The Open Water Certification Course

Dive training organizations have several courses that you can start with to experience diving such as Discover Scuba, Bubble Maker, Try Scuba Diving, Discover Snorkeling and Skin Diver. While each of these courses provide useful information, they are mainly for fun and to give you a taste of what’s in store for you when you continue your journey into the world of Scuba Diving. These introductory courses do not certify you or give you the ability to rent equipment, fill tanks, or go diving. If you want to become an official Scuba Diver, the first course you will need to take to become certified is Open Water Diving, or Scuba Diver if you choose to go through NAUI.

There are a couple of prerequisites for the Open Water Diving certification course. Students must be at least 15 years of age, however students under this age are allowed to take introductory courses. Training organizations also make sure that students have at least the basic swimming abilities necessary to dive by having them complete a 200-meter swim and by treading water for 10 minutes.

No matter which training organization you decide to become certified through, your course will consist of the same basic components. Classroom, Confined Water/Pool Sessions, and Open Water. Some organizations also provide a DVD for students to watch prior to coming to class.

The first section of the Open Water Diver Certification is in the classroom. The classroom portion explains all of the elements involved with diving. Students learn about the physics and physiology of diving so that they understand how their equipment and bodies will react to the underwater environment. They also learn about how to care for and assemble the equipment required for diving, so they are prepared to put together their own equipment when they begin the confined water section. Information about dive tables, underwater safety, marine life, basic emergency skills, and the difference in aquatic environments helps them to understand what to expect and gives them the knowledge necessary to deal with unforeseen events. At the end of the classroom sessions, all students must pass a final exam before they are permitted to advance to the confined water portion of the course.

Before you can enter the open water with your Scuba gear, training courses require you to practice first in a confined water environment. The main objective of the confined water sessions is to help you get comfortable in your dive gear in a controlled and safe environment before entering the open water. The classes begin by having the students assemble their gear, then they get used to wearing them and breathing by kneeling on their knees under water. Once the students are all relatively used to their gear underwater, the instructors will have the students practice all of the skills required to pass the open water portion of the course.

After finishing the classroom and confined water sections of the course, you are ready for the real adventure to begin as you enter the open water. Students have two options for completing their open water portion of the course. Students can finish their course locally, but many students prefer to take their classroom and confined water courses near home and then complete the open water portion while on vacation. This is a great option if you live somewhere with weather that does not permit year round open water diving. However, some may not choose this option because they prefer to spend their dives on vacation exploring instead of demonstrating their skills to pass the course.

Passing the written final exam and adequately demonstrating your underwater skills and knowledge will earn you the Open Water Diving certification. Once you have received this certification you will receive a certification card entitling you to buy and rent gear, fill tanks, and dive around the world.

Having your Open Water certification also opens doors to many new and exciting adventures in diving. The next step is Advanced Open water, and after that various specialties that train you how to dive in the environments that you enjoy. You can also continue your training all the way up to career level if you prefer. The opportunities are endless once you have begun your journey.