Learn To Dive Today!
Are you ready to take the plunge and learn to scuba dive? Well, you’ve come to the right place. As a PADI Instructor, I have taught hundreds of students to scuba dive and I’ve noticed lots of divers ask the same questions.
When new customers arrive in a dive shop, one of the first questions they ask is what’s the difference between the PADI Open Water and PADI Scuba Diver course? Both are entry-level courses and often new divers are curious why the Open Water course is more expensive than the Scuba Diver course. Aren’t they both the same?
The PADI Open Water Course and PADI Scuba Diver Course are designed to get new divers in the water, practicing important dive skills, and studying the fundamentals of scuba science. Both courses end with a PADI certification card that allows you to dive anywhere around the world. But there is one big difference between the two.
The PADI Open Water Course is the full entry-level certification course which allows divers to be certified for diving up to 18m or 60ft accompanied by a dive buddy or dive professional. The PADI Scuba Diver Course is halfway to a full Open Water certification and allows you to dive to 12m or 40ft ONLY with a dive professional.
PADI Open Water Course Structure
To get your full PADI Open Water Diver certification, you have to enroll in a PADI Open Water course and complete three components.
The first part of the course is theoretical, you will learn the fundamentals of scuba diving from video or textbook followed by knowledge reviews, quizzes, and a final exam. There are a total of five chapters in the textbook which you must complete to finish the course.
The second step is to complete five confined water (pool) dives where you will practice and master new skills with your dive instructor. The third step is four open water dives including performing some important dive skills underwater.
Depending on how you choose to do your dive course, you can either complete all your classroom work before hitting the water or work through the course day by day completing knowledge reviews, confined pool dives, and open water dives the same day. It’s good to give yourself four days or more to complete your Open Water course.
So Whats The Point Of The Scuba Diver Course?
The Scuba Diver course is actually just the first half of the full Open Water course. To get the PADI Scuba Diver certification you must complete the first three chapters of the Open Water textbook, first three confined pool dives, and first two open water dives.
So what’s the point? There are a few reasons you might choose a Scuba Diver over the full Open Water course. The Scuba Diver course can be completed in two or three days so it’s a good option if you’re short on time. Plus once you have your Scuba Diver certification card it’s easy to upgrade to the full Open Water certification by completing the second half the course.
Another reason people choose the Scuba Diver course is the depth limitation and requirement to dive with a professional. Let’s face it, humans aren’t built to live underwater so it’s normal to have some fear or apprehension when learning to dive. It is also a smart option for kids and teens so they can gain experience with a professional before graduating to the more independent Open Water level.
If you’ve signed up for the Open Water course but you’re having trouble completing some of the more advanced skills your instructor might suggest staying at the Scuba Diver level. Divers who struggle with mask skills from day one might find the more advanced open water skills like breathing underwater with no mask and swimming with no mask a challenge.
PADI Discover Scuba Diving
I guess this is also a good time to mention the PADI Discover Scuba Diving course or DSD. The DSD course is essentially the first day or both the PADI Open Water and PADI Scuba Diver course.
You will complete a video, one pool dive, and one open water dive as part of the DSD experience. This is a good way to test the water so to speak and see if diving is right for you. If you enjoyed the experience you can easily move onto the second day of the course to complete the Scuba Diver certification or go all the way to a full PADI Open Water Diver certification.
Whichever course you choose, PADI instructors are trained to evaluate your skills and abilities throughout the course and recommend the right path for you. If you have any questions about these or any other PADI courses let me know in the comments below!