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Satirist Dave Barry once said ‘staying on top of the water is like standing outside the circus tent,’ and with two-thirds of our planet covered in water, there’s a lot of truth to the line.
Today diving has changed beyond recognition, with over 20 million enthusiasts worldwide and nearly a million newcomers each year, it's now one of the fastest growing pastimes on earth. No matter what your age or what you want to achieve, there's something for everyone in diving. Come on in, the water's lovely...
Learning to dive is easier than you think
Gone are the days of having to spend weeks doing theory and pool sessions before jumping in a deserted quarry to finish your training. Today, learning to dive couldn't be easier and you can go from being someone who has never dived to being a fully qualified diver in as little as four days. It's easy and what's more it's safe. There are a number of options available to suit all ages and abilities from eight years to 80 years.
Taking those first steps with the Open Water Diver certification
The first certification you will need is the Open Water Diver which will allow you to dive with a buddy to a depth of 18 metres. There are a number of certification bodies out there but by far the most popular is PADI (the Professional Association of Dive Instructors), with SSI (Scuba Schools International) and BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) also well-known organisations. The Open Water certification has three main components:
- Theory - you will need to complete a number of theory training modules to understand the fundamentals of diving. Don't worry, this is extremely straightforward.
- Closed water training - before getting into the ocean, you will need to complete several sessions in the pool to get used to basic diving techniques.
- Open water training - To complete the Open Water certification, you will need to complete four dives in the open water. This is designed to allow you to put into practice what you have learned in the theory and closed water sessions.
Three ways to learn to dive
Learn to dive before you go
If you don't want to spend any of your time on holiday learning to dive then you can get fully qualified by using a local dive centre (ask us if you want help finding one). This means you have more time to dive while away though it does mean (at least if you live in the UK) that you are going to spend some time in cold water!
Half and half
An increasingly popular option is to do all of the theory and pool work before heading off on your holiday where you complete the dives in the open water. This avoids you spending any time while away in a classroom or pool, freeing you up to get out diving with the pretty fishies which is where you want to be.
Learn to dive on holiday
This is a fun way to learn as you will likely be part of a small group and will have the same instructor throughout your training but it takes up to four days so means you will spend some of your holiday time reading textbooks and sitting at the bottom of a pool! Not necessarily a bad thing but not for everyone.
Great Places to Learn to Dive
Egypt has vast historical and cultural aspects, and also offers world class diving, all within striking distance of Europe.
Lizard Island, in our opinion the best place from which to dive the Great Barrier Reef, is situated at the northern end of the Reef, is home to little more than a Marine Research Station, a luxury hotel, pristine beaches, and a population of large lizards.
The British Virgin Islands offer great diving and hotels, as well as being home to a world famous wreck-dive, the RMS Rhone.
Gozo, Malta's quiet sister, offers great Mediterranean diving, as well as culture, with a collection of charming villages and prehistoric sites to visit; and it's relatively anonymous.
The Maldives is a world-class diving destination, particularly if you like diving with big fish. Above the waves you find pure white sand, blue seas and world-class hotels. What's not to like?
Home to some of the best diving on earth, incredible landscapes and world class hotels, Indonesia is one of our favourite countries. There are some 17,000 islands to choose from but we know the very best spots to head to.
Excellent diving, 'chocolate hills' and amazing wildlife. What more could you ask for?
North Sulawesi is home to some of the best macro life on earth as well as some of the most pristine walls in Asia!
Sharm el-Sheikh is an oasis in the desert covered Sinai peninsula, featuring luxurious hotels and world class diving.
Raja Ampat just happens to sit right on the bullseye of the Coral Triangle, which is the area of highest marine biodiversity on earth. With more species of fish and coral than anywhere else on our planet, the diving here is jaw-dropping.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is an archipelago in the Southern Caribbean comprising of 32 islands, including Mustique, Bequia and Petit St Vincent. Endless stretches of white sand. Tick. Gin clear water. Tick. Idyllic island life. Tick. This is a true Caribbean jewel.
Little known Mafia is one of the only places you are virtually guaranteed whale sharks at the right time of year.
Just a short flight from Manila takes you to an extraordinarily beautiful group of islands with amazing resorts, diving and more!
The Turks and Caicos is home to some wonderfully white sand and clear blue seas. Oh, and some very good diving.
World-class diving and laid back Caribbean charm at its best. This is one of the very best Caribbean diving destinations.
Within the coral triangle, the centre of marine biodiversity which has the highest diversity of tropical fish and coral in the world, are the waters of New Britain. Diverse and colourful corals are home to a variety of marine creatures including fish, crustaceans and invertebrates.
Moyo Island is perfect for those that love wildlife and are looking for some off-the-beaten-track luxury.
Superbly varied diving and superb hotels make the Yucatan Peninsula a wonderful place to visit.
Incredible muck diving, beautiful reefs and one of our favourite hotels, this region is an absolute gem.
The southern Red Sea combines what we love about Red Sea diving with a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere, that is to say, not as many people know about it as they do Sharm.
Choose the right season and this is the place for mantas and whale sharks.
French Polynesia is home to the iconic lagoon at Bora Bora and some stunning diving. The biggest draw is arguably large numbers of sharks but there is much more.
Other Great Places to Learn to Dive
Summer and the beach, song and dance, Sipsmith and tonic; some things are just better together, and no truer is the case than learning to dive in the Caribbean.
While the diving in Egypt is suited to every level (making it ideal if you have an advanced buddy), the conditions couldn’t be more perfect for learning to dive.
What better way to start your scuba diving adventure than in the ‘soft coral capital of the world’?
They say you never forget your first dive, and that will certainly be true if you learn to dive in the Maldives.
If you’d like to learn to dive but don’t want to commit to flying halfway across the world, the tiny Mediterranean island of Gozo is just the ticket.
Budding divers really are spoilt for choice with a huge variety of diving on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Further your diving experience
Why stop at open water? There are a number of courses available on our holidays that can take you from Open Water all the way to instructor should you decide that a career change is in order. We would recommend that you at least get your Advanced certificate as this will allow you to dive to 30 metres and many of the best dives on our trips will require this level of certification.
Should you decide to take it even further, the possibilities are vast. You could become a Rescue Diver or Divemaster if you want to continue to learn more about the theory and practice of diving, or you might decide to take some speciality courses in an area that interests you such as underwater photography or wreck diving.
We are all for more people learning to dive. And we would be delighted to assist you should this be something you want to do. We will arrange all dive training for you on any of our trips and will tailor this to your schedule and learning needs. If you want to complete the theory and pool work in the UK before heading off on your trip, we can also arrange this for you. Contact us to discuss your scuba training in more detail.
- Open Water Diver
- Adventure Diver
- Advanced Open Water Diver
- Rescue Diver