Is learning to dive difficult?
No, it's probably easier than you imagine -- especially if
you're already comfortable in the water. PADI's entry-level course
consists of pool diving, knowledge development and open water dives.
The course is performance based, meaning that you progress as you
learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill.
How long does it take to become a
certified scuba diver?
PADI courses are performance based, which means that you earn
your certification when you demonstrate that you've mastered the
required skills and knowledge. Because some learn faster than
others, course duration varies. For example, the PADI Open Water
Diver course can be split into five or six sessions over as little
as three days to a much as six weeks.
How old do I have to be to become a
You must be at least ten years old to receive a Junior Open
Water Diver Certification. Ten and 11 year old Junior Open Water
Divers must dive with a certified parent, guardian or PADI
Professional to a maximum depth of 40 feet. 12 to 14 year olds must
dive with a certified adult. At age 15, the Junior certification
upgrades to a regular Open Water Diver certification.
Are there any special qualifications or
considerations to participate in a scuba class?No.
Generally speaking, anyone in good average health and at least 10
years old can participate. You will, however, complete a medical
questionnaire. If anything on the questionnaire indicates a reason
to be cautious about diving, you'll need check with a physician to
make sure you can dive.
Do I have to be a great swimmer to be
certified as a PADI Open Water Diver?
No. You need to be a reasonably proficient swimmer and
comfortable in the water. You must swim 200 yards nonstop, without a
time or specific stroke requirement or a 300 yard swim with mask,
fins and snorkel. You'll also perform a 10 minute tread/float
Is scuba diving expensive?
No. Like any hobby or recreation, you can invest however
much you want, depending upon your interest level. Because most dive
centers and resorts rent equipment, you can invest in equipment over
time, renting what you don't have. There's probably good diving not
far from where you live, so travel costs can be flexible enough to
accommodate even the tightest budget. Most people find the costs of
scuba diving similar to the cost associated with snow skiing or
What equipment do I need before I take
Generally speaking, you'll want to own a mask, snorkel,
fins and booties, your personal gear. All equipment is provided throughout
the course and included in the price of the course but you are
always better off having your own personal gear for proper fit and
comfort. Most scuba
equipment is very durable, so you won't have to replace it often if
you take care of it.
What's in a scuba tank? Oxygen?
Recreational divers breathe air, not oxygen. The air in a
scuba tank is like the air you're breathing but is also filtered to
How long does a tank of air last?
Since people breathe at different rates and as you go
deeper you consume air faster, there isn't any one answer. Because
of this, divers carry a gauge that lets them know how much air is in
the tank. However, divers in calm, warm water from 5-30 feet can
spend about one hour underwater with an average tank.
My ears hurt when I dive to the bottom
of a pool. Won't they hurt when I scuba dive? Your ears
hurt because of the water pressure on your eardrum. In your scuba
course, you'll learn simple techniques to equalize your ears to the
surrounding pressure, much like you do when you land in an airplane.
In the movies and on TV, divers are
always running into sharks or eels. Should I be concerned about
Most aquatic animals are passive or timid. A few do bite
or sting, but you can avoid these by not touching them. Divers
aren't natural prey for sharks and therefore shark attacks are rare,
eels are awesome to see and watch. Just remember Don't Touch!.
Is scuba diving dangerous?
No, but there are potential hazards, which is why you
need proper training and certification.
I need vision correction. Is that a
No. Wearing soft contact lenses shouldn't be a problem
while you dive. However, if you wear hard contacts, you'll want to
dive with gas permeable lenses. See your eye doctor for more
information. Another option is to have prescription lenses put into
your mask. See a PADI Professional about this service.