Scuba Diving Certification

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3 Certification Options

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Learn to Dive Close to Home

Complete all three parts of your scuba certification near home: knowledge development, pool practice and open water training dives.

Benefits: Take as much time as you need, connect with your local dive community, explore regional dive sites and you will be fully certified for your next vacation. 

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Start at Home, Finish on Vacation

If you want to get a head start on your scuba certification but prefer to complete your open water training dives on vacation where you will be doing most of your diving, you can complete your knowledge development and pool practice at home first. 

Benefits: Use PADI eLearning to finish independent study online and complete pool practice with a dive shop before travel. You’ll minimize classroom time on vacation and gain more time to explore the underwater world. 

Topside Boat Bow Picture
Learn on Vacation

Complete all three parts of the course on vacation: knowledge development, pool practice and open water dives. If you want to save time and get a head start, use PADI eLearning to complete your independent study online before or during travel to minimize classroom time, then connect with your chosen Dive Shop to finish your certification. 

Benefits: Learn to scuba dive abroad where you want to start your underwater adventure and meet divers from other parts of the globe.

28 million divers can't be wrong...

There's nothing better than the thrill of learning a skill that opens your eyes to a whole new world of adventure. But don't just take our word for it, here's what PADI Divers are saying:







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Scuba Diving Certification FAQs

Your questions answered.


How long does it take to earn a scuba diving certification?

There are three parts to becoming a certified diver: knowledge development, confined water in a pool or pool-like environment, and open water dives.

Independent study using PADI Open Water Diver digital learning program (eLearning) takes about eight hours. In-water work, including pool training and open water dives, can be completed in just a few days.

The PADI Open Water Diver course is flexible and performance-based, which means you progress at your own pace. Once you and your instructor feel confident that you've mastered a skill, you’ll move on to the next one. If you want to try the new skill a few more times, that’s okay too. The goal is for you to learn how to be a safe, confident diver and feel comfortable in the water.

How old do you have to be to learn to scuba dive?

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.

The Junior Open Water certification comes with restrictions. 

  • Divers 10-11 years old must dive with a PADI Professional or a certified parent or guardian, and dives cannot exceed 12 meters/40 feet. 
  • Divers 12-14 years old must dive with a certified adult and dives cannot exceed 18 meters / 60 feet
  • Children under the age of 13 require parent or guardian permission to register for PADI eLearning.
  • Jr. Open Water Divers may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification at age 15 by requesting a new certification card (no additional training is required). 
  • Learn more here: 
How much are scuba diving lessons?

A scuba diving certification costs about the same as a full day of surfing lessons, three hours of private golf lessons, or one amazing night out! Learning to scuba dive is a great value because you earn a certification that allows you to dive anywhere in the world.

When comparing prices for scuba lessons, be sure to ask what’s included. A very low price may be for in-water training only. A higher price may include rental gear, a boat trip and/or online training.

Can people with physical challenges learn to dive?

Yes. People with missing limbs, reduced mobility, or other physical challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Even individuals with more significant physical or mental challenges can still take part in scuba experiences. Talk to your PADI Instructor at your local PADI Dive Center or Resort for more information.

All student divers complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving and will determine if you need to be evaluated by a physician before being able to scuba dive. If the doctor approves, or none of the conditions applied to you, you're ready to start!

Do you need to know how to swim to scuba dive?

You need basic swimming skills and the ability to comfortably maintain yourself in the water. Your PADI Instructor will ask you to:

  • Swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards wearing mask, fins and snorkel) without stopping. There is no time limit, and you may use any swimming strokes you want. 
  • Float and tread water for 10 minutes, using any method(s) you want.
Does a PADI scuba certification expire?

Your PADI certification does not expire. If you haven’t been diving in a while and wish to refresh your scuba safety knowledge and skills, ask your dive shop about the PADI ReActivate™ course.

What about sharks?

When you’re lucky, you get to see a shark. Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very rare and, with respect to diving, primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger feeding behavior. Most of the time, if you see a shark it’s just passing through and a rare sight to enjoy.

Do women have any special concerns regarding diving?

Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Menstruation is not normally a concern. 

How deep do you go?

With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 40 metres/130 feet. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 18 metres/60 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is shallower than 12 metres/40 feet, where the water’s warmer and the colors are brighter.

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. During your scuba diving training, your instructor will give you plenty of time and assistance to ensure you are comfortable.

What is a PADI certification card?

Once you have completed your certification, you will receive a PADI certification card! The card has details of your certification level and date, along with you and your instructor's name and number.

For questions regarding plastic or eCard (electronic version), please see our Certification Card FAQ.

If you have an eCard, you can access through the free PADI App.

Still have questions?

Please contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort.