While starting your scuba certification journey is fairly straightforward, the actual process takes time, commitment, and a level of physical fitness that ensures your safety (remember: scuba diving is classified as an extreme sport and accidents do happen).
But first things first – your gateway to the world of diving starts with the first and easiest certification to acquire: the Open Water Diver certification. And while you can start this process with PADI’s e-learning materials, you’ll need to find a local dive shop so that you can get that hands-on experience.
How to Become a PADI Scuba Diver
The PADI Open Water Diver course includes three main parts:
- Knowledge Development
- Confined Water Dives
- Open Water Dives
The Knowledge Development covers the principles, concepts and terminology that you’ll need to know for a safe and enjoyable dive. Here you’ll work your way through the videos, you will also be responsible for completing the PADI Open Water workbook that reiterates the same information in the videos, but also includes a variety of quizzes and knowledge reviews at the end of each section.
Word of advice: Pay close attention to these, as you’ll need to know the information from memory when you test out for your certification.
After you’ve completed the knowledge section of the certification process, you’ll then have to complete the Confined Water Dives portion of the course. Here, you’ll learn and practice your scuba diving skills in a pool or some other type of confined water space.
Finally, you’ll transition to Open Water Dives and really put your skills on display, including adjusting your buoyancy, buddy check, clearing your mask, removing and recovering your regulator, and other essential skills.
The Open Water course is where you will also cover the basics of scuba gear (such as a mask, snorkel, fins, regulator, buoyancy control device, tank, computer, weights, etc.), safety, buoyancy, and more.
Once you’ve completed your educational videos, workbook, knowledge reviews, confined and open water dives, you will officially be a certified Open Water diver.
While this is the most basic requirement for scuba diving, I will offer a piece of advice that my dive master offered me – many dive shops around the world won’t take you diving if you only have an Open Water certification; they prefer you to have your Advanced Open Water and Enriched Air certifications as well.
If you’re interested in reading more, this blog is the first installment of a series I’m doing on scuba diving. Check back next week for my next post, or subscribe to the blog so that you can get alerts when I post new content – cheers!