How do I become a diver?
Are you considering becoming a diver? Do you have some questions about how to start?
Well hopefully we will provide some clarity in this post that might help you through the process of becoming a diver.
Everyday there are new divers certified world wide and many of them had to do some in depth research to obtain some basic information regarding scuba diving courses.
So we have decided to create this post to try and assist you with some basic information which might give you some clarity on the process of becoming a diver.
Where to start?
The most basic course/ programme to start with is the DSD course. The term "DSD" refers to Discover Scuba Diving. This course is not a certification course, but merely an experience programme for the respective person to evaluate if they would really want to do the course. It's a great start for the person who is standing on the wire or who is uncertain if they will be able to dive. What the programme typically entails is a short theory session (where the instructor will explain the most important need to know information), a confined water session (swimming pool session) and then what would typically happen, if you are doing this programme at a ocean based dive center or dive shop, they would take you to complete atleast one actual scuba dive.
With most agencies such as Padi, SSI, Raid etc, you may receive credit which you can use towards your Open Water course. It's just important to follow up with your instructor on how long this credit lasts.#
Want to complete your first certification course?
To become a certified diver, the first certification course is generally referred to as the Open Water diver course. After having obtained this course you will be able to dive anywhere in the world. This course however does not certify you to do solo diving; you always have to dive with at least one buddy with you (we typically refer to this as the buddy system). If you are travelling alone, that is definitely not a problem as you can always get a buddy there and make some new friends in the process.
To start the course one has to complete a medical questionnaire where all your answers to the questions has to be a "no". If one of the questions can be answered "yes", you would need to see a valid physician that can practice in diving medicine.
After having done this, your course will typically start with the theory sessions first (although online E-learning has been becoming increasingly popular).
There is some water skill assessments that has to be met, so get ready to do some swimming before the commencement of your confined water sessions.
From there its off to complete 5 confined water sessions, which can typically take 1 - 2 days depending on the size of the class.
Once one has finished the confined water sessions, you can now go and complete 4 open water dives (either inland or coastal).
It's not necessarily done completely in this order however, some places would let you complete the first 3 confined water sessions, then complete your first 2 open water qualifying dives then return to the pool to complete the last 2 confined water sessions and then only finish the last 2 open water qualifying dives.
After all of this has been completed you will be a certified diver able to dive to a maximum depth of 18 meters with a buddy.
If you have done 3 confined water sessions and then completed your first 2 open water qualifying dives you qualify as a Scuba diver, meaning you can dive to a maximum depth of 12 meters under supervision of a dive professional.
Where to from here?
If the bug has bitten you and you want to continue your education, you can look at the Advanced Open Water diver course, Rescue diver course, Dive Master course etc...
We will take a look at these courses individually in upcoming posts.
Hope this helps!