Becoming a Scuba Diver – Getting the Most Out of Your Certification Course
Scuba diving is an incredible experience. It introduces you to another fascinating part of our incredible world. You almost feel like you’re in outer space as you hover in the water, or you can feel like you’re flying while a current pushes you along. For people who love seeing animals, the underwater world is often abundant with life. You truly get to marvel at just how amazing this planet really is.
To get the most out of diving, it is essential to begin with an open water (OW) course. Becoming certified as an open water diver enables you to dive with another certified person rather than requiring you to be accompanied by a divemaster or instructor. It is also the first step in being introduced to the aquatic world.
Typically an open water course can be completed in as few as three days, especially if you avail yourself of eLearning opportunities which allow you to complete the video and knowledge reviews before you arrive to begin your water skills sessions.
The course itself allows for flexibility, so the exact sequence of confined (meaning that the skills are done in a shallow area with pool-like condition) and open water dives can vary. Generally speaking, most divers complete the five confined segments in a few hours and then spend some time working on knowledge reviews and tests to ensure you understand everything. Yes, there are tests involved, but don’t panic. They’re actually pretty simple to do, and an instructor will review any incorrect responses with you to ensure you completely understand.
There are four open water dives that need to be completed prior to your PADI scuba certification. Each dive begins with the diver demonstrating their knowledge of a few skills to their instructor, and then the rest of the time is spent diving. Yes, on your first open water dive you’ll actually get to “swim” around. Your instructor will stay close and keep a constant eye on you so that you feel completely safe and can get adjusted to moving around and communicating underwater. Occasionally, the instructor might also have another certified professional join them to help students, too.
Usually, the first two open water dives are conducted one day and the final two dives the next. After each dive, though, your instructor will debrief with the group and then review the next dive so that you know what to expect, can ask questions, etc.
One of the great things about getting certified is that it’s good for life. If you don’t dive for six or more months, you may need a quick refresher course, but your certification will still be valid without paying any additional fees.
This article is part 1 of our 3 part series on becoming a scuba diver. Click the following link to be taken to part 2: What You Will Learn in Confined Water