So you’ve completed a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience and fallen in love with scuba diving! Now you are wondering what your next steps should be. Below we will cover how to progress from the Discover Scuba Diving program to become a PADI certified Open Water Diver! Once complete, you’ll be able to explore the world’s oceans in conditions and to depths similar to what you trained in.

Open Water Diver is the Next Step After Discover Scuba Diving

If you know that scuba diving is something you want to continue doing, the best option is to get scuba certified. The first level of scuba diving certification is the PADI Open Water Diver Course and once completed, you’ll be able to go diving, with another certified diver as a buddy, up to a maximum depth of 18 meters/60 feet and in conditions similar to what you trained in. The PADI Open Water Diver certification is recognized around the world, and it’s your ticket to a lifetime of scuba diving adventures.

The Open Water Diver Course is made up of three components, namely knowledge development (theory), confined water dives and open water dives. Depending on how your Discover Scuba Diving experience was conducted, it may count toward your Open Water Diver Course.

How to Use Your Discover Scuba Diving Program as Credit for Your Open Water Diver Course

If you haven’t yet taken a Discover Scuba Diving program but are planning on it and think you might want to later get certified, make this clear to your Instructor when booking your experience. Then, your Discover Scuba Diving Instructor can conduct the program in such a way that it will count towards your future Open Water Diver Course, thereby reducing the time, and often the cost, of your certification course.

Just like the Open Water Diver Course, the Discover Scuba Diving experience consists of theory, a confined water dive and an optional open water dive. If your Instructor knows that you plan to go on to take the Open Water Diver Course within the next 12 months, they can ensure your confined water dive and open water dive can count as the first confined water dive and open water dive of your Open Water Diver Course. This means that instead of needing to complete five confined water dives and four open water dives to become a certified Open Water Diver, you’ll just need to make four more confined water dives and three more open water dives.

Required Skills

During every Discover Scuba Diving experience, participants need to complete the following skills in confined water:

  • Inflate and deflate your BCD at the surface
  • Breathe underwater

If your experience will include the optional open water dive, then your instructor will also have you complete the following skills:

  • Regulator clearing
  • Regulator recovery
  • Partial mask clearing
  • Equalization

For your Discover Scuba Diving confined water dive to count towards your Open Water Diver Course, you’ll need to complete these additional skills:

  • Don your scuba diving equipment (with assistance) and adjust to fit
  • Complete a pre-dive safety check with a buddy
  • Breathe from an alternate air source supplied by another diver for at least 30 seconds
  • Descend at a controlled rate into water too deep in which to stand
  • Swim with scuba equipment while maintaining control of both direction and depth
  • Locate and read the submersible pressure gauge and signal whether the air supply is adequate or low based on the gauge’s caution zone and/or an assigned supply limit
  • Recognize and demonstrate hand signals
  • Ascend using proper technique
  • Stay within reach of a buddy
  • Swim facedown at the surface while breathing through a regulator or snorkel
  • After ascent, keep the mask on and continue breathing from the regulator while using the low pressure inflator to attain positive buoyancy
  • Deflate the BCD, then orally inflate it until positively buoyant at the surface

This might sound like a lot, but it will all flow easily in reality. You may do many of these additional skills anyway while on a Discover Scuba Diving experience.

An over/under stop of scuba divers floating at the surface of a swimming pool

Tell Your Instructor About Your Plans

If you are intending to take your Open Water Diver Course with a different PADI Instructor or at a different PADI Dive Center than where you will complete your Discover Scuba Diving program, it’s important that your Discover Scuba Diving Instructor records that you have completed the additional skills required to offset the first sessions of the Open Water Diver Course.

Your Instructor will record your experience using the Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide log pages. There is space for them to add notes in the comments section that you have completed Confined Water Dive 1. And, if you made an open water dive, Open Water Dive 1. Alternatively, your Instructor may provide you with the student record document for the PADI Open Water Course and sign off for Confined Water 1 and Open Water Dive 1. Be sure to keep this paperwork safe and give it to your Open Water Diver Course Instructor when you enroll.

Choose Your Destination

Now it’s time to decide where you’d like to complete the Open Water Diver Course! Your course can be completed at your local dive shop, or elsewhere in the world. Certain destinations across the globe are ideal for beginner divers, thanks to calm conditions, and great visibility. Some of the best destinations to get certified include:

If you’re unsure where is right for you, speak to one of PADI Travel’s Scuba Travel Experts here.

three divers take a giant leap off the back of a boat

You Have One Year to Take the Open Water Diver Course

Make a note of the date when you participate in your PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience. Your confined and open water dives are valid for one year. If you start your Open Water Diver Course more than one year after completing your Discover Scuba Diving experience, you will need to re-do the first confined water dive and the first open water dive.

Are you ready to dive in and begin your scuba diving adventures? Get started by finding a PADI Dive Center or Resort near you by using the PADI Dive Shop Locator. Or, enroll in eLearning to start your Open Water Diver Course knowledge development online!

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