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Scuba Certification - How to Get Certified

Submitted by admin on 2010-09-30 | Last Modified on 2010-10-01

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The first thing you want to do before you apply for a scuba certification is make sure that you are physically able to partake in scuba diving. If you have a history of any health problems that may hinder the process of diving, such as long or heart conditions, it is highly advised that you speak your doctor prior to applying for the course. It is worth mentioning that while scuba diving is for the most part suitable for almost every age group, you may want to make sure you are in physical shape prior to taking your first course. You do not need to be an excellent swimmer, but it is advised that you are at least able to swim 200 meters comfortably.

The next step will be to locate a good dive center near your location. There are over 8000 dive centers listed in our database, where you can get started. Once you have located a dive center within your area you can look at what they have to offer in terms of services. If you have any questions about what they offer, their operating hours or location, you can contact them via phone or e-mail and they will supply you with the necessary information.

Certification Agencies

There is often a lot of talk about the various scuba certification agencies and which one is the best. Truth be told, there is no clear 'best' as such, there are 4 main scuba certification agencies though. There is PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), which is probably the most popular certification agency and is usually offered at majority of dive centers.

Another is NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) which is known to be more technical in the teaching process. The NAUI tend to focus on some other aspects that the PADI courses don't, though both of these scuba certification agencies will get you in the water and diving as safely as the other.

There is also CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques) which differs from the other agencies in that it only allows for divers to descend to depths of 21 meters and does not offer course on such diving as nitrox and night diving. It is interesting to note that while

CMAS doesn't offer a wide range of specialties, but in the Nordic region one is able to achieve a CMAS Nordic Scuba Diver certificate. This course requires six dives and has an extensive curriculum due to the fact that it offers information on cold water diving.

Finally there is SSI (Scuba Schools International) which was founded in 1970 and is now found in various dive centers as a method of training. The SSI certification offers numerous levels of scuba diving training from Open Water to Advanced Open Water and over 30 different specialty courses.

There are also a few other large dive agencies such as BSAC etc. It is recommended you do some in depth research on the different scuba certifications your local dive operator offers if you haven't heard of the name before, this will ensure that you are taking part in a legitimate and trust worthy training course.

Types of Certification Courses

There are various types of scuba diving courses under each training agency, and while not always the case you will notice that while sometimes different terms and methods are used, you will generally have a beginners course which provides you with the minimum scuba diving basics, but enough information and training for you to enjoy basic scuba diving. These courses are known through PADI as Open Water Diver, BSAC as Ocean Diver and CMAS as 1-star certification.

The Open Water course consists of 3 phases, one of which is knowledge development. Knowledge development will help you understand the risks and safety procedures of diving. The second phase is the confined water diving, where you will be taught how to operate your diving equipment in a confined pool. The final phase of the open water course is the open water diving, where you will perform your first proper scuba divers in the ocean.

Once you have achieved your open water certificate you will be allowed to dive to depths of 18 meters, where after you will need to move onto another course which allows for deeper diving.

Advanced Open Water Diver is a course that follows after the open water course, should you desire to gain more diving abilities and increase your diving opportunities and skill levels. In an advanced open water you will be able to learn such specialties as wreck diving, deep diving, cavern diving and more. Generally after completing an advanced open water course you will be able to dive to depths of 30 meters.

Technical Diving courses allow divers to extend their diving abilities to the extremes. Technical diving courses require advanced training and include the use of trimix gasses when diving past certain depths. As a technical diver you can dive to depths of up to 60 meters, double that of advanced diving, at these depths you need to learn decompression stops as they are required to avoid 'the bends'. Technical diving also allows for the ability to dive solo.

The Rescue Diver course teaches one to become a dive master, open water instructor, master scuba diving trainer, master instructor, course director and IDC staff instructor. The Rescue Diver course is done post-technical diving and is the final step in your scuba diving training.

Many divers stop their training after the open water course, mostly those who take up diving as a hobby to partake in from time to time. Though if one is serious about scuba diving they will continue onwards to at least their advanced open water certificate and in many cases the technical diving certificate.


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