What’s the Difference Between a Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver?

As a professional PADI diving instructor, I have taught hundreds, if not thousands, of people of all ages to scuba dive! And, I’ve come to notice that a lot of new divers ask the same questions. If you’re considering learning to dive, it’s very likely you’ve come across information online talking about the PADI Scuba Diver, the Open Water and the Advanced Open Water Dive courses.

Both are entry-level courses, but they have some differences.

What is a PADI Scuba Diver Course?

Think of completing the PADI Scuba Diver course as like the first stage of learning to drive. The PADI Scuba Diver course is a fantastic certification for those people who:

– Can’t finish their Open Water training
– Don’t have time to complete the entire Open Water course
– Only want to dive with a PADI Professional

The PADI Scuba Diver is a halfway qualification to a full Open Water certification and allows divers to dive to 12m maximum with a dive professional.

Why You Should Take the PADI Scuba Diver Course

The Scuba Diver course, as I’ve already mentioned, is just the first half of the full Open Water course. So, what’s the point in taking it? There are generally a few reasons why people choose a Scuba Diver course over the full Open Water course, the two most common being: The Scuba Diver course can be completed in just two to three days, so it’s a great option if you don’t have a lot of time. What’s more, once you’ve achieved your Scuba Diver certification card, it is easy to upgrade to the full Open Water certification. All you have to do is complete the second half of the course to be fully qualified!

Scuba Diver Courses are Ideal for Teenagers

Naturally, many people experience some sense of fear or apprehension around learning to dive. That feeling is normal and experienced by so many people new to diving.

The Scuba Diver course is great for people who may be apprehensive around diving. The course gives new divers the chance to gain diving experience with a professional so that they feel safe and comfortable before graduating onto the more independent Open Water level. I would suggest that the Scuba Diver Course is ideal for kids as they can gain experience diving with professionals and grow their confidence in a safe environment before moving on to completing the full Open Water certification.

The Scuba Diver Course is Great for Beginners

If you have signed up for the Open Water course but you’re struggling to complete some of the more advanced skills, such as swimming with no mask, your instructor may recommend remaining at the Scuba Diver level. This will ensure you’re learning at a level you feel safe at so that you can keep practising until you’re fully comfortable in your abilities.

How Do You Get the Open Water Diver Certification?

To achieve your PADI Open Water Diver certification, you need to enrol in an Open Water course and complete the three main components. The first part of the course will teach you all about the fundamentals of diving and this will be completed by a final exam. You must complete all five chapters in the textbook and the exam to finish the course.

The second step is to complete five pool dives where you can practice your new skills with a professional diving instructor. It’s up to you how you choose to complete the course, you can either complete all your classroom work before hitting the water or you can simply work through the course day by day completing your textbook with alongside confined pool dives.

We would always recommend that it’s good to give yourself four or more days to complete your Open Water course thoroughly.

What is a PADI Open Water Certification?

Having an Open World Certification allows you to do the following:

– Obtain air fills
– Dive on your own with a buddy
– Rent dive equipment
– Book boat dives
– Take additional classes such as underwater photography/videography.

The PADI Open Water course is the most widely-recognised certification in the world and over 90,000 choose PADI each year to complete their diving courses with. Whether you’ve been on a scuba diving taster course before or you’re completely new to diving, the PADI Open Water Course is a viable option for you.

The starting point for many people keen on learning to dive, the Open Water Diver course is one of the most popular diving courses PADI provides. The only requirements for this course are that you’re at least 15 years old (or 10 years if you’re completing the Junior Open Water course) and you must be medically fit to dive.

How Is the Open Water Course Taught?

During the Open Water Dive Course, you will learn all the basic skills you need to dive safely and effectively. The main aspects of the course will be taught through videos, quizzes, demonstrations, and coursework, helping you master the basics!

The next teaching method is practising scuba diving techniques in a safe pool environment before moving on to open water. Once you’ve moved on to open water, your scuba diving skills will be tested by professional dive instructors. Once you have completed the diving course successfully, you can enjoy your newly acquired skills anywhere in the world and enjoy many diving holidays all around the globe.

What You Need to Know About the Advanced Open Water Diver Course

Once you’ve completed your PADI Open Water Diver course, you will be allowed to dive down to 18 metres. While this is a huge achievement, many people want to take their skills to the next level and this is where the Advanced Open Water Diver Course comes in. During the Open Water Diver Course, you will spend much more time in the water and much less time in the classroom – a relief for many people!

You will be required to complete 2 dives, one an underwater navigation adventure and the other a deep adventure dive, in addition to 3 other electives. Some of the exciting possibilities can even include a night or search and rescue diving.

Once you have completed the Open Water Diver Course, you will be a certified diver who is able to dive down to 30 metres.

Complete Your Diving Work Through E-Learning

One of the great things about learning to dive with PADI is that they now offer an e-learning for those who wish to do all their theory work online. So, if taking one of the above-mentioned diving courses is something you’ve thought about but you don’t know when you’d have the time to get into the classroom, e-learning may be just right for you.

Our Team Are Available to Answer Your Questions

I hope this article has been useful and that it has helped outline the differences between the PADI Scuba Diver and the Open Water Diver courses. Whichever course you choose to do, our team are available to answer any questions you may have. Our team are all fully-trained and qualified PADI instructors who are able to evaluate your skills and recommend the right dive certification path for you.

So, if you have any questions about the PADI Diving courses, please do not hesitate to let us know but leaving a message in the comment box or sending us an email.

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