Instructors and dive centers are frequently asked, “Do scuba certifications expire?” It’s a valid question for courses like PADI Open Water Diver, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and PADI Rescue Diver. Learning to dive usually involves a financial and time commitment, so understandably, people want to know how long their certification will last.

So, do scuba certifications expire? No, they do not; your scuba certification is for life!

do scuba certifications expire?

Keep diving

Although you are certified for life, diving regularly to keep your skills and knowledge fresh is strongly recommended. You should aim to dive frequently and avoid 6-12 months or more periods without diving. If you have not dived recently, you should take a scuba diving refresher course called PADI Reactivate.

returning to the water scuba skills in the pool

What is PADI Reactivate?

PADI ReActivate is a comprehensive refresher program designed to remind you of the core principles and skills from the PADI Open Water Course. It involves two components, theory and an optional in-water session.

The theory session can be completed easily online or from your mobile device with PADI eLearning. It takes between 2 – 6 hours to complete.

Although the in-water session is optional, you are strongly advised to complete a session with an instructor. Although the Reactivate theory is interactive and will provide you with videos, it’s not the same as actually doing it for yourself. It’s always better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared when diving. With your instructor, you’ll assemble your gear and practice vital skills, including buoyancy control and emergency out-of-air procedures.

Dive centers love to see a recent ReActivate date on your record too! Check out the refresher experience here.

Keep in mind that the PADI ReActivate eLearning program is free with a PADI Club membership. Click the button below to join and save now!

What if my circumstances change?

As a certified diver, you’ll know if your circumstances change, such as developing a health issue. However, your card is still valid. You should check with an appropriate physician about whether or not the change affects your ability to dive. You’ll learn about factors that affect your ability to dive during your PADI Open Water Course, and, in some regions, you may need to show a certificate from a doctor upon enrolling in the course.

certification card

I’ve lost my certification card – What should I do?

Don’t worry! We understand that certification cards get misplaced and need replacing. The great news is that with your name (as it appeared on your original card), date of birth, and address, your certification record can be retrieved, and a replacement card obtained. Here are your replacement options:

Physical cards

PADI can mail one to you for those who prefer a physical card. All PADI physical cards are made from recycled materials, and a physical card has some advantages. Suppose you are traveling to a remote region where getting online can be ‘spotty.’ In that case, a physical card removes the need for a wifi connection – unlike your phone, PADI’s physical cards are waterproof!

Electronic cards

PADI’s electronic cards, or e-cards, are a great way to ensure you don’t misplace your card again and always have your card with you on your mobile device. Another plus point is that you don’t need to wait for the mailman because you can access them on the PADI App immediately after making your purchase!

Limited edition cards

Support your favorite cause with a PADI Limited Edition card! Choose from PADI AWARE Foundation designs (so you can be proud to be part of PADI conservation efforts to protect planet blue simultaneously) and wildlife images by award-winning photographers and marine activists Mike Coots and Brandon Cole.


Unsure which option to choose? You can also purchase the bundle and receive the benefits of both options at a discounted price. Fun fact: 67% of divers surveyed have both an eCard and physical card.

Which design will you pick? There are beautiful choices, from sharks to nudibranchs, so if you’ve lost or misplaced your card, get your replacement card online!

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