Certification is your ticket to a safe and rewarding dive experience. Divers who are certified have been properly trained to use scuba equipment, along with the techniques that they will need to keep both themselves and their dive partners safe in emergency situations. Many different types of dive certification exist, although most will begin their journey with the PADI Open Water Diver certification. PADI, or Professional Association of Diving Instructors, certification will let you rent and buy certain types of scuba equipment, go on dives, and dives in conditions suitable for your level of certification.
Taking the First Step
Your initial certification period will take about 35 hours on average, but the practice and training that you receive will be well worth it. Your certification begins with education, which involves courses that can now be taken online with some diving instructor centers. You can take the educational courses well ahead of your time on location, which could help you to get right to the actual diving and equipment training sessions. If you plan to scuba dive during a vacation, then it’s recommended that you begin your certification training on the very first day so that you can participate before you have to depart.
Once you’ve passed the learning portion of the certification, you will then complete several different dives in both confined and open waters. Confined dives are typically performed in a pool or lake, but can also be done in areas where there is easy access to shallow levels of water. During your time in confined dives, you will learn more about proper usage and clearing of regulators and masks, as well as management of your air supply. Open water dives will be performed under the supervision of an instructor in the conditions you will be experiencing at your chosen dive location, so that you can be properly prepared for anything you will encounter.
An Easy Investment
Diving courses provide a lot for a reasonable price when compared to other types of water activity instruction. The total average cost of a scuba diving certification will be between $350 and $450 USD. The cost will be split up amongst the different parts of your certification, so you will pay a certain amount for your educational courses, then your confined and open water dives respectively. Different areas charge different rates. Costa Rica has several different dive locations and rates, but you will find that different parts of the world also have their own pricing standards.
Your equipment, whether rented or purchased, will have a cost attached as well. Since you’re just starting out, find out what the bare minimum of equipment needed will be. For most dive locations, that will be your mask, fins, and your snorkel. Don’t invest in an entire dive equipment setup until you really know diving is right for you; the entire dive gear kit could cost you anywhere from $200 for an economy set, to $1,000 or more for a higher end collection of diving equipment and accessories.