+1 (626) 529-5220 •

FAQS Find The Answer That You Need.

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

1. Knowledge Development - Learn the theory

During the first phase of your PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification, we'll help you develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You'll learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives. You'll briefly review what you have studied in the five knowledge sections with your instructor and take a short quiz to be sure you're getting it.

At the end of the course, you'll take a longer quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down. You and your DIVERS WEST Instructor will review anything that you don't quite get until it's clear.

Select the knowledge development option you prefer:

  • Start right now and learn to scuba dive online with DIVERS WEST via PADI eLearning at your own pace—anytime, anywhere (great for busy schedules)
  • Attend a scheduled scuba diving class at DIVERS WEST (great for meeting new friends and dive buddies)
  • Take advantage of home study using PADI multimedia materials (manual, video, CD-Rom) purchased through DIVERS WEST.
2. Confined Water Dives - Learn the skills

This is what it's all about – diving. You'll 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 may play some games, 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 - Apply what you learned in the ocean

After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you've made will continue learning during four open water dives . This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course. Typically, two open water dives will take place at a local beach, then the last two open water dives will be on a boat at Catalina Island.

DIVERS WEST offers two class schedules a month. A weekend schedule and a week night schedule for the academics and pool training. The open water dives will take place on a weekend. The weekend class takes 5 days and the week night class takes 7 days. Both are spread out over 3 weeks, 

Occasionally, our scheduled classes don't coincide with your work or personal schedule so there are other options available to you:

You can complete your academic portion via PADI eLearnig. This replaces the classroom portion and you can do it at your own pace. You have one year to complete after you sign up on PADI eLearning. Make sure your select Divers West as your dive shop. Once you have completed your eLerning, you can join a scheduled class to finish the confined water and open water requirements. Call the store to get more information about registration process and cost.

Another option is a private or semi private course. With this option, we will try to tailor the course to your schedule. Please contact the store for additional information and pricing.

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 highly trained, experienced professional - your DIVERS WEST PADI Scuba 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 in the world there is water. Plus, your scuba certification never expires!

DIVERS WEST is happy to offer the PADI Open Water Course for only $520.00 per person plus tax. This includes course material, rental gear, classroom training, pool training, ocean dives, and boat dives at Catalina Island.  Student must provide their own personal items. Please call for more details and schedules. Private courses additional costs.

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. DIVERS WEST 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
  • boots
  • scuba fins
  • gloves

These have a personal fit, and DIVERS WEST will 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, DIVERS WEST will provide a:

  • dive regulator
  • scuba BC
  • dive computer
  • scuba tank
  • scuba wetsuit
  • weight system and weights

Check with DIVERS WEST to confirm sizing available for your course package. 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

The kind of gear you will need depends on the conditions where you dive. You may want:

  • tropical scuba gear
  • temperate scuba equipment
  • cold water scuba diving equipment

Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. The professionals at DIVERS WEST are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. These professionals can get you set with the right stuff, plus they provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.

.

If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI scuba 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. You must be at least 13 years old to take scuba lessons online with PADI eLearning, due to international internet laws. If you're younger, you can still learn to dive – just have your parent or legal guardian contact DIVERS WEST.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief 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 dive physician (SPUMS) must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you're fit to dive. In some areas, local laws require all scuba students to consult with a physician before entering the course.

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

  • swim 200 metres/yards (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. Even individuals with more significant physical challenges participate in diving. Talk to your PADI Instructor at your local PADI Dive Shop or Resort for more information.

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:

  • The PADI Open Water Diver Manual
  • PADI Open Water Diver Video on DVD or the PADI Open Water Diver Multimedia (combines manual and video for computer based learning).
  • You will also need your PADI Log book and Recreational Dive Planner (Table, The WheelTM or eRDPTM).

You can dive practically anywhere in the world 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
  • level site
  • accessibility
  • conditions 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.

California has hundreds of miles of coast line to explore from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs. Some are more accessible than others, but that's part of the adventure! You can also take one of our local dive boats that we charter every month to Catalina, San Clemente, or Santa Barbara Islands and visit our world famous kelp forrests. 

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. DIVERS WEST can help you organize great local diving or a dive vacation. Visit today to get started.

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.

Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are preventable with over the counter preventatives. The most common injuries caused by marine life are scrapes and stings, most of which can be avoided by wearing gloves and an exposure suit, staying off the bottom and watching where you put your hands and feet.

Contact DIVERS WEST for information about exposure protection needed for any of your diving.

 

When you're lucky, you'll get to see a shark. Most sharks will sense you long before you see one, and head the other way to avoid you.

Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare.  Most commonly, shark encounters primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger eractic feeding behavior. Sharks main food source is fish and if they can get a free feed they will. 

Most of the time, if you see a shark it's passing through and a relatively rare sight to enjoy.

With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 60 feet. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 60 feet unless you are a Junior Scuba Diver then it is 40 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 40 feet where the water's warmer and the colors are brighter. 

If you are interested in diving deeper, you can take the PADI Advanced Open Water course where you will experience diving to 100ft.

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 with DIVERS WEST.

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training with DIVERS WEST, 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.