• Renato Alves

Interested in learn to scuba diving? Get to know the step by step how to become a Open Water diver.

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

Do you like the ocean?

Do you enjoy watching animals in their natural habitat?

Traveling is one of your interests?

Enjoy being part of social activities?

Love the peace and quiet?

Do you like to be active and the outdoors?

Are you an adrenaline junkie?

Looking for a family activity with kids?

Do you want to be closer to nature?

Enjoy technology, gadgets and gear?

Would you like to fly?

Do you wanna feel the zero gravity?

Open water Diver course - Koh Tao, Thailand
Learn to dive in Koh Tao

If your answer was YES for any of this question know that scuba diving is an activity for you.

Don't worry that you are a bit apprehensive, it is totally normal, you are just to embark in a new environment full of life and adventures to come.

So, just to make you calmer and feel good about it,I can say that it’s normal to feel this anxious, every diver feels it in the beginning; it is part of the process and fun.

Also the diving courses are designed to go on step by step so you can develop every skill you need to explore the underwater world.

Imagine that scuba can bring unlimited adventures, sceneries and numerous reasons for jumping in the water. It can be exploring reefs, discovering wrecks, penetrate caves, swimming with sea turtles, hovering with sharks or picturing great shots.

Independently of which kind of adventure are you looking for, the open water course it's one of your first steps.

During this post we will embrace 7 topics about your first autonomous certification.

- Benefits for being a diver
- Course and certification
- Requisites to learn to dive
- Program
- Learning to scuba Diving in Koh Tao
- What comes next? 
- Welcome to your diving journey.

So, let's dive in the subject.

1- Benefits for being a diver.

Before jumping straight in the course I would like to talk about some good points that this activity or hobby can bring to your life.

Health benefits from scuba diving.

it is already studied that scuba diving brings good aspects to your body and mind.

The silence and the contact with nature brings a good state of mind and it is great to deal with stress and anxiety. Diving also helps to control your blood pressure and increase your concentration capacity.

Scuba Diving as a Social activitie.

It's not a secret that scuba requires a buddy system and It’s a way to build strong and long relationships. In many parts of the globe even in metropolis scuba diving is used for social encounters and group activities, so you become part of a family and join events and trips.

Economic reasons for being a certified Diver.

Once you get certified, diving gets cheaper.

Since you are already a diver the dive centers have great deals and offers. The dives as a certified diver are way more cheaper compared with first time diver (experience called Try scuba dive). Sometimes being part of a die club brings even extra advantages.

Great travel excuse for scuba holiday.

Once you get your certification you will start planning holidays evolving scuba.

Some of the best dives in the World are located in amazing travel destinations going for the tropics like: Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, French Polynesia, Costa Rica and so on. Also great dives in the poles and cold places like in Artic, Antarctic, Iceland, Norway and etc.

2 - Open water Diver - course and certification.

The open water is not the first level as a diver but it's the first certification that allows you to dive without the supervision of a professional, also it's a requirement for your life long journey as a diver, once you want to go deeper or get more specific courses, like night dive, Uw photography and etc, the open water course is your front door for other possibilities.

What can you do as an open water diver?

Dive anywhere around the globe until 18 metres/ 60 feet depth with a buddy with the same level of certification as you are or higher.

Depending where in the world and the legislation you will be able to rent gear and tanks for planning and execute your own dives enjoying with someone that is also certified.

Diving Certification Agencies.

The open water card is your license to explore the diving world and it is valid for your lifetime. There are a lot of Philosophies, agencies and companies that provide the training materials and rules, just make sure that it is part of the WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council) and follow the ISO normatives.

So it doesn't matter if it's SSI, Padi, CMAS, RAID, SDI, Naui, TDI and etc it will be accepted worldwide if it follows the regulators above.

The certification are cross cards and you can jump between companies during your journey as a recreational scuba diver. I as a Salty Warriors ambassador prefer to teach with SSI methodology, as being one of the first agencies to go 100% digital, with this move SSI decreased the plastic waste in the industry and took a step forward for modernization and technology for the diving education.

I am also related to SSI training philosophy that allows the professional to adapt the course following the student needs and time.

3 - Requisites to learn to dive.

Scuba diving it's a really safe activity and the modernization of the gear is making it easier for everyone to enjoy the great feeling of zero gravity underwater and explore the reef among nemos and dorys.

There are basically 3 points you need to cover to start your diving license.

Age limitations for scuba diving course.

The open water course is a really straightforward course that there is no age limit but there is a minimal age. Anyone older than 10 years old can get certified. The only difference here will be the depth. If the diver is 10 or 11 years old the maximum depth will be 12 meters versus the 18 meters for olders Open water divers. If you have kids or nephews/ nieces younger there is always the try dive that can be done with 8 years old or above.

Medical history for diving activities:

You don't need to be an athlete to be a diver, but you should take in consideration your health since we will dive in a different environment with pressure.

If you have any chronic disease as:

  • Asma

  • High or low pressure

  • Diabetes

  • Any respiratory disease

  • etc..

You are probably eligible for the course if everything is under control and you live a normal life but it's mandatory to have a medical certification from a doctor that you are fit to dive.

This point goes different in every country, always depending on the legislation of the local that you are training.

Here in Thailand every diver fills a medical form and if any of the answers are a yes, you will visit a doctor to make sure that everything is fine and ready to dive.

Comfort and mobility in the water.

Again you don't need to be a great athlete and swim like Michael Phelps, but you should be comfortable enough in the water. There's basic 2 requirements that are to float for 10 min and swim in any style for 100 meters.

If you don't know how to swim, it's totally fine. You can experience a Try dive to check if the activity is for you.

4 - Open Water Diver Program.

The time table and schedule can be different from dive center to dive center. It will depend on the kind of environment you are, your time frame for classes and training, the installations, the proximity from the sea and the list can go on.

Pre Dive briefing Koh Tao
Dive briefing

So, what should you expect as the minimum requirement?

Open Water Diver - Theory classes.

The classes can be presencial or online depending on your schedule and dive shop work frame. Nowadays most agencies have good e-books, apps and pages so you can read and do the homework online, but the chat and contact with the instructor are still super important.

The academic sessions will cover at least: the underwater environment, changes, equipment, dive rules/ good behavior, posible dive incidents / how to prevent, first aid, dive plan (tables and dive computers), aquatic environment and your next steps.

Open Water Diver -Theory exam.

You're kind of back to school so you will face exam and homework. This is a moment to check the knowledge and make the instructor confident that you are comfy with your upcoming diving life.

Open Water Diver - Swimming pool/ confined water sessions.

Here it's where you will get the confident to be a diver, so take it slowly and enjoy the time to practice before diving deep.

This step can be done in a natural (shallow bay, beach, lake) or artificial environment (pool). It needs to be a controlled environment from 0m until max 5m (by rules). Most of the exercises will be done at 1,5m so any question you have just stand up and ask your instructor, talk and relax.

First time scuba diving Koh Tao
Confined water at Koh Tao

Open Water Diver - Dives.

A minimum of 4 dives with a total time of at least 80 minutes in the sea should be done. The 2 first dives are in a maximum depth of 12 meters (40 ft) and the 2 last ones with the maximum allowed depth for the certification (18 meters/ 60ft).

5 - Learn to dive in Koh Tao. Open Water Course with Pura Vida Diving.

At Pura Vida Koh Tao the Open Water course program can de done in 3 days, here it’s the schedule:

  • Day 1:

8:00 - 11:00 - Intro + Theory

13:00 - 17:00 - Confined water / Dive 1

  • Day 2:

9:00 - 11:00 - Theory + Exam

13:00 - 17:00 - Dive 2 + Dive 3

  • Day 3:

6:30 - 11:00 - Dive 4 + Dive 5

17:30 - Celebration “beer time”

Nowadays all the theoretical part can be done online, freeing some of your time in the island permitting you enjoying fully the time in Koh Tao. For any questions about online training contact me.

Advantages for the Open Water Course at Pura Vida Koh Tao.

Pura Vida Koh Tao
Open Water Diver celebration at Pura Vida Koh Tao

  • Whole training in the sea: Since Koh Tao have great weather and sea conditions all year around, we at Pura Vida Diving Koh Tao starts the course in shallow bays/ beaches delivering the whole safety aspect of a swimming pool but with fishes from day 1. Building you a nicer experience and a way to relax for the first time.

  • Small groups diving courses: We are proud to have a nice team and most of our courses are done with two students and one instructor. If you are a big group and want to be together we will provide an extra pair of hands from other professionals.

  • Variety of language in the training: Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Catalan, Italian and the list keeps on.

  • Amazing Marine Life: Koh tao is known for being one of the hot spots for diving in Southeast Asia, so you will learn and enjoy a variety of colorful reefs, fishes and amazing encounters. The island is the place in Thailand with more Whale Shark encounters.

  • Affordable prices: the prices in Pura Vida Koh Tao are very competitives so you are sure to pay a fair buck for your lifetime license.

  • Free t - Shirt: An amazing welcome to Pura Vida family shirt is the prize for any diving course with us.

  • Special deals in our network: since you are part of the family you are treated as such. You can enjoy the Pura Vida Philosophy also at Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lipe in Thailand, at Bali - Indonesia, Lanzarote - Spain and Playa del Carmen - Mexico.

  • 5 dives: I don't know if you bother to notice but the minimum requirement for Open Water Course is 4 dives at our schedule you get an extra dive to enjoy and improve your skills.

  • Discount for the next course: Once finishing the Open Water you get a discount to become an Advanced Adventure Diver.

How much cost the Open water diver course?

This is a difficult question to answer since everywhere the price can be different, here at Koh tao, Thailand, one of the cheapest destinations for learning to dive, the whole course with 5 dives + fees + online material + digital certification + gear + instructions + insurance is 11,000 THB (no hidden costs).

6 - What comes next? Keep scuba diving!

Once you are already a certified diver you can enjoy fun dives ( guided dive not on training) or you are eligible for taking continuous education courses.

The Open water course opens a whole new world of possibilities, you can get specialties such as underwater photography, nitrox, deep dive, night dive/ limited visibility, stress & rescue diver, and etc…

If you are not sure where to go and which patch to follow as an Instructor i would recommend the Advanced Adventure Course, that is a pack of 5 dives exploring different aspects of diving and open up your limits for 30 meter/ 100ft and diving during the Night.

To truly enjoy and get the maximum of your certification the key is keep learning, diving and creating unforgettable memories.

7 - Welcome to your Diving Journey!

Since 71% of the planet is water you are ready to explore the next frontier, make friends for life-time, be in contact with nature and travel to amazing destinations.

For me since I am a diver my plans are 100% directed to the sea and I can say that I am addicted but it’s an amazing addiction to have and enjoy. Don’t matter if you are an adrenaline junkie, a holiday seeker, an animal lover or just someone that wants to try a new experience, remember that scuba diving can deliver a unique experience for all your taste and needs.

If you have any questions about scuba courses, diving travel destinations, equipment and dive career planning don’t hesitate to contact me.

Scuba Diving in Thailand


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