The Ultimate Guide to Scuba Diving

When I took a 3-month trip through Southeast Asia, one of my goals was to learn how to scuba dive.

Despite having what I would call a healthy fear, or at least hesitation, where scuba diving is concerned, I’d seen so many beautiful photos and videos of people exploring colorful coral reefs and underwater rock fields that I knew this was a skill I absolutely needed to add to my tool belt. And I couldn’t think of a better opportunity than this trip where I’d be visiting countries like Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines with notoriously gorgeous waters.

I actually got not just one, but three scuba diving certifications on the tiny island of Guam, and I did all of my training at the local MDA Guam Dive Shop. While Guam is not the cheapest place to get scuba diving certifications, I can’t recommend the team over at MDA enough. Not only is the staff easily the kindest and most helpful group of people you’ll meet on the island, the dive instructor, Ken Holbein, consistently goes out of his way to help you get as far into your diving certification(s) as you want, not to mention provides you with more than enough knowledge and expertise to help you feel safe during the learning process.

That being said, in the two weeks that I spent on Guam, I earned a total of three diving certifications: my Open Water, Enriched Air, and Advanced Open Water.

If you’ve ever wanted to become a scuba diver, take this to heart: these diving certifications are your key to the underwater world. Issued through the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and executed through PADI associated dive shops around the world, their variety of curriculum give you the know-how and hands-on experience to safely and confidently dive.

Diving is one of the most unique and rewarding experiences I’ve ever pursued, and it’s something that I’m constantly trying to learn more about. That’s why I’ve decided to do a blogging series about scuba diving. For the next few weeks I’m going to be publishing content that addresses practical knowledge about how to become a scuba diver, guides to dive sites, ways to become a professional diver, how to be a responsible diver, and resources that all divers should have at their disposal.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to scuba dive but didn’t know where to start, or are looking to expand your current scuba diving knowledge base, then this guide is for you!

How to Get Scuba Certified

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.

To get started with your own Open Water certification, visit PADI’s course catalog and find a dive shop near you!

Scuba Diving on a Budget: 10 of the Cheapest Dive Destinations

Even if you didn’t know anything about scuba diving, you would probably feel pretty confident if you guessed it’s an expensive hobby to get into, and initially it is. In addition to investing your time, scuba certifications and quality scuba gear don’t come cheap.

That being said, there are plenty of places around the world where you can dive and get certified without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive place to get your first set of scuba certifications, or are planning a budget trip and need some inspiration, this list of inexpensive places to dive around the world will help get you started!

(pricing taken from PADI’s online booking; resort prices for 7 days per diver; diving included)

10 Cheap Destinations for Scuba Diver

1. Thailand

Book a scuba diving trip to Thailand!

Between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, the diving opportunities in Thailand are virtually endless, with widespread reefs, deep drop-offs, shipwrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles, and more! If marine life is your thing, you’ll be right at the home with the whale sharks, manta rays, leopard sharks, seahorses and ghost pipefish that are teeming in these waters!

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Thailand
Best Dive Sites in Thailand
  • Koh Lanta
  • Koh Phangan
  • Koh Phi Phi
  • Koh Samui
  • Koh Tao
  • Krabi
  • Pattaya
  • Phuket
  • Ranong
  • Richelieu Rock
  • The Similan Islands
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Thailand!

2. Indonesia

Book a scuba diving trip to Indonesia!

While Indonesia might not ring a bell, I have no doubt that you’ve heard of Bali – easily one of the most popular destinations for worldwide travelers. But Indonesia is home to thousands of islands, all beautiful and full of diving potential. Now, while getting to Indonesia may not be cheap depending on where you live, food, transportation and even diving are all very economical once you arrive.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Indonesia
Best Dive Sites in Indonesia
  • Bali
  • Central Sulawesi
  • Flores
  • Java
  • Komodo
  • Lombok
  • North Sulawesi
  • Raja Ampat
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Indonesia!

3. Egypt

Book a scuba diving trip to Egypt!

Like many countries around the world, Egypt has and actively relies on a thriving tourism industry, and diving is one of the main draws for worldwide travelers. Warm waters, diverse sites, a large number of wrecks, and marine biodiversity are just a few of the many reasons why so many divers visit each year. In addition to waters in the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt is also famous for the fantastic diving in the Red Sea.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Egypt
Best Dive Sites in Egypt
  • Pharaoh’s Island, Taba
  • The Blue Hole, Dahab
  • Straits of Tiran, Sharm el Sheikh
  • Ras Mohamed National Park, Sharm el Sheikh
  • Giftun Island, Hurghada
  • Seven Pillars, Safaga
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Egypt!

4. The Philippines

Book a scuba diving trip to the Philippines!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Philippines, the first thing you should know is that this beautiful country is comprised of over 7,000 islands – and nearly all of them offer world-class diving opportunities for all levels (the Philippines is hands down my favorite place to scuba dive!). Advanced divers will feel right at home with the deep wreck dives, while newcomers will have the time of their lives exploring the myriad of coral reefs that can be found just off the shorelines.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in the Philippines
Best Dive Sites in the Philippines
  • Bohol
  • Cebu
  • Mindanao
  • Mindoro
  • Palawan
  • Siquijor
  • Boracay
  • El Nido
  • Puerto Galera
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in the Philippines!

5. Malaysia

Book a scuba diving trip to Malaysia!

It’s fairly well known throughout the world that Malaysia offers world-class diving that is also uniquely affordable. Another great thing about diving in Malaysia is that dive sites on the western coast are particularly well suited for all levels, with warm waters, calm currents and protected reefs. The eastern coast of Malaysia offers though offers dives that are a bit more exciting. That being said, make sure you have the right certifications if you’re looking for dives that go beyond the beginner levels.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Malaysia
Best Dive Sites in Malaysia
  • Pulau Sibuan, Semporna
  • Tunku Abdul Rahmah Park, Kota Kinabalu
  • Atago Maru Wreck, Miri
  • Tiger Reef, Tioman
  • Sugar Wreck, Perhentian Islands
  • WW II Wrecks, Kuching
  • Pulau Lima, Redang
  • Pulau Saga, Lumut
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Malaysia!

6. Croatia

Book a scuba diving trip to Croatia!

If you love Europe but are constantly looking for ways to visit on a budget, Croatia is a winner! I visited Zagreb, Zadar, and Split back in 2018 as a recently graduated and very much broke grad student and was incredibly grateful that such a beautiful and incredible place could fit into my budget. Croatia’s budget-friendly nature extends even to the diving, which boasts beautiful coastlines, bays and coves that are a diver’s dream!

Dive Resort in Croatia
Best Dive Sites in Croatia
  • Plic tenki
  • The Wreck of the Teti
  • Bisevo Grotto
  • The Cathedral
  • Kornati Archipelago
  • Wreck of the Taranto
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Croatia!

7. Honduras

Book a scuba diving trip to Honduras!

Nestled in the heart of Central America, and despite its size (only 6 miles long!), the small island of Honduras is a diving haven for backpackers and budget travelers. There is an incredible amount of beautiful dive sites, as well as an amazing series of reef systems that are home to vibrant colors and tropical fish, as well as large-scale marine animals like manta rays, sea turtles, and even whale sharks!

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Honduras
Best Dive Sites in Honduras
  • West End Wall, Roatan
  • Dolphin Den, Roatan
  • El Aguila, Roatan
  • Black Hills, Utila
  • Halliburton, Utila
  • Blackish Point, Utila
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Honduras!

8. Mexico

Book a scuba diving trip to Mexico!

There are so many diving opportunities around Mexico, including places like Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, not to mention it’s inexpensive and super accessible if you live in the U.S. Budget-friendliness aside, a diving trip in Mexico promises a variety of dive sites, miles and miles of healthy coral reefs, and marine diversity that’s enviable around the world!

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Mexico
Best Dive Sites in Mexico
  • Socorro Island
  • Guadalupe
  • The Sea of Cortez
  • Los Islotes
  • Cenote Dos Ojos
  • MUSA
  • Punta Cancun
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Mexico!

9. Costa Rica

Book a scuba diving trip to Costa Rica!

The beautiful country of Costa Rica is wedged between the Pacific and the Oceans, which means it is literally surrounded by underwater paradises that are perfect for divers of all levels. The Pacific coastline is home to whales, rays, and other stunning marine life, while the Caribbean coast boasts some of the most vibrant and colorful reefs that are teeming with all kinds of life. Plus, there’s the added bonus that this dive destination is affordable and easily accessible depending on where you call home.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Costa Rica
Best Dive Sites in Costa Rica
  • Cocos Island
  • Caño Island
  • Cataline Islands
  • Big Scare, Bat Island
  • Virador
  • Tortuga Islands
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Costa Rica!

10. Vietnam

Book a scuba diving trip to Vietnam!

Compared to fan favorites like Bali and Thailand, Vietnam is a relatively new diving hot spot, which is part of the reason why so many divers are drawn to it. The relatively unexplored dive sites are home to beautiful, calm waters, a diverse range of corals, as well as a large variety of marine life such as seahorses, hawksbill turtles, sharks and rays.

Best Dive Sites in Vietnam
  • Modonna Rocks, Nha Trang
  • Moray Beach, Nha Trang
  • Three Kings, Whale Island
  • Fish Highway, Con Dao Islands
  • Hom Mo, Charm Islands
  • Dry Island (Hon Ko), Phu Quoc
Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Vietnam!

Need more diving content? Check out PADI.com, where you can brush up on your diving skills, find some diving inspiration, and connect with fellow divers!

Ocean Loving Brands: 10 Eco-Friendly Companies for Scuba Divers

Choosing eco-friendly, sustainable brands is just one of the many ways that you can be an eco-conscious diver. Thankfully, more and more companies and non-profits are joining the market every day, with the shared mission of protecting our oceans, preserving marine wildlife, and educating their consumers about how they can live and explore sustainably.

That being said, these are 10 of my favorite eco-friendly, ocean loving companies that offer gear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and more for scuba divers!

Top 10 Sustainable Brands for Scuba Divers

1. Rash’R

Photo Credit: Rash’r’s Facebook Page

Mission: To create the most environmentally friendly product on the planet, we are sustainably focused and relentlessly creative.

Rash’R was founded by a group of three friends based in Ireland, who felt that the current market for rash guards was lacking in terms of color, design, and sustainability. To support their mission to create eco-friendly products that look and feel great, they use Ocean Balance fabric, which is a sustainably sourced, polyester fiber that comes from fishing nets, carpets and other post-consumer goods. The end result? A high performing, quick-drying technical fabric that’s perfect for divers, surfers, and swimmers.

2. Stream2Sea

Photo Credit: Stream2Sea’s Facebook Page

Mission: Our mission is to supply outdoor lovers with products that work great, keep them feeling good and healthy, and give them confidence they are supporting a safe, sustainable, and science-based company.

The eco-conscious team at Stream2Sea was founded in 2015, when the CEO and Founder realized that the stuff we put on our bodies ends up in the water, and ultimately has a strong impact on these often fragile ecosystems. Stream2Sea’s goal is to offer their consumers a range of products that have all passed an extensive range of tests in order to keep fresh and saltwater fish, sensitive coral reefs and other forms of marine life safe from toxic chemicals. They offer sunscreens, hand sanitizers, products for skin and hair care, apparel and accessories.

3. Trshbg

Photo Credit: Trshbg’s Facebook Page

Mission: Every surfer and diver an ocean cleaner.

Trshbg was created by a group of surfers and divers from all over the world, with the simple goal of creating a trash collection bag that’s made from 100% re-used materials. The best part about their sustainable product, though? Their hip and calf bags can be worn for diving, surfing and swimming – that’s right, worn! – so that you can keep your hands free at all times. Plus, they’re light enough that you won’t even feel them!

4. Gili Gear

Photo Credit: Gili Gear’s Facebook Page

Mission: Raising awareness towards a sustainable future.

The dive professionals and whitewater guides who founded Gili Gear were disappointed and fed up with the traditionally cheap mesh gear bags that couldn’t stand up to the test of time or the sports they were passionate about. That being said, they took matters into their own hands and designed the most durable, colorful, and sustainably made gear bag they could! In addition to offering some of the best, and most importantly eco-friendly, gear bags in a variety of sizes on the market, they also offer totes, yoga mat bags, packing cubes, dog collars, hats, fanny packs, and even sunglasses!

5. Cape Clasp

Photo Credit: Cape Clasp’s website

Mission: To #makewaves for marine life causes.

Cape Clasp was founded in 2013 with a simple idea – to create beautiful pieces of jewelry, and with each design, they partner with a marine life organization and donate 15% of their profits! Over the past few years, they’ve partnered with non-profits Cape Cod National Seashore, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the Whale & Dolphin Conservation, and more. Visit their online store and shop bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and stickers.

6. Saltwater Tribe

Photo Credit: Saltwater Tribe’s Facebook Page

Mission: To donate 5% of our profit to Tangaroa Blue Foundation to help with their mission of tackling marine debris and educating future generations.

Based out of Australia, the Saltwater Tribe was founded in 2017 with the goal of offering carefully selected products that are inspired by the ocean and intended to promote sustainable living. In addition to partnering with local artists and businesses who share their sustainable values, they donate 5% of their profits to the Tangaroa Blue Foundation – who is dedicated to reducing the amount of debris in the ocean and educating future generations.

7. prAna

Photo Credit: prAna’s Facebook Page

Mission: To inspire healthy, active, and free-spirited living by creating versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories that you can wear during every activity, every adventure, every day – from yoga to climbers to world travelers.

If you enjoy being active, odds are you’ve heard of prAna – they create sustainable clothing that’s perfect for travel, yoga, and other types of outdoor adventures. Their clothing, swimwear included, is made from organic, recycled and Fair-Trade materials that are fun, functional, durable and comfortable!

8. Waterlust

Photo Credit: Waterlust’s Facebook Page

Mission: To inspire a love for our watery world and support the process of scientific discovery that is needed to better understand it.

I love the story at Waterlust. What started as an experiment by ocean science graduate students has blossomed into an eco-responsible apparel brand who help fund research and educate the world about environmental conservation who found a way to merge science and their shared love of the ocean. In addition to shopping apparel for men and women, you can also shop according to the causes they support, including whale shark research, tiger shark research, coral reef restoration, and coastal resiliency.

9. SCUBAPRO

Photo Credit: SCUBAPRO’s Facebook Page

Mission: We believe in the adage “it takes a village,” and we also believe in building bridges, not walls, enabling individuals and organizations to join together to face the huge challenges facing our oceans, while at the same time encouraging every diver to be conservation-minded.

The team at SCUBAPRO is best known for their innovative scuba gear that’s designed to better protect divers and our oceans. The lot of their products are engineered to be eco-friendly, as well as provide their consumers with the best diving experience possible. You can shop dive wear, regulators, computers, BCDs, bags, apparel, and other essential dive necessities, as well as know you’re supporting a company that’s dedicated to our oceans

10. Patagonia

Photo Credit: Patagonia’s Facebook Page

Mission: At Patagonia, we appreciate that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. We aim to use the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations—to do something about it.

Patagonia is easily one of the most recognizable brands in the outdoor industry, and their take on sustainability and environmental responsibility has influenced every single product they make. All of their products, including their swimwear and wetsuits, are organic and Fair-Trade, not to mention their methods consume less energy, waste less water, and create less trash.

Dive with a Purpose: How to be an Eco-Conscious Diver

Once you’ve gotten a few dives under your belt, no doubt you’ll find yourself looking past the coral reefs and schools of fish, because you notice something that doesn’t belong down there – human waste.

It could be a plastic fork, a hair tie, a set of plastic rings that held a six-pack – hell, I’ve even found a deck of playing cards while snorkeling in the Philippines. And let me tell you, once you’ve spent an afternoon swimming with turtles while simultaneously picking up trash, you start to think about your scuba diving a little differently.

Now, anytime I’m in or out of the water, I’m constantly thinking of ways that I can either limit my own damage to our oceans, or helping to repair what’s already been done to them. There’s no doubt that snorkeling and scuba diving are some of the best ways we can appreciate both the beauty and fragility of the oceans and the marine life they hold.

If you also want to become an eco-friendly diver, then here are 10 super simple ways that you can do your part!

10 Ways to be an Eco-Conscious Diver

1. Choose Brands that Protects the Ocean

Choosing eco-friendly, sustainable brands is just one of the many ways that you can be an eco-conscious diver. Thankfully, more and more companies and non-profits are joining the market every day, with the shared mission of protecting our oceans, preserving marine wildlife, and educating their consumers about how they can live and explore sustainably. Want to find scuba diving gear, apparel and accessories that are eco-friendly? Check out these 10 eco-friendly, ocean-loving brands for scuba divers!

2. Stay with an Eco-Conscious Diver Resort

Another great way you can be an eco-friendly diver is by working and booking with eco-resorts that are just as committed to both protecting and bettering the dive destinations that they call home! Eco dive resorts support their dedication to social and environmental business practices by using policies and infrastructure that are designed to be as low impact as possible, help local marine life, and integrate conservation whenever possible.

Looking for an eco-friendly dive resort? Check out this list of sustainable dive resorts from PADI!

3. Work with an Eco-Friendly Dive Center

Much like booking with an eco dive resort, working with an eco-friendly dive center is another easy way you can help protect our oceans! While the best way to identify an eco-friendly dive center is via online reviews or word-of-mouth, common sustainable efforts include offering carbon offsets, actively improving the area by participating in local cleanups, and educating their patrons about noninvasive, sustainable ways of diving.

Looking for an eco-friendly dive resort? Check out this list of sustainable dive centers from PADI!

4. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

When we think about the harmful products we release into the ocean, plastic straws, Styrofoam cups and toxic sunscreens typically jump to mind. But we don’t talk enough about the threat of carbon emissions. Whenever and wherever we burn fossil fuels, a large portion of the carbon dioxide that gets released into the atmosphere will be absorbed by the ocean, and this ultimately changes the composition of the water. The end result? Hostile living conditions for marine life. That’s pretty scary when you think about it, and while certain parts of marine life act as great, natural forms of carbon sequestration and storage, we also need to consider and limit our own emissions. To learn how, take a look at this article – 25 Ways to Save the Ocean by Reducing Your Carbon Footprint.

5. Join PADI’s Torchbearer Community

Photo Credit: PADI’s website

PADI is the strongest leader and educator within the worldwide scuba diving commitment, and their commitment to environmental conversation is not to be slept on. They are a firm believer that divers make the best advocates for protecting our oceans, and in addition to partnering with Project AWARE and offering conservation courses, PADI also hosts a growing community of Torchbearers – an interactive organization with PADI who promote their ongoing mission to clean up and protect the ocean. Join PADI’s Torchbearers Community here!

6. Like Seafood? Choose Sustainable Seafood Options

Did you know that 90% of the world’s fisheries have either been fully exploited or overfished. That’s right. 90%!! Between the population growth, illegal fishing, habitat loss, climate changes and the invasion of plastics in our oceans, we’re well on our way to eating ourselves out of fish and robbing our oceans of fish life. So here are some easy tips on how you can find sustainable seafood options:

  1. Try to eat fish that are green- or yellow-listed (i.e. low or medium threat)
  2. Avoid orange- or red-listed fish (bluefin tuna, wild sturgeon, sharks, skates, rays, wild halibut, and European eel)
  3. Words like farmed, pole-and-line caught, and green-listed options are safe words
  4. Use this label breakdown to understand which types of fish you’re buying (below)

7. Dive at Eco-Friendly Destinations

Even though more and more countries, companies and organizations are getting serious about marine conservation, the individual choices that divers are still critical, given the amount of time and activity they put into the ocean. A key responsibility among divers is to choose a dive site that supports sustainable diving, as well as reef, ocean and fish preservation. Here are just a few dive destinations that are uniquely focused on preservation and sustainability:

  • The Maldives
  • The Red Sea, Egypt
  • Hawaii
  • Bonaire
  • Coco Island, Costa Rica
  • Raja Ampat, Indonesia
  • Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  • Belize
  • The Philippines

8. Participate in Coral Restoration

Between rising ocean temperatures, overfishing and pollution, it’s no surprise that the health of our coral reefs around the world is in decline. A critical way that divers can help is by joining in on the global coral restoration. More and more efforts are being seen around the world, and Coral Restoration Foundation (founded in 2007 by Ken Nedimyer) volunteer divers are leading the charge! You can get involved, too, by helping tend coral nurseries, outplanting coral fragments on the reef, and monitoring the health of outplanted corals over time.  And if you’re really serious about contributing to these efforts, you can take PADI’s Coral Reef Conservational Specialty Course!

9. Collect Trash while Scuba Diving 

One of the most heartbreaking experiences I had during month long trip in Thailand was having to cut a dive trip short. Now, hear me out. It wasn’t heartbreaking because I had to get out of the water sooner than I had planned, but because of the severe amount of trash that was in the water. I developed a habit of picking up any trash I found in the water after scuba diving and snorkeling my way across the Philippines (a fork or hair tie here and there, nothing major), but it was a totally different story in Thailand. I picked up so much trash that it was falling out of my hands back onto the ocean floor. I’ve learned a lot since that dive, and now keep a mesh bag on me whenever I go diving or snorkeling so I can pick up trash on the go and not worry about dropping it. Sound like something you’d like to do during your dives, too? Check out this snazzy, wearable mesh bag from Trshbg that’s made from 100% recyclable materials!

10. Make Eco-Conscious Choices at Home

The fight to manage plastic waste is a long-fought battle in places all over the world, especially areas like Southeast Asia, and has become one of the most recognized forms of responsible tourism. And thanks to this push (many countries like China, the Philippines and Sri Lanka – which put forth an appeal back in 2019 to ban single-use plastics – are taking strong steps to reduce and manage plastic waste), minimizing your plastic waste is easier than ever! Minimizing plastic waste, especially the pesky single-use plastics like cups and utensils, is all the more manageable with eco-friendly travel products like stainless steel straws, reusable water bottles, and other gear that that’s made from recycled materials.

Turn Your Passion into a Profession: Become a Professional Scuba Diver

A common misconception is that you have to become a dive instructor in order to have a professional career as a scuba diver – not true!

Once of the best things I learned during the time I was accruing my various scuba diving certificates is that there are many ways you can make a living with your diving skills and knowledge, and not just as an instructor.

If you’ve ever thought about turning your passion into a profession, then here’s a great place to start!

Top 8 Jobs for Scuba Divers

1. Become an Underwater Videographer

Do you have a passion for capturing the sights, sounds, and motion of an adventure? How about an underwater adventure?? If you’ve got any experience working with video, you could have a career as an Underwater Videographer! Take the PADI Underwater Videographer course to learn how to choose, maintain and care for your underwater video equipment, as well as tackle video fundamentals like exposure, focus, storyline and sequencing.

2. Be a Dive Shop Owner or Manager

If you’ve got any experience in marketing, retail or sales, you can funnel those into the dive industry. Lots of scuba operations are run by passionate divers, but odds are they aren’t experts in modern forms of marketing or retail design. If you’re looking for a way to merge your professional career with your passion for scuba diving, then becoming a dive shop owner or manager could be the perfect opportunity for you!

3. Dive for NASA

Photo Credit: NASA website

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “How am I, a scuba diver, going to make money as a diver for NASA the space program?!” But this is no joke. NASA has a Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas, which they use to prepare astronauts for the zero-gravity conditions they’ll face in space. While they’re in training, each astronaut is assigned a team of four divers (two for safety, one for tools and one as a cameraman). Sound like a promising career option? Click here to learn more!

4. Work as a Digital Underwater Photographer

As far as underwater careers go, working as a digital underwater photographer makes pretty good sense. I mean, we pay photographers on land to take awesome portraits, landscapes and action shots for us, so why not underwater? It’s not uncommon for dive centers to have a resident underwater photographer, who will document an entire day’s worth of dives and offer each diver their own copy at a reasonable price. Interested? Then be sure to take PADI’s Digital Underwater Photographer course!

5. Become a Search and Recovery Diver

Nobody ever wants to drop something from a dive boat or dock, but inevitably it happens. And more often than not it always seems to be the valuable dive computer or GoPro. Cue Search and Recovery divers. This isn’t just a course that PADI offers, it’s also a great opportunity to make some money! If you have the means and capabilities to recover someone’s valuable property, they’ll often pay you quite well to recover it for them.

6. Serve as a Public Safety Diver

Did you know that certain PADI Dive Centers can train you to become a public safety diver? Yep! A career as a public safety diver often means conducting underwater investigations and/or recovering evidence, and PADI’s Public Safety Diver course will train you on scene handling, communications, documentation, and other critical skills you’ll need to join a public safety diving team.

7. How to become a Divemaster

One of the best ways to make your living as a scuba diver is by becoming a Dive Guide or Dive Instructor, and with the PADI Divemaster course, you can choose between serving on a liveaboard, working at different resorts around the world, or setting yourself in your local waters.

Before enrolling in PADI’s Divemaster course, though, you have to be at least 18 years old and possess the following certifications:

  • Open Water Diver
  • Advanced Open Water Diver
  • Emergency First Response

If you’ve already passed your PADI Divemaster course (or you have a leadership-level certificate from another training agency), then you can enroll in a PADI Instructor or Assistant Instructor course.

8. Work as a Boat Captain

While it’s technically not a living as a professional scuba diving, you can make your living as a boat captain that works with dive centers and dive resorts to take divers to their various dive sites. Because so many of the best diving locations can only be accessed via boat, dive instructor boat captains are in high demand!

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