What if I’m not a great swimmer?
As long as you are in relatively good physical condition and can adequately display that you can swim from point A to point B without having a problem, you will be fine. PADI does not require timed swims, perfect strokes or breath holding exercises. None of these things is relevant to scuba diving. While you are diving, your gear does much of the work for you.
What if I fail?
All PADI courses apply the concept of performance based learning, which means that you progress based on meeting specific performance requirements under your instructor’s guidance. If you have difficulty, you don’t “fail” — you just keep working until you meet them — but likewise, you won’t get certified just because you show up. Your PADI instructor is a trained professional committed to helping you attain your goal of becoming a scuba diver by guiding you in meeting the course performance requirements.
How young/old can you be to become certified and dive?
You must be at least 10 years old to become a Junior Basic Open Water Diver. This means that once you become certified, you must always dive with a certified parent/legal guardian or certified/insured PADI dive instructor or dive master. You will have a depth restriction of 40 feet. Between the ages of 12 and 15, you will still be a Junior Diver, but you may dive with any certified diver over the age of 18. At 15, you just send away for your card upgrade.
There is absolutely no age limit for scuba diving. Our oldest diver is in his late 80s.
My ears hurt when I go to the bottom of a swimming pool. What will I do while diving? Assuming you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses, this is normal and easily addressed. The discomfort is the normal effect of pressure pressing on your ears. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ear — you just need to learn how in class.
What about medical issues? Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function, heart function, or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person’s individual risk. Physicians can consult with Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary.
How deep do you go? With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 130 ft. Beginning divers stay shallower than about 60 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the world’s most popular diving is no deeper than 40 feet.
What about sharks? When you’re lucky, you get to see a shark. Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare and with respect to diving, primarily involve spearfishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger feeding behavior. Most of the time, if you see a shark it’s passing through and a relatively rare sight to enjoy.
What if I run out of air? That’s not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you’ll learn in training.
What about claustrophobia? Although wearing a lot of equipment may seem awkward, many people find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern dive masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your training, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning.
Is there diving off the Virginia coast? The Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries offer a wide range of recreational dive sites due to the rich maritime history of the area. These waterways have offered easy accessibility to the interior of Virginia for trade and the U.S. Navy for over three centuries. U.S. Navy sea trials and fleet exercises have long been carried out up to 60 miles from shore. Storms, collisions and war have also contributed to the large amount of wreck sites off our coast. Almost three centuries of shipwrecks have given us hundreds of dive sites including merchant ships, Liberty ships, freighters, tankers, steamers and Coast Guard cutters.
What is PADI?
PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the world’s largest diver training organization. PADI establishes training programs, materials and standards, monitors their quality, certifies instructors, and provides support services for PADI professional members. The professionalism of PADI instructors, dive centers and resorts has made PADI certifications the world’s most respected and sought-after dive credentials. You can be confident that your certification will be recognized virtually any place you go diving, and that PADI’s reputation stands behind it.
What is the Course Structure for Basic Open Water scuba class
The PADI Open Water Diver Course consists of three segments:
Learn to Dive in 3 Easy Steps
The home/classroom learning consists of watching a DVD and completing the “Basic Open Water Manual” in the convenience of your own home at your own pace. The first classroom session, you will spend a short period of time in the classroom going over what you have learned. The fun begins in the confined water dives, during which you apply dive principles, and learn and practice dive procedures and skills. You’ll do this in our 15-foot-deep, three-tiered, heated, indoor swimming pool under your instructor’s guidance and supervision.
2 week class T/Th 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
2 week class M/W 7p.m. to 10 p.m.
1 weekend Sat/Sun 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Once you’ve completed classroom and pool work, you have up to six months to complete step three — open water diving. You have three options:
Open Water Dives