Dive FAQs

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.

Common Concerns

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

  1. home/classroom learning
  2. confined water dives
  3. open water dives

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.

Class Schedules
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

  • Diving with us locally* (see below)
  • Diving with us on a Dive Quarters trip (we have many trips to U.S. destinations and abroad that include a dive instructor)
  • Diving on your own vacation (we can provide referral documents and help you find a PADI dive center anywhere in the world)
The majority of our students choose to do their dives in Lake Rawlings; a nearby lake developed for the diving community. You complete five dives over a two-day period. You may do this all in one weekend or you may split up the days. You are now a PADI certified open water diver.

You will return to the store to fill out your Personal Identification Card (PIC) form and within weeks will receive your own PIC card identifying you as a certified diver. This card entitles you to dive independently; procure air fills; scuba equipment and most services; and plan, conduct and log complete no-stop (no decompression) dives anywhere in the world.

Prerequisites
To become a scuba diver, you need to:
  • complete a water skills assessment. This is to demonstrate that you’re comfortable in water and have some basic swimming skills.  Your instructor will have you float/tread water and swim (with no time limit). Nothing extreme,  just enough to determine you have basic swimming abilities. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you should be in good overall health.
  • complete medical paperwork. Before you get in the water, you will complete a medical statement. The information you put on it will remain confidential. Because the statement identifies medical conditions that may be affected by diving, for your safety and health it’s important that you fill it out completely and accurately. If any of the conditions listed apply to you, as a prudent precaution, your instructor will ask you to consult a physician before participating in any water activities.
Cost
$199

Includes:
  • Tuition for classroom and pool.
  • Student kit including text book, dive tables, dive log and registration card
  • PADI Certification card
  • Rental Equipment for pool and four open water lake certification dives (rental equipment: buoyancy compensator, regulator, wetsuit, tanks w/ air fills)
  • 10 percent student discount on personal gear
  • $250 off any BC, regulator, octopus, gauge package
  • *Not good with any other offers
Students must provide
  • Mask, fins, snorkel, weight belt, weight, boots, visual and audible signaling devices. Hood and gloves are optional.
  • Certification dive fees