Diver training

Diver training

Diver training is the process of developing skills and building experience in the use of diving equipment and techniques so that the diver is able to dive safely and have fun.

Not only is the underwater environment hazardous but diving equipment can be dangerous when used by the untrained; there are many unexpected problems that the new diver must be taught to avoid. Also, beginners need practice and a gradual increase in experience to build their confidence in their equipment and themselves, to develop the skills needed to control the equipment and to respond safely when they encounter difficulties.

Most commercial operators and dive clubs serving divers insist that each diver is able to show them "certification", evidence of a minimum level of training, for the type of diving the diver intends to do. Reputable dive operators, dive shops and compressor operators may refuse to allow uncertified people to dive, hire diving equipment or have their diving cylinders filled.


Sources of diver training

Many diver training organizations exist, throughout the world, offering diver training leading to certification: the issuing of a "C-card" or qualification card.

A good dive training organization, such as a dive school based at a dive shop, will always offer courses to the standard of a recognized certification organization, such as those listed below. Many dive shops in popular holiday locations offer courses that can teach you to dive in a few days, and can be combined with your vacation. Upon completing the course the student is issued a certification card.

Many diver training organizations exist:

Location of training lessons

Initial training typically takes place in three environments:

  • Classroom - where material is presented and reviewed
  • Swimming pool - where skills are taught and practiced in confined water
  • Open Water - where the student demonstrates the skills he or she has learned.

The usual sequence for learning most diving skills is to be taught the theory in the classroom, be shown the skill and practice in a swimming pool or sheltered and shallow open water using the minimum equipment, then practice again in open water under supervision in full equipment and only then use the skill on real dives.

Typically, early open water training takes place in a local body of water such as a lake, a flooded quarry or a sheltered and shallow part of the sea. Advanced training mostly takes place at depths and locations similar to the diver's normal diving locations.

Training topics

The PADI training system.
The CMAS training system in the UK.
The BSAC diving and instructor grades.

Most entry-level training is similar across the diver training agencies, although some may emphasize certain topics earlier in the program, such as the inclusion of diver rescue in the CMAS 1* syllabus.[1]

  • Basic water skills:
    • Finning and mobility in-water
    • Wearing a diving mask
    • Snorkeling
    • Shallow free-diving
    • Entering and exiting the water (seated entry, ladder exit, giant step entry, etc.)
  • Basic open circuit scuba equipment skills:
  • Basic Rebreather skills:
    • Preparing the Rebreather
    • Buoyancy control using the Rebreather
    • Ascents and descents
    • Diving mask clearing and mouthpiece draining
    • Bailing out
    • Bail out ascent
    • Diluent flush
  • Dive group leading skills:
    • Selecting dive sites using nautical charts
    • Tides and use of tide tables
    • Weather influences and prediction
    • Group diver rescue management techniques
    • Dive group safety, prevention and supervision
    • Underwater search and recovery skills
    • Underwater survey skills
  • Instructor skills:
    • Teaching diving theory
    • Teaching personal diving skills
    • Teaching group diving, safety and rescue skills
    • Teaching boat handling, seamanship and navigation skills
    • Teaching instructing skills

Scuba training for younger members

Most training agencies have minimum ages for diving and often restrict younger children to snorkeling. BSAC allows 6 year olds to train for the "Basic Snorkel Diver" qualification.[2]

From the age of 8 years old PADI has the "SEAL Team program" and SSI have "SCUBA Rangers" [3] which teach diving in shallow swimming pools.

PADI allows 10 year olds to do the full Open Water Diver course. They are called "Junior Open Water" divers.[4] There are restrictions on their depth and group size when diving. Also they must dive with their parents or a professional. When they reach the age of 12 they can dive with a qualified adult. Over 15 they are considered capable of diving with others of the same age or above.

BSAC allows 12 year olds to do the full entry level diving course - the Ocean Diver course.[5] This qualification has no restrictions for the young diver, but individual branches of BSAC are free to set their own minimum age of branch membership.


  1. ^ "C.M.A.S. Diver Training Program". Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques. 2005-01-18. pp. 4, 6. http://www.saa.org.uk/Portals/0/Club_manual/CGM/11.2.%20DIVER%20TRAINING%20PROGRAM.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-23.  1 T 10 and 1 P 6 cover rescue.
  2. ^ http://www.bsac.com/landing.asp?section=365&sectionTitle=Snorkelling
  3. ^ http://www.divessi.com/about_rgr
  4. ^ http://www.padi.com/scuba/padi-courses/diver-level-courses/view-all-padi-courses/open-water-diver/default.aspx
  5. ^ http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=945&sectionTitle=Always+wanted+to+learn+to+dive

External links

Scuba Diver Training Agencies at the Open Directory Project

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