How the SCUBA Diving Certification Process Works
Obtaining your scuba diving certification is fun. It's only a little bit of work and once you are certified, you're certified for life.
Before you can become a diver, you have to pass several tests. First, it may sound obvious, but you have to be able to swim. Second, you'll need to be in good physical and mental shape. This usually means you need a signed approval from a doctor. Third, you need to find a dive instructor that you like and trust from the dive training organization that you have chosen to certify you.
The dive certification process is quite simple. It involves classroom time, confined water dives, and open water dives. You'll learn a lot in a short amount of time, but be sure to really understand it all because knowledge makes diving enjoyable and safe.
In the classroom, your instructor will explain the science of diving, teach you about dive equipment, detail safe diving techniques, and clarify any and all misconceptions. The classroom information is broken down into several sections. After each section, there is a written test; usually the test is multiple choice. The tests verify that you have a solid basis for the academics of diving. If you plan to learn to dive on your next holiday to the beautiful beaches of the Turks and Caicos or Sicily, you may complete the classroom knowledge online before the water instruction.
You will have multiple confined water dives that take place in a swimming pool, which serves as a safe environment without many distractions. In the pool you'll master the basic skills and the academic lessons will start to make more sense. Your instructor will demonstrate each skill and help you feel comfortable performing if.
The basic skills you will need to master include in no particular order:
- Assembling and proper wearing of the scuba equipment
- BCD use at the surface
- Underwater breathing
- Regulator recovery (this is the thing you breath out of)
- Regulator clearing
- Clearing your dive mask of water
- Swimming underwater
- Communicating underwater
- Ascending and descending
- Safety checks
- Deep water entry and exit
- Mask removal and replacement
- Proper weighting
- No mask breathing
- Buddy breathing
- BCD inflation
- Equipment removal underwater and at surface
- Snorkel usage
- Neutral buoyancy (This is when you float in the water like an astronaut!)
- Tired diver tow
- Free flowing regulator
- Alternate air source usage
- Emergency ascents
- Bubble blowing
- Proper breathing techniques
You'll learn all of these skills in the safety of the swimming pool with your instructor right next to you.
After you've mastered these skills in the pool, it's time to take them out to the open water and practice them again in the wilds of the sea. You'll know you've mastered the skill when you can do it 30 feet deep kneeling on the seabed with turtles floating by you. Once you've completed them, you're a scuba diver.
These are only the basic skills, but they are skills that you'll have to use every time you dive. As you climb the diving certification ladder you'll develop more skills. Usually each certification has a similar process - classroom time, pool time, open water, certified diver.