To discover the best dive sites in the world, there is one major requirement – to be scuba certified. Whether it is cave diving or scuba diving with sharks, among other underwater experiences, certification is crucial to make sure that you have been trained before a dive. Through a certification program, you will obtain a license to explore the underwater beauty of the world.
The most important reason to get a scuba certification is to stay safe under the water. It imparts valuable knowledge on the use of scuba diving equipment and the proper techniques, including breathing. With the proper certification, you can uncover the best spots for diving in the Philippines, scuba diving in Thailand, or diving in Australia, among others.
Want to be scuba certified? Read on and we’ll let you know how to do it.
Requirements for Scuba Certification
To begin with, let us look at the major requirements to qualify for scuba certification. While you can be scuba certified in many accredited establishments, in most cases, they have the same pre-requisites.
To take a scuba class for the PADI Open Water Certification, the minimum age requirement is 15. Those who are younger, however, are eligible for Junior Open Water Certification. The junior license, however, has a diving depth limitation of only 40 feet. In the case of kids scuba diving, there is a need to obtain a permit from the parents.
You also need to be in a good state of health to become scuba certified, because it is a physical activity that requires considerable effort. There is a questionnaire that you can download online and answer to see if you are fit for scuba diving. Your body does not need to be its tip-top shape, but you should be healthy.
Choose a Certification Program
If you are looking for a scuba class to take to obtain a diving certificate, one of the first things that you need to do is to find the right program. The most popular is the program from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). Two other popular certifying bodies are the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and Scuba Schools International (SSI).
Regardless of the certifying body that you choose, you will learn pretty much the same diving concepts.
How Long Does Scuba Certification Take
There is no single answer to this question as there are different factors that will come into play, such as the class that you are taking and where you are training. You can do an intensive course in three to four days, especially if you already study the theoretical part in advance. Some advanced certifications can take a couple of weeks, especially if you want to be a dive instructor.
The good thing is that once you are already certified, you will have this certification for life. You don’t need to recertify. Nonetheless, at any point, if you feel like you need a refresher, such as after not diving for years, you can always take another scuba class to improve what you already know. It is recommended that you take a refresher course if it has been a year since your last diving trip
How Much Will It Cost?
For a lot of people who are thinking of getting scuba certified, one of the most important considerations is the cost. The price can vary depending on where you will obtain the certification and the scuba class that you will take.
Generally, it can cost anywhere from $300 to $700. This cost is already inclusive of the training materials and equipment rental. Scuba masks, wetsuits, and scuba fins are often not provided, so you need to bring your own or rent it separately. You don’t have to be ultra-rich to be scuba certified.
Do You Need to Know How to Swim?
For safety purposes, you need to learn how to swim to become scuba certified. At a minimum, you must be able to swim at least 200 meters in the swimming pool during your training. The good news is that you will not be timed, and you can do this in any stroke that you find to be most comfortable.
Another major requirement is for you to be able to float in water for at least ten minutes.
Technically, you don’t need to be a swimmer to scuba dive. After all, some tools can help you to stay afloat with minimal movements while you are underwater. You do not need to be a strong swimmer to complete the certification.
Equipment You Will Need
Before we discuss the three important components that form part of your scuba class, let us quickly look at the equipment necessary to complete your dive training. In most cases, the gears are already provided. You have to be familiar with how to use each to enjoy a safe and comfortable diving experience.
Some of the gears that you will need to complete the dive include a scuba tank, dive computer, scuba BCD, rebreather, and underwater signaling devices, among others.
Study Before You Dive
Before you proceed to the practical part of training to be scuba certified, you need to know the theories. Learning academics is easy since you can do it at home before you start with the program. For the academic portion of the training, you can read scuba diving books or go online to look for some modules, including videos.
The first part of the scuba certification is technically known as knowledge development. You will gain theoretical knowledge essential when you are underwater. Some of the specific areas that are covered include an introduction to the best dive safety gears and specific techniques, such as tips to save air when diving and breathing techniques. At this point, they are all in writing, and later on, they will be put into actual practice. You will also learn various diving signals.
You will also need to take a final exam, which is often a multiple-choice test. There is no reason to stress it out. Even a ten-year-old child can pass the test. As long as you master the theoretical part, this will be easy.
Diving in Confined Spaces
Now that you are done with the knowledge development part, the next part is to dive into a confined space. This is done in a swimming pool. In some cases, it can also be completed on a calm beach. It helps your body to be accustomed to the open water when it is finally time to go for a dive.
During this stage, some of the things that you will learn include setting up your gear, buoyancy control, entering and exiting the water, underwater navigation, how to clear a scuba mask, and safety features. You will be trained by a professional until you become comfortable.
On average, it will take three to five confined diving sessions before you are finally ready to take it into the open water.
Taking It into The Open Water
After knowledge development and training in confined spaces, you are now ready for the next part. To be scuba certified, you need to show off everything that you have learned in scuba diving. This should be easy by now after gaining knowledge of the basic theories and practicing in a confined space. You don’t need to worry as you don’t have to do it alone.
Staying Safe and Sound
During the scuba class and before being scuba certified, you will also know important safety precautions when you are underwater. For safe scuba diving, one of the most crucial is to religiously follow the instructions of the instructor. Be attentive at all times.
You also need to know the buddy system. This way, you will always be with someone who can extend a hand when you need assistance in any way.
Proper ascent is another crucial technique you need to learn. You need to do it slowly. The ascent rate for scuba diving is important for the regulation of pressure and to make sure that your body will be able to adapt to the changes in the water conditions.
It is also important that you know your limits. As a beginner, don’t go beyond your skills. You are a novice, so start in shallow waters and calm conditions.
Keep on Practicing
Practice makes perfect. It may sound cliché, but this is true. Once you have obtained certification, find the time to go out on a diving trip as often as possible. This way, you won’t forget the concepts that you have previously learned. Plus, your skills will be honed through time, making you better after every dive.
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Being scuba certified is not as terrifying and difficult as what you might have initially thought. As discussed above, it is pretty much a straightforward process. Choose a school to obtain a license and you are good to go! After the scuba class, you can now be confident to go diving with stingrays or try shipwreck diving.
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