About the Course
PADI® Open Water Diver is the first scuba certification level. A highly-trained PADI Instructor will teach you how to scuba dive in a relaxed, supportive learning environment.
By the end of the course, you'll have the skills and knowledge to dive at home or abroad and be an ambassador for the underwater world.
Take This Course If You Want to
Learn How to
PADI eLearning makes it easy to fit scuba lessons into a busy schedule. Learn about scuba diving principles and terminology whenever, wherever it's convenient for you.
It's your course on your time. Study offline, or online using a computer or mobile device. Connect with your instructor whenever you have a question.
- eLearning time commitment: 5-10 hours
With Your Instructor
- Prerequisites: Able to swim; medically fit for diving
- Total time commitment: 4-7 days
- Minimum age: 10 years or older
- Depth: expect shallow dives (12m/40ft), the maximum allowed depth is 18m/60ft
Scuba diving requires a minimum level of health and fitness. Chronic health conditions, certain medications and/or recent surgery may require you to get written approval from a physician before diving.
Avoid disappointment, download and review the Diver Medical form to ensure you won’t need a physician’s approval to dive before enrolling in a scuba course. Instructors, divemasters and dive shop staff are not physicians and should not be asked for medical advice; only medical professionals can give medical clearance to dive.
If you (or your physician) have questions about medical fitness to dive, contact the experts at Divers Alert Network (DAN).
Course prerequisites: able to swim, medically fit for diving, comfortable in the water
During the Open Water Diver course, your instructor will ask you to:
- Float or tread water without aids for 10 minutes
- Swim 200 metres/yards with no aids or 300 metres/yards with mask, fins and snorkel
Minimum age: 10
Divers certified between the ages of 10-14 earn a Junior Diver certification
Junior Open Water Divers automatically become Open Water Divers at age 15. Any replacement certification card or eCard purchased the day after the diver's 15th birthday will automatically show an Open Water Diver (not Jr. Open Water Diver) certification.
Children eight or older can try scuba diving in a pool (or pool-like environment). Ask your PADI Dive Shop about a Bubblemaker experience or birthday party. Children who are comfortable in the water can participate in the PADI Seal Team program, a multi-day pool diving experience.
There are three parts to certification: knowledge development, skill practice, and open water dives. You can complete all three parts locally, on holiday, or split between the two.
Choose a dive shop close to home to:
- Support your local diving community
- Meet other divers in your area
- Learn about your local ecosystem
Choose a dive shop away from home if you:
- Plan to travel to a dive destination on holiday
- Like to meet new people when travelling
- Have the time to complete your course while on vacation
If you're not ready to try diving locally, but want to support your local dive shop, you can complete eLearning and portions of the course close to home, then complete the rest of the course while travelling. Contact your local PADI Dive Shop and ask about an open water referral.
TIP: Complete PADI Open Water eLearning before travel to minimize the amount of time you spend studying while on vacation.
Looking for a detailed explanation of what's involved with learning to scuba dive? This comprehensive article covers everything you need to know about scuba certification.
You can also review the frequently asked questions about learning to scuba dive at the bottom of this page.
This course requires both knowledge development and inwater training for certification. When you purchase a PADI eLearning course from our website, the cost covers the knowledge development portion only.
There will be an additional cost to complete your certification with a PADI Instructor. The cost depends on class size, location, and whether or not you need to rent equipment.
- Most dive shops require students to provide their own mask, fins and snorkel. If you already own a mask, snorkel and/or fins, bring them to your instructor before your first inwater session. Some snorkeling masks and fins are inadequate for scuba diving.
- Basic scuba gear, including a regulator, buoyancy control device (BCD), dive computer and cylinder, may or may not be included with the inwater training cost.
- You may also need to buy or rent exposure protection (wetsuit or drysuit) depending on the diving environment.
Contact your PADI Dive Center or Resort for more information and pricing.
English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese, Polish, Danish, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu.
For information on other available languages please contact your PADI Dive Center.
PADI's online courses are designed to work on the browsers listed below. For the best experience, make sure your browser is up-to-date.
If you plan to be somewhere without internet access, use the PADI Training app to download course content and study offline. Content can be downloaded in small sections with a total file size of approximately 1.10 GB. When you get back online, upload your progress so you can resume your training right where you left off.
The PADI Training app is available for Android™ and Apple® iOS devices. For the ideal experience, devices should be no more than three models old and running with the most current OS (operating system).
Experience new adventures with a PADI Instructor by your side. PADI continuing education courses like Advanced Open Water Diver and Deep Diver will help you develop your skills as a diver. Learn more about PADI Specialty courses.
Not sure which specialty to try first? Try the Advanced Open Water Diver course, it's like a specialty sampler platter.
- Improve your navigation and buoyancy skills while you try new activities like wreck diving, night diving, or digital imaging
- Choose from more than 20 specialty diving options
- An Advanced Open Water Diver certification also opens the door to dive sites deeper than 18m/60ft
If you don't have the opportunity to dive for six months (or longer), you can quickly refresh the knowledge and skills you learned in Open Water with the PADI ReActivate® program. Your PADI certification never expires, but after a long period of inactivity, you may want to brush up on diving fundamentals and safety procedures.
Contact your PADI Dive Center or Resort for more information.