year of promoting their travel services. “”We have people come from all over the country for our trips,” said Tim Corcoran. Tim is the general manager of Aquatic World and Sharon’s husband of 39 years. He oversees the sales, service, and training aspects of Aquatic World.
In fact, scuba diving is a family affair for the Corcorans, and has a romantic origin. “We began diving on our 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii,” Sharon said, with a “discover scuba class.” Tim added, “We got certified over the winter, and did our ‘open water’ in Bon Aire.”
That began a love affair with diving that has lasted until this day. Sharon said, “We agreed we should look at doing this when we retired.” Tim retired from his “day job” in 2007, and that’s when he took over as general manager of Aquatic World.
Tim has multiple PADI certifications, including Master Diver, Instructor, and Dive Master. He regularly teaches classes in Perfect Buoyancy, Nitrox, underwater photography, rescue diving, night diving, boat diving, and advanced open water diving.
Sharon is certified in open water and advanced open water diving, with more than 1,500 logged dives. “I love to dive,” she said. “When we go on our trips I never miss a dive!”
Their trips are special for more the diving. They offer contests for each group, such as photography or dive trivia. “We always have a dive master with us,” Sharon said, “and usually also a dive instructor.” Tim added, “We also produce a ‘dive buddy’ guide for each trip, to acquaint everyone with one another. It helps people to get to know one another more easily.”
“Because of the way we do our trips, our dive students are often able to also receive their certifications,” Tim said.
Tim and Sharon try to leave no stone unturned in their quest for the perfect dive travel experience. “We try to anticipate every need, from the time they leave home until they return,” Tim said. Sharon added, “We concentrate on the little things, like providing a travel check-list, and offering group check-ins at the airports.”
Aquatic World provides sales and service to divers throughout New York and other states. “We are an ‘Aqua Lung’ partner center,” Tim said. “We also feature top brands, such as Henderson, Aeris, Sherwood, Bare Dry Suits, and Ikelite.” Aquatic World is able to sell and ship equipment anywhere to meet their customer’s needs. They service everything that they sell, and can also provide “send out” service for other gear.
Aquatic World’s summer hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p,m. on Saturday. Their winter hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. They can be reached by calling them at (315) 458-1955, or through their web site, which is www.aquatic-world.com. You can also check them out on Facebook.