to dive is a fantastic and rewarding experience. Classes are fun and
easy and can become a new family experience. For most certification
agencies, you must be 15 years of age for certification. However children
12 -14 may earn a Jr. Certification. Jr. divers must complete the same
class and meet the same physical and aptitude reqirements, but they
must dive with a certified adult.
There are introductory classes to give you just a taste of what diving
is all about, or you may choose a full certification courses that can
be completed while you are on vacation. And if you have already started
your course and just need the open water dives, you have a great excuse
for a great trip to complete your class in a tropical location?
Resort Course or Introduction to Scuba
This course is designed to give you a diving experience and the opportunity
to "try it before you buy it". The class includes a short
lecture to give you some basic knowledge, a pool session to acclimate
yourself to the equipment and breathing underwater, and finally a open
water ocean dive on a shallow reef in calm conditions, under the supervision
of a qualified dive instructor. This class does not lead to certification.
If you are ready to take the plunge, the Basic or Open Water course
can be completed at your local dive center or while on vacation. If
you take a local class, you have the flexibility to sign up for weekend
or evening classes that fit your schedule. You can also complete a class
while on vacation and become certified in as little as 3 - 5 days.
While courses may vary a little among different certification agencies,
most of the content is similar. You will be required to sign a medical
statement to assure that you are able to dive. If there is any question,
you will need to get clearance from your doctor (standard forms are
available from your instructor). Generally you will be required to have
the ability to swim 200 yards and tread water for 10 minutes. You will
undergo academic training in the classroom which may include bookwork,
lectures, videos and slides, pool sessions to practice and reinforce
what you have learned, and a series of open water dives to fine tune
your new skills in the diving environment.
Many people begin their scuba training with their local dive center
where they complete the classroom and pool portions of the course. Then
while on vacation, you can complete the open water dives portion of
your course and receive your certification. This is an excellent and
popular way to become certified, and is called the Referral Program.
Your local instructor or dive center will provide the necessary paperwork
to show that the initial portion was completed satifactorily and the
instructor at the open water location will conduct your dives and issue
your certification. Enjoy the warm clear waters of a tropical location
as you complete your dive training. The open water dives can be completed
in two days, then your off on your own for more diving.
Remember to check ahead to make sure the referrel program for your agency
is available. Your local dive center should be able to help with this.
So which is best certification agency to certify with? All major agencies
are members of the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC) and adhere
to the same general rules and course contents. Classes vary in length,
and reqiurements to continue your diving education may differ, but what
you learn to become a diver will generally be the same. The best advice
is to check with local dive centers and find out who they are affiliated
with. Remember, you will probably be using them for advanced and specialty
training later on. As for travel destinations, most accept all major
certification cards. Visit our list of major agencies
to help you get more information.
Your diver certification card is your ticket to fun and adventure. But
don't stop with an entry course. There is a whole new world awaiting
down there. Continue your education to become more comfortable and experienced,
learn underwater photography, fish identification, explore wrecks, and
much, much more. For
More Information Contact Your Local Dive Center