Frequently Asked Questions
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 diver level the differences are in general very minor. After the open water level, there are differences in continuing education paths.
There are differences between agencies with student and instructor materials, though, and this is where PADI excels. We have chosen to teach under PADI and PSAI. PADI is the world's largest scuba agency and renowned for the high quality student and 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.
All (major) scuba agencies recognize each other and each other's certifications, so you can start diving with one and crossover to another to do other agencies' courses whenever and as many times as you like.
I did the Discover Scuba Diving during my holiday. Does it count towards my Open Water certification? 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 30 or so skills that you'll cover during your open water course. We still need to see to make sure you can do the skills you may have done, and the only way for us to do that 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 in the PADI Open Water course no longer allow direct linking of DSD to Open Water course, and thus getting credit for the Open Water course is only possible if the DSD was conducted according to the same standards as the open water training dive 1 and was documented in the student's training record.
Do I need to know how to swim to learn to scuba dive?
Yes. You don't have to be a super swimmer, but you need to be able to swim 200 metres without stopping - any style or combination of styles. There is no time limit for the swim. You also need to be able to maintain yourself on the surface for 10 minutes by floating, treading water or swimming a little circle. Swimming skills are assessed during the Open Water course, but they are not taught or practiced during the course.
Discover Scuba Diving program does not have any swimming requirements.
I have a medical condition X. / I suffered from X as a child. Can I dive?
Probably/maybe. Before each dive course you will need to fill in a Medical Statement/Questionnaire to screen possible conditions affecting scuba diving. If you have one or more YES answers in the questionnaire, you need to see a physician. Your doctor will evaluate possible risks your condition may cause. Your doctor will then need to sign a form clearing you to dive before any in-water activities - including the swimming pool.
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'm going on holiday to the Philippines/Thailand/any other country 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 started the PADI Open Water Course in X, but I couldn't finish it. Do I need to do the course again?
Not necessarily. The completed segments are valid for 12 months from the last segment completed. Please contact us and we'll see what you need to do to get certified. We will need a copy of your Open Water Training Record indicating the modules you have completed signed by your instructor. You might have the Training Record printed on a separate form or it may be in your log book.
What is the difference between PADI eLearning and PADI Touch programs?
PADI eLearning programs are designed for desktops or laptops and require internet connection when using the program.
PADI Touch is a tablet-based app that only requires online connection during the initial download and when submitting the records of the completed course.
The course contents are same - the only difference between the two is which platform you prefer.
How long does it take to complete the PADI eLearning program?
That is up to you: you proceed at your own chosen pace. Study times of 9-12 hours have been cited by our divers, PADI's estimation is 12-15 hours.
I signed up with PADI eLearning and selected X as my 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 is a legal transaction between the user and PADI and requires credit card numbers and passwords, we cannot act as a third party on your behalf to change things through PADI either.
The eLearning Record you receive upon completion of your eLearning program is accepted by any PADI dive shop worldwide regardless which dive shop you initially affiliated with.
More answers to questions about the eLearning are on PADI website.
At what age can children start?
10 is the minimum age to start a scuba diving course. Please bear in mind that scuba diving courses are primarily designed for adults. The group course sessions are fairly intensive and often several hours long in one go. 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 courses and course requirements are the same for adults and children. There are differences in depth and instructor to student ratio requirements, 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 a course. There are restrictions to supervision and depth levels for certified Junior divers: 10-11 year olds must dive with a parent or guardian, or a PADI professional, to the maximum depth of 12m, 12-14 year olds can dive with any certified adult. Once the Junior Diver turns 15, all age dependent restrictions are automatically lifted.
I did a dive course when I was a kid and have a Junior Open Water Diver 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 on 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.
I'm wearing contact lenses/glasses. Is that a problem?
No, it is not a problem. Water forgives a lot in terms of seeing underwater: if the correction you need is on the milder side, you may find that you don't necessarily need any correction underwater. If you do need correction, you can either wear contact lenses or dive with a mask with prescription lenses.
You can scuba dive wearing contact lenses. We recommend disposable contact lenses and to bring an extra pair just in case. Losing contact lenses underwater is actually rather rare. Contact lenses have a couple advantages over prescription masks: you can use a regular mask, when you take your mask off after the dive you can see, and you don't have the hassle of storing or finding your glasses before and after your dives.
If you don't like contact lenses, you can get masks with prescription lenses. Prescription masks are typically not available for rental, however, so you need to have your own. These can be typically installed in the shop while you wait (only takes a couple of minutes). Your choice of masks is limited, though.
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 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 fun divers joining the group of open water diver students underwater when the students are doing their training dives.
I have lost my certification card. What should I do?
If you are PADI certified, you have three ways to prove your certification status:
Temporary or permanent certification card - either a physical card or eCard on your phone.
Online check - any PADI dive shop, instructor or divemaster can check your certification status online from PADI database. For this, you will need to provide your name and date of birth as they appear on your card.
Training records in your logbook. If you have the PADI Logbook and Training Record and your instructor has signed the records, you can use those to prove your certification. The PADI Logbook and Training Record includes sections for Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver certifications.
You can replace your certification card through PADI website. PADI charges a fee for the replacement. If your records are in the PADI database, we can also handle the replacement process for you for a fee.
If you have a PSAI certification and were certified through PSAI China, we have all your certification records in our files and you can get replacement cards directly from us.
I have a SSI/NAUI/CMAS/XYZ certification. Do you accept the card?
Yes, certainly. We accept any internationally recognized scuba certification. If we are not immediately familiar with the agency and their certification levels and requirements, we can usually find out which courses they qualify you fairly easily.
I have a SSI/NAUI/CMAS/XYZ certification, but I would like to get a PADI card as well. Can I get a PADI certification with my existing card?
In order to to get a PADI certification, you need to complete a PADI course. Certifications from different dive agencies are not directly transferrable nor directly equivalent.
You may use your existing certification(s) to fulfill pre-requisite certification requirements for the next course level. The technical term in PADI speak is 'qualifying certification from another agency'. For instance, if you have a SSI Open Water Diver certification, you qualify to PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course and upon successful completion of the course, you will get a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification card.
What's the difference between Divemaster and Master Scuba Diver?
Divemaster is a professional level rating, Master Scuba Diver (or Master Diver) is a recreational rating.
PADI Divemaster is the first professional rating in the PADI system and requires the completion of the PADI Divemaster Course, PSAI Divemaster is the first professional rating in the PSAI System and requires the completion of the PSAI Divemaster Course. After being certified by their respective training agencies, PADI/PSAI Divemasters can perform divemaster duties in professional capacity.
The term 'divemaster' is also used to refer to the person responsible for dive activities on a boat or shore dive site regardless of his/her level of certification.
PADI Master Scuba Diver rating is the highest recreational level: PADI Master Scuba Divers have obtained PADI Rescue Diver certification, five PADI Specialty certifications and logged minimum of 50 dives. PSAI Master Diver is an old rating that is no longer used in the PSAI system. Divers holding PSAI Master Diver rating have completed eight specialty courses from the PSAI system including Advanced Buoyancy Control, Basic Underwater Navigation and Deep Sport Diver specialties. This level is now called PSAI Gold Status Sport Diver.
Can I scuba dive on my period?
Yes. There are no medical reasons preventing you to dive when you are menstruating. If regular exercise does not increase your menstrual symptoms, it is perfectly fine to scuba dive.
There are some studies that suggest that women are more suspectible to decompression sickness during menstruation, but the results have not been conclusive. If you have your period, stay well hydrated, stay within your computer or table limits and remember to make safety stops - and enjoy your dives.
Won't the sharks attack me if I dive on my period?
No, they will not.
First, while sharks have a keen sense of smell, they can not "smell a drop of blood from miles away". That is a myth. Second, sharks are not very interested in human blood: they are interested in fish blood (or fish gastric juices, actually). Third, most women find that their period actually stops during the dive. Also, see the next question...
Are there sharks in Hong Kong?
No. Sadly, but no. There is no resident population of sharks in Hong Kong.
There are shark populations outside Hong Kong waters and while one might occasionally get close to Hong Kong, your chances of encountering sharks here are virtually nil. For most sharks, there simply aren't big enough fish here to attract them.
Whale sharks have been spotted and photographed in Hong Kong in July 2012 and July 2015. Whale sharks are plankton eaters, gentle giants, and perfectly harmless to divers.
The last shark attack in Hong Kong was in 1995, over twenty years ago. What was believed to be a tiger shark apparently got lost in the maze of islands, bays and peninsulas which form Hong Kong's eastern coast and fatally attacked swimmers swimming at dusk or dawn at Clearwater Bay area over a period of a couple of weeks. The attacks earned Hong Kong a spot in many 'Top 10 Shark Attacks' lists. Some of these old lists pop up every now and then, but Hong Kong's place on those lists is definitely outdated.
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