Few of us forget that first time we slip below the water and feel truly weightless. Beneath lies a lifetime (and more) worth of exploration, only 29% of our planet is land and very few get to see the other 71%. Whether it's beautiful marine life with it's amazing colours or shipwrecks that allow us to delve into the past, there's something underwater for everyone.
Getting your PADI Open Water Diver certification is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
1. Buy and complete your PADI Open Water Diver e-learning
You can get started for as little as £99. Over 5 chapters, you'll read, watch videos and complete quizzes to learn about diving and our underwater world. You'll learn about topics such as:
- Being a Diver
- Scuba Diving equipment
- Scuba Diving skills
- Our underwater world
- How you can qualify as an Open Water diver, and how you can continue your diving education
When you sign up, we'll send you an e-learning code with instructions to redeem it and access your materials. You can then complete your e-learning on a computer (web access required) or an Apple or Android tablet (can be downloaded for access offline).
When can I get started?
You can buy your code today, we'll email your code to you with full instructions (usually in just a few hours)
2. Book your pool training
Next it's time to book your pool training. Your instructor will complete a quick review of your theory, then show you how to assemble the equipment and give you time to practice. Together with your instructor you'll complete five pool dives (we call these 'confined water dives') to learn skills and get comfortable under the water.
The skills are completed step by step. Your instructor will demonstrate each skill in turn, then ask you to have a go. You'll practice these skills to achieve mastery, so that you can complete them without difficulty when you need to during a dive.
All equipment is supplied so you just need to bring a swimming costume, a t-shirt that you don't mind getting wet to wear under the scuba diving jacket, and a towel.
3. Book your qualifying dives
Theory, check. Pool training, check. Now it's time to dive!
You'll complete four open water dives with your instructor, either at the south coast or at an inland lake if weather conditions prevent coastal diving. During your dives you'll repeat many of the skills you learned in confined water, but there will also be time to explore and enjoy your first dives.
Where your course includes boat or inland lake dives there may be a small additional fee payable to the operator on the day. Our coastal courses often include two boat dives at £21-£25 each, inland courses have an entry fee of £21 per day (2 days) to access the lake. If you would like to know the planned arrangements for a specific course please contact us on 01935 353525, although arrangements are of course subject to the weather.
We supply all equipment for these dives, however for your comfort we do recommend purchasing your own snorkelling equipment (mask, snorkel, boots and fins). These are personal items and having your own will greatly increase your inwater comfort and enjoyment of your dives. Having and choosing your own equipment is part of the fun of diving, your instructor will help you to choose the right items for you.
From November until April, for your comfort and safety, the course is only available bundled with a Dry Suit speciality. We will teach you how to use a dry suit, and you'll complete a pool orientation prior to your open water dives. You'll complete the qualifying dives in a dry suit and thermal undersuit which should keep you warm and toasty. From May - October this is optional but recommended.
Alternatively you could complete your e-learning and pool training with Dive Academy, then take a referral to any PADI dive centre worldwide to complete your qualifying dives. Just purchase your e-learning and pool training, when you complete the training your instructor will give you the forms required so that when you arrive on holiday you're ready to dive.
What about age requirements, fitness, anything else I need to know?
To be able to complete the Open Water Diver course you need to be 12 years of age or older. We do sometimes train 10-11 year olds as Open Water divers, but please contact us to discuss this as it can be challenging and we would usually suggest young divers complete a course such as Seal Team first to prepare them for Open Water training.
You do need to be able to swim 200 metres and tread water or float for 10 minutes, but if you are reasonably fit you should be able to scuba dive. There is a medical questionnaire which is linked below, please contact us prior to booking if you have any 'yes' answers.
When can I book?
You need to allow 7-8 hours of study time to read the materials in the e-learning package. Providing you can get that done before you start your pool training then you can book that as soon as you wish - our next dates are below. We often pool training and qualifying dives close together, you can book both at once (pool training needs to take place first), or book them in your own time and at your own pace.
You need to complete the course within 12 months of starting, however most people complete the course in just a couple of weekends.
Once you're qualified
After certification you'll be qualified to dive to 18 metres with a similarly qualified buddy, or the depth you achieved on your course, in similar conditions. You could join Dive Academy's active dive club, look at purchasing some of your own items of kit and/or rent kit to continue your diving adventure.
The next step in your training is Advanced Open Water which increases your maximum depth certification to 30 metres, you'll also complete new skills and activities under water such as navigation, wreck diving and/or search and recovery of small items.