The first step to becoming a scuba diver is ensuring you have no health conditions that would prevent you from diving. The second step is to decide which scuba diving organization you want to become certified with. We recommend choosing one that is internationally recognized such as PADI. If you would like to try scuba diving before completing diver training we offer a Discover Scuba course. The final step is earning your scuba certification. If you are ready to get certified you need to complete the Open Water Diver Course.
Step 1. Ensuring an acceptable level of health.
Scuba diving requires a minimum level of health. Physical activity adds stress to your body. It is imperative that your body can handle this for very obvious and not so obvious reasons. Every diver is required to complete a medical questionnaire. Certain medical conditions require a doctor to sign off on your ability to dive. This should be completed before enrolling in any scuba diving courses including the discover scuba course. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying in good physical shape helps reduce some of the risks in scuba diving.
Step 2. Try out scuba diving by completing the discover scuba course.
While it is not mandatory the Discover Scuba course is a great way to try out diving. This is a 1 day course that enables you to go scuba diving without any previous training or certification. All of the training and diving is completed with a certified scuba instructor. The course starts in the morning with a pool and classroom session. Then in the afternoon you will go out on the boat and complete your first two reef dives. For many people this turns into a lifelong hobby and an experience that they will never forget. Key Largo Scuba Diving offers the discover scuba course daily and includes all gear rental.
Step 3. Get Scuba Certified
There are a few different internationally recognized scuba training organizations. The first course you will complete is the Open Water Diver course. Upon successful completion you will be a certified scuba diver. Once certified you will be able to rent gear, go on dive charters, and dive without the supervision of a scuba instructor.
During open water diver training you will learn the basics of dive theory, gear assembly, and various skills that are needed to dive safely. The open water course consists of classrooms sessions, pool sessions, and open water dives. All of this is completed with a certified scuba instructor. Generally it takes 5 days (18-20 hours) to complete the entire course. This consists of 1 classroom session, 2 pool sessions, and 2 open water dive sessions. Everyone is different. The most important thing is to be confident with your skills. If you need more time that is totally acceptable.
Once you complete the course you will be certified to dive to a max depth of 60 feet. You will also be qualified to enroll in the next course which is the advanced open water diver.
Step 4. Consider purchasing your own scuba gear.
Now that you are an open water diver you should consider purchasing your own gear. Using the same gear every dive will help you become a more confident diver. You will know exactly how to assemble your gear, adjust your gear, save money on rental fees, and most importantly be more comfortable. Scuba gear is not one size fits all. Similar to your clothing there are all different sizes and styles. Key Largo Scuba Diving does not sell scuba gear. For this reason we feel this makes us very unbiased and great source for recommendations.
Depending on where you live and how many dive shops there are will determine your options. Many dive shops only carry 1 or 2 brands. Then within that brand they probably only have a few different models. Do your research, try on as many options as possible, rent before you buy when it’s an option.
A full set of scuba gear including a dive computer will range between $1200 and $4500+. Scuba gear if well cared for will last for a long time. Often times people make the mistake of purchasing beginner gear or highly advanced gear. We think somewhere in the middle is the ideal setup. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and feel confident.
Step 5. Advance your scuba training.
The open water diver course is entry level training. At the minimum we recommend that all divers complete the advanced diver certification. If you dive on a regular basis you should also complete the rescue diver certification. Each level of training will increase your skills mentally and physically. Knowing how to handle a variety of situations will make diving more enjoyable and safer.