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How to Progress from Discover Scuba Diving to PADI Open Water Diver

So you’ve completed a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience and fallen in love with scuba diving and you are wondering what your next steps should be.

Open Water Diver is the Next Step After Discover Scuba Diving

If you know that scuba diving is something you want to continue doing, then your best option is to get certified. The first level of scuba diving certification is the PADI Open Water Diver Course and once completed, you’ll be able to go diving, with a buddy, up to a maximum depth of 18 meters/60 feet. The PADI Open Water Diver certification is recognized around the world, and it’s your ticket to a lifetime of scuba diving adventures.

The Open Water Diver Course is made up of three components, namely knowledge development (theory), confined water dives and open water dives. Depending on how your Discover Scuba Diving experience was conducted, it may count toward your Open Water Diver Course.

How to Use Your Discover Scuba Diving Program as Credit for Your Open Water Diver Course

If you haven’t yet taken a Discover Scuba Diving program but are planning on it and think that you might want to later get certified, make this clear to your instructor when booking your Discover Scuba Diving experience. With this knowledge of your plans, your Discover Scuba Diving instructor can conduct the program in such a way that it will count towards your Open Water Diver Course, thereby reducing the time, and often the cost, of your certification course.

Just like the Open Water Diver Course, the Discover Scuba Diving experience also consists of theory, a confined water dive and an optional open water dive. If your instructor knows that you plan to go on to take the Open Water Diver Course within the next 12 months, they can ensure your confined water dive and open water dive can count as the first confined water dive and open water dive of your Open Water Diver Course. This means that instead of needing to complete five confined water dives and four open water dives to become open water certified, you’ll just need to make four more confined water dives and three more open water dives.

During every Discover Scuba Diving experience, participants need to complete the following skills in confined water:

  • Inflate and deflate your BCD at the surface

  • Breathe underwater

  • Regulator clearing

  • Regulator recovery

  • Partial mask clearing

  • Practice equalization techniques

For your Discover Scuba Diving confined water dive to count towards your Open Water Diver Course, you’ll need to complete these additional skills:

  • Don your scuba diving equipment (with assistance) and adjust to fit

  • Complete a pre-dive safety check with a buddy

  • Breathe from an alternate air source supplied by another diver for at least 30 seconds.

  • Descend at a controlled rate into water too deep in which to stand

  • Swim with scuba equipment while maintaining control of both direction and depth

  • Locate and read the submersible pressure gauge and signal whether the air supply is adequate or low based on the gauge’s caution zone and/or an assigned supply limit

  • Recognize and demonstrate hand signals

  • Ascend using proper technique

  • Stay within reach of a buddy

  • Swim facedown at the surface while breathing through a regulator or snorkel

  • After ascent, keep the mask on and continue breathing from the regulator while using the low pressure inflator to attain positive buoyancy

  • Deflate the BCD, then orally inflate it until positively buoyant at the surface

This might sound like a lot, but it will all flow easily in reality. You may do many of these additional skills anyway while on a Discover Scuba Diving experience.

Tell Your Instructor About Your Plans

If you are intending to take your Open Water Diver Course with a different Instructor or at a different Dive Center to where you are completing your Discover Scuba Diving program, it’s important that your Discover Scuba Diving Instructor records that you have completed the additional skills required to offset the first sessions of the Open Water Diver Course.

Your Instructor will record your experience using the Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide log pages. There is space for them to manually add notes in the comments section that you have completed Confined Water Dive 1 and, if you made an open water dive, Open Water Dive 1. Alternatively, your Instructor may provide you with the student record document for the PADI Open Water Course and sign off for Confined Water 1 and Open Water Dive 1. Be sure to keep this paperwork safe and give it to your Open Water Course Instructor when you enroll.

You Have 1 Year to Take the Open Water Diver Course

Make a note of the date when you participate in your PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience. Your confined and open water dives are valid for one year. If you start your Open Water Diver Course more than one year after completing your Discover Scuba Diving experience, you will need to re-do the first confined water dive and the first open water dive.

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