If you are planning your first open water dive, it’s important to take the time and make sure you have all the proper equipment and training necessary for this adventure. This can help you to stay safe and make sure you get the most out of your experience.
If you’ve been training in a pool, lake, or protected area for your open water dive certification and are ready to go out on the big blue, here’s what you need to know.
- You must be at least 15 years of age.
- You must have good physical health and be able to swim.
- You must be able to pass a basic swimming test: Swim 25 meters in a pool with no assistance and no more than 5 minutes in total, including any pauses for rest or assistance.
To get certified, you must complete a recognized open water diver course. The most widely accepted certification is the PADI Open Water Diver certification. This will enable you to dive in the company of others and at locations where there are no decompression stops required. Other certifications that may be useful include:
- PADI Advanced Open Water Diver
- PADI Rescue Diver (this requires four dives in addition to your basic open water training)
Many people are hesitant about diving open water because they think it requires a lot of training and certification, but that’s not true! You can get certified by simply completing classes online or at local community colleges near you (often in less than 30 days).
In order to dive open water, you must be at least 18 years old and able to swim. You must also be in good health, taking into account important factors such as your general physical condition, any medical conditions you may have (such as diabetes), your blood pressure and pulse rate. If you pass a medical exam administered by a physician or nurse practitioner who is qualified for diving activities, then you’re good to go—you don’t need to take any other tests before beginning your open water training program.
Once you have completed your certification process, there are many options available for diving trips around the country or even internationally if that’s what interests you most. If you aren’t sure where to go, just call up one of those dive shops nearby and ask them what their recommendations are based on your level of experience with scuba diving!
Gather your gear
- Wet suit: If you’re diving in cold water, you’ll need to wear a wetsuit. These are made of neoprene, which is an insulating material that keeps your body heat from escaping as quickly. A wetsuit will help you stay warm even if the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
- Mask: Your mask should fit comfortably on your face and shouldn’t leak any air or water when in use. It should be clear enough for you to see through it while still providing enough protection against debris and other hazards in open water conditions.
- Snorkel: The snorkel is used to breathe safely while submerged under water with only your mouth out of the water’s surface. This device allows someone who cannot hold their breath long enough or swim well enough to be able to stay underwater without holding their breath.
Research your destination
Before you dive into the open water, it’s important to do your research. Here are some questions you should consider:
- What is the water temperature? Is it consistent year-round or do temperatures fluctuate?
- What kind of weather will I encounter on my trip? Will it be sunny every day or does rain come with the territory every now and then?
- What dive sites can I visit in this area? Are there any restrictions on where I can swim or snorkel, such as marine sanctuaries or no-take zones? If so, how can I find out more about them (i.e., what times they’re active)?
- When is the best time to visit this destination; during which months would I be most likely to see more wildlife than others?
Once you’ve answered these questions and found a place that suits all of your needs (whether that means finding a spot that offers warm waters but isn’t too far from civilization), get ready for an unforgettable experience!
Review your training material and watch some instructional videos.
Before diving, you should review your training material and watch some instructional videos. You may have already read and watched the material during your course, but now is the time to make sure that you are comfortable with it. A good way to do this is to write down all of the important information from your training manual or watch through a video once more. If something doesn’t make sense, ask questions until it does!
Once confident in what’s necessary for diving open water, practice out in open water as much as possible – even if just for an hour before work every day for a week – so that when you’re on location with instructors watching over you (and no one else) everything will feel familiar and easy!
Complete final dive in open water
The last dive of your open water certification is called a “completion” dive. This is when you can use all of the skills that you’ve learned over the previous four dives, and apply them in real-world conditions.
Your instructor will give you a written log sheet with instructions on how to complete your next dive. The most important piece of information is that this dive should take place within 24 hours after the last one, since it’s meant to test your knowledge and ability at handling stress under pressure in an actual open water environment.
Once you’ve mastered all five skills, it’s time to go out there and find something interesting!
Anyone can learn to dive open water
Open water diving is not as scary as it sounds and it’s a great way to learn about the underwater world! It can be a very rewarding experience.
If you are interested in learning to dive, there are some things you should know:
- Open water diving is not just for divers. Anyone who knows how to swim can learn to dive open water. Learn more about this exciting activity here: [Learn More](https://www.openwaterdivinglessonsnearme.com/).
- Open water diving allows you to get exercise while enjoying an adventure with family or friends at any age or skill level.
- You’ll find that open water diving is a great way to relax and escape from everyday stressors when combined with other activities such as snorkeling or free-diving with scuba gear (scuba tanks) if all goes well!
If you’re already experienced in scuba diving, you may want to try your hand at training for the open water dive. It’s a great way to mix things up and see how much you can do outside of normal diving environments. If this is something you might be looking into, make sure you take the time to find an experienced instructor so that you can get all the proper training.