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The two largest SCUBA diving certification organizations are PADI & NAUI.

Q & A About Diving
 and Becoming Certified


The Professional Association of Dive Instructors



The National Association of Underwater Instructors



























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 certified.  

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 your C-card. 

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 for you. 

How 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 certification.

NAUI:  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.)  

Do 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?
That's 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 the equation. 

Do I have to buy any equipment?
Normally you'll want your own mask, snorkel and fins. 

Sometimes my 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 problem easily. 

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.   

Are you a beginning diver? Check out www.newdiver.com!


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