How Many Dives Are Required to Get Certified in Scuba Diving?
The basic scuba diving qualification for those on the PADI training course is the Open Water qualification. There is a more basic qualification that you can take, which only involves half the training, but this does not allow you to dive except with an instructor and I do not know of anyone with this qualification.
Open Water Course
So, what is involved in Open Water training? Well you have the education and pool training, but as for the actual dives just 4 are required. As they are shallow, especially the first one, and as you are undertaking exercises on them, they can actually be quite long dives, maybe 40 minutes if everyone’s air lasts out.
The first dive will be a shallow dive to practice the exercises and then just get used to breathing underwater, but then each dive after that will take you deeper than the one before and maybe introduce something new, such as a different type of water entry. But by the end of that 4th dive, you should have experienced diving down to 18 metres, which is the depth that you are qualified to now dive to.
And that’s it – 4 dives, an exam, some exercises and you are a certified Open Water Diver. But, what if you want to continue your diving education?
Advanced Open Water Course
Well the next step up, apart from undertaking some individual specialist training, is to go for your Advanced Open Water certification. This involves sampling 1 dive from each of 5 of the different specialities that are on offer. One will be a “deep” dive (down to a maximum of 30 metres) and another a navigation dive, but the remaining three can be taken from all of the specialities that are on offer at the dive centre. Once you have completed these extra 5 dives, you are then qualified to dive down to 30 metres.
You are well and truly certified by now, but you might want to continue training and maybe learn a few specialty skills. Most of these courses will involve either 2 or 3 dives (although there are some, for example Equipment Specialist, that involve no diving) and some time in the classroom. However, once you are at this stage you are definitely well and truly certified and these specialty courses are a way of continuing your diver education and learning to enjoy your environment more. They are by no means compulsory and many divers will not bother with them.
As few as 4 dives are needed to get certified to 18 metres, but you can also follow up with the additional 5 dives required to get Advanced Open Water certified and be qualified to 30 metres.