Everything you need to know to get scuba certified in 2021.

How to get scuba certified?

You earn your scuba certification by completing the Open Water Diver Course.  The open water diver certification consists of 3 different sections. First there is a knowledge requirement.  Second, you began to learn different skills needed to scuba dive in a confined water environment like a swimming pool. Last, you will take those skills you learned in the pool into the open ocean for 4 open water dives.

After completing the open water diver course you will become scuba certified.  Once certified you will be able to dive without an instructor to a maximum depth of 60 feet, purchase scuba gear, and purchase air fills from dive shops.  There are several different scuba diving organizations. Choose one that is internationally recognized. Key Largo Scuba Diving offers diver certification courses daily through PADI and SSI.  Both of these scuba diving organizations are internationally recognized and have a great curriculum. Call us to discuss the differences.

Step 1. Open Water Scuba Certification Knowledge Requirement

The academic portion of the open water course can be completed online (E-Learning), in a live classroom environment, or through video conferencing with your instructor.  Each option has its differences so consider how you learn best. If you learn on your own and just like to read e-learning may be the best option. If you prefer something with more engagement then a classroom environment may be best for you. Completing the knowledge requirement remotely with your instruction on video conferencing enables you to still work remotely but with the presence of an instructor. In most cases the instructor that completes the video conferencing will also be your instructor in the pool and the ocean.

If you choose to enroll in the E-Learning this will be completed at your leisure from a computer or tablet.  Throughout your e-learning there will be various quizzes known as knowledge reviews.  Once you complete the e-learning course you will take a final exam and then be ready to begin your confined water/pool sessions.  Contact us to setup your e-learning course.

Do you want a more personal experience?  Complete the course in a classroom setting it will be taught here in Key Largo, Florida.  This will take two days to complete and be approx. 3-4 hours per day.  The instructor that teaches the course will also be your instructor in the pool and the ocean.  If you learn better having the ability to ask questions and enjoy a more hands on approach this is the option for you.  The classroom setting is much more interactive and we think you will learn more with this option.

The last option for the knowledge requirement is to complete the course remotely with an instructor.  This still gives you the ability to work directly with a scuba instructor but instead of being in person it would be from your own home. We have different video conferencing options. You and your instructor can create a schedule that works for you. Flexibility is key with this option.  The minimum class time is 1 hour. Aside from this the schedule is at your convenience.

During the academic section you learn the basics of scuba gear, dive theory, scuba skills, and the responsibility of being a good dive buddy.  The content will be provided to you in text and video format.  At the completion of each section you complete a knowledge review. Any questions that are answered wrong will be discussed with your instructor.

Step 2. Confined Water Dives (Pool Sessions)


The confined water dives take place in a swimming pool if you complete with us in Key Largo, Florida. If you never did the Discover Scuba Course this will be when you take your first breathe underwater.  There are a total of 5 confined water dives. These can be completed all at once or at different stages of your training.  During the pool sessions you will learn how to assemble and use your gear.  You will also learn the various skills you will need to scuba dive safely.  The pool environment is less stressful than the ocean. The more time you spend in the pool the more comfortable and confident you will be in the ocean.

Your instructor will explain and demonstrate the required skills and you will practice them in the pool. Skills to be learned include mask clearing, regulator recovery, buoyancy, gauge reading, equalizing, descending and ascending, and much more.  There is more than 40 skills that your instructor will teach you. Many of these skills set the table for the next. Do not be intimidated. The pool sessions are very fun and a great way to start your adventures in scuba diving.

There are minimum standards that must be met in the confined water environment. Students learn at difference paces.  Its important to let us know how you best learn so we can all be successful. Some students thrive in group environments whereas some do much better in very small or private classes. Contact us to speak with an instructor so we can make sure you are setup for success.  The more time you spend in the pool the better your skills will be. In scuba diving we learn in the pool and apply what we’ve learned in the ocean.  Pool sessions range from 3 hours to more than 9 hours (over multiple days).  The fastest you can complete the confined water requirement is 3-4 hours. This pace is not for everyone.

Step 3. Open Water Dives

The final step to becoming a certified open water diver is completing your 4 open water dives.  At Key Largo Scuba Diving we complete our four dives in the ocean on the third largest barrier reef in the world.  During your open water dives you will be with your instructor the entire time. The skills you learned in the pool will be practiced again in the ocean. Each dive will address different skills.  You will become more confident with each dive. This leads up to final dive where you will plan an execute on your own while your instructor is present the entire time.

The open water dives are really enjoyable. In addition to practicing your newly learned scuba skills you will also go for a swim and do some exploring. All with your scuba instructor of course! Each dive is a 1 tank dive. Typically we do 2 dives per day on each trip. You cannot complete more than 3 training dives in the ocean per day. Therefore your ocean dives will require 2 separate days.

After you have successfully demonstrated your ability to utilize your new scuba skills you will become a certified open water scuba diver. You will receive a certification card in the mail.

What does it mean to be a certified scuba diver?

Most importantly it means that you are now part of a very small group of people certified to explore the underwater world. There are more than 7 billion people on the planet. It is unknown exactly how many scuba divers there are but estimates are all consistent in that there is less than 10 million divers. That’s less than half of one percent of the population.

Once you are certified you will be able to obtain air fills, rent gear, join a dive charter, and scuba dive with a buddy to a max depth of 60 feet.  You will also be qualified to further your education in specialty classes and the Advanced Open Water Diver course.

What is the referral check out dive option?

Many scuba diving organizations have whats called a referral program or a universal referral. This enables the student to complete their knowledge requirements and confined water requirements with a local dive shop and then complete their ocean dives anywhere in the world. Key Largo Scuba Diving offers this option and welcomes divers from anywhere in the world.  The Florida Keys has warm water year round. The Keys also has very good visibility. Even during the winter months the water temperatures remain in the mid 70’s.

The checkout dives can be completed in two days. Each day would consist of 1 am or pm dive trip.  In addition to the four required open water dives we can also include additional training dives and pool sessions.

Do you offer private scuba diving instruction?

Yes. Key Largo Scuba Diving offers world class training for many different skill levels. We can always customize the training regime to whatever you would like. Private scuba diving instruction has many benefits. You will be a better diver with private instruction. Lets face it. Breathing underwater is not normal for humans. Therefore everyone adjusts to the underwater environment different. There are several different reasons to consider private training.

First off some people learn better when its a one to one ratio. There is no pressure of other people in the class. This is a great way to learn. Secondly when you have private instruction all the attention is on you. Therefore the amount of time spent directly with you on mastering each skill is greater. Not everyone learns all the skills at the same pace. Different people require different amounts of time of certain skills. With private instruction you set the pace of the class.  Private scuba instruction obviously has added costs but everyone that goes this route always says it was well worth it.

If you are ready to get started call us, email us, or start a chat with an instructor on our page. Key Largo scuba diving instruction is available 7 days per week. Scuba diving is all that we do!

Key Largo Scuba Diving Blog