Get Certified to Dive

discover scuba So you want to learn to dive and join the millions who experience a completely different world, I'll show you how! Learning to dive is not hard, but its not easy either. There are a lot of things you need to learn to ensure your safety. I like to have potential divers start with a discover scuba class, they can save you a lot of time an money should you decide diving is not for you. Many local dive shops offer them and you don't even need to go to the ocean or even the deep part of the pool. 

During your Padi Discover Scuba Diving course you will get a short class on the basics of scuba and scuba equipment. After that you will be fitted with gear and head to the pool. Being a strong swimmer or even knowing how to swim is not required for Discover Scuba, you can stay in the shallow end of the pool if that makes you more comfortable. There is never any pressure. You'll take your first breaths underwater just inches from the surface and it may seem a little strange at first, but that's OK. Your mind will quickly accept the fact you can breathe underwater. If you feel really comfortable, you can chose to do an ocean dive under the direct supervision of your instructor.

ocean dive

Take the Padi Open Water Diver Course

You did your Discover Scuba and you loved it and are ready to take the next step, great! To be a Padi Open Water diver you must be able to swim. You will be given a test that includes a 10 minute float or tread water using any method you want. I swam on my back in circles for 10 minutes when I started. There is also a 200 yard swim or a 300 yard swim with mask, snorkel and fins. There is no time limit. Before that you will do independent study either with a book or elearning. Most choose the elearning where you can watch videos and take quizzes on your computer or mobile device. After completing those, you will take a final exam, review what you've learned and ask your instructor any questions you may have.

Padi elearning

Next you will do 5 confined water dives in the pool starting with the skills you learned in Discover Scuba. If you have the same instructor, they may count your Discover Scuba toward dive 1 of your confined water training. All skills build on each other and your instructor will always explain them and then demonstrate them before you do them. They will work with you until you can do the skill with ease then move on to the next. These classes can take 1 to 3 days depending on the shop you take your course with.

Once you have finished all 5 confined water training dives, you are ready for your 4 open water check out dives where you will show your instructor you can safely do each skill you learned in the pool. This portion will take 2 days. Many like to take their confined water class close to home then go away to a warm destination to do their checkout dives. This is called a scuba referral. Your instructor will give you the appropriate forms to take with you as proof you completed your confined water training.

Divers beach

Your checkout dives will be done in water at progressively deeper depths to a max of 60 feet. Don't worry if you have some difficulty with skills, your instructor will help you until you do it to mastery. When you finish the open water portion, you will be a Padi Open Water diver, certified to dive with a buddy to a max depth of 60 feet anywhere in the world!


Lookup your instructor
Every instructor in Padi has a number you can look up to see their training status. You can look them up here Padi Pro CheckIf you like the Padi training you received, be sure to to let Padi know  -

Your mask is the most important thing in diving other than air of course. It may be tempting to buy a cool looking one online but you should go to your local dive shop and get fitted for it. Many mistakenly buy snorkel masks because they are cheap, only to realize the skirt is made of PVC plastic not silicone. After about 10 feet a PVC mask will not mold to your face and will leak. There are many different types of scuba masks for many different faces and getting one that's just right for you will make your diving experience 100 times more enjoyable.

You may be excited to start your scuba adventure and decide to go out and buy yourself a complete scuba kit (I did this). It is best to wait until you have a few dives under your belt so you can figure out what kind of diving you like and get a better understanding of gear. Trust me, I have a box of gear. used once

Diving Often
Skills parish over time so its important to get in the water when ever you can. Family trip to Florida, sneak away for a morning dive. Taking that cruise, plan a day of diving. If you should have a long gap between dives, 6 months or more, consider taking a refresher course at your local dive shop.

Have Fun
Diving is a serious activity with many things you must remember to do it safely. But its also meant to have fun. You may be motivated to just continue training right away but take time to enjoy dives, it will make more advanced training easier.

These are the steps to become a Padi Open Water diver. Your certification never expires and is recognized all around the world at dive shops that are Padi as well as many other scuba training agencies. Diving is a great way to make new friends and an amazing way to stay fit. Find your local Padi shop and start your adventure today!