Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to know how to swim to dive?
Some people will tell you no. But my answer is yes. At minimal, you should be able to stay afloat and have basic swimming techniques.
The sea and the currents will generally move you and you will be using the muscles of your calves and your thighs to kick underwater. Moving underwater is further facilitated by the use of fins.
However, if you wish to become a Divemaster, it is not even a question. One of the exercises before qualifying as a Divemaster is swimming.
Do I need to be comfortable in the water?
My answer is yes. I have seen people signing-up for the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program and responded that they are not comfortable with water.
I can understand that discovering new things can overtakes the fear. If you feel the adrenaline rising, this is also perfectly normal. A small dose of stress is good. But if you panic when you are practicing in the pool, experiencing the deep blue might not be for you. When you are in an unfamiliar environment, you must remain calm and relatively comfortable underwater.
Generally speaking, yes. A vast majority of dive centers accept PADI certifications. If you have not dived for six months or more, the dive center will generally mandate you to do a "refresher" session for safety reasons.
Being certified PADI Open Water, can I dive anywhere?
My answer is yes. Most of my best dives were between 5 to 25 meters. There are always people showing off, saying that you have to go below 18 meters.
If you are keen to explore wrecks, being able to dive below 18 is advisable. Additionally, the deeper you go, the less flamboyant the ocean will be. There are lesser colors, flora and fauna, and it is generally the colder! Always focus on pleasure rather than focusing on the depth.
My PADI Open Water allows me to dive down to 18 meters, is that enough?
Can I dive without an instructor or a guide?
The answer is yes. Officially you are a certified diver, capable and responsible. However, you should consider (1) your level of experience and confidence; (2) your taste for exploration.
If you feel that you need supervision, dive with someone more experienced. You can have the relevant certification but insufficient experience and confidence.
If you are on vacation and want to enjoy yourself, I would recommend taking guided dives with a local shop. It will save you precious time as well. Your guide is generally familiar with the good dive spots and can take you there directly.
Going with your partner in discovery mode, can be exciting but you might spend a lot of time to locating the dive spots.
Can I dive alone?
In theory yes but in some countries, they ban solo diving. If you are interested, you can consider the "PADI Self-reliant Diver"course. I dit it, it is an interesting course to heighten your risk management knowledge.
Personally, I won't recommending diving alone because it's not worth the risk. Be social and have a good time with others. It's more fun and safer!
If you enjoy diving and would like to understand diving more and develop your technique, yes. The more you train and practice, the better you become.
If you only want to dive few times a year, or once in a while on vacation, then it may not be necessary.
You will be able to enjoy beautiful sites that range from zero to eighteen meters if you are a PADI Open Water. If you have reached the PADI Rescue Diver, you are already among the few who took that step, and you know more than enough to be a good diver. Consider taking up the Divemaster course if you would like to work, event part-time, in the industry.
Should I pursue PADI certifications and sign-up for the next level?
Once certified, you are deemed competent and trained to dive responsibly and without assistance (beside to your dive buddy).
At the same time, I have seen certified divers who believes that their guide (often a Divemaster) is their "security blanket".
As a diver, you must always stay alert, even when you are on vacation or have booked to dive with a guide. Your guide cannot guarantee or be responsible for your own safety. He/she will do his/her best to bring you to the best dive spot and check on your safety from time to time. You remain responsible for your own safety.