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
  • Explore the other 70 percent of our planet
  • Support ocean protection
  • See things you've never seen before
  • Learn from a scuba diving expert
  • Carry the world's most recognized scuba certification
Learn How to
  • Be a confident and skilled diver
  • Assemble and use scuba gear
  • Manage your buoyancy
  • Respectfully approach marine life
  • Handle common problems

How to Earn your Scuba Diving Certification

Learn about scuba diving principles and terminology (either offline or online), then learn basic scuba skills in a pool (or pool-like environment) with a highly trained PADI Instructor. When you're ready, make four dives in an open water environment (the ocean, a lake) with your instructor supporting you every step of the way.

The PADI Difference

For over 50 years, PADI has undeniably been the Way the World Learns to Dive®, setting the standard for the highest quality dive training, underwater safety and conservation initiatives while evolving the sport of diving into a passionate lifestyle.

30,000,000+

(and counting) PADI certified divers to date!

6,600

PADI dive centers and resorts across the globe

128,000

PADI Professional members worldwide

Begin a lifetime of discovery. 

Join the world's largest dive community.

More Info

 
Gifting and Sharing Courses

Want to share the experience or give the gift of endless adventure? You can now purchase PADI eLearning® and share it with a recipient of your choice! Whether you are purchasing the course as a gift or need to assign it to family members – it’s super easy.

  1. Purchase an eLearning course.
  2. Follow the link in your confirmation email or sign into your account to go to your Dashboard.
  3. From your Dashboard go to 'Manage Your Courses' section.
  4. Select the course you'd like to gift and enter the email of the gift recipient.
  5. The recipient will receive an email to start the eLearning course.
 
Medical Requirements

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).

 
Prerequisites & Minimum Age

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.

 
Choosing a Dive Shop

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.

 
Other Costs & Equipment

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.

 
Time Commitment

PADI eLearning: 5-10 hours

Entire course: 4-7 days

 
Available Languages
English, Espanol, Français, Nederlands, Deutsch, Italiano, 한국어, اللغة العربية, 日本語, 中文繁体, 中文简体, Ελληνική γλώσσα, Dansk, Hrvat, Čeština , Português, Bahasa Indonesia, Suomi, Norsk, Svenska, Bahasa Melayu, Polski, Magyar nyelv, Русский язык, Türkçe, עִבְרִית, ไทย, Tagalog
 
System Requirements

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.

  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Edge
  • Firefox

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).

 
After this course

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.

More Courses

Continuing-Education
ReActivate Scuba Refresher Program
Haven't been diving in awhile? Renew your scuba skills and move quickly through topics you know well to build confidence for your next underwater adventure.
Beginner
Freediver
Your first step toward discovering why freediving is becoming a popular way to explore beneath the waves. No previous freediving course is required.
Continuing-Education
Coral Reef Conservation
This course helps you appreciate the complexity of coral reef habitats and teaches how you can help conserve these vital systems.

Open Water Diver FAQs

 
How much does it cost to get a diving license?

The average cost to obtain your PADI certification will vary by dive course and location.

An Open Water Diver certification requires knowledge development and in-water training. PADI eLearning costs around $230 USD. After you complete this you will begin your in-water training with your chosen Dive Shop at an additional cost. Please contact your Dive Shop directly for pricing as costs may vary by location. If you have already purchased your eLearning, please be sure to inform your Dive Shop.

 
Is it hard to get scuba certified?

Anyone age 10 years and older can learn to dive and explore the underwater world. PADI knowledge development provides the fundamentals you need to confidently advance to your in-water dive training. With PADI eLearning you can read, watch videos, and take quizzes at your own pace before moving on to the next step. During in-water training, an experienced PADI Instructor will help you learn the necessary dive skills to become a safe and competent diver. Find out the benefits of underwater connection with your PADI Open Water Diver certification!

 
Why PADI?

PADI is the world’s largest scuba diving training organization and the most widely recognized dive certification in the world, with 30,000,000 PADI certified divers and counting. PADI sets the standard for the highest quality dive training, underwater safety and conservation initiatives while promoting the benefits of underwater connection. With PADI eLearning you can study at your own pace to achieve the dive knowledge and fundamentals required to confidently advance to your in-water training. With over 6,600 PADI Dive Centers and resorts across the globe and 128,000 PADI Professionals worldwide it’s easy to complete your dive training.

 
How long does a scuba certification last?

Your scuba diving certification is for life! However, diving regularly is highly recommended to maintain your dive skills and knowledge. Try to avoid long periods without diving (6 months or longer). If you haven’t been scuba diving recently, you should take the PADI Reactivate Scuba Refresher.

 
How many dives do you need for scuba certification?

After learning basic diving skills in confined water (a pool or pool-like environment), you and your PADI Dive Instructor will make four open water dives, usually over two days. On these dives you'll get to apply the dive skills you learned in confined water and explore the underwater world.

 
What is a scuba certification?

With a PADI scuba diving certification, you can explore the underwater world, experience amazing marine wildlife and learn how to protect our blue planet. With a PADI Open Water Diver certification, you can dive anywhere in the world up to 18m/60ft, book dive excursions with boats or resorts, get air fills and rent scuba tanks, rent scuba gear, and meet fellow ocean lovers from the world’s largest diver community.

 
What are the levels of scuba certification?

PADI dive education and dive certifications fall under recreational diving or professional diving: Beginner, Continuing Education and Professional.

Beginner: PADI Open Water Diver is the first dive certification. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to dive at home or abroad up to 18m/60ft.

Continuing Education: Expand your knowledge and dive skills after you’re Open Water Diver certified. ConEd dive courses prepare you to explore the underwater world at greater depths, extend your bottom time, discover your unique diving aptitude, and become a better dive buddy. Explore continuing education courses.

Professional: As a PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor, you’ll learn how to lead dives and help others with their dive education. Explore PADI Pro courses.

 
What are the different scuba certifications?

Beginner: PADI Open Water Diver is the world’s most popular and widely-recognized scuba diving certification. This is where you will want to begin if you are new to diving. You can become a certified diver in as little as four days, or over the course of a year. With PADI Open Water Diver you can dive anywhere in the world up to 18m/60ft.

Specialty Courses or Continuing Education: Many divers take PADI Specialty Courses to advance their dive skills and become a better dive buddy, improve buoyancy and underwater navigation, dive deeper and extend bottom time, learn how to take underwater photos, explore wrecks and much more. Many PADI Specialty Courses require Advanced Open Water Diver Certification as a prerequisite. Explore all continuing education courses.

Professional: With a professional scuba certification you can travel the world and get paid to do what you love or share your dive knowledge locally. As a PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor, you’ll learn how to lead dives and help others with their dive education. Explore PADI Pro courses.

 
How does scuba certification work?

PADI Open Water Diver is the world’s most popular and widely-recognized scuba diving certification. You can become a certified diver in as little as four days, or over the course of a year. Once certified you can dive anywhere in the world with a partner (without professional supervision), get air fills or rent scuba tanks, rent scuba gear, book dive excursions with dive boats and resorts, and call yourself a PADI-certified diver.

 
How far do you have to swim for scuba certification?

To complete your scuba diving certification, you must swim 200 metres/219yards (or 300 metres/328 yards in mask, fins and snorkel) without stopping, and float/tread water for 10 minutes, using any swimming methods you want. There is no time limit.

Come Explore With Us!

 You'll receive messages showcasing incredible dive destinations, PADI courses, products, event invitations and amazing marine life.

Sign Up for 10% off* Your Next Dive eLearning Course!