Getting certified and becoming a qualified diver could be one of the most rewarding things you do. The excitement of your first dive is likely to be eclipsed by what you feel on your second. If you’ve thought about literally taking the plunge and getting into diving, it’s not as hard as you might think.
The majority of new divers obtain their certification through dive schools and get their dive card through courses acknowledged by the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI). While not required to dive, the PADI Open Water Course is the most recognized and will allow you to rent equipment anywhere in the world. The first part of the course is academic and can be accomplished in a classroom setting or online. Next, you spend some time in a swimming pool or similar calm setting learning how to safely operate your equipment. You also will have a chance to get a feel for the experience. It’s an adjustment for even the best swimmers. Finally, you take to a lake, river or ocean to get your PADI Open Water Diver rating. The training can be completed through one facility or you can go through a referral program. Being referred to another location allows you to finish the classroom and pool components anywhere then check in somewhere else for your open water certification. This is a good option for someone taking a course in a cold climate in the winter. Get everything but the open dive done, then go on vacation and finish the training at some tropical locale. It’s even possible to set up all three phases at a resort or dive location away from home if you don’t mind taking some extra time out of your holiday. Another option is a shortened training regimen. The PADI Scuba Diver course is shorter but it does come with restrictions. The Scuba Diver designation is only good for depths up to 40 feet and requires you to be under the supervision of PADI professional.
The undersea world is yours to explore
After you get your dive card the opportunities are limitless. Your biggest challenge might just be deciding where you want to practice your new skills. Diving to the Great Barrier Reef off Australia? Palling around with sharks near the Hawaiian Islands? Looking for sunken treasure in the Caribbean? River exploration near your hometown? With so many possibilities you might want to start small. Get a few dives under your belt close to home or as part of a broader vacation to an exotic location. Once you reach a nice comfort level in the water, embark upon a grand journey of underwater discovery.
Take the plunge
The hardest part about becoming a qualified diver is actually starting. Once you commit and begin training, the rest will flow. In no time you will be living out the dream of diving. You can seek further certification and even look at becoming a professional diver. How far you go is up to you. Jenn writes on behalf of Northern Divers, a manufacturer and distributor of specialist diving equipment. Find out more and keep up with the latest news on the Northern Divers Facebook page.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia