As I have progressed through the world of diving certifications I have used the PADI diving system. It has let me experience some amazing things as I have learned and dived around the world.
There are creatures within the oceans that you may see in aquariums but it does not give you the same experience as seeing it right in front of you and possibly touching or holding the critter.
When I got my scuba diving qualifications through PADI I had the luxury of diving in warm waters. This was a benefit for me since it made things more comfortable and there was no struggling because I was too cold.
I want to thank PADI for all their training they have bestowed upon me and one day hope to give back to others the way that PADI has given to me.
Discover scuba is a lesson that gets you into scuba diving. It allows you to take a dive under the watchful supervision of well-trained instructors. This by no means makes you qualified to scuba dive on your own but gives you a taste of it.
This course is also good for those of us that have been out of the water for a long period of time. It is a good refresher course and it is not something that should be passed over if you have not been diving in a while.
Discover Scuba only allows you to get your feet wet in the sense that you are not qualified to go very deep, dive on your own, or use different mixtures such as Nitrox.
This will also let you know whether you like to dive, have any issues with diving or if you want to pursue further qualifications.
Open Water Scuba
This is the first qualification you can get that allows you to dive on your own with a partner. You are qualified to go to 60 feet deep.
You must pass all the training before diving, most of the time you will do the training inside of a pool or in the shallows of the ocean or lakes.
You will need to demonstrate different tasks underwater such as removing your mask, taking tests and a swim qualification. The test is usually the last thing that you need to do before coming qualified.
You will be having classroom time as well where you watch videos about diver signals, what you will be doing to get qualified. You will learn about your equipment, how to properly set it up and to check for leaks.
More than likely there will be gear for you to use while getting qualified. This saves you from having to rush out and buy it before being qualified.
Once you are qualified to dive you may just want to rent your gear for a little bit to get some experience under your belt. If the dive shop has different setups for you to dive with try as many as possible before you go out and buy your gear.
I prefer to have a back inflate BCD over a side one cause the flotation is behind you and not squeezing on your sides.
Advanced Open Water Scuba
Advanced open water allows you to dive up to 100 feet deep. This course teaches you more about diving, more skills and has you complete more dives to become qualified.
You still have class room work, pool or shallows work, and testing.
As you can see here you will be working in groups. There really is not much one-on-one training when it comes to qualifications.
You will be diving with instructors that have many many dives under their belts and you may even have some Master Divers in training working alongside the instructors.
Most people stop with Advanced Open waters since they do not feel the need to become a Rescue diver which is what I will talk about next. They would rather be happy with being able to dive 100 feet and stopping or the may get some specialties that you can view some of them here.
I myself have become a rescue diver and this requires a bit more technical training. You will learn how to rescue a diver in distress, learn how to tow them to safety, and give CPR while in the water.
You must be CPR certified at all times while carrying this qualification because you are literally taking someone else’s life into your hands when there is a distressed diver.
Again you will have pool and classroom work to help you work your way through the qualification.
I think that this is a very important qualification and should not be taken lightly. It really can save someone’s life if they are in distress.
After Rescue diver the path of qualifications branch off into becoming a master diver or an instructor. Since I have not yet taken those courses I will not bother you with not speaking from no experience.
Diving is a fun way to explore the ocean and the creatures beneath. If you want to give it a try start with Discover Scuba. IF you know this is something that you want to do and are ready to take the plunge jump on into the Open Water qualification.
Where ever you decided to stop with your qualifications, make sure you stick to what you are trained to do. DO NOT dive deeper than your qualification allows you to. This is a good way to become a diver in distress.
Always watch your amount of air you have left in your tank and happy diving.
DISCLAIMER: PADI is not the only scuba diving program out there. Check your local dive shops to see what they offer. PADI has been my program from the beginning and think that it is well worth the money spent.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.