How do I learn to scuba dive?
Becoming a scuba diver is a wonderful adventure! Scuba certification includes three phases:
1. Knowledge Development
During the first phase of your scuba lessons, you’ll learn the basic principles of scuba diving such as
- What to consider when planning dives.
- How to choose the right scuba gear for you.
- Underwater signals and other diving procedures.
You’ll learn this valuable information by reading it in the PADI Open Water Diver Manual or by using the tablet version – PADI Open Water Diver Touch™, or online with PADI eLearning®. At the end of each chapter, you’ll answer questions about the material to ensure you understand it. Along the way, let your PADI Instructor know if there is anything you don’t understand. At the end of the course, you’ll take a final exam that ensures you have thorough knowledge of scuba diving basics.
You’ll also watch videos that preview the scuba skills you’ll practice in a swimming pool or pool-like environment. In addition to the video, your instructor will demonstrate each skill for you.
2. Confined Water Dives
This is what it’s all about – diving. You’ll develop basic scuba skills in a pool or in confined water – a body of water with pool-like conditions, such as off a calm beach. The basic scuba skills you learn during your certification course will help you become familiar with your scuba gear and become an underwater explorer. Some of the essential skills you learn include:
- Setting up your scuba gear.
- How to get water out of your mask.
- Entering and exiting the water.
- Buoyancy control.
- Basic underwater navigation.
- Safety procedures.
You’ll practice these skills with an instructor until you’re comfortable. When you’re ready, it’s time for your underwater adventure to begin at an open water dive site.
3. Open Water Dives
After your confined water dives, you’ll head to “open water,” where you and your instructor will make four dives, usually over two days. On these dives you’ll get to explore the underwater world. You’ll apply the skills you learned in confined water while enjoying what the local environment has to offer. Most student divers complete these dives close to home, but there is an option for finishing your training while on holiday. Your PADI Instructor can explain how you can be referred to another PADI Instructor in a different location.
How long does it take to get certified?
The PADI Open Water Diver course is flexible and performance based, which means that your PADI dive shop can offer a wide variety of schedules, organized according to how fast you progress. It’s possible to complete your confined and open water dives in three or four days by completing the knowledge development portion online via PADI eLearning, or other home study options offered by your local dive shop or resort.
Your PADI Instructor will focus on helping you become a confident and comfortable diver, not on how long it takes. You earn your certification based on demonstrating 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 competent scuba diver.
How much do scuba lessons cost?
Compared with 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:
- a full day of surfing lessons.
- a weekend of rock climbing lessons.
- a weekend of kayaking lessons.
- a weekend of fly-fishing lessons.
- about three hours of private golf lessons.
- about three hours of private water skiing lessons.
- one amazing night out at the pub!
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. What’s more, you receive a certification to scuba dive at the end of a PADI Open Water Diver course (few other activities can offer that).
From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you can share with friends. And you can do it almost anywhere there is water. Start learning online and get ready to take your first breaths underwater! For specific costs, ask at the PADI Dive Center or Resort where you’d like to get certified. All PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are independently owned and operated, and prices can vary depending on location, class size and other factors.
Some questions you may want to ask are:
- Are the course materials included in the price?
- What personal dive equipment am I required to have?
- Is rental gear included?
- Are there any additional fees such as a boat fee or certification fee?
- How many student divers will be in the course?
- Where will open water training dives take place?