Are you, one of your children, or your friends a Junior Open Water Diver? Are you, or are they, now 15 years old or above? If so, it’s time for a PADI Junior Open Water Diver upgrade! In this article, we’ll explain the options and process for upgrading to a full Open Water Diver certification and obtaining a new adult certification card.

What’s the Difference Between Junior Open Water Diver and Open Water Diver?

The dive theory, exams, and in-water skills and dives taken during the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification course are exactly the same as those taken by adults. The only difference between the two certifications is age, depth and buddy requirements. Very simply, those who are 15 years and above become Open Water Divers, and those who are under 15 years old at the time of certification are certified as Junior Open Water Divers.

If the Junior Open Water Diver is age 10 or 11, then they have to dive with either a scuba certified parent/guardian or a dive professional. In addition, while adult Open Water Divers and Junior Open Water Divers age 12to 15 are certified to dive to a depth of 18 meters/60 feet, Junior Open Water Divers age 10 or 11 are limited to depths of 12 meters/40 feet or less.

However, because the course for juniors and adults is identical, as soon as a Junior Open Water Diver reaches the age of 15, they can order a replacement card to reflect their new Open Water Diver status.

how to upgrade a junior open water diver certification padi

Upgrading to an Open Water Diver Certification Card

As mentioned above, at the age of 15, a Junior Open Water Diver may simply order a replacement of their PADI certification card. The new card will arrive without the ‘Junior’ designation and will be a full adult Open Water Diver certification. When ordering a PADI Junior Open Water Diver upgrade card, there is no special process. Divers simply need to order a new card online or through their local dive shop. There are three possible options when ordering a replacement card.

Option 1: Physical Card

Physical cards are a great way to show off your status as a diver. Physical cards are the same size as credit cards, so they fit easily in your wallet or keep them safe and on hand in your logbook. Advantages of physical cards are that they are accessible in remote diving destinations where internet access may be unreliable – and they are waterproof! They’re also available with a variety of limited edition images on the front of the card – from sea turtles to impressive sharks.

Option 2: eCards

Once you have purchased a PADI ecard, you’ll be able to access it immediately (no postage or shipping delays) through the PADI App on your smartphone. From anywhere in the world where you have access to the internet, you’ll be able to show proof of your certification level via the app. And, you can still choose the image that suits you best with an eCard. It will show up on the app, just like it does on a physical card.

Option 3: Physical Card + eCard Bundle

Can’t decide between an ecard and a physical card? Not a problem! Get both with our money-saving bundles!

PADI Junior Open Water Diver upgrade card

Step up Your Certification with PADI AWARE

When ordering a replacement card you will be given the option to step up your card with one of PADI AWARE Foundation’s limited edition designs. Every AWARE card purchase includes a tax-deductible USD $10 donation that funds ocean conservation and marine animal protection. AWARE cards are a great way to show off your commitment to the underwater world!

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Continue Your Diving Education

Although ordering a new PADI card is easy, there’s another way to upgrade your PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification – by continuing your education!

If it’s been a while since your last dive, consider completing the PADI ReActivate program to refresh your scuba skills and knowledge. As part of the ReActivate program, you will receive a new certification card, this time without the “Junior” prefix, if you are over the age of 15.

To learn more about different types of diving and to get certified to dive up to 30 meters / 100 feet, enroll in the PADI Advanced Open Water Course. During the course, you’ll make two mandatory dives (a deep dive and an underwater navigation dive), plus three more Adventure Dives with your instructor. For the three additional dives, you can choose from a range of super interesting Adventure Dives, including (but not limited to) drift diving, peak performance buoyancy, fish identification, search and recovery, enriched air diving, night diving, wreck diving, boat diving, or why not try your hand at photography or videography in the Underwater Imaging Adventure Dive?

If you’re not ready to commit to the Advanced Open Water Diver course, or if you have in mind a certain type of diving you would like to explore more, taking a PADI Specialty Diver Course is another option for gaining a new certification card! Whichever course you choose to take, the new certification card will come without the ‘Junior’ designation if you’re aged 15 or over.

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