Scuba Diving Certification
With the increase in the popularity of the sport, numerous centers and programs for scuba diving certification has come up in recent years. In the United States alone, there are nearly 2000 professional scuba dive centers. The first thing you’d need to do before joining a program is to check out the various centers and find out which one of them should be most suitable for you.
Open Water Diver Certification:
You have to be at least 15 years old to get the open water diver certification. Most open water certifications let you dive by yourself without an instructor present (if the charter does not make it compulsory). There is also Junior Open Water Diver Certification for people between ages 10 to 15. Before getting your certification, it is recommended by almost every center that you are in good physical health. Some centers may even require you to obtain a medical certificate before enrolling in a certification program. You also need to know how to swim though you don’t necessarily have to be good at it. However, you should be able to swim 200 yards using any stroke, and be able to float or tread on water for about 10 minutes.
Scuba Dive Centers for Certification:
There are numerous scuba dive centers around that can teach you the technical background knowledge and practical skills of scuba diving, but not all of them are completely reliable. Try to do a little research before registering yourself for a program. Also consider an agency that offers an internationally recognized certification card if you travel a lot.
Some of the most popular and biggest scuba diving certification agencies include PADI, NAUI, YMCA, Scuba Schools International, and PDIC. These organizations offer some of the best scuba courses and training instructors available. However, the training method, duration, lessons etc may not be the same with all of them. For example, NAUI courses are often more technical in the classroom than other programs but can’t be said better or worse than the rest. So, the outcome of the training and course will ultimately depend on your own effort and individual instructor.
Bubblemakers, Scuba rangers, and SASY are some of the popular agencies specializing in providing Junior Open Water Diver Certification for people between ages 10 to 15.
The duration of a scuba diving certification course usually depends on you and your schedule. Basically, it takes about two to three months to get a full certification which would cost between $175.00 and $250.00 and may include accessories such as books, tables, and rental equipment etc (you’ll have to buy or rent your own scuba diving equipment). A certification course normally includes classroom work, examinations, practical skills sessions, and four to five open water dives. Classroom work may be held once a week with more intensive weekends which include advanced reading, while open water dives typically take two more days.
The basic scuba diver certification permits you to dive from 60 to 100 feet below the surface, while an advanced scuba diving certification allows you to take deep dives of about 130 feet. The advanced scuba diving certification concentrates more on safety, physics, navigation, night diving, physiology diving and the dive tables.