+1 (202) 527-9419

FAQS Common scuba questions

Learning to scuba dive with Blue Planet and PADI is an incredible adventure! With PADI as your training organization, your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in three exciting parts:

1. Knowledge Development - Dive Theory and Safety

During the first part of your PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification, you develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives. 

At the end of this section, you'll take an in-person quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down.

Select the knowledge development option you prefer:

  • Start right now and learn to scuba dive online with via PADI eLearning at your own pace—anytime, anywhere (great for busy schedules)
  • Take advantage of home study using PADI multimedia materials (manual, video, CD-Rom) purchased through Blue Planet.
2. Confined Water Dives - Scuba Skills Training.

This is what it's all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills by scuba diving in a pool. Here you'll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get water out of your scuba mask without surfacing. You'll also practice some contingency skills, like sharing air and mask removal and replacement skills. Plus, you'll play some games, make new friends and have a great time. There are five confined water dives completed over one weekend. Each dive builds upon the previous. Over the course of these five dives, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.

3. Open Water Dives - Local Scuba Park or an Ocean Destination.

After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you've made continue learning during four open water dives with your instructor. This is where you fully experience the beginning of your underwater adventure. You may make these dives at one of the local scuba parks or on a trip with us to the ocean.

It's possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as two weekends by completing the classroom portion online via PADI eLearning or home study options. The online study takes about 12 hours.

The PADI Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means that we can offer a wide variety of schedules, paced according to how fast you progress and our access to the training sites.

Our interest is in your learning to scuba dive, not in how long it takes. Training is based upon demonstrating that you know what you need to know and can do what you need to do. This means that you progress at your own pace – faster or slower depending upon the time you need to become a confident and competent diver who dives regularly.

Compared with getting started in other popular adventure sports and outdoor activities, learning to scuba dive isn't expensive.

For example, you can expect to pay about the same as you would for:

  • a full day of surfing lessons
  • a weekend of rock climbing lessons
  • a weekend of kayaking lessons
  • a weekend of fly-fishing lessons
  • about three hours of private golf lessons
  • about three hours of private water skiing lessons
  • one amazing night out!

Learning to scuba dive is a great value when you consider that you learn to dive under the guidance and attention of a high trained, experienced professional. From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you share with friends. And, you can do it almost anywhere there is water.

We are proud to be able to offer the PADI Open Water Course from $922 per person.

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. We're here to help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba equipment performs a different function so that collectively, you can enjoy being underwater.

All of our Open Water students are required to own:

  • mask
  • snorkel
  • boots (if your fins require them)
  • scuba fins (not snorkel fins)

These are known as personal items, and we'll help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited for you.

Included in the cost of your PADI Open Water Diver course, we will provide a:

  • regulators
  • BCD
  • dive computer
  • scuba cylinder
  • scuba wetsuit
  • weights

Be sure to send us your sizing when you sign up for the class!

After the initial training we highly recommended that you invest in your own scuba equipment. This is because everything becomes even more enjoyable and comfortable when you are not wearing used rental gear:

  • you're more comfortable using scuba gear fitted for you
  • you're more comfortable learning to scuba dive using gear you've chosen
  • scuba divers who own their own scuba diving equipment find it more convenient to go diving
  • having your own scuba diving gear is part of the fun of diving

We are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. We can get you set with the right equipment, plus provide the service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.

All of the equipment we stock are brands and items that we use ourselves. Nothing makes it to the showroom floor without our 100% confidence. There are many manufacturers our there, but only a few we wish to use!

If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI diver. You'll also want to keep in mind these requirements:

Minimum Age:

  • 10 years old
  • Students younger than 15 years, who successfully complete the course qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. 

Waterskills: Before completing the PADI Open Water Diver course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic waterskill comfort by having you:

  • swim 200 yards (or 300 yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming stroke(s) you want
  • float or tread water for 10 minutes

About Physical Challenges: Any individual who can meet the performance requirements of the course qualifies for certification. There are many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements. Do not hesistate to reach out with your questions!

Learning Materials : Unless you choose PADI eLearning, you'll need and use the following training materials during the PADI Open Water Diver course, and for your review and reference after the course:

  • PADI Open Water Diver Manual
  • PADI Open Water Diver DVD
  • You will also need your PADI Logbook

You can dive practically anywhere there's water – from a swimming pool to the ocean and all points in between, including quarries, lakes, rivers and springs. Where you can scuba dive is determined by:

  • experience
  • certification
  • accessibility
  • conditions
  • logistics
  • cost

For example, if you've just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course, you won't be diving under the Antarctic ice on your next dive. But, don't limit your thinking to the warm, clear water you see in common travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer than you think.

Our local dive sites are incredible! They offer less expensive and convenient opportunities to train. It's not always about great visibility because what you see is more important than how far you see.

The only truly important thing about where you dive is that you have the scuba diving training and experience appropriate for diving there, and that you have a dive buddy to go with you. We can help you organize great local diving or an international dive vacation. Visit today to get started.

No, assuming you have no irregularities in your ears or sinuses. The discomfort is the increase of water pressure on your ears and other air spaces in your body. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ears – you just need to learn how. If you have no difficulties adjusting to air pressure during flying, you'll probably experience no problem learning to adjust to water pressure while diving.

More information on this subject can be found here.

Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function or heart function or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person's individual risk. Physicians can consult with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary when assessing a scuba candidate. 

DAN has information available online if you wish to do some research.

We only get to see sharks on some dives, sadly. On the dives where we are lucky enough to see these incredible creatures, we write it down in our logbook!

Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare.  Most commonly, negative shark encounters primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which can trigger eractic feeding behavior. We're just not on the menu!

Most of the time, if you see a shark, it's passing through and gone almost immediately.

The depths that you dive to are dependent upon many variables. Most notably - the dive site, your certification, your experience level, as well as the equipment you have and are familiar with.

Common depths on recreational dives are 30-80 feet, but this mostly depends on the location. You will only be able to dive to depths that you have been trained to go to and can safely plan for. The beginner certification maximum depth is 60 feet. This can be increased to 130 feet with additional training, experience and equipment.

Beyond 130 feet requires training more advanced than found in the recreational course path. These classes and their requirements can be found here. If interested in what we offer, send us an email!

One of the first skills you learn in our course is how to accurately read your submersible pressure gauge (SPG). This gauge tells you the remaining pressure in your cylinder. By planning your dives conservatively, monitoring your gas supply consistently throughout the dive, communicating with your buddy, and respecting the other limits of the dive, you will greatly reduce the risk of running low or out of gas. 

However, in an unlikely event where you find yourself without enough gas to end the dive safely, your dive buddy has a spare second stage that you will learn how to use to make a safe ascent to the surface. 

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. During your scuba diving training we give you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. We work with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly. Also, by having your own mask, fins, and snorkel, your initial reaction to being underwater will be much more comfortable.