If you are interested in experiencing the underwater world then enrolling in some scuba diving lessons in order to become an open water diver is the ticket you need to invest in to explore an amazing new world! Completing the PADI open water course is your gateway to a world of beautiful corals, colorful fish, amazing shipwrecks and exciting adventures.
It may seem a little intimidating at first but by enrolling on the course it will give you the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to be certified to safely explore underwater anywhere in the world. The PADI Open water course is the most popular and recognized scuba diving certification in the world with over 550,000 getting their PADI during 2015 worldwide.
Get Your PADI on Koh Tao
More people ‘get their PADI‘ on Koh Tao and become open water divers than anywhere else in the world. This small, idyllic island, lying in the Gulf of Thailand is the perfect place to kick off your underwater addiction. Courses are generally conducted over 4 days but it is an open schedule allowing people to learn at their own pace so you can take more time should you wish, or even less if you are in a hurry!
Koh Tao is one of if not THE cheapest place in the world to learn to dive with accommodation included as part of the open water course package too. What you get at dive centres like Crystal Dive, Koh Tao is an experienced dive team that lives and breathes scuba diving, dedicated facilities such as air condition classrooms, swimming pools and dive boats to aid your training and PADI Master Instructors with many years’ experience teaching you.
As a “PADI Career Development Centre” (since 2007), Crystal Dive also holds the highest PADI dive centre rating within the industry.
The PADI open water diver course is designed to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to earn an entry level scuba certification with the minimum age to enrol being 10 years old. In fact all modules of the course are identical for a 10 year as for an adult. The only difference is a slight depth limit restriction until kids reach 12 years old. You should also be in relatively good health and have to complete a basic medical questionnaire, with a possible doctor’s check up if there are any small problems.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need fitness levels of a world class athlete though! It is also recommended that you can swim and float beforehand as there are two watermanship tests – a 200m freestyle swim or a 300m mask & snorkel swim, wearing fins AND a 10 minute float / tread water. Again you needn’t worry if you are not the strongest swimmer.
There are no time restrictions on the swim and there are adaptive training techniques that allow people to meet these requirements who have physical challenges.
Knowledge Development – Classroom
To start with you will need to learn the theory behind basic scuba diving principles. This is completed in 5 separate modules, all accompanied with a training video. Your PADI Instructor will review each module with you, as well as administer a quick quiz to complete at the end of each module to ensure you understand everything.
Once all 5 modules are complete you will then be given an exam consisting of 50 multiple choice questions to complete with a pass mark of 75%. We schedule the knowledge development over 2 days so you don’t spend too much time in a classroom in one day.
To get a head start on the theory you can complete it at home, online with PADI e-learning. This means once you get to the dive shop it’s less time in the classroom and more of your holiday time spent in the water.
Confined Water – Swimming Pool
During your swimming pool sessions you will master 20 plus skills in shallow water. You will also participate in a mini dive at the end of the session in the deeper end of the pool.
The skills you complete during confined water will prepare you for the open water dives that follow and include buoyancy control, underwater swimming, communication and problem solving skills. Your instructor will talk you through and demonstrate each skill before you have the opportunity to have a go.
Confined water training is best conducted in a swimming pool rather than the sea to enhance safety and comfort while you get used to taking your first breaths underwater.
It is quite natural to feel a little nervous at the start – we certainly aren’t fish – so you should be given the best possible conditions in which to become comfortable with the equipment, being underwater breathing and with all the skills.
Open Water Dives – Boat Diving
This is what the last couple of days has been leading you towards – the chance to spend time with turtles, whalesharks and the colourful corals. After completing your swimming pool sessions you are ready to get out onto the boat and into the sea, putting into practice the training you have completed up to this point.
You will complete 4 training dives, over 2 days, with dives 1 &2 having a maximum depth of 12 metres and dives 3 & 4 with a maximum depth of 18 metres.
During the dives you will complete some skills but the emphasis is on buoyancy control and swimming while you tour the dive site seeing as much as you can. Dive 4 has no skills – you and your dive buddy plan the dive (under instructor supervision) and then you can relax, enjoy and really immerse yourself in this big blue world.
HEALTH WARNING – Scuba Diver Can Be Highly Addictive!
The feelings you experience during the open water course are addictive. There is nothing quite like sharing the water with all these amazing creatures swimming around you while you are also experiencing weightlessness. As a scuba diver you never know what you are going to see out there in the sea from day to day.
In only 4 days you will have a certification that will not only open up a new hobby but a whole new world.
Author: Neil Davidson (PADI MSDT #294100)