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What's involved in learning to scuba dive?

Learning to scuba dive with AQUANAUTICS DIVE and PADI is an incredible adventure! With PADI as your training organization, your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in three exciting phases:

1. Knowledge Development - Learn the lingo.

During the first phase of your PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification, you develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives. You briefly review what you have studied in the five knowledge sections with your instructor and take a short quiz to be sure you're getting it.

At the end of the course, you'll take a longer quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down. You and your AQUANAUTICS DIVE Instructor will review anything that you don't quite get until it's clear.

Select the knowledge development option you prefer:

  • Start right now and learn to scuba dive online with AQUANAUTICS DIVE via PADI eLearning or Touch program at your own pace—anytime, anywhere (great for busy schedules)
  • Attend a scheduled scuba diving class at AQUANAUTICS DIVE (great for meeting new friends and dive buddies)
  • Take advantage of home study using PADI multimedia materials (manual, video, CD-Rom) purchased through AQUANAUTICS DIVE.
2. Confined Water Dives - Scuba Skills Training.

This is what it's all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills by scuba diving in a pool or body of water with pool-like conditions. Here you'll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get water out of your scuba mask without surfacing. You'll also practice some emergency skills, like sharing air or replacing your scuba mask. Plus, you may play some games, make new friends and have a great time. There are five confined water dives, with each building upon the previous. Over the course of these five dives, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.

3. Open Water Dives

After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you've made continue learning during four open water dives with your AQUANAUTICS DIVE PADI Instructor at a dive site. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course. At Aquanautics Dive we try to do a shore dive and boat dive or dive at one of the Channel Islands so that you get a variety of dive experiences during your course.

How long does it take to get certified?

It's possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as two or three days by completing the classroom portion online via PADI eLearning or home study options offered by AQUANAUTICS DIVE.

The PADI Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means that AQUANAUTICS DIVE can offer a wide variety of schedules, paced according to how fast you progress.

Your instructor's interest is in your learning to scuba dive, not in how long you sit in a class. So, training is based upon demonstrating that you know what you need to know and can do what you need to do. This means that you progress at your own pace – faster or slower depending upon the time you need to become a confident scuba diver who dives regularly. You can start learning to scuba dive online right now with AQUANAUTICS DIVE and PADI eLearning or Touch programs.

Although we can easitly teach a fast paced class because we dive all the time we prefer a more relaxed schedule for the students benifit. This makes the pace more relaxed and gives the student more opportunity to do other things in their life. We feel it is better to teach people how to build scuba diving into their lives, not just block out a couple few days of their life where everything else stops. That said, we can certainly do the quick paced class for those that have time limit whenever possible. The trick in either case is that if you want to finish early............start early! How about today?

How much does it cost to take scuba lessons?

Compared with getting started in other popular adventure sports and outdoor activities, learning to scuba dive isn't expensive.

For example, you can expect to pay about the same as you would for:

  • a full day of surfing lessons
  • a weekend of rock climbing lessons
  • a weekend of kayaking lessons
  • a weekend of fly-fishing lessons
  • about three hours of private golf lessons
  • about three hours of private water skiing lessons
  • one amazing night out at the pub!

Learning to scuba dive is a great value when you consider that you learn to dive under the guidance and attention of a high trained, experienced professional - your AQUANAUTICS DIVE PADI Scuba Instructor. From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you share with friends. And, you can do it almost anywhere there is water. Start learning online with AQUANAUTICS DIVE and get ready to take your first breath underwater!

AQUANAUTICS DIVE is proud to be able to offer the PADI Open Water Course from a special price of $399.99 per person for our regularly scheduled classes. This is a considerable savings when you see everything that is included with this package. Students must still purchase personal gear not included in the rental package (mask, fins, snorkel, boots, gloves, and some other small items). Students receive a speciall discount and a counseling session on how to sellect gear during the course. 

What scuba gear do I need to learn to scuba dive?

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. AQUANAUTICS DIVE will help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.

When you start learning to scuba dive, as a minimum, you want your own

  • scuba mask
  • snorkel
  • boots
  • scuba fins
  • gloves

These have a personal fit, and AQUANAUTICS DIVE will help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited to you. Included in the cost of your PADI Open Water Diver course, AQUANAUTICS DIVE will provide a rental package of

  • dive regulator
  • scuba BC
  • dive computer
  • scuba tank
  • scuba wetsuit
  • hood
  • weight system and weights

Check with AQUANAUTICS DIVE to confirm sizing available for your course package. It's recommended that you invest in your own scuba equipment when you start your course because:

  • you're more comfortable using scuba gear fitted for you
  • you're more comfortable learning to scuba dive using gear you've chosen
  • scuba divers who own their own scuba diving equipment find it more convenient to go diving
  • having your own scuba diving gear is part of the fun of diving

The kind of gear you will need depends on the conditions where you dive. You may want:

  • tropical scuba gear
  • temperate scuba equipment
  • cold water scuba diving equipment

Aquanautics Dive wants you to be in the equipment that is right for you. Not everyone does the same type of diving or has the same preferences. We offer an explanation of the various dive gears features and benefits. Once you fully understand the equipment and the choices available the trick is to match your choice to your personal desires. If you are in the right gear for you will be more comfortable in the water. If you are more comfortable in the water you will enjoy it more. If you enjoy it more you will dive more. If you dive more you will enjoy it more........do you see the circle? You should be comfortable and have fun. It will make you happy you got out of bed that day. 

How do I know what's the best scuba gear?

Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. The professionals at AQUANAUTICS DIVE are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. These professionals can get you set with the right stuff, plus they provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.

Just because one diver likes a particular piece of equipment doesn't mean it is the best piece of equipment for you. Just because it is more expensive doesn't mean it is better for the type of diving that you will do.

At Aquanautics Dive we carry quality dive equiipment designed for Scuba Diving. Remember Scuba Equipment is also life support equipment so manufacturers don't make bad equipment for obvious reasons. Most manufacturers have a variety of equipment that has categories with different tiers of featues and benefits. There may be slight differences between certain items but most manufacturers have something in a category that is comparable to another manufacturers items. Another thing that is important is being able to get service on those items after purchasing it. Aquanautics is a service center for the gear it sells as well as many others. 

To select the best gear for you, you need to know what the features and benefits of the gear being evallutated, the type of diving you do, enviroment, objectives of your dives. Price of equipment that corresponds to the features of that equipment so that you can make a value jucgement that meets your personal goals and desires.

The goal should be to get gear that allows you to accomplish your goals, in a budget that fits your needs.

You may also want to talk to other scuba divers in PADI's online scuba community to get recommendations on particular scuba equipment brands and models.

What's required to take scuba lessons?

If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI scuba diver. You'll also want to keep in mind these requirements:

Minimum Age:

  • 12 years old (10 years old also but class sizes are limited)
  • Students younger than 15 years, who successfully complete the course qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15. You must be at least 13 years old to take scuba lessons online with PADI eLearning, due to international internet laws. If you're younger, you can still learn to dive – just have your parent or legal guardian contact AQUANAUTICS DIVE.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you're ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your dive physician (SPUMS) must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you're fit to dive. In some areas, local laws require all scuba students to consult with a physician before entering the course.

Waterskills: Before completing the PADI Open Water Diver course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic waterskill comfort 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 that you want.

About Physical Challenges: 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. Individuals with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Even individuals with more significant physical challenges participate in diving. Talk to your PADI Instructor at your local PADI Dive Shop or Resort for more information.

Learning Materials : Unless you choose PADI eLearning, you'll need and use the following training materials during the PADI Open Water Diver course, and for your review and reference after the course:

  • The PADI Open Water Diver Manual
  • PADI Open Water Diver Video on DVD or the PADI Open Water Diver Multimedia (combines manual and video for computer based learning).
  • You will also need your PADI Log book and Recreational Dive Planner (Table, or ERDPML).
Where can I scuba dive?

You can dive practically anywhere there's water – from a swimming pool to the ocean and all points in between, including quarries, lakes, rivers and springs. Where you can scuba dive is determined by your:

  • dive experience
  • dive site appropriate for your experience
  • accessibility
  • conditions interests

For example, if you've just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course, you probably won't be diving under the Antarctic ice on your next dive. But, don't limit your thinking to the warm, clear water you see in travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer than you think.

Your local dive site can be anything from a special pool built just for divers like one found in Brussels, Belgium, or more typically natural sites like Belize's Great Blue Hole, Australia's Great Barrier Reef or Japan's Yonaguni Monument. It may be a manmade reservoir or a fossil-filled river. It's not always about great visibility because what you see is more important than how far you see.

The only truly important thing about where you dive is that you have the scuba diving training and experience appropriate for diving there, and that you have a dive buddy to go with you. AQUANAUTICS DIVE can help you organize great local diving or a dive vacation. Visit today to get started.

My ears hurt when I dive down. Will that keep me from becoming a scuba diver?

No, assuming you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses. The discomfort is the normal effect of water pressure pressing in on your ears. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ears – you just need to learn how. If you have no difficulties adjusting to air pressure during flying, you'll probably experience no problem learning to adjust to water pressure while diving.

Does a history of ear troubles, diabetes, asthma, allergies or smoking preclude someone from diving?

Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function or heart function or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person's individual risk. Physicians can consult with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary when assessing a scuba candidate. 

DAN has information available online if you wish to do some research.

What are the most common injuries or sicknesses associated with diving?

Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are preventable with over the counter preventatives. The most common injuries caused by marine life are scrapes and stings, most of which can be avoided by wearing gloves and an exposure suit, staying off the bottom and watching where you put your hands and feet.

Contact AQUANAUTICS DIVE for information about exposure protection needed for any of your diving.


What about sharks?

When you're lucky, you'll get to see a shark. Although the big sharks do live in our waters they are few.  We have made thousands of dives off of the Southern California Shores and never seen anything to worry about. Most sharks encountered have no interest in you whatsoever and are either on their way somewhere, or sleeping. Most that you will find are about the size of a puppy or a small dog and will probably just ignore you or scurry away.  

Of course this is an understandable question for most unexperienced divers.  Shark attacks are sensationalized in the media and its a common concern for anyone entering the ocean.  However, the reality is that encountering dangerous sharks is incredibly rare.  Encountering a shark at all is actually a very exciting experience.


Do women have any special concerns regarding diving?

Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Menstruation is not normally a concern.

How deep do you go?

With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 130 feet. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 60 feet, unless you are a Junior Scuba Diver then it is 40 feet. The recommended depth limit for the PADI Advanced Diver is 100 feet, 70 feet for Jr Advanced. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 40 feet where the water's warmer and the colors are brighter.

What happens if I use up all my air?

That's not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you'll learn in your PADI Open Water course with AQUANAUTICS DIVE. To run out of air you would have to ignore so many things in your training that is highly unlikely to happen and with a buddy system 2 people would have to have made the mistake together. Even so the training goes over how to deal with that situation should it occur.

What if I feel claustrophobic?

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training with AQUANAUTICS DIVE, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly.

AQUANAUTICS DIVE keeps classes small so that we can give you more time to get comfortable with the amazing world of diving.

I have heard that Beach Diving is not safe?

Crossing the street is not safe! But people do it. Before they do it they are taught the proper techniques on how to do it. Stop. Look both ways, then look again, and proceed with caution. Use the crosswalk. Go with the flow of traffic. The first time everyone did this they were probably lead across the street while holding hands. Any of this familiar?

Beach diving is the same. Learn the proper techniques. Have respect for the power of the Ocean and go witth the flow. Stop, look both ways. Learn from someone that does it often and knows the sites where you are going to dive. 

There are things to see across the street and it is unrealistic to think you would go there as often if you had to get in your car and drive there all the time?

What is unsafe is darting into the street with out looking or trying to cross a busy highway.  We don't recommend that.

Do I have to come into the store to sign up for a class?

No. You should be able to sign up for a course through our website or online store with either choosing the eLearning course or Touch courses. Choose a schedule that works for you. We recommend a schedule that is far enough out that it gives you time to get the eLearning/Touch materials and start going so you have that all done before the course schedule starts. This will make your course even easier to do with all your homework done already. 

Make sure you have read and completed the medical questionaire so you know there are no issues requiring a doctors clearance before the start dates. If you have any questions please contact the store by phone, email, or stopping by the store. We are happy to answer any questions you have that you don't get answered on our site.

Once you have signed up on line and we have confirmation that you are registered in the class. We will email you your login information to your eLearning program or Touch program so that you can begin right away. We have had students from as far away as Afganastan sign up for eLearning so that they finish the eLearning before they got in town for the pool and ocean sessions.