Learning to scuba dive is an incredible adventure! With PADI as your training organization, your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in three exciting phases:
1. Knowledge Development
During the first phase of your PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification, you develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives.
You briefly review what you have studied in the five knowledge sections with your instructor and take a short quiz to be sure you’re getting it. At the end of the course, you’ll take a longer quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down. You and your instructor will review anything that you don’t quite get until it’s clear.
2. Confined Water Dives – Scuba Skills Training
This is what it’s all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills by scuba diving in a pool or body of water with pool-like conditions. Here you’ll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get water out of your scuba mask without surfacing. You’ll also practice some emergency skills, like sharing air or replacing your scuba mask. Plus, you may play some games, make new friends and have a great time.
There are five confined water dives, with each building upon the previous. Over the course of these five dives, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.
3. Open Water Dives—Locally or on Vacation
After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you’ve made continue learning during four open water dives with your PADI Instructor at a dive site. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course.
It’s possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as three or four days. The PADI Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means Ionian Dive Center we can offer a wide variety of schedules, paced according to how fast you progress.
Your instructor’s interest is in your learning to scuba dive, not in how long you sit in a class. So, training is based upon demonstrating that you know what you need to know and can do what you need to do. This means that you progress at your own pace – faster or slower depending upon the time you need to become a confident scuba diver who dives regularly. Typically, the PADI Open Water Diver course is split into five or six sessions over as little as three days or as long as six weeks.
If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI scuba diver. You'll also want to keep in mind these requirements:
10 years old
Students younger than 15 years, who successfully complete the course qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15.
Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you’re ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your physician must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you’re fit to dive.
About Physical Challenges: Any individual who can meet the performance requirements of the course qualifies for certification. There are many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements. Individuals with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Even individuals with more significant physical challenges participate in diving.
Scuba Gear: The gear is included in the course package. Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. We will help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.
Not really. Statistics show that recreational scuba diving is about as safe as swimming. Certainly there are potential hazards - which is why you need training and certification - but like driving a car, as long as you follow the rules and use common sense, it's pretty safe. To put it in perspective, the drive in your car to go diving is more dangerous than the diving.
What are the Bends?
A long time ago when the workers were breathing compressed air while working underwater, sometimes they would get decompression sickness or "the Bends". Their joints would hurt and make them bend over. This is caused by staying under water too long and coming up too fast. Tiny bubbles would form in their joints, something like the tiny bubbles form in a soda bottle when you open it. Just like the soda bottle, if you shake it and open it too soon or fast too many bubbles will form. With all the new technology "the bends" is easily avoided. PADI divers are recreational divers. I will teach you how to safely dive within the limits so you will never get the bends. Don't worry diving is fun, easy and safe. I will teach you how to relax and enjoy your dive.
My ears hurt when I go to the bottom of a swimming pool or when I dive down snorkeling. Will that keep me from becoming a scuba diver?
The discomfort is the normal effect of water pressure pressing in on your ears. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ears – you just need to learn how.
What happens if I use up all my air?
That’s not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you’ll learn in your scuba diving training.
What if I feel claustrophobic?
People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly.