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Q: What is involved in learning how to scuba dive?

A: Learning to scuba dive is an incredible experience! Your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in 3 phases:

1: Knowledge Development

2: Confined Water Scuba Skills Training

3: Open Water Training Dives and Skill Review


Knowledge Development

Learn the lingo. During the first phase of your PADI open water diving scuba certification, you will develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives.

You briefly review  what you have studied in the 5 knowledge section with your instructor and take a short quiz to be sure you’re understanding it. At the end of the course, you’ll take a final exam, this make sure you have a good understanding of all the key concepts and ideas down. Your instructor will review anything that you don’t quite get until it’s clear.

Select the knowledge development option you prefer:

·         Start right now and learn to scuba dive online with PADI eLearning at your own pace- this is great for a person on the go all the time.

·         Attend a scheduled scuba diving class at The Dive Shop.

·         Take advantage of home study using the PADI book kit purchased though The Dive Shop or resort.


Confined Water Dive – Scuba Skill Training

This is what it’s all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skill by scuba diving in a pool or body of water with pool like conditions. Here you’ll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get the water out of your mask with out surfacing. You’ll practice some emergency skill, like sharing air or replacing your scuba mask. Plus you may play some games, make new friends and have a great time.

There are five confined water dives, with each building upon the previous. Over the course of these five dives, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.


Open Water Dives – Locally or on Vacation

After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you’ve made continue learning during four open water dives with a PADI instructor at a dive site. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course. You may make these dives near your home or while on vacation. Ask your PADI instructor how you can complete those dives on vacation.


Q: How long does it take to get certified?

A: It’s possible to complete our confined and open water dives in as few as three or four days by completing the classroom portion online via our PADI eLearning (home study option) offered by The Dive Shop.


The PADI Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means that The Dive Shop can offer a wide variety of schedules, paced according to how fast you progress.


Your instructor’s interest is in your learning to scuba dive, not in how long you sit in a classroom. So, training is based upon demonstrating that 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 confident diver who dives regularly.


Q: How much does it cost to take scuba lessons?

A: Compared with getting started in other popular sports and outdoors activities, learning to scuba dive isn’t expensive. For example, you can expect to pay about the same as you would for:

  • A full course of surfing lessons
  • A weekend rock climbing lessons
  • A weekend of kayaking lessons
  • A weekend of fly fishing lessons
  • About 3 hours of private golf lessons
  • Not to mention green fees and cart fees
  • Private shooting lessons

Learning to scuba dive is a great value when you consider that you learn to dive under the guidance and the attention of a highly trained, experienced professional – our PADI instructors. From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you share with friends and family. And, you can do this almost anywhere there is water.


Q: What scuba gear do I need to learn to scuba dive?

A: Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. The Dive Shop staff and Instructors will help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.

When you start learning to scuba dive, as a minimum, you want your own:

  • Scuba Mask
  • Scuba Fins
  • Snorkel
  • Boots

These have a personal fit, and our staff and instructors will help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited for you. The Dive Shop believes that part of learning is trying masks, fins and snorkels to see what you like. We will furnish this equipment in our pool training.


As part of the enrollment fee for all or part of your PADI Open Water Diver course, many dive operators provide a:

  • Dive Regulator
  • Scuba BCD
  • Dive computer
  • Scuba tank
  • Scuba wetsuit
  • Weight systems

Check with your local PADI dive shop or resort to confirm what’s included in your course package. The Dive Shop recommends that you invest in your own scuba equipment as you take your pool training.

  • You’re more comfortable using gear fitted for you.
  • You’re more comfortable learning to scuba dive using gear you’ve chosen.
  • Scuba divers who own their own scuba diving equipment find it more convenient to go diving and snorkeling.
  • Having you own scuba diving gear is part of the fun of diving.

The kind of gear you will need depends on the conditions where you dive. You may want:

  • Tropical scuba gear
  • Cold water scuba diving equipment
  • Temperate scuba equipment


Q: How do I know what the best scuba gear is?

A: Easy. There is no best gear. But there is the best gear for you. The professionals at The Dive Shop are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget.

Our professionals can get you set with the right stuff, plus we provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.


Q: What’s required to take scuba lessons?

A: If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI scuba diver. You’ll also want to keep in mind these requirements:

  • You need to be at least 10 years old
  • Students younger than 15 years, who successfully complete the course, qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water certification upon reaching 15. You must be at least 13 years old to take scuba lesson online with PADI eLearning, due to international internet laws. If you’re younger, you can still learn to dive – just have your parent or legal guardian contact your local PADI dive shop or resort.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you’re ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your physician must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you’re fit to dive. In some areas, local laws require all scuba students to consult with a physician before entering the course.

You may find this medical form on our web site under forms.

Water skills: Before completing the PADI Open Water Divers course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic water skill comfort by having you:

  • Swim 200 yards (or 300 yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
  • Float or tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

About Physical Challenges: Any individual who can meet the performance requirements of the course qualifies for the certification. There are many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements. Individuals with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Even individuals with more significant physical challenges participate in diving. Talk to your PADI Instructor at The Dive Shop or resort for more information.

Learning Materials: Unless you choose PADI eLearning, you’ll need and use the following training materials during your PADI Open Water Divers course and for your review and reference after the course:

  • The PADI Open Water Diver Manual
  • PADI Open Water Diver video on DVD
  • The PADI Log book, Recreational Dive Planner or eRDPML

The Dive Shop can set you up with these as part of the course enrollment process.


Q: Where can I scuba dive?

A: You can dive practically anywhere there is water – from a swimming pool to the ocean and all points in between, including quarries, lakes, rivers and springs. Where you scuba dive is determined by your:

  • Experience Level
  • Site accessibility
  • Conditions
  • Interests

For example, if you’ve just finished your PADI Open Water Divers course, you probably won’t be diving under the Antarctic ice on your next dive trip. But, don’t limit your thinking to warm, clear water you see in the travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer thank you think.

Your local dive site can be anything from a special pool built just for divers like one found in Brussels, Belgium, or more typically natural sites like Belize’s Great Blue Hole, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It may be a manmade reservoir or a fossil filled river. It’s not always about great visibility because what you see is more important than how far you see.

The only truly important thing about where you dive is that you have the scuba diving training and experience appropriate for diving there and that you have a dive buddy to go with you. The Dive Shop staff and instructors can help you organize great local diving or a dive vacation.


Q: My ears hurt when I go to the bottom of a swimming pool or when I dive down snorkeling. Will that keep me from becoming a scuba diver?

A: No, assuming you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses. The discomfort is the normal effect of water pressure pressing in on your ears. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ears – you just need to learn how. If you have no difficulties adjusting to air pressure during flying, you’ll probably experience no problem learning to adjust to water pressure while diving.


Q: Does a history of ear troubles, diabetes, asthma, allergies or smoking preclude someone from diving?

A: Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function or heart function or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person’s individual risk. Physician can consult with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary when assessing a scuba candidate. Download the PADI Medical Statement to take to your physician. You will find it under forms on our website.


Q: What are the most common injuries or sicknesses associated with diving?

A: Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are preventable with over the counter preventatives. The most common injuries caused by marine life are scrapes and stings, most which can be avoided by wearing an exposure suit, staying off the bottom and watching where you put your hand and feet.


Q: What about sharks?

A: When you’re lucky, you get to see a shark. Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare and with respect to diving, primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both or which trigger feeding behavior. Most of the time, if you see a shark it’s passing through and a relatively rare site to enjoy.


Q: Do women have special concerns about diving?

A: Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Menstruation is not normally a concern.


Q: How deep do you go?

A: With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 130 feet. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 60 feet. Although these are limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 40 feet where the water’s warmer and the colors are brighter.


Q: What happens if I use up all my air?

A: That’s not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you’ll learn in your scuba diving training course.


Q: What if I feel claustrophobic?

A: People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly.