For those looking to learn to dive and qualify as a diver there is an excellent entry level course called the Open Water Diver Course. The Padi version of the course is the most popular in the world and it is perfect for those looking to get qualified while on holiday or on a short break.
The Padi Open Water Diver course takes you from only having tried diving before during a try dive, or as someone that has never dived before, to being a fully qualified autonomous diver. This 3 to 4 day course starts with some initial studying on the part of the student with the completion of a manual, some videos and by answering a number of questions on the contents in the form of knowledge reviews.
This initial theory can be completed with a paperback version and DVD or completely online with eLearning. Either option can be sent to the student to complete before the course starts which can save on valuable holiday time and give the best preparation possible for the course.
The theory is tested with some simple quizzes, discussion and feedback with your Instructor, and a final exam on all the information.
Either following or during the theory completion you will then start to practice your diving skills with 5 confined water dives. Each of these dives help you practice all the main skills you will need as a new diver, they start with simple skills and build up to more advanced skill sets. You will also need to complete a swim and float check before going into the open water dives.
When you are ready you will then be required at certain stages to complete 4 open water dives up to a maximum of 18 metres. These involve the skills you will have already practiced during the confined water sessions and with a lot more actual diving where you can fine tune your buoyancy and general control while diving. There are also a few skills that are introduced at this stage like how to use an underwater compass both on the surface and during a dive.
The Padi Open Water Diver course once completed does not make the diver an expert. This is very similar to passing your driving test, you are a qualified driver but you need to gain experience to become a good one. It is important to remember that this is exactly the same in diving and once qualified the diver should then look to dive regularly and put everything they have learned into practice. Over a short period of dives your confidence and ability grows while diving with other divers and learning from the experience. Diving with professionals through a Dive Centre is a great idea to continue to pick up the best advice while continuing your education through additional course like the Advanced Open Water course or a speciality or two.
Once you have reached 10, 20, 30 dives you will see a world of difference in your diving ability and be getting the most from your dives and the stunning underwater world that is now open to you.