Learn to Dive

Learning to dive couldn't be easier or safer, taking as little as four days to become fully qualified. No matter what your age or what you want to achieve, there's something for everyone.

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

  • Dive lesson in pool

    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!

  • Diving in pool

    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.

  • Diving lesson

    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

Fish on Reef


Egypt has vast historical and cultural aspects, and also offers world class diving, all within striking distance of Europe.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef

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.

Island Beach

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands offer great diving and hotels, as well as being home to a world famous wreck-dive, the RMS Rhone.

Blue hole, Gozo


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.

Black Tip Sharks and Minnow Shoal


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?

Porcelain Crab


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.

Boat on the Loboc river, Bohol Island


Excellent diving, 'chocolate hills' and amazing wildlife. What more could you ask for?

Sunset Bunaken, Sulawesi

Northern Sulawesi

North Sulawesi is home to some of the best macro life on earth as well as some of the most pristine walls in Asia!

Red Sea Beach, Egypt

Northern Red Sea

Sharm el-Sheikh is an oasis in the desert covered Sinai peninsula, featuring luxurious hotels and world class diving.

Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat

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.

Salt Whistle Bay Beach

St Vincent & The Grenadines

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.

Mafia Island, Tanzania

Mafia Island

Little known Mafia is one of the only places you are virtually guaranteed whale sharks at the right time of year.

Palawan Blue Lagoon


Just a short flight from Manila takes you to an extraordinarily beautiful group of islands with amazing resorts, diving and more!

Aerial view of Grand Turk

Turks & Caicos

The Turks and Caicos is home to some wonderfully white sand and clear blue seas. Oh, and some very good diving.

Little Cayman Sunset

Little Cayman

World-class diving and laid back Caribbean charm at its best. This is one of the very best Caribbean diving destinations.

Blanche Bay, New Britain, PNG

New Britain

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.

Lion fish, Moyo Island

Moyo Island

Moyo Island is perfect for those that love wildlife and are looking for some off-the-beaten-track luxury.

Chichen Itza

Yucatan Peninsula

Superbly varied diving and superb hotels make the Yucatan Peninsula a wonderful place to visit.

Apo Island, Philippines

Dumaguete and Dauin

Incredible muck diving, beautiful reefs and one of our favourite hotels, this region is an absolute gem.

Southern Red Sea beach

Southern Red Sea

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.

Baa Atoll at sunset

Northern Atolls

Choose the right season and this is the place for mantas and whale sharks.

Bora Bora Aerial, French Polynesia

French Polynesia

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.

Lord Howe Island Lagoons

Lord Howe Island

Home to the southernmost coral reef in the world, this little known island is a hidden gem.

Other Great Places to Learn to Dive


Learn to Dive Caribbean

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.

dolphins red sea

Learn to Dive Egypt

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.

soft coral diving Fiji

Learn to Dive Fiji

What better way to start your scuba diving adventure than in the ‘soft coral capital of the world’?

sweetlip fish maldives

Learn to Dive Maldives

They say you never forget your first dive, and that will certainly be true if you learn to dive in the Maldives.

nudibranch gozo

Learn to Dive Malta and Gozo

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.

Cenote diving Mexico

Learn to Dive Mexico

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.

Popular courses

  • Open Water Diver
  • Adventure Diver
  • Advanced Open Water Diver
  • Rescue Diver
  • Divemaster
  • Instructor

Start creating your tailored trip today

Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our course experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on 1-800-652-1972

Or enquire online

Find more inspiration