DIVING FAQ

Am I certified after taking the class and pool portions of my open water scuba course?

Not yet! You will need to complete your open water check-out dives after finishing your academic and pool sessions. 4 dives are required to complete the Open Water Certification. You can complete these dives with us during one of our local or international trips.

Can I complete my open water checkout dives on my vacation?

Yes! If you are unable to complete your Open Water Checkout dives with Ocean First prior to your vacation you can complete it during your trip. Ocean First will provide you with a Universal Referral form which the instructor at your holiday destination will need to fill out. This form is returned to Ocean First and we will complete your certification. Please contact Ocean First Travel if you would like assistance with making your referral dive arrangements.

Can’t I just rent all of my gear?

The minimum equipment requirement for the Open Water course is mask, snorkel, fins and ideally a wetsuit. It is very important that our students are learning to dive on snorkeling gear that fits properly and comfortably. We encourage our students to own their snorkeling gear and Ocean First extends a 30 day guarantee on all equipment purchases. All scuba equipment (buoyancy compensator, regulator, and dive computer) are included in the course tuition.

Do I need to be a strong swimmer to learn how to scuba dive?

You must know how to swim and float/tread water for your safety. There is a swimming assessment at the beginning of the first pool session; you must be able to complete a continuous swim without stopping, but there is no time limit or stroke requirement. If you are not comfortable with your swimming ability, we offer swimming instruction through the Ocean First Swim School. Even after a few lessons, adults say they feel more confident about their ability in the water.

How long do I have after finishing the class and pool sessions to do my open water checkout dives?

You have 6 months following the last completed segment of your training to complete your open water dives for your certification. This rule also applies to our SSI continuing education courses that require open water check-out dives. Ocean First strongly recommends keeping your academic and pool training as close to your open water dives as possible.

How long does it take to become certified?

We generally recommend allowing yourself at least a month to take the Open Water classes and complete the Open Water checkout dives. Our regularly scheduled classes run either Monday-Tuesday for three weeks, or Friday-Saturday-Sunday for two weeks. The Open Water checkout dives can be completed in a weekend. We also offer private classes to work with your schedule.

I don’t have a trip planned yet; do you offer trips through your store?

Yes! Ocean First Travel arranges group and individual trips all over the world. Our group trips are fun, unique, and a great way to see the world and make new friends. Please check out our group trip page for a list of where Ocean First is headed. If you would like assistance in booking your own trip we can help there, too!

I have asthma, can I become a scuba diver?

Probably, but you will need to consult with your physician prior to enrolling in class. Our divers’ safety is our top priority so we have all students answer a comprehensive medical questionnaire. If there are any “YES” responses to this questionnaire you will need to receive approval from your physician in order to take scuba diving classes with Ocean First.

I haven't been diving in a long time, but I know my scuba certification doesn't expire. Should I still take your refresher course?

Yes! Our scuba refresher courses are only 3 hours long and will greatly increase your confidence, safety, and enjoyment when you go on your dive vacation.

I lost my certification card. Can I replace it?

Yes, you can order a replacement directly online through the training agencies (SSI, PADI, NAUI), or our staff would be happy to take care of this for you when you stop by the dive shop.

I travel frequently for work. Is there a class schedule that you would recommend?

Yes; we recommend our Private Open Water course for anyone with a challenging schedule. We offer private courses catered to your schedule for one, two or even a small group of students.

Is scuba diving expensive?

The up-front costs associated with getting certified can be offputting to some; you are investing in your future as a safe and comfortable diver. Your scuba certification will never expire, and we encourage all students to own high quality gear that can last for years of diving. The exact costs of getting certified depend on the type of class you want to take, the gear you choose to own, and the location of your check-out dives. We encourage you to come in and talk with one of our knowledgeable staff members, who will walk you through every step of becoming certified so you know exactly what you will be paying for.

What equipment do I need for my open water certification class?

You will need your own mask, fins, and snorkel for the pool session of the Open Water course. If you get cold easily, we also recommend bringing your own wetsuit. All other scuba equipment is included in the cost of the class. If you choose not to purchase additional equipment for your Open Water Checkout Dives, we offer rental packages.

What if I have problems with my ears in the pool?

Our instructors are highly trained professionals and will ensure your comfort and safety in the water at all times. If you are having trouble equalizing your ears, your instructor will work with you one on one until you are comfortable.

Where can I find the releases and waivers I need to fill out BEFORE my class?

You can find all of our class releases and waivers HERE

What is the minimum age to become scuba certified?

The minimum age for enrollment in the SSI Open Water Diver course is 10 years old. Children complete the same coursework as adults and will receive a Junior Open Water certification that can be upgraded to the standard Open Water certification once they turn 15.

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