Is scuba diving something that you’ve always wanted to try? Do you want to give it a go but don’t feel ready to commit to the PADI Open Water Diver certification course? If this applies to you, then the PADI Discover Scuba® Diving experience (sometimes called a try dive) could be exactly what you are looking for!

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Discover Scuba Diving experience. Hopefully, they will help you to make the decision to give diving a try.

What is Discover Scuba Diving?

The PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience (often referred to as a DSD) is a chance to try diving without committing to a full certification course. It’s an opportunity to try scuba diving to see if you enjoy it – or simply to tick it off your bucket list. Many divers start with the Discover Scuba Diving experience, fall in love with the underwater world, and go on to become certified divers! When people are considering taking a DSD, they often have a lot of questions that they would like answered before making the decision to go ahead.

Discover Scuba Diving FAQs

Do I need to be able to swim?

You do not need to be an Olympic swimmer to take a DSD; however, you should feel comfortable in the water and be able to maintain yourself at the surface.

Will I be in a pool or diving in the ocean?

The Discover Scuba Diving experience takes place in a swimming pool or in any body of water that has pool-like conditions. This means good visibility and calm conditions, so you can have the most comfortable experience possible. There is also an optional open water dive for those who want to take it. The open water dive is a great opportunity to see the local aquatic life!

Discover Scuba Diving FAQs - marine life

How deep will I go underwater?

First of all, it’s important to know that you will not go any deeper than you feel comfortable with. The maximum depth for a Discover Scuba Diving experience is 6 meters (20 feet) for the initial pool session and 12 meters (40 feet) if you do the optional open water dive, but that does not mean you have to go that deep.

If I take the optional dive, how long will I dive for?

This varies from person to person and depends on how quickly (or slowly) you breathe the air in your tank. Most recreational dives last between 30 and 50 minutes.

Who will teach my DSD?

Discover Scuba Diving experiences are conducted by PADI Instructors, if you are going to also do the optional open water dive,or qualified PADI Divemasters may conduct the experience if you are only completing pool dive. PADI Pros undergo rigorous training and exams to ensure that they can safely accompany and teach those who are new to diving.

DSD Pool session

What happens on a DSD?

Signing Up: Your DSD will begin with a little bit of paperwork.

Theory: Once you have filled in the relevant forms, your Instructor will conduct a short theory session with you. During this theory session, you will learn about the basics of diving, including the physics and physiology of diving, the underwater environment, communication, and the equipment you will be using. If you complete the DSD eLearning beforehand, then this session is more of a quick review with your instructor.

Confined Water: This part of your DSD may be conducted in a swimming pool, or in a body of water that offers pool-like conditions. Your instructor will demonstrate some underwater skills that will keep you comfortable and safe before asking you to try them yourself. At a minimum, you’ll learn how to breath underwater properly and then how to inflate and deflate your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device). Your instructor may also add some other skills for you to practice depending on how the experience is set up.  For example, if you are planning to do the optional open water dive, then you will also need to learn and practice how to  clear any water out of your mask in the event that it leaks, how to recover and clear your regulator that you are breathing from, in case it is accidentally dislodged from your mouth, and how to equalize your ears to take into account the increased water pressure as you descend underwater. You’ll also learn how to enter and exit the water and what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency. Once you have completed the skills, you’ll be able to enjoy swimming around and feeling weightless underwater! Your instructor may also combine this with some underwater games – anyone for underwater frisbee?

Optional Open Water Dive: This is a chance to venture out into the ocean and see the local marine life! You’ll dive to a maximum depth of 12 meters (40 feet) and your instructor will be by your side from start to finish.

Are there any age limits?

To take the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience, participants must be at least 10 years old. There is no upper age limit.

I have a pre-existing medical condition, can I still take part?

This depends on the nature of your condition. If you have a medical condition, or think that you may perhaps have one, you will need a doctor’s statement confirming you are medically fit to dive. You will fill out a medical questionnaire before the experience and, once completed, you will either be able to take part immediately or you may be required to provide a doctor’s statement based on your answers.

You can view and download the medical questionnaire in advance, here.

scuba diving and antidepressants

Do I need to be physically fit to do a try dive?

You do not need to have an extreme level of fitness; however, you should have at least an average level of fitness and be physically capable.

Can a female who is menstruating take a DSD?

There is no physical reason why women who are menstruating can’t go scuba diving. This is purely a matter of personal comfort. If you suffer from stomach cramps or headaches during your monthly cycle, you may want to wait until after your period.

Can I do more than one Discover Scuba Diving experience?

Yes! Absolutely! You can make repeat open water dives with the same dive school as many times as you want. However, if it has been more than a couple of weeks since your initial DSD, you will also need to repeat the theory and pool session. If you want to do repeat dives with another dive school, then they will also ask you to repeat the pool session as well as the knowledge and safety review.

dsd to open water

Can my Discover Scuba Diving experience count toward an Open Water Diver Course?

Yes, it can. If you are thinking about getting certified, let your chosen dive center know in advance. They will include some additional skills so that your DSD (try dive) counts as the first pool session in the PADI Open Water Diver course, and so that your optional open water dive, if done, will also count as the first dive of the full course. Please note that you will need to start the entire PADI Open Water Diver course within 12 months of your Discover Scuba Diving experience.

Read more about going from DSD to Open Water Diver here.

Sign me up!

If you’ve decided that you would like to take a Discover Scuba Diving experience, congratulations! You are on the way to trying scuba diving and breathing underwater for the first time! Use the link below to look for a PADI Dive Center in your area and sign up for your try dive directly.

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