There are various options to get into the sport of scuba diving; you could do a ‘try dive’ session with an instructor or jump straight into a course. Most people tend to opt for Ocean Diver or open water course or equivalent over 4 or 5 days. On qualification you will be able to dive with a diving partner of similar or higher standard, anywhere in the world.
Different diver training agencies
Training agencies vary from country to country, although many agencies such as the the BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) are generally recognised the world over. Courses can be done at home or overseas and you can easily become a certified diver during a one-week trip overseas.
There are now many specialist dive tour operators, all offering ‘learn to dive’ package deals. They offer similar itineraries: two days in a classroom and swimming pool and two to three days diving in the sea or ocean (open water). The course covers everything you need to learn to dive safely. A popular option is doing the classroom and confined water (swimming pool) work at home, then travelling overseas to complete the open water part of the course.
A commonly taken course is a PADI Open Water Course and this is a good example of what you can expect. The only criteria for entry to a course is that you must be 10 years old or older, have adequate swimming skills and be in good physical health. No prior experience with scuba diving is required.
The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases:
- Knowledge Development (online, independent study or in a classroom) to understand basic principles of scuba diving
- Confined Water Dives to learn basic scuba skills
- Open Water Dives to use your skills and explore!
In the PADI Open Water Diver course, you learn to use basic scuba gear, including a mask, snorkel, fins, regulator, buoyancy control device and a tank. The equipment you wear varies, depending upon where you are diving and whether the conditions are tropical, temperate or cold water. For obvious reasons, many people opt for going somewhere warm in order to undertake their instruction.