Scuba Diving – How-to-Guide to be a Certified Diver

diver_stingraySo you’ve been dreaming of exploring the peaceful underwater world, drifting weightlessly with the fish and turtles, dancing with dolphins, and gliding effortlessly with the rays.  That dream can easily become a reality and here’s how:

  1. Contact your local SDI dive center and sign up for your Open Water Scuba Diver Course.  You can use Scuba Diving International’s dive center locater found here.
  2. Once you have chosen your dive center, you can start the home study portion to prepare for your course.  This can be done with either the traditional manual, or the more popular online eLearning course.  This will provide all of the basic knowledge you will need to begin your underwater adventure.  This information will then be reviewed with your scuba instructor where they can answer any questions you may have and correct any questions you might have missed.
  3. Your next step in becoming a certified diver is to complete your in-water skill development training with an instructor.  This will take place in a swimming pool or similar body of water.  This confined water session is where you will learn and master the basic skills required for the underwater world.  Skills including equipment set up and use, buoyancy control, proper swimming techniques while wearing SCUBA, regulator and mask clearing, proper ascents/descents, as well as emergency procedures will all be covered and practiced until you are proficient and comfortable in the water.
  4. The final step of your certification process is to test your skills in open water.  Here you will apply what you have learned during your academic and skill-development sessions, while learning practical lessons that can only be gained through real-world experience in open water. This portion of the course will include a minimum of four open water dives, where you will demonstrate your ability to plan and manage dives under the direct supervision of your instructor.  These “check-off” dives can be conducted locally with your dive center, or while you are on vacation in a tropical paradise.
  5. Get out there and DIVE!  Scuba Diving grants you access to a whole new world, what adventure awaits YOU below the surface?

Here is a list of some basic scuba gear to consider for your recreational dives. Talk to your instructor about what tools to consider for your course!

  1. Wetsuit
  2. Cylinder (Scuba Tanks)
  3. Mask
  4. Fins
  5. Snorkel
  6. Dive Computer
  7. Regulator
  8. Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPG)
  9. Alternate Air Source
  10. Compass
  11. Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
  12. Weights
  13. Gear Bag (carry all equipment)

Other Dive Gear Considerations

  1. Dive Knife
  2. Whistle – Signal or attention device
  3. Dive Light
  4. Dive Flag

For more information on becoming a certified Open Water Scuba Diver or to find an SDI instructor near you, visit us at

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI
If you would like more information, please contact our World Headquarters or your Regional Office.

Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201

4 replies
  1. Nicolai Loenne
    Nicolai Loenne says:

    Great step by step guide for new divers.

    However, I don’t really agree with your list of equipment. First of all, on your first many recreational dives you’ll be closely followed by an instructor (unless you found a really bad scuba center to dive with). He or she should have the expensive equipment like dive computer in order.
    Also – don’t buy at first, start with renting and then consider buying once you start to get the hang of it and falls in love with diving. If you for some strange reason don’t fall in love with diving then it’ll be a shame to have tons of scuba equipment to hide away 🙂

    Again, great article. Hopefully it will get some new divers out and into the water 🙂

  2. John
    John says:

    My wife and I would love to learn to scuba dive, we just haven’t looked into it a lot yet. It’s good to know that you need a minimum of four open water dives in order to become fully certified. I like how certification allows you plenty of time and opportunity to learn and practice diving before you go off and do it on your own. Safety is through certification!

  3. Down to Scuba
    Down to Scuba says:

    Many potential students don’t realize there is an extensive theory session before hopping into the water for a dive. This is a great explanation on how to get your diving certification and what to expect!


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