Scuba diving is an exciting new adventure and many kids want to get involved in the sport at an early age. Here’s what you need to know about getting kids started.
Kids can start scuba diving (in a pool) as young as 8 years old and will need to be at least 10 years old to start scuba diving in the ocean.
PADI, SSI and NAUI all offer courses for children. It is best to check with your local dive center or resort before you arrive to make sure they have an instructor who is able to teach diving to children and equipment that is small enough for your child. Ask them about the right size fins and mask, you can always buy this at a local dive shop before a trip.
PADI offers a one-day experience program in a pool or confined water called the Bubblemaker course. Once completed kids will get an official bubblemaker certificate, and if they really enjoy the experience kids can continue with the instructor and take the PADI seal team course. These courses are open to kids 8 and up.
For an open water experience, PADI offers their Junior Scuba Diver and Junior Open Water courses for kids starting at 10 years old, and a Junior Advanced course starting at 12 years old.
SSI has a program called Scuba Rangers and is designed for kids 8-12. The Scuba Ranger training includes five different levels and provides kids with the skills and knowledge they need to become safe and successful divers in a controlled environment.
SSI also offers an open water experience called the Junior Scuba Program for kids ages 10-14. The Junior Scuba program includes a range of courses including Junior Scuba Diver; Junior Open Water Diver; Junior Advanced Adventurer; Junior Specialty Dive.
For kids age 8 and up NAUI offers a Skin Diver/Junior Skin Diver certification class which teaches the process of snorkeling and breath-hold diving.
NAUI also offers an entry-level scuba course called Scuba Diver/Junior Scuba Diver for kids 10 and up which teaches kids the fundamental knowledge and skills for diving. As they get older and more proficient, kids can progress to Experienced Scuba Diver and Junior Advanced Scuba Diver, and other specialty courses.