How do I get started learning
to scuba dive?
The best way is to visit your local PADI or NAUI Dive Center or
shop. Click on the PADI or NAUI logos in the left margin of
this page to find your nearest instruction center and to read other
helpful information. Talk with friends of yours who are
Is it difficult to learn to scuba dive?
Generally no, particularly if you're already comfortable
in the water. Basic certification courses are designed to help
you learn how to dive and how to be comfortable in the subsurface
environment. It is not wise to try to dive if you are not
certified. Don't get talked into it. Learn before you
dive. Taking the courses takes a little time and a small
investment. Dive shops will not rent you scuba gear without
How long does it take
to become a certified scuba diver?
That depends on where you take your certification course.
PADI's Open Water Diver course normally is divided into about six
classes. Some centers offer them in a concentrated format, and
you can complete them in less than a week. Other centers will
spread them out over up to six weeks. Find a format that works
old do you have to be?
PADI: Ten years old. If you're between 10 and 15, you receive
a Junior Open Water Diver certification. 10 and 11 year old Junior
Open Water Divers must dive with a certified parent, guardian or
PADI Professional to a maximum depth of 12 meters/40 feet. 12 to 14
year olds should dive with a certified adult. When you turn 15, you
can upgrade your Junior certification to a regular Open Water Diver
Minimum is 15 years for Scuba Diver certification. (Junior
certification for ages 12 - 14 years is allowed. See “Policies
Applying to All Courses”, Age, Junior Certification.”)
I need to be completely injury and disease-free to scuba dive?
No. Generally speaking, anyone in good average health can
participate. Your doctor is the best resource for determining
whether you should dive or not. Heart problems do not
necessarily disqualify your from diving.
Do I have to be a great
swimmer to be certified?
No. You will need to be able to demonstrate a degree of proficiency
and pass basic swimming tests. You'll also need to be able to
show that you can relax in the water.
Will scuba diving cost a
lot of money?
up to you. As with many sports and recreational activities,
you can spent a lot of money on gear. Many recreational divers
own nothing more than their fins, mask, and snorkel. Most dive
shops, outfits, resorts, and boats rent whatever you need.
Check our Equipment Page. You should
assess your diving frequency, comfort with rental gear, budget, and
personal preferences before you consider buying computers, BCD's,
wetsuits, regulators, etc. The same goes for travel.
There are often inexpensive diving opportunities, travel packages,
and vacations. Exotic destinations don't have to be a part of
Do I have to buy any equipment?
Normally you'll want your own mask, snorkel and fins.
ears hurt when I'm diving in a lake or pool. Does this mean
I'll have problems scuba diving?
Part of becoming certified is learning how to equalize the pressure
in your ears. That's what causes the pain you are now
experiencing. Normally, you should be able to overcome this
I wear glasses. How
do I compensate for this under water?
There are many ways. If you wear contacts, just wear them when
you dive with your mask. Similarly, there are masks specially constructed to
accommodate your glasses. A third choice is to have a prescription
lens ground for your mask.