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What is PADI?

PADI stands for:  Professional Association of Dive Instructors.
PADI is the largest most widely recognized SCUBA certification agency in the world. 

PADI has the widest network. Most dive instructors, dive shops and resorts around the world are PADI.
If you forget or loose your card or want more training you'll always be able to find a PADI instructor.

All Scuba Certification agencies use the same standards and teach about the same scuba certification course.  
Just like a learning to drive a car, all driving schools will teach you the same rules.  
Some scuba instructors claim their agency is better and their competition is bad, but in fact we are all about the same. 
Find an instructor you like and be happy.  

Scuba is a recreation sport and is fun relaxing and safe.

Make sure you don't support a scuba instructor or dive shop who criticizes other scuba shops or agencies.  It has been my experience that mostly only the bad instructors have bad things to say about other instructors and agencies.  The worse the scuba instructor the more they complain about other scuba instructors and agencies.

Ask me a Question or join my email list. 

  1. I've always wanted to learn to scuba dive (or snorkel). How do I get started?
  2. How old do I have to be to get scuba certified?
  3. Why do I have to get Certified to dive?
  4. For how long will I be certified?
  5. Will the fish bother me?
  6. How expensive is SCUBA diving?
  7. How long do scuba lessons take?
  8. How deep may I go?
  9. Is it hard to learn to scuba dive?
  10. Do I have to be a great swimmer to be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver?
  11. How long does a tank of air Last?
  12. My ears hurt when I dive to the bottom of the pool.  Won't they hurt when I scuba dive?
  13. Is scuba diving dangerous?
  14. Do I have to buy scuba gear?
  15. Why are some Instructors so much cheaper than others? What do I need to ask about the price?
  16. What are the bends?  Dive Tables help Link
  17. Lost Card?
  18. What exactly will I have to do to get PADI certified?

For how long will I be certified?

Your PADI SCUBA certification does not expire.  It is highly recommended that you keep in practice.  You should dive more than once a year. You may take a SCUBA Tune Up from any PADI instructor.  PADI offers continuing education classes which are very informative.  Continuing with your SCUBA education is an excellent way to keep in practice and learn more safe diving skills.

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How old do you have to be to get certified?

PADI requires you to be at least 10 years old to become a PADI certified Junior Open Water Scuba Diver.  Ten and 11 year olds  must dive with a certified parent, guardian or PADI Professional to a maximum depth of 40 feet.   Twelve to 14 year olds must dive with a certified adult.  At age 15, the Junior certification upgrades to a regular Open Water Diver certification.

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Why do I have to get certified to dive?

In the scuba class, you will learn how to dive safely and correctly.  Your PADI SCUBA certification card is proof that you have taken and passed the SCUBA course.  No reputable Dive Shop or PADI instructor will rent you gear, fill your tank , or let you dive at their facilities unless you are a certified SCUBA diver.

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How deep may I go?

PADI is a recreational SCUBA organization.  The maximum depth for a recreational SCUBA diver is 130 feet.   I do not recommend you ever dive the maximum depth.  You should not dive deeper than 60 feet without proper training.  In the PADI Advanced Open Water course,  divers are shown the correct and safe way to make a deep dive.

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Will the fish bother me?

Most fish are afraid of you or will ignore you.  It  is very exciting to see fish.   The larger the better. The prettiest and most abundant fish are in the ocean.   The best place to see fish is near shipwrecks and reefs.   Some fish will let you get close to them but will stay out of your reach, other fish are curious and will follow you around.  I have been diving for a long time and have seen many sharks, eels and barracudas.  The sharks and eels are very shy and are difficult to see.  Barracudas are curious and might follow you around making it easy to photograph them.  Game fish seem to know when you are looking for dinner.  Grilled snapper or flounder taste great.  Most of the time I just take pictures, but every now and then I get hungry for sea food.  You are more likely to be attacked by a cow or a pig than by a fish.  Be safe stay off the farm and go diving.

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How expensive is SCUBA diving?

SCUBA diving costs about as much as 18 holes of golf, or a good ski-lift ticket.  Starting out is the most expensive.  You have to pay to get PADI  SCUBA certified, and buy some gear.  Classes cost between $350 and $450.  The minimum amount of gear will cost about $150.  You should have your own mask, fins, and snorkel for the class.

A two-tank dive in the Caribbean will cost about $90, in FL you can expect to pay about $80.  Most SCUBA quarries charge about $20 for all day diving.    Air fills:  Caribbean=$12,   FL=$10,  Rock quarries=$7.   You  can rent a tank with air for about the same amount it will cost you to fill your own.

You don't have to buy all your gear.  Most dive shops rent gear and don't charge students rental during class.  A complete set of dive gear rents for $40 to $60.  You can buy all of your own gear (BCD, Regulator with SPG and Octo)  for as low as $600.  I recommend you buy good gear.  Don't skimp on your life support gear.  Mine cost about $1400.  The internet is a great place to find good deals. Please support your local dive shop, give them a chance to match the internet price.

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I've always wanted to learn to scuba dive. How do I get started?

The easiest way to get started is call me (615) 955-3483  or send me an e-mail Marcos@ScubaMarcos.com .  I will bring you the Starter kit.  The Starter kit contains;  an Open Water dive manual,  dive tables, and 2 videos.  You read the book while you watch the videos at home.  We will schedule a convenient time for you to take the short quizzes and the final exam.   Then we are off to the pool to practice what you read and watched.   Once you have mastered the pool skills we go diving and you are certified after the fourth dive.  You can be a PADI Certified SCUBA Diver in three easy steps; class, pool, and diving.  It's that easy!  I believe the best way to learn how to SCUBA dive is by actually diving.  I emphasize diving and maximize your time underwater practicing Scuba diving.

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Is it hard to learn to scuba dive?

No, in fact, it's probably easier than you imagine -- especially if you're already comfortable in the water.   PADI's entry-level diver course is split into knowledge development, confined water (pool) skill training and four scuba training dives.  The course is "performance based," which means that you progress as you learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill.

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Does it only take three days!?

PADI courses are "performance based," which means that you only earn your scuba certification when you demonstrate that you have mastered the required skills and knowledge.  Some people learn faster than others, so how long it takes you may vary.  The PADI Open Water Diver course (beginning scuba) is typically split into five or six sessions with tremendous flexibility. The course may be scheduled over as little as three or four days, or as much as five or six weeks, or something in between depending upon student needs and logistics.   As a rule of thumb, most students complete their initial certification in about twenty-five hours spread over 2 or 3 weekends.  The academic session takes about 8 hours, the pool a minimum of 4 hours, usually in three 4 hours sessions.  You must master all the pool skills before going on the the 4 Checkout dives. The 4 checkout dives are completed over 2 days with no more than 3 dives completed in one day.  So yes, it is rare but you could complete your PADI scuba certification in as little as 3 days.  We can do class and pool on Friday and go diving Saturday and Sunday.   I teach most PADI scuba lessons over 2 or 3 weekends.  Download and print PADI Skills for Open water Dives.

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Do I have to be a great swimmer to be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver?

No.  All you need to be is a reasonably proficient swimmer who is comfortable and relaxed in the water.  The swimming requirement for certification is an easy 183 meter/200 yard nonstop swim (with no time or specific stroke requirement) and 10 minute tread/float.

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What's in a scuba tank? Oxygen?

Recreational divers breathe air, not pure oxygen.  It's filtered to remove impurities, but otherwise, it's air like you're breathing now.

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How long does a tank of air last?

This is a common question that, unfortunately, doesn't have a single answer.  People breathe at different rates, and you breathe faster when you're swimming than when you're resting. Also, the deeper you go, the more you use your air, and, you can get different size tanks.  So, the answer is "it depends;" this is why divers have a gauge that tell them how much air they have at all times.  As an approximation, a diver sightseeing in calm, warm water at 20 to 30 feet deep can expect the average tank to last about an hour. 

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My ears hurt when I dive to the bottom of a pool. Won't they hurt when I scuba dive?

Your ears hurt because water pressure pushes in on your ear drum.  In your scuba course, you'll learn a simple technique to equalize your ears to the surrounding pressure, much like you do when you land in an airplane, and they won't hurt at all.

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Is scuba diving dangerous?

Not really.  Statistics show that recreational scuba diving is about as safe as swimming.  Certainly there are potential hazards -- which is why you need training and certification -- but like driving a car, as long as you follow the rules and use common sense, it's pretty safe. To put it in perspective, the drive in your car to go diving is more dangerous than the diving.

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Do I have to buy SCUBA gear?

No you don't have to buy SCUBA gear.  I provide Scuba tanks, buoyancy compensator, regulator, and weight belt.  You will have to  have a mask, fins and snorkel.  Most dive shops rent gear and don't charge students rental during class.  A complete set of dive gear rents for $40 to $60.  You can buy all of your own gear (BCD, Regulator with SPG and Octo)  for as low as $600.  I recommend you buy good gear.  Don't skimp on your life support gear.  Mine cost about $1200.  Your local PADI Dive Shop will be very helpful in  choosing your gear, and should be able to match internet prices.  Do your research and call all the dive shops.

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Why are some Scuba Instructors so much cheaper than others?

Most SCUBA Instructors charge about the same for complete certification,  between $350 and $450.   The difference is some instructors do not tell you about all the costs.  Be careful, if the lessons price sounds very inexpensive it might not include everything.  Dive Centers have to pay rent and labor. So they will typically charge more.  Find a good Independent or Private Scuba Instructor who will give you better friendlier personal service.

Questions to ask your instructor.
-Does that price include the four Open Water Dives?  Where? (+ $180 to $380)
-Does that price include the book?  The book, log book and dive tables retail for about (+$59).
-Does that price include the SCUBA gear or free rental for the four Open Water Dives?(+$60)

-How many students will be in your class?  Some dive shops wait until they have a big crowd of students for class.
-Does that price include the PADI registration and your Scuba Certification card? (+$25)

You might end up paying more than you expected.   
Beginning SCUBA is taught in three parts Class, Pool training, and DivingYou must complete all three Parts to be a certified scuba diver.  Some dive shops break up the payments and advertise only the first payment.  You end up paying 2 or 3 times more then what you expected.  I suggest you ask how much for each part and what is included in the price.   Add them ALL up,  you might be surprised.   Also make sure you know when and where you will make your four Open Water Checkout Dives.   A Florida trip can add another $380 to your cost.  I charge about $259 for a Florida Certification trip.
I recommend you meet and talk to each instructor before you make a decision.  

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What are the Bends

A long time ago when the workers were breathing compressed air while working underwater, sometimes they would get decompression sickness or "the Bends".  Their joints would hurt and make them bend over.  This is caused by staying under water too long and coming up too fast.  Tiny bubbles would form in their joints, something like the tiny bubbles form in a soda bottle when you open it.  Just like the soda bottle, if you shake it and open it too soon or fast too many bubbles will form.  With all the new technology "the bends" is easily avoided and very rare.   PADI divers are recreational divers.  I will teach you how to safely dive within the limits so you will never get the bends.   Don't worry diving is fun, easy and safe.  I will teach you how to relax and enjoy your dive.  Dive Tables help Link


I lost my Certification card how can I get it replaced?

The best way is to tell you instructor, he can take care of it for you.  Any PADI instructor can help you.  Most instructors charge between $20 and $25 to replace your card.  You may need another passport sized picture.   If you forgot your C-Card while on vacation, PADI has a member check on-line or by calling 1-800 -729-7234, 1-800-SAY-PADI.

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What exactly will I have to do to get PADI certified?

Download and print PADI Skills for Open water Dives.

  Scuba Certification is completed in 3 parts.
  1. Class room (Academic book work),
  2. Pool Training
  3. Four Scuba Dives

PADI Certification is performance based.  You must comfortably perform and show mastery of all the skills to earn your certification. 


1. "Class"  Knowledge Development - 5  Knowledge Review Modules

Read the Book and Watch the DVD.  There 5 Chapters or modules.

For the 5 modules of theory, you'll read the PADI Open Water Diver manual in conjunction with watching the PADI Open Water diver video and complete the five knowledge reviews at the end of each chapter.  After I have made sure you understand everything in the knowledge review questions, you'll be given a ten question quiz for that module. Don't worry I'll go over any questions that you don't understand. At the end of the 5th module and knowledge review you'll be given the PADI Open Water diver final exam. Just like the quizzes this is multiple choice and, again, just like the quizzes I'll go over anything you don't understand. Hopefully by then you'll pass with 100%.  But all is not lost as long as you score 75% or better you passed!  And I'll go over any questions you get wrong so you are completely happy and understand them all.  If you score less than 75% we'll go over everything you missed and you may take the test again.


2. "Pool Training"  Confined Water Pool Skills
You must complete the following skills before the end of the course.

200m/yard continuous swim (or 400m snorkel swim)
10 minute swim/float
Prior to completing Open Water dive 1 you must practice and master the following skills in confined water dive 1
1 Equipment assembly and disassembly
Equipment donning and adjustment
BCD inflation and deflation at the surface
  - low pressure inflation
  - oral inflation
Regulator recovery
Regulator clearing (blast and purge methods)
Mask clear (partial)
Underwater swimming
Submersible pressure gauge use
Alternate air source use
Hand signal recognition
Ascent
Prior to completing Open Water dive 2 you must practice and
master the following skills in confined water dives 2 & 3.
2

 

3

Pre-dive safety check
Deep water entry
Snorkel clearing - blast method
Snorkel/regulator exchange
Descent
Surface swimming with scuba
Mask removal, replacement and clearing
No mask breathing
Disconnect low pressure inflator
Proper weighting
Air depletion exercise
Weight removal at the surface
Deep water exit - remove equipment
Fin pivot (both methods)
  - low pressure inflation
  - oral inflation
Neutral buoyancy swim
Cramp removal
Tired diver tow
Air depletion exercise/1 min alternate air source swim
Free flow regulator breathing
Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent
Prior to completing Open Water dives 3 & 4 you must practice and master the following skills in confined water dives 4 & 5
4

5

Equipment assembly and disassembly
Equipment donning and adjustment
Proper hyperventilation
Headfirst surface dive
Skin dive ascent and snorkel clearing
No mask swim
Hovering
Scuba unit removal and replacement
  - underwater
  - surface
Weight removal and replacement
  - underwater
  - surface

Download and print PADI Skills for Open water Dives.

3. "Check-Out Dives"  4 Open Water Scuba Dive - Skills

For Open Water Dive 1 of the course a PADI instructor must lead the entire dive. For dives 2-4 however, a PADI Divemaster may lead the underwater exploration part. With adult student divers, dives 1 & 2 are completed to a maximum depth of 40 feet and dives 3 & 4 are to a maximum depth of 60 feet.

DIVE
1
Equipment preparation, donning and adjustment
Predive safety check
Entry
Buoyancy check/weight check
Controlled descent
Underwater exploration
Ascent
Exit
DIVE
2
Equipment preparation, donning and adjustment
Predive safety check
Entry and weight check
Descent
Buoyancy control (fin pivot - with low pressure inflation)
Mask clearing (both partial & full flood)
Alternate air source use (donor & receiver + oral inflation on surface)
Regulator recovery/clear
Underwater exploration
Ascent and exit
Weight removal at the surface
DIVE
3
 Equipment preparation, donning and adjustment
Predive safety check
Entry and weight check
Free Descent
Buoyancy control (fin pivot - with oral inflation)
Mask clearing (full flood)
Underwater exploration
Ascent and exit
DIVE
4
Equipment preparation, donning and adjustment
Predive safety check
Entry and weight check
Free Descent
Buoyancy control (hover)
Mask removal, replacement and clear
Underwater exploration
Ascent and exit
  Open Water Dive - Dive Flexible Skills
These are the dive flexible skills that must be completed.  Surface skills may be completed on any dive, but underwater skills may only be completed on Open Water Dives 2,3 or 4.

Cramp removal
Tired diver tow
Surface swim with compass
Snorkel/regulator exchange
Remove/replace scuba
Remove/replace weights
Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (CESA) + (oral inflation on surface)
Underwater compass navigation

Download and print PADI Skills for Open water Dives.

Marcos@ScubaMarcos.com
 (615)
955-DIVE,   (615)955-3483