Become a PADI Open Water Diver

Unveiling the Steps to PADI Open Water Diver Certification

Embarking on the journey to become a PADI Open Water Diver opens up a world of underwater adventure, allowing divers to explore depths of up to 18 meters/60 feet upon certification. This process not only enhances one’s diving skills but also lays the foundation for safe diving practices, requiring participants to be comfortable in the water and maintaining a reasonable level of physical fitness.

The PADI Open Water Diver certification embodies a structured course divided into dive theory, confined water sessions, and open water dives, tailored to instill proficiency and confidence in aspiring divers. Through completing 5 confined water sessions and 4 open water dives, individuals can unlock the gateway to the vast, magnificent marine world that lies beneath the waves.

What is the PADI Open Water Diver Course?

The PADI Open Water Diver course is meticulously designed to introduce beginners to the world of scuba diving through a three-phase learning process:

  1. Knowledge Development
    • This phase focuses on understanding the basic principles of scuba diving.
    • Learners engage with materials covering dive planning, gear selection, and underwater communication through videos and eLearning online.
  2. Confined Water Dives
    • These sessions occur in a pool or a controlled water environment, allowing learners to practice basic scuba skills in a calm setting. Skills include mask clearing, buoyancy control, and emergency procedures.
  3. Open Water Dives
    • Applying skills in real-world conditions, students embark on four dives, with depths progressively increasing up to 18 meters/60 feet. The initial dives focus on comfort in open water, while later dives add more complex skills.

Each phase is crafted to build confidence and ensure mastery of diving skills, underpinned by a supportive learning environment. This structured approach, combined with the flexibility of language options and the inclusion of academic assessments, ensures a comprehensive and accessible path to becoming a certified Open Water Diver.

The Path to Become a Certified Diver

Beginning the journey to PADI Open Water Diver certification is a structured and engaging process designed to ensure divers are well prepared and confident in their abilities. Here’s a closer look at the path to become a certified diver:

  • Eligibility and Preparation
    • Minimum age: 10 years old.
    • Complete a medical questionnaire to assess fitness for diving.
    • Demonstrate basic water skills: swim 200 meters/yards and float for 10 minutes.
  • Equipment Familiarization
    • Essential personal gear: mask, snorkel, and fins.
    • Learn to use: regulator, BCD, dive computer or planner, scuba tank, wetsuit or dry suit, and weight system during the course.
    • Consideration: Investing in your own scuba equipment is advisable (after your first dive course).
  • Course Structure and Certification
    • The PADI Scuba Diver Course, an intermediate step before full certification, includes Knowledge Development, Confined Water Dives, and Open Water Dives.
    • As a PADI Scuba Diver, you’re qualified to dive under supervision up to 12 meters/40 feet.
    • Full certification requires completion of open water training dives, after which a C-Card is issued, recognizing you as a certified recreational open water diver.

This pathway not only ensures divers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge for safe diving but also opens up a world of underwater exploration and adventure.

Why Choose PADI for Your Diving Certification?

Choosing PADI for your diving certification offers a wealth of advantages that cater to both your educational needs and your passion for underwater exploration:

  • Comprehensive Course Offerings:
    • PADI provides a wide range of courses from beginner to professional levels, including Open Water Diver, Discover Scuba Diving, and Divemaster.
    • Specialized conservation programs like Ocean Conservation and Shark & Ray Protection are available, highlighting PADI’s commitment to marine life protection.
  • Unmatched Support and Resources:
    • Access to PADI eLearning┬« allows for flexible progression through courses, accommodating busy schedules.
    • PADI Regional Headquarters support dive centers with marketing campaigns and programs, driving customer engagement.
    • Exceptional customer service and business consultation are provided, including risk management, insurance, and legal assistance.
  • Environmental Commitment and Recognition:
    • PADI’s dedication to conservation is evident through partnerships with organizations like the PADI AWARE Foundation.
    • Dive centers and resorts can earn the PADI Green Star Dive Center Award for employing conservation-minded business practices.

These benefits underscore why PADI is the world’s most recognized dive training organization, with a vast network of PADI Professionals and Dive Centers worldwide.

Next Steps After Your First Certification

After obtaining your PADI Open Water Diver Certification, diving into further exploration and skill enhancement is both exciting and rewarding. Here are the next steps to consider:

  • Build Confidence and Connect:
    • Revisit one of your training sites to practice and solidify your skills.
    • Join a local dive club or the PADI Club for camaraderie, dive buddies, and access to special dive trips and discounts.
    • Embrace the role of an Ocean Torchbearer by taking the Pledge – Save the Ocean, contributing to marine conservation efforts.
  • Continuous Learning and Certification:
    • Keep your dive knowledge fresh with dive magazine subscriptions, dream scuba vacation planning, or land-based skill practice.
    • Advance your diving skills by enrolling in the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, followed by the Master Scuba Diver path for those seeking to join the elite group of divers with extensive experience.
  • Expand Your Diving Horizons:
    • After mastering the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, consider becoming a PADI Divemaster to supervise activities and assist with classes, or aim for the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) to teach your own courses.
    • Regular diving and skill practice enhance comfort and competence underwater, opening doors to various diving careers and specializations.
    • Explore local diving through a Discover Local Diving experience with a PADI Professional, and always be open to learning, such as reviewing student materials or engaging in PADI ReActivate to refresh skills.

By following these steps, divers can not only refine their abilities but also contribute positively to the diving community and the preservation of our oceans.


What does the PADI certification process entail? The PADI certification process begins with acquiring basic diving skills in a confined water setting, such as a pool or a pool-like environment. Following this, you will complete four open water dives under the supervision of a PADI Dive Instructor, typically spread over two days. During these dives, you will have the opportunity to apply the skills you learned in confined water and discover the wonders of the underwater realm.

How can I obtain my PADI certification card? Upon completing your dive certification or purchasing a PADI eCard, you can download it instantly. You can access your certification credentials through two main channels: the PADI App and the PADI website. To obtain your PADI eCard, simply download the PADI App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

What are the steps involved in learning to scuba dive? The journey to learning how to scuba dive involves a step-by-step process that starts with understanding the basic principles of diving, followed by practicing in a controlled environment, and culminating with actual open water dives where you apply and hone your skills.

What are the three stages of the entry-level scuba diving training? The entry-level training for scuba divers is divided into three distinct stages:

  1. Phase 1: Acquiring basic knowledge, which can be done online or through independent study.
  2. Phase 2: Performing confined water dives in a pool or similar facility to practice skills in a controlled setting.
  3. Phase 3: Participating in open water dives in a natural body of water to experience real-world diving conditions



Scroll to top