Snorkeling seems easy, do I really need training?
You probably don't if you're comfortable in the water. However, even if you are, PADI Professionals and snorkeling tours arranged by a local PADI Dive Center or Resort can take you to some of the best snorkeling spots.
I've always wanted to learn to scuba dive (or snorkel). How
do I get started?
The best way is to visit your local authorized PADI Dive Center or Resort. There are more than 4400 worldwide. Just visit our Dive Center and Resort Listing to find one close to you.
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 certified diver?
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 12 metres/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 metres/200 yards nonstop, without a time or specific stroke requirement or a 300 metre/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 mountain biking.
What equipment do I need before I take scuba lessons?
It's best to check with your instructor ahead of time to see what equipment is provided in your scuba course. Generally speaking, you'll want to own a mask, snorkel and fins. Your local PADI Dive Center or Resort can help you select quality equipment that fits properly. Most scuba equipment is very durable, so you won't have to replace it often.
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 remove impurities.
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 5-10 metres/15-30 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 marine animals?
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.
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 problem?
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.
If I have been diving, how long should I wait before flying?
The dive medical community offers the following recommendations for flying after diving, whether you’re using the RDP, another table or a dive computer:
For Dives within the No-Decompression Limits
Single Dives - A minimum preflight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested.
Repetitive Dives and/or Multiday Dives - A minimum preflight surface
18 hours is suggested.
For Dives Requiring Decompression Stops
A minimum preflight surface interval greater than 18 hours is suggested.
With all dive tables and computers, no flying after diving recommendation can guarantee that decompression sickness will never occur. These guidelines represent the best estimate presently known for a conservative, safe surface interval for the vast majority of divers. There may always be an occasional diver whose physiological makeup or special dive circumstances result in decompression sickness despite following the recommendations.