Hello and welcome to our Together DIVE beginners guide for Scuba Diving – Learning to dive in the UK: Part 2. There are 5 parts to the series which should help you get into Scuba Diving and give it a go on British shores.
In this blog we outline some of the courses that you can do through PADI and BSAC clubs. These will introduce you to diving and help you get an idea of what you can do if you want to learn more skills.
Level 1: Try Dives & PADI Discover Scuba Diving
Most BSAC clubs offer the opportunity to do a try dive at their pool meeting. This is a great way to see if you want to take up diving as a hobby without the cost of study. You’ll need to find your local club and send them an email or call to book a try dive session so they can assign an instructor to you. You’ll do a brief dry tuition of equipment and techniques and then go for your first scuba dive.
There is sometimes a nominal charge for Try Dives which covers your equipment use and pool hire.
PADI Discover Scuba Diving
PADI offer the opportunity to try scuba diving with their instructors at PADI dive shops at either a pool, off a beach or from a dive boat. This gives you a quick and easy intro to diving and will give you some idea of what to expect on an Open Water course. To do a Discover Scuba session you need to find your local PADI centre and get in touch with them. They’ll be able to book you in with an instructor who will explain kit and help you experience what it’s like to breathe underwater.
Level 2: BSAC Ocean Diver, PADI Open Water Diver and PADI Scuba Diver
There are three ‘beginner’ courses that you can do to start diving once you’ve had a try dive.
BSAC Ocean Diver
BSAC’s Ocean Diver is taught through a programme of six dry theory and at least 5 pool/sheltered water lessons where you’ll become familiar with your equipment and the feeling of breathing underwater for longer period of time. You’ll learn about controlling your buoyancy and moving underwater as well as managing your gas, planning your dive and being safe. At the end of your course you’ll do four open water dives and you’ll be continuously assessed throughout the course with a short theory exam included.
The course can take between 2-6 months to complete depending on your time commitments and instructor availability. Once qualified you’ll be able to dive with another Ocean Diver under the supervision of a Dive Manager. Your qualification will be recognised worldwide and you can dive to a depth of 20m, there is also the option of completing your Nitrox training so you can dive on different gas mixtures.
The benefit of this course is that you’re supported by a club when you’re training. You can access a wealth of knowledge and good clubs will make sure that you have the same trainer throughout your course.
PADI Open Water Diver
PADI Open Water Diver is one of the world’s most popular dive qualifications and you’ll often come across it when you’re on holiday. To do this course you’ll start learning online or through PADI manuals, you’ll meet with an Instructor to check on your progress. The e-learning course will help you to understand the basic principles of diving. You’ll then apply this knowledge in some sheltered water lessons before moving onto your open water dives.
Because the course is based on e-learning, you go at your own pace. This means that you can complete the Open Water Diver over any period of time but it usually takes between 10-12 hours in total. You’ll have an exam at the end of the e-course to review your knowledge. You can complete your exam, pool sessions and sea dives within 3-5 days.
Once you’ve qualified you’ll be able to dive to 18m however in order to dive with a Nitrox mix you’ll need to do a PADI Enriched Air Diver course. You’ll be qualified to dive at sites all around the world.
PADI Scuba Diver (Beginner)
If you’re short on time the Scuba Diver course from PADI is a good option. It gives you an intro to your Open Water Diver qualification and allows you to dive up to 12m with a PADI professional. You’ll get a good experience of underwater diving and you’ll be able to hire or buy scuba equipment and obtain air refills.
Level 3: Next steps
Once you’ve completed your initial diving training and feel that you want to develop your scuba skills further you can carry on your training. More courses will help you develop different skill sets like being a safe diver at lower depths, learning rescue skills, boat handling, underwater navigation and dive leading.
The next step with BSAC is Sports Diver. On the Sports Diver course you’ll learn about safe diving, dive planning, the impact of different gas mixes and a variety of equipment. By the end of the qualification you’ll be able to dive to 30m.
The next step with PADI is Advanced Open Water Diver. On your Advanced Open Water you’ll do different Adventure dives including navigation and deeper diving.The skills from this course will help you to enjoy a wider variety of underwater environments like wreck diving.
Thanks for reading this edit of Learning To Dive In The UK, we hope you found it helpful. In the next blog you’ll find info about what you’ll need in terms of fitness and equipment to start diving. Please note that other dive schools are available outside of PADI and BSAC but these are recommended from experience.
Check out Learning To Dive In The UK: Part 1 here.