FIRST THINGS FIRST
A diver’s life starts with an ‘Open Water’ certification. With that credential alone, you’re able to dive anywhere in the world, as long as you stay above 60 ft. For those who wish to go deeper into the sport, a Master Diver certification is the crowning of amateur diving.
The main credentials most dive agencies work with are:
- Open Water - basic scuba skills to dive above 60 ft
- Advanced - specialized scuba skills to dive above 100 ft
- Rescue - emphasis on safety skills and emergencies
- Master Diver - ‘black belt’ of amateur diving for divers
- Divemaster - start of the professional diving career
- Dive Instructor - responsible for certifying new divers
An average price range for an Open Water certification is $400 to $600. Subsequent certifications go from $150 for a special credential, such as ‘Underwater Photography’, to $1,500 for an instructor license. In addition, scuba equipment and dive charters can add up to one’s lifetime scuba expenses.
Certification classes start with online or in-person lectures and are followed by pool and open water sessions. Before getting their certification cards, scuba divers also need to pass a written test – usually with a minimum score of 75.
For the majority of certifications, you can expect approximately 40 hours of instruction. On an intensive basis, divers are able to complete most certification courses within a week. Some divers, however, prefer to extend the length of their courses to accommodate their daily routines.
DO I REALLY NEED A CERTIFICATION?
Any legitimate dive company will require a certification card to rent equipment or take you on a dive charter. If they don’t, they’re either offering a Discover Scuba tour or they’re up to no good.
HOW TO GET CERTIFIED
To get a scuba certification, you must complete a course with a licensed instructor from your agency of choice. These instructors can either be associated with a dive shop or teach on their own.
SAN DIEGO DIVE SHOPS
The top 3 shops highlighted below use our charters consistently as part of their scuba courses*:
- Ocean Enterprises 🌟
- Beyond Land Adventures 🌟
- San Diego Divers 🌟
- House of Scuba
- North County Scuba Center
- Oceanside Scuba and Swim Center
*And didn’t ask to be featured here.
The instructors below are part of our charter crew and teach on the side:
IS SCUBA DIVING FOR ME?
Scuba diving for the first time is awkward for 99.9% of the people. If you feel comfortable in the water, you’re a good candidate to try it. If you’re not ready to commit to a certification, a ‘Discover Scuba’ tour might be a good option for you.