FAQs

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Learning to scuba dive with Hidden Depths Scuba School is an incredible adventure! Your training includes three main sections, and upon sucessful completion of all course elements, you will have earned your new scuba certification!

1. Knowledge Development 

During the first phase of your PADI Open Water Diver course, 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. Your dive theory is delivered using PADI's eLearning system, where you complete five sections, which finish with knoweldge reviews and quizzes to confirm you've taken on the information.

At the end of the course, you'll take an eLearning review with your instructor that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down. You and your Instructor will review anything that you don't quite get until it's clear.

2. Confined Water Dives 

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 emergency skills, like sharing air or replacing your scuba mask. Plus, you will have time to practice your new skills, make new friends and have a great time. There are five confined water dives, with each building 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

After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you've made continue learning during four open water dives with your Instructor at a dive site. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure. You may make these dives locally, or abroad if you choose to join us on a dive holiday!

At Hidden Depths Scuba School we offer a variety of course schedules to fit individual student needs. Our regular Open Water Diver course includes 6 weekly pool dives to complete your confined water dives, followed by a weekend of diving in open water to complete your course. This schedule is great as it allows plenty of time between pool dives for you to complete your home study dive theory, and make sure you're prepared for the next dive.

If you're a little short of time, it's possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as three days by taking part in an intensive style course offered by Hidden Depths Scuba School. This includes a full day of confined water training, followed by two days of diving in open water to complete your course. With this style of course, you would need to have completed the online eLearning before the course begins.

During either course style, your instructor's interest is in your learning to scuba dive, not in how long you take to complete the course. So, 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 scuba diver who dives regularly. You can start learning to scuba dive online right now with Hidden Depths Scuba School and PADI eLearning.

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 at the pub!

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 - your Hidden Depths Scuba School Dive Instructor. 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.

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. Hidden Depths Scuba School will help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.

When you start learning to scuba dive, as a minimum, you want your own

  • scuba mask & snorkel
  • scuba fins & boots

These have a personal fit, and we can help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited to you. Included in the cost of your PADI Open Water Diver course, Hidden Depths Scuba School will provide full kit hire. Although all the kit is provided, it's recommended that you invest in your own scuba equipment when you start your course because:

  • 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

Easy. There is no best gear, but there is the best gear for you. The professionals at Hidden Depths Scuba School are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. We can get you set with the right kit, that will support you for years of enjoyable and dependable use.

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

Minimum Age: 10 years old (8 years old for pool training)

Medical: For safety, all students complete a scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you're ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your doctor must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you're fit to dive.

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

  • swim 200 metres (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
  • float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

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. Individuals with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification.

Learning Materials : We provide our students with PADI eLearning, allowing you to complete your dive theory at a time and place to suit you. If you would rather study with the tradtional course manual and DVD, we're also able to provide these.

No, you don't need to be the best at swimming to scuba dive. A comfort in and around water will really help you, but the only requirements relating to swimming are as follows:

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

  • swim 200 metres (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
  • float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

If you're looking for a bit of coaching to help you meet these requirements, as we can provide a swim teacher for you to make sure you're able to meet the swim requirements when learning to dive.

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 your:

  • Experience
  • Certification level
  • Access
  • Conditions
  • Personal interests

For example, if you've just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course, you probably 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 travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer than you think - check out our UK sea diving trips here.

Your local dive site can be anything from a special pool built just for divers like one found in Brussels, Belgium, or more typically natural sites like Belize's Great Blue Hole, Australia's Great Barrier Reef or Japan's Yonaguni Monument. It may be a manmade reservoir or a fossil-filled river. 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. Hidden Depths Scuba School run a dive club for exactly this reason, and have a packed diary of dive events and club nights for you to take part in! 

No, assuming you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses. The discomfort is the normal effect of water pressure pressing in on your ears. 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.

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, but your best way forward is to plan a consultation with your doctor to discuss your suitability for scuba diving.

With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 40 metres. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than 18 metres (unless you are a Junior Scuba Diver - then it is 12 metres). Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 12 metres where the water's warmer and the colors are brighter.

Some divers are keen to progress to deeper sites that are beyond recreational limits. Diving deeper than 40m is considered as technical diving, and we offer courses to allow you to reach greater depths. Check out our technical courses for more information.

That's not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you'll learn in your PADI Open Water course.

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite liberating. Modern scuba masks are available with a clear silicone surround to let in plenty of light, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training with Hidden Depths Scuba School, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly.

Hidden Depths Scuba School keep classes small so that we can give you more time to get comfortable with the amazing world of diving.