Open Water Diver
This is the entry level scuba diving certification offered by the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI).
If you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons, experience unparalleled adventure and see the world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. Get your scuba diving certification with the PADI Open Water Diver course – the world’s most popular and widely recognized scuba course. Millions of people have learned to scuba dive and gone on to discover the wonders of the aquatic world through this course.
To enroll in a PADI Open Water Diver course (or Junior Open Water Diver course), you must be 10 years old or older. You need adequate swimming skills and need to be in good physical health. No prior experience with scuba diving is required.
What will you learn?
Becoming a scuba diver is a wonderful adventure! Scuba certification includes three phases:
1. Knowledge Development
During the first phase of your scuba lessons, you’ll learn the basic principles of scuba diving such as
- What to consider when planning dives.
- How to choose the right scuba gear for you.
- Underwater signals and other diving procedures.
You’ll learn this valuable information by reading it online At the end of each chapter, you’ll answer questions about the material to ensure you understand it. Along the way, let your PADI Instructor know if there is anything you don’t understand. At the end of the course, you’ll take a final exam that ensures you have thorough knowledge of scuba diving basics.
You’ll also watch videos that preview the scuba skills you’ll practice in a swimming pool or pool-like environment. In addition to the video, your instructor will demonstrate each skill for you.
You’ll be enrolled in E-Learning when we receive your deposit and you must complete the E-Learning prior to moving on to the next phase of training – Confined Water Dives.
2. Confined Water Dives
This is what it’s all about – diving. You’ll develop basic scuba skills in a pool or in confined water – a body of water with pool-like conditions, such as off a calm beach. The basic scuba skills you learn during your certification course will help you become familiar with your scuba gear and become an underwater explorer. Some of the essential skills you learn include:
- Setting up your scuba gear.
- How to get water out of your mask.
- Entering and exiting the water.
- Buoyancy control.
- Basic underwater navigation.
- Safety procedures.
You’ll practice these skills with an instructor until you’re comfortable. When you’re ready, it’s time for your underwater adventure to begin at an open water dive site.
3. Open Water Dives
After your confined water dives, you’ll head to “open water,” where you and your instructor will make four dives, usually over two days. On these dives you’ll get to explore the underwater world. You’ll apply the skills you learned in confined water while enjoying what the local environment has to offer. Our staff will work with you to schedule open water dives on dates that are convenient for you.
What Gear Will I Need To Scuba Dive?
Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. The friendly and knowledgeable staff of Key Largo Dive Center will help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba equipment has a different function so that together, it adapts you to the underwater world.
When you start learning to scuba dive, as a minimum, you’ll want your own:
Buoyancy Control Devce (BCD)
These have a personal fit, and your Key Largo Dive Center Instructor will help you choose gear with the best fit and features for you. We stock an excellent variety of scuba gear and you receive a student discount as a KLDC Open Water student.
During your PADI Open Water Diver course, you’ll learn to use a regulator, buoyancy control device (BCD), dive computer or dive planner, scuba tank, wetsuit or dry suit and weight system. Check with Key Largo Dive Center to confirm what equipment is included in your course package. Consider investing in all your own scuba equipment when you start your course because:
You’re more comfortable learning to scuba dive using gear you’ve chosen.
You’re more comfortable using scuba gear fitted for you.
Scuba divers who own their scuba diving equipment find it more convenient to go diving and statistically continue to dive actively after becoming certified.
Having your own scuba diving gear is part of the fun of diving.
The kind of gear you’ll need depends on the conditions where you dive most. Start with a good basic, flexible configuration gear package that will allow you to add accessories as your skills and certification levels progress. Your instructor will assist you in selecting equipment that will work best for your dive plans.
What Are The Requirements For Learning To Scuba Dive?
If you have a passion for excitement and adventure, chances are you can become an avid PADI scuba diver. You’ll also want to keep in mind these requirements:
The minimum age is 10 years old (in most areas). Student divers who are younger than 15 earn the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15. Children under the age of 13 require parent or guardian permission to register for PADI eLearning.
All student divers complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, sign the form and you’re ready to start. If any of these apply to you, your doctor must, as a safety precaution, assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms you’re fit to dive. In some areas, local laws require all scuba students to consult with a physician before entering the course. Download the scuba medical questionnaire.
Before completing the PADI Open Water Diver course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic water skills to be sure you’re comfortable in the water, including:
Swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel) without stopping. There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
Float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods you want.
Each diver must have a personal set of the learning materials to use during the course and for reference after the course. There are several options available, depending on your learning style and technology preference, including:
PADI Open Water Diver Online (web-based)
PADI Open Water Diver Touch™ (combines manual and video in tablet-based learning)
PADI Open Water Diver Manual, and watching the Open Water Diver Video on DVD either on your own or with your instructor
You’ll also need a logbook and a dive-planning device such as a dive computer, or RDP tables. Your instructor will have you use the PADI Skill Practice and Dive Planning Slate during training, and you’ll find this tool useful once you’re certified. You will also need a Personal Surface Signaling Device often called a “safety sausage” which is an inflatable, highly visible tube that makes you more easily visible to boat crews. You must also have a cutting device such as a dive knife or safety shears. Your KLDC dive instructor will assist you in selecting the best gear for your needs. We offer a discounted student starter kit that includes these basic safety items.