Learning to scuba dive is an incredible adventure! With PADI as your training organization, your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in three exciting phases:
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. You briefly review what you have studied in the five knowledge sections with your instructor and take a short quiz to be sure you're getting it.
At the end of the course, you'll take a longer quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down. You and your instructor will review anything that you don't quite get until it's clear.
Select the knowledge development option you prefer:
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. Plus, you may play some games, make new friends and have a great time. There are five confined water dives, with each building upon the previous. Over the course of these five dives, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.
After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you've made continue learning during four open water dives with your 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 near your home or at a more exotic destination while on a scuba vacation.
It's possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as three or four days by completing the classroom portion online via PADI eLearning or home study options offered by your local dive shop or resort.
The PADI Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means that your PADI Dive Shop 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 PADI eLearning.
Compared with getting started in other popular adventure sports and outdoor activities, learning to scuba dive isn't expensive.
For example, you can expect to pay about the same as you would for:
Learning to scuba dive is a great value when you consider that you learn to dive under the guidance and attention of a highly trained, experienced professional - your PADI Scuba Instructor. From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you share with friends. And, you can do it almost anywhere there is water. Start learning online and get ready to take your first breath underwater!
Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. Your local PADI Dive Shop or Resort will help you find the right gear. 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
These have a personal fit, and your local PADI dive shop will help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited to you. As part of the enrollment fee for all or part of your PADI Open Water Diver course, many dive operators provide a:
Check with your local PADI Dive Shop or Resort to confirm what's included in your course package. It's recommended that you invest in your own scuba equipment when you start your course because:
The kind of gear you will need depends on the conditions where you dive. You may want:
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:
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 physician 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:
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:
Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. The professionals at your local PADI dive shop are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. These professionals can get you set with the right stuff, plus they provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.
You may also want to talk to other scuba divers in PADI's online scuba community to get recommendations on particular scuba equipment brands and models.
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:
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. Your local PADI Dive Shop or Resort can help you organize great local diving or a dive vacation. Visit 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.