Some swimming ability is required. You need to have basic swim skills and be able to comfortably maintain yourself in the water. Your PADI Instructor will assess this by having you:
-Swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
-Float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods you want.
Any individual who can meet the performance requirements of the course qualifies for certification. There are many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements.
Firstly, it is highly unlikely that this will ever happen. During your PADI Open Water Diver course you will be taught how to monitor your air supply frequently and you will learn that we never dive until the tank is empty, we always end the dive before air supply becomes an issue. You will also learn several different ways to deal with an “out of air situation” safely so in the unlikely event that you did run out you will have the skills required to manage the situation
This one is tricky to answer because it depends on how quickly you breathe your air. Most people have some nerves before their first dive which means beginners use their air faster than experienced divers. Other factors also affect air consumption; body makeup, depth, fitness, sea conditions, how effectively you use your fins and even water temperature! Your first dive should be a minimum of 20 minutes and on average first dives usually range from 25 – 40 minutes but some first timers manage a full hour. You won’t know until you try but one thing’s for sure, your air consumption will improve the more you dive.
The first 2 dives of the PADI Open Water Diver program are a maximum of 12 meters and the 3rd and 4th dives are a maximum of 18 meters (or 12m for 10-11 year olds). Your dives should be more than 5 meters but you do not HAVE to go to 18 meters. Talk to your instructor if you are anxious about depth.
Yes absolutely. One option is to dive in contact lenses – daily disposables are best in case you lose one during some of the mask skills which can happen from time to time. If you are not a contact lens wearer then a prescription mask is a great option. Some dive centers have prescription masks available but it can be difficult to hire one that matches your eyesight requirements exactly so it’s a good idea to invest in one of your own. If you are long sighted (have difficulty reading but are okay with distances), then you can buy prescription stickers that you apply to the lower section of a regular mask – much like wearing reading glasses.
Yes. The PADI Open Water Diver course is designed to make it accessible to everyone, no matter what your preferred learning style is. The program is not just reading (although there is some), you will also be able to learn the theory through video presentations, practical demonstrations and practice and instructor presentations. If you are worried about “cramming” the PADI eLearning options allow you to study from home, at your own pace prior to going to the dive center. If you are smartphone or tablet user then try the PADI Open Water Diver Touch Version which you also complete at home and provides a more interactive way of learning.