All to Know about PADI Certification, Scuba Diving

I am PADI Certified!

Yes, as mentioned in my prior post, I was PADI Certified with Midwest Diving in Minnesota and Koox Diving in Tulum. PADI Certification Scuba Diving was also a huge item on our Ultimate Travel Bucket list as well!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the whole PADI Certification process and every class is different because of the instructors but the format is about the same.

PADI Certification

PADI, standing for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is a worldwide scuba diver training organization. The PADI system is based on step by step training of skills, safety and environmental knowledge to students who strive to dive around the world. PADI courses are realistic and professional.

There are many stages of PADI certifications from basic open water diving to advanced divers who are now instructors of PADI courses. These PADI courses make scuba diving possible while maintaining the highest standards of safety.

PADI’s “Four E’s Philosophy” is that the dive lifestyle requires four elements (taken directly from their site):

  • Education: Beyond simply learning to scuba dive, you expand your capabilities as a diver through continued education. PADI’s full range of diver courses introduces you to new underwater activities and can even help you make a career move to become a PADI Professional.
  • Experience: PADI dive shops offer a variety of experiences from local dive tours to exotic dive travel. Diving is a social activity and, by affiliating with a PADI Dive Center or Resort, you can explore dive sites nearby or visit vacation destinationsaround the world with others who share your interests.
  • Equipment: Scuba gear makes diving possible. The best place to learn about all the fun gadgets and new scuba equipment available to you is at your local PADI Dive Center or Resort.
  • Environmental Conservation: A healthy underwater environment is essential to good diving and divers are great advocates for protecting our water resources. Throughout PADI courses, divers learn the importance of protecting fragile aquatic ecosystems and are encouraged to become involved in local and global conservation efforts. For more than two decades, PADI has partnered with Project AWARE® – a global nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting our ocean planet – one dive at a time.

More than 6,500 PADI Dive centers resorts, PADI Certifcication is easy to come by and accessible. Start discovering underwater today!

Pre Work

Since taking my program near my home, I was able to pick up my pre-work from the diving shop. Once receiving I would advise to get right to work. The pre-work comes with either a book or a DVD.

The book is 5 chapters and a step by step of diving, safety and equipment. Between each chapter there is a test about the information read. This test will be reviewed during the theory portion. The 5 chapter book will take you about 5-7 hours reading and understanding the information.

The DVD is a 5 hour talking version of the 5 chapter book. It goes over the same information and have to take the same tests in between the chapters. It is a great idea for PADI to offer two different forms of learning. Pick what fits you best.

Learning the information is very important. Knowing the equipment you will be using for all your dives is essential before diving. Safety cues is beneficial for everyone so your dives don’t get ruined with miscommunication and being safe will keep you healthy.

If setting up your PADI Certification with a destination spot, meaning you life in one country or state and want to go on vacation and get your certification, you most definitely can. They will take your address and send you the pre-work ahead of time so you don’t have to waste time on your vacation.

One can also unexpectedly sign up for Scuba Diving PADI Certification last minute, but will have to spend a half day indoors watching the 5 hour video and doing the pre-work. Planning ahead is beneficial, but not always necessary.

Theory Portion

The theory portion, or classroom work, may vary per instructor. Our theory portion was a 4 hour class after all pre-work was done. Once we arrived we filled out our dive packet information for the PADI Certification and got out our work books.

We went through all the chapter review tests in class. Talked about problems we were hung up on or needed more information about. We weren’t down graded or tested on how well we did with these review tests.

After going through the book work we moved on to examples of safe dives. This means if our computer stopped working, we could use our chart and figure out how long of a dive we can take, if a safety stop is needed and how long in between dives. This was such a unique concept and one that was very helpful! Technology is great but sometimes is a pain in the butt.

We also talked a lot about safety signals and important safety rules. This was a recap of what we read but a great refresher.

After all the reviewing, the class work example and safety talk we took 2 quizzes and a big test. One part of the quiz was questions while the other part of more examples using the chart instead of computer.

If you read your pre-work and listened during class you will score high enough to safely pass and more on to the pool portion.

Pool Work

After the pre-work is done and the theory portion is complete, it’s time to go to the pool. This was another 4 hour time slot at a local high school pool.

It started with an overview and hands on time with our equipment. We were able to set it up, turn on our oxygen, feel the weight and know where everything is. This was very helpful for myself, I read all about it now I get my hands on work.

After learning our equipment we put it on and jumped in the water. Shallow end of course. The first half of the pool work was in the shallow end and working on getting use to breathing through your regulator, taking your BCD on and off, taking your goggles on and off, clearing the water out of your googles and safety issues like losing your regulator.

Now to the 6 foot deep water where we worked on buoyancy, BCD work, safety checks and signals with our partners. This is where we really got to go under the water and swim, while breathing into the regulator. I felt like a diver for sure.

Our last portion was in the, very, deep end. 18 feet to be exact, so we really go the feel of diving. While in the deep end we got to work on stepping into the water, buoyancy, CESA, the feeling of no oxygen and swimming with no goggles. The hardest thing for my husband and myself was the equalizing of our ears.

Equalizing of ears takes some time. Every instructor we had was amazing at telling us to take our time and go slow. This is what we did and after awhile it did come around. But still something that will be a battle until we dive more often.

The very LAST thing we had to do was 8 laps in the pool and tread water for 10 minutes. I am not a swimmer, I don’t really enjoy it, but this last part wasn’t too bad. You can do it!

Open Water Dive

Thankfully, we were able to do our PADI Certification Open Water Scuba Diving in Tulum, Mexico. Not that a lake in the middle of May in Minnesota wouldn’t of been great (eye roll), we were excited to see a different aspect of Mexico.

Koox Diving is who we did our Open Water Certification with. Justine was a great instructor and I was so happy with the overall experience.

For our open water dive we rode out into the ocean about 10 minutes, which is where a beautiful coral wall resided. Justine showed us how to enter into the water backward, and went right into our CESA ascend, one at a time.

Next it was to equalizing at a greater distance. 50 feet down, it was a slow, “equalizing” time, but finally we both felt comfortable to move forward. We had to do our compass work as partner and next thing we know, we crossed all our safety and PADI regulations off. We finally got to enjoy our beautiful dive.

After sometime of rest, dive number 2 is done and if everything goes well, you’re now also PADI Certified.

Some people may think that not sticking with one company isn’t the best choice, but I loved it. We learned so much from both instructors and each had their way of teaching us. It was also great to be taught helpful tips for when diving in with less resources, like using your spit for goggle “defogger”.

PADI Certification Card

After your open water dive is complete, they will have sign the paperwork and send you a temporary card immediately. This allows for a diving trip the next day if planned. A few weeks later, an official PADI card will show up at your doorstep!

This official PADI card will be needed for any PADI dives participated in worldwide.

Own Gear?

I have heard conflicting things on getting divers getting their own gear.

  • Wetsuit: This has an advantage and disadvantage. Advantage- it is your wetsuit and specific to your size. This makes it easier with the guess game on sizes and personal to you. Disadvantage- the drying time is crazy. If you don’t have someplace to dry your wetsuit it could take 2-3 days that you don’t have on a busy vacation.
  • Googles: 100% yes, get your own pair. There are so many designs and fit of googles that finding one that fits you perfect is so beneficial while diving. This is a great guide on how to choose which googles are best for you.
  • Flippers: It can take up some needed space in your carryon but getting the perfect flipper for your feet makes a huge difference.
  • BCD & Regulator: How big of a diver are you? Do you dive 1x week, 1x month, every 6 months, then this could vary. If diving is something you do often, getting the BCD and regulator is a great idea. This is your personal wear and the gear will be something you become an expert with. If people are like myself and plan to dive 1x every 3-4 months, traveling with all that gear isn’t beneficial towards me. Especially since I will always be diving with a guide/tour that will provide me the gear.

Now What?

There are so many things we would love to do with our PADI Card.

  • Whale Shark Diving
  • Cenote Diving
  • Diving with Crocodiles
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Belize, second biggest reef
  • & so much more!

Become PADI Certified Today, find a Location Near You!

This is one thing that can improve any trip I go on. Seeing the ocean or a body of water from a different perspective is exciting and I can’t wait to keep exploring.

Are you PADI Certified? Do you plan on becoming PADI Certified?

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