FAQ

Below are a few questions we receive frequently. If you have the same question please click on it below and it will link you to the answer.

  1. What does PADI stand for?
  2. I’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive (or snorkel). How do I get started?
  3. How old do I have to be to get scuba certified?
  4. How long does it take to become PADI Certified?
  5. Will the fish bother me?
  6. Do I have to be a great swimmer to be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver?
  7. Is it hard to learn to scuba dive?
  8. What’s in a scuba tank? Oxygen?
  9. How long does a tank of air last?
  10. My ears hurt when I dive to the bottom of the pool. Won’t they hurt when I scuba dive?
  11. Is scuba diving dangerous?
  12. Do I have to buy scuba gear?
  13. Why are some Instructors so much cheaper than others? What do I need to ask about the price?
  14. What are the bends?
  15. I lost my Certification Card. How can I get it replaced?
  16. What exactly will I have to do to get PADI certified?

What does PADI stand for?

PADI stands for: Professional Association of Dive Instructors.
PADI is the largest most widely recognized SCUBA certification agency in the world.
PADI has the widest network. Most dive instructors, dive shops and resorts around the world are PADI. If you forget or loose your card or want more training you’ll always be able to find a PADI instructor. All Scuba Certification agencies use the same standards and teach about the same scuba certification course. Just like a learning to drive a car, all driving schools will teach you the same rules. Some scuba instructors claim their agency is better and their competition is bad, but in fact we are all about the same. Find an instructor you like and be happy.
Scuba is a recreation sport and is fun relaxing and safe.
Make sure you don’t support a scuba instructor or dive shop who criticizes other scuba shops or agencies. It has been my experience that mostly only the bad instructors have bad things to say about other instructors and agencies. The worse the scuba instructor the more they complain about other scuba instructors and agencies. Back to top.

I’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive. How do I get started?

The easiest way to get started is to sign up and pay online. We’ll Priority Mail you the study materials.  You may receive them as early as the next day. You study at home at your convenience, then come to class.  Call us (615-955-3483, 615-955-DIVE) or e-mail us (Marcos@ScubaMarcos.com) to set your schedule.  The study materials contains; an Open Water dive manual,  dive tables, and two videos.  You read the book and watch the videos at home.  We will schedule a convenient time for you to take the short quizzes and the final exam.   Then we are off to the pool to practice what you read and watched.   Once you have mastered the pool skills we go diving and you are certified after the fourth dive.  You can be a PADI Certified SCUBA Diver in three easy steps; class, pool, diving.  It’s that easy!  I believe the best way to learn how to SCUBA dive is by actually diving.  I emphasize diving and maximizing your time underwater practicing Scuba diving.Back to top.

How old do you have to be to get certified?

PADI requires you to be at least 10 years old to become a PADI certified Junior Open Water Scuba Diver. Ten and 11 year olds must dive with a certified parent, guardian or PADI Professional to a maximum depth of 40 feet. Twelve to 14 year olds must dive with a certified adult. At age 15, the Junior certification upgrades to a regular Open Water Diver certification. Back to top.

Is it hard to learn to scuba dive?

No, in fact, it’s probably easier than you imagine — especially if you’re already comfortable in the water. PADI’s entry-level diver course is split into knowledge development, confined water (pool) skill training and four scuba training dives. The course is “performance based,” which means that you progress as you learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill. Back to top.

How long does it take to become PADI Certified?

PADI courses are “performance based,” which means that you only earn your scuba certification when you demonstrate that you have mastered the required skills and knowledge. Some people learn faster than others, so how long it takes you may vary. The PADI Open Water Diver course (beginning scuba) is typically split into five or six sessions with tremendous flexibility. The course may be scheduled over as little as three or four days, or as much as five or six weeks, or something in between depending upon student needs and logistics. As a rule of thumb, most students complete their initial certification in about twenty-five hours spread over 2 or 3 weekends. The academic session takes about 8 hours, the pool a minimum of 4 hours, usually in three 4 hours sessions. You must master all the pool skills before going on the the 4 Checkout dives. The 4 checkout dives are completed over 2 days with no more than 3 dives completed in one day. So yes, it is rare but you could complete your PADI scuba certification in as little as 3 days. We can do class and pool on Friday and go diving Saturday and Sunday. I teach most scuba lessons over 2 or 3 weekends. Back to top.

Will the fish bother me?

Most fish are afraid of you or will ignore you.  It  is very exciting to see fish.   The larger the better. The prettiest and most abundant fish are in the ocean.   The best place to see fish is near shipwrecks and reefs.   Some fish will let you get close to them but will stay out of your reach.  Some fish are curious and will follow you around.  I have been diving for a long time and have seen many sharks, eels and barracudas.  The sharks and eels are very shy and are difficult to see.  Barracudas are curious and might follow you around making it easy to photograph them.  Game fish seem to know when you are looking for dinner.  Grilled snapper or flounder taste great.  Most of the time I just take pictures, but every now and then I get hungry for sea food.  You are more likely to be attacked by a cow or a pig than by a fish.  Be safe stay off the farm and go diving. Back to top.

Do I have to be a great swimmer to be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver?

No. All you need to be is a reasonably proficient swimmer who is comfortable and relaxed in the water. The swimming requirement for certification is an easy 183 meter/200 yard nonstop swim (with no time or specific stroke requirement) and 10 minute tread/float. Back to top.

What’s in a scuba tank? Oxygen?

Recreational divers breathe air, not oxygen. It’s filtered to remove impurities, but otherwise, it’s air like you’re breathing now. Back to top.

How long does a tank of air last?

This is a common question that, unfortunately, doesn’t have a single answer. People breathe at different rates, and you breathe faster when you’re swimming than when you’re resting. Also, the deeper you go, the more you use your air, and, you can get different size tanks. So, the answer is “it depends;” this is why divers have a gauge that tell them how much air they have at all times. As an approximation, a diver sightseeing in calm, warm water at 20 to 30 feet deep can expect the average tank to last about an hour. Back to top.

My ears hurt when I dive to the bottom of a pool. Won’t they hurt when I scuba dive?

Your ears hurt because water pressure pushes in on your ear drum. In your scuba course, you’ll learn a simple technique to equalize your ears to the surrounding pressure, much like you do when you land in an airplane, and they won’t hurt at all. Back to top.

Is scuba diving dangerous?

Not really. Statistics show that recreational scuba diving is about as safe as swimming. Certainly there are potential hazards — which is why you need training and certification — but like driving a car, as long as you follow the rules and use common sense, it’s pretty safe. To put it in perspective, the drive in your car to go diving is more dangerous than the diving. Back to top.

Do I have to buy SCUBA gear?

No you don’t have to buy SCUBA gear. I provide Scuba tanks, buoyancy compensator, regulator, and weight belt. You will have to have a mask, fins and snorkel. Most dive shops rent gear and don’t charge students rental during class. A complete set of dive gear rents for $40 to $60. You can buy all of your own gear (BCD, Regulator with SPG and Octo) for as low as $600. I recommend you buy good gear. Don’t skimp on your life support gear. Mine cost about $1400. You can always get the best gear at the best prices at with us. Back to top.

Why are some Scuba Instructors so much cheaper than others?

Most SCUBA Instructors charge about the same for complete certification, between $300 and $450. Be careful, if the lessons price sounds very inexpensive it might not include everything. Dive Centers have to pay rent and labor, so they will typically charge more. Find a good Independent or Private Scuba Instructor who will give you better friendlier personal service. www.ScubaMarcos.com

Questions to ask your instructor.

  • Does that price include the four Open Water Dives? Where? (+ $180 to $380)
  • Does that price include the book? The book, log book and dive tables retail for about (+$59).
  • Does that price include the SCUBA gear or free rental for the four Open Water Dives?(+$60 per day)
  • How many students will be in your class? Some dive shops wait until they have a big crowd of students for class.
  • Does that price include the PADI registration and your Scuba Certification card? (+$25)

You might end up paying more than you expected.
Beginning SCUBA is taught in three parts Class, Pool training, and Diving. You must complete all three Parts to be a certified scuba diver. Some Dive shops break up the payments and advertise only the first cheap payment. You end up paying 2 or 3 time what you expected. I suggest you ask how much for each part and what is included in the price. Add them ALL up, you might be surprised. Also make sure you know when and where you will make your four Open Water Checkout Dives. A Florida trip can add another $480 to your cost. I charge $250 for a Florida Certification trip. Back to top.

What are the Bends?

A long time ago when the workers were breathing compressed air while working underwater, sometimes they would get decompression sickness or “the Bends”.  Their joints would hurt and make them bend over.  This is caused by staying under water too long and coming up too fast.  Tiny bubbles would form in their joints, something like the tiny bubbles form in a soda bottle when you open it.  Just like the soda bottle, if you shake it and open it too soon or fast too many bubbles will form.  With all the new technology “the bends” is easily avoided.   PADI divers are recreational divers.  I will teach you how to safely dive within the limits so you will never get the bends.   Don’t worry diving is fun, easy and safe.  I will teach you how to relax and enjoy your dive. Back to top.

I lost my Certification Card how can I get it replaced?

The best way is to tell you instructor, he can take care of it for you. Any PADI instructor can help you. Most instructors charge between $20 and $25 to replace your card. You may need another passport sized picture. If you forgot your C-Card while on vacation, PADI has a member check on-line or by calling 1-800 -729-7234, 1-800-SAY-PADI. Back to top.

What exactly will I have to do to get PADI certified?

Scuba Certification is completed in 3 parts.

  1. Class room (Academic book work)
  2. Pool Training
  3. Four Scuba Dives

PADI Certification is performance based. You must comfortably perform and show mastery of all the skills to earn your certification.

1. “Class” Knowledge Development – 5 Knowledge Review Modules

Read the Book and Watch the DVD. There 5 Chapters or modules.

For the 5 modules of theory, you’ll read the PADI Open Water Diver manual in conjunction with watching the PADI Open Water diver video and complete the five knowledge reviews at the end of each chapter. After I have made sure you understand everything in the knowledge review questions, you’ll be given a ten question quiz for that module. Don’t worry I’ll go over any questions that you don’t understand. At the end of the 5th module and knowledge review you’ll be given the PADI Open Water diver final exam. Just like the quizzes this is multiple choice and, again, just like the quizzes I’ll go over anything you don’t understand. Hopefully by then you’ll pass with 100%. But all is not lost as long as you score 75% or better you passed! And I’ll go over any questions you get wrong so you are completely happy and understand them all. If you score less than 75% we’ll go over everything you missed and you may take the test again.

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