What is the difference between all scuba agencies? Which one should I choose? Does it matter which one I choose?
Scuba diving agencies have evolved from different backgrounds. Some come from club based diving and require annual membership fees, some are for-profit companies and some are non-profit organizations. All scuba agencies teach under the same principles with the goal of training divers safely. There are some differences in training philosophies, but at the open water level the differences are in general very minor. After the open water level, there are differences in continuing education paths.
All (major) scuba agencies recognize each other and each other's certifications, so you can start diving with one and crossover to another or do other agencies' courses whenever you like.
We have chosen to teach under PADI and PSAI. PADI is the largest scuba agency in the world and is renowned for the high quality teaching materials and the progressive training system (which has been copied by several other agencies). PSAI we have chosen for the quality of their extensive technical diving programs.
I did the Discover Scuba Diving in X. They told me it counts towards my Open Water certification, does it? Can I get discount when I do the course with Pro-Diver Development?
Sadly, no - in most cases. While it is true that your Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) experience may count towards the certification, there are several reasons why it is unlikely:
When done in open water, Discover Scuba Diving program requires you to do a couple of skills. The skills you may have done are however just a small part, 2 or 3 out of well over 20 skills that you'll cover during your open water course. We still need to see to make sure you can do those skills, and the only way for us to do so is to see you do them.
If you did your DSD in clear tropical waters, which is usually the case, Hong Kong open water diving is different.
The open water dives are charged by boat trip (you won't see those charges as they are included in your course fee) - two dives per trip - rather than by dives so for you to sit out one dive does not reduce any costs.
The recent standard changes changes in the PADI Open Water course no longer allow linking DSD to Open Water course, and thus getting credit for the Open Water course is not even theoretically possible.
My wife/husband/SO/family member is a certified diver. Can (s)he join us on the boat for fun dives? My wife/husband/SO/family member is not a diver. Can (s)he join us on the boat just to hang out?
Certainly. Subject to the availability, but yes. Please check with us for the fun diver and non-diver rates on the boat. Certified divers can certainly go diving at the same time student divers do, but for a number of reasons, we may restrict them joining the group of open water diver students underwater.
I'm going on holiday to the Philippines and would like to do my open water dives there. Can I do the theory and pool sessions here?
Yes. Please see the Referral page.
I have a medical condition X. / I suffered from X as a child. Can I dive?
Maybe. Before each dive course you will need to fill in a Medical Statement/Questionnaire. If you have one or more YES answers in the questionnaire, you need to see a physician. Your doctor will evaluate the possible risk your condition may cause. Your doctor will need to sign a form clearing you to dive before any in-water activities.
I just answered YES in the Medical Statement, but I don't think it's serious. Can I just change that to NO so I don't need to go and see a doctor?
No. If you have any YES answers in the Medical Statement, you need a check-up by a physician and will need a medical clearance signed by a doctor before any in-water activities - including the swimming pool. The Medical Statement/Questionnaire is there for a reason: it is your safety in question.
I signed up with PADI eLearning and selected X as an affiliated dive shop. I would like to change it to Pro-Diver Development, or vice versa. Can you change it?
No. PADI eLearning programs are owned and administered by PADI. We don't have access to the eLearning system to make any changes. As the eLearning online registration requires passwords and credit card numbers we cannot act as a third party on your behalf to change things through PADI either. Please contact PADI directly, they may be able to help you.
At what age can children start?
10 is the minimum age to start a scuba diving course course. Please bear in mind that scuba diving courses are primarily designed for adults. The sessions are fairly intensive and often several hours long in one go. Children at that age mature very differently. Children 12 years old or older usually do very well in the courses.
Strong swimming skills and comfortability in water are good indicators for doing well in the course - for children and adults alike.
What is Junior Open Water Diver? Is there a different course for youngsters?
The course requirements are same for adults and children. There are differences in depths and instructor to student ratios, but the differences are for the instructor. As a student you won't notice any difference.
Youngsters below 15 years of age earn the Junior Open Water/Advanced/Rescue Diver ratings after successful completion of the course. There are restrictions to supervision levels: 10-11 year olds must dive with a parent or guardian, or PADI professional, 12-14 year olds can dive with any certified adult. Once the Junior Diver turn 15, all age dependent restrictions are automatically lifted.
I did a dive course when I was a kid and have a Junior Open Water card. Is that still valid? Do I need to do the course again to upgrade?
Yes, it is still valid. No, you don't need to do the course again. The certifications do not expire. You also don't have to change the card (unless you want to, of course.) The restrictions in your card were automatically lifted when you turned 15. If you haven't dived for several years, you should refresh your knowledge and skills, though.
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