You’ve just become a certified PADI Open Water Diver, and your shiny new card rests proudly in your pocket or on your smartphone. Now what? As a new Open Water Diver, you’ll undoubtedly be wondering how to make the most of the scuba community, as well as feeling the anticipation of heading out without your instructor for the first time to the Open Water Diver depth limit. And rightly so, but there’s nothing like a little excitement to keep you on your toes. Harness that feeling of adventure and get going.

Here are a few suggestions to help you take your next steps as a new Open Water Diver.

Two new Open Water Divers who have completed their certification and are diving together in the ocean and watching a turtle

Grab a Buddy and Dive

The sooner the better. There’s nothing quite like a dive at one of your training sites to build confidence beyond your PADI Open Water Diver course. Firstly, it’s familiar territory, and you’ve benefited from your Instructor’s predive briefs and local insights. It’s also amazing how different, and how much fun, a “training” site can be when you’re exploring freely. So, get your gear and go. If you don’t have everything you need yet, you can rent it from a local PADI Dive Shop instead. Don’t let too much time pass before you capitalize on your new open water skills.

A group of four new Open Water Divers who are part of a local PADI dive club and are about to go diving together in the ocean

Join a Local Dive Club

The company of like-minded people is a big part of launching your new dive life. If your local dive shop is associated with a club, that’s the obvious first stop. Otherwise, a moment’s research will turn up options no matter where you live. You’ll find camaraderie, a ready buddy supply, and a great wealth of information and experience. Learn more about the benefits of a dive club.

Join PADI Club

PADI Club™ connects divers and ocean lovers around the world who are also passionate about living their best life above and beneath the surface. You’ll also enjoy a ton of PADI Club benefits to help you maintain your diver status, such as:

  • Special dive trips to the best diving destinations
  • 20% off most PADI eLearning courses
  • A free eCard every year (as well as exclusive designs for PADI Club members)
  • A free subscription to Scuba Diving magazine
  • 25% off a new physical certification card once a year
  • Exclusive discounts from PADI Club partners

What’s more, PADI Club membership fees directly support ocean conservation through the PADI AWARE Foundation™.

Take the Pledge – Save the Ocean

As a new Open Water Diver, you’ve earned a certification to turn your passion into meaningful action to protect our blue planet. You could help with coral restoration, get rid of marine debris, or educate others about saving the ocean. Give your dives a deeper purpose and take the pledge as an Ocean Torchbearer to take local action for global impact.

A girl in a yellow t-shirt sitting at home and using her mobile tablet to research the next steps after PADI Open Water Diver

Immerse Yourself (While on Land)

If you won’t have time to explore some of these other options straight away, then immerse yourself in scuba diving as best you can. It’s a great way to keep your enthusiasm up and your dive knowledge growing after the PADI Open Water Diver course. You could:

What Comes After PADI Open Water Diver?

The Advanced Open Water Diver course is designed specifically to help divers – especially new Open Water Divers – build skills and competence in a variety of dive adventures, from deeper diving to night diving. Remember, you’ll be an Advanced Open Water Diver when you successfully complete the course; you don’t have to be “advanced” at the start. This is also a great way to experience new dive sites and conditions that will increase your options later. Think about your skill level now, then just imagine how you’ll feel with five more dives under your belt.

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