Welcome to the PADI or SSI Open Water Diver course: this is where autonomous diving begins!
Now this is going to be your real first course, with a certification or card that is valid throughout the world, and a license to dive up to 18 meters without an instructor or diving professional. But you do need to have a partner or friend with either the same or a higher certification, because diving without a partner is prohibited.
The minimum required age is 15, but if you are between the ages of 10 and 14, you can take Open Water Junior and dive up to a depth of 12 meters (only for children of 10 and 11) or up to 18 meters (for 12, 13 and 14 year olds), always in the company of a certified adult. Once a child is 15, the standard open water course can be validated, and just by doing the remaining sessions of the course you will have a license to dive for up to 18 meters without a diving professional.
How much does the PADI-SSI Open Water Diver course cost?
It generally costs between 200 and 400 euros, depending on the country.
What does the PADI-SSI Open Water Diver course consist of?
The PADI-SSI Open Water Diver course can be completed in just three or four days, and it consists of five classroom sessions with videos or instructor talks, and five practical sessions in the water.
Preliminary – Theory:
Theory includes five reviews of knowledge that have to be delivered by the end of the course in order to take the final exam and pass. PADI also includes four short tests between the first and second day, prior to any contact with the water.
Before getting in the water, on the first day it is important to do classroom sessions 1 and 2 on physics and physiology and tests 1 and 2 (only PADI) with your instructor. This will be your ticket to a first session in confined waters, a swimming pool or calm sea water.
Day 1 – Confined waters:
You’ll start with exercises on the surface, and then at up to five meters depth, where you’ll learn how to handle your gear and your body, as you aim to achieve sufficient confidence and have the amazing experience of breathing underwater for the first time.
After that, you’ll have to complete the knowledge reviews in your spare time to prepare yourself for the next day.
This is a serious course, so you’ll have to commit yourself to studying and following your instructor’s plan.
Day 2 – First day in open water:
On the next day, you will begin theory sessions three and four on planning dives and on diving-related illnesses. Then, you will head out into the open water in two dives of up to 12 meters in depth, where you will repeat the first day’s exercises and try new ones. At this point, you will begin to feel like a fish in water and you’ll want more.
Study continues at home that day, as you review what you’ve learned.
Day 3 – Down to 18 meters!
The next day, you will see the last of theory with two more dives of up to 18 meters, where your instructor will have to certify that you have sufficiently mastered the exercises. Your instructor will decide whether you have met the requirements of the course.
At this point, with five dives completed, you will have to turn in your knowledge reviews and take the final exam of 50 questions. You have to answer 75% of the questions correctly for PADI or 80% for SSI.
If you passed, now’s the time to fill in your logbook and start recording all your dives, and strike a good pose for the photo on your card.
The course is designed to last three days, although it may be slightly modified by the instructor or school. Demand all the classroom theory and practice you can: it is very important to complete the course with sufficient experience, and that’s the only way to do it. If you have any questions, just ask!!
What certification do I get?
You now have your first card as an independent certified diver, and with the PADI-SSI Open Water Diver certification, you can dive down to 18 meters anywhere in the world. Your adventure has begun!
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