Most people begin their aquatic transformation with the PADI open water scuba diving certification. This training allows you and a buddy to plan and conduct scuba dives up to 60 feet without supervision and to buy compressed air.
The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases:
The best way to complete scuba knowledge development is through convenient self-paced independent study using PADI eLearning. Do not sign up for eLearning on the PADI website as it will increase your certification cost significantly. Contact me to meet and discuss your training plan.
Confined Water Dives
Five confined water dives are done in a local swimming pool over about 2- 3 days with time in between to absorb the information.
Open Water Dives
Four open water training dives are required. These are best done in Cozumel, Mexico or other Caribbean destination. Cozumel is a world renowned dive destination offering warm clear water year round and the incredible diving you dream about, plus sightseeing, sunbathing, great restaurants, and quick flights from Texas. A four night hotel/dive package including basic hotel, shore tanks for open water checkout dives, and four boat drift dives on incredible Cozumel reefs can be as low as $400 per person plus your airfare (low season, double occupancy). I am happy to plan and guide your trip. If you are serious about scuba diving, this is truly the best introduction to the scuba lifestyle. If you can't afford a Caribbean trip, Texas springs and lakes are your next best option. Begin your open water dives in the clear spring waters of Spring Lake, San Marcos (subject to availability) and a second day at Windy Point Park on Lake Travis in Austin. Spring Lake has fantastic visibility, but is not deep enough to complete all the dives to proper standards. For this reason we move on to Lake Travis which offers greater depth but lower visibility. Windy Point Park also offers inexpensive camping if you are on a budget or there are great hotels and restaurants nearby. The Gulf of Mexico has awesome diving, especially offshore, but is not usually an option for open water students due to highly variable Texas weather.
If you are ready to begin the best open water scuba training experience. Classes start when two to four people are ready.
Each student diver must purchase his/her own set of course materials through me. The eLearning materials are included in my tuition fee.
One exciting aspect of diving is the cool scuba gear that allows you to explore underwater. Students must have scuba quality fins, booties, scuba mask, snorkel, and a dive suit appropriate for the open water dive temperature to use during training. These personal items should fit well and be comfortable. I provide the scuba kit consisting of scuba tank, weights, BCD, scuba regulator, dive computer, and signaling device during training. You will train with a weight integrated BCD, premium balanced adjustable regulator, and easy to read air integrated dive computer, not cheap rental gear. You do not need a dive knife, or other add-on items unless you desire them. Gloves are optional but usually not needed. The tendency is for new divers to buy a lot of stuff they don't need, so use caution and save your money for a dive vacation to the Caribbean where you can use your new skills. Scuba quality mask, fins, snorkel, boots, and 3mm wetsuit should cost less than $300. I am an authorized dealer for EDGE and HOG and other brands of dive gear.
To provide an exceptional value to my students I offer these and other brands at special prices far below manufacturer suggested retail price. I will also match or beat online prices on these brands or comparable equipment. Visit the online store and contact me for details if you want the best value on dive equipment.
Purchasing Scuba Diving Equipment
Purchasing a scuba system is a decision that should not be rushed. As with any sport it takes experience to make an informed buying decision and know what gear is right for you, but often new divers feel pressured to buy gear immediately. This is because dive shops make the majority of their income from equipment sales and are eager to sell full packages of gear to new divers. While having your own gear can have advantages, some people choose never to buy a full set of scuba equipment. They save on airline luggage fees, travel light, and rent gear at their dive destination. Their gear is usually set up and ready to go when they board the boat. Other people enjoy owning their own equipment and feel it makes them better divers. You are free to purchase equipment anywhere you like and I will never pressure you to purchase expensive dive gear or make it part of the price of scuba lessons. I am happy to advise you in getting the best value on scuba gear. If you have your own scuba system you must demonstrate to me that it is in good condition and has been properly serviced within the last year by a qualified technician. Please consult me before burrowing or purchasing gear to be sure you get the right stuff.
Scuba Certification Cost
Safety and the quality of your training are more important than cost. I offer the best price for the quality personalized service and thorough training you will receive. I customize training to suit the students' learning style, needs, and preferences. My classes are limited to a maximum of four people- often less. You won't be sitting on the bottom of a pool or lake waiting for six or more students to do scuba skills during your scuba diving lessons. You will get ample time to practice, become comfortable in the water, and have fun learning real diving skills. My students get significantly more time with me above and below the water compared to most instructors and you can ask me questions electronically at any time. Be cautious if the advertised price of scuba lessons seems too good to be true. Cheap lessons are cheap for a reason and it is usually a complex gimmick to sell you lots of stuff before you have the knowledge to make decisions for yourself or there are lots of hidden costs. Be sure to ask exactly what is included in the class and what things are not when comparing prices. Here is a handy Scuba Certification Cost Worksheet to help you determine the best value and stay within a budget.
Cost for the PADI Open Water Scuba Course is $549.99 and includes:
Five for Fighting Discount
In appreciation to those defending knowledge and freedom, I offer an additional 5% discount to current university students and active duty military.
You should have reasonable swimming skills, be comfortable in the water, and have good physical and mental health. You will be required to complete a mask, fins, and snorkel swim for 300 meters/yards and be able to float or tread water for 10 minutes without aids. You will need to be able to breathe from a snorkel or regulator without a mask at times during training. Some people have trouble with this so I highly recommend trying this in a swimming pool or bathtub before you commit to scuba lessons. You should be comfortable using a mask, fins and snorkel before taking the course. See me FMI. Be sure to confirm that you are healthy for diving by carefully reading and completing the Medical Statement and Questionnaire and meeting with a physician if required before committing to scuba lessons. I know we often ignore the fine print these days, but you must read this entire document carefully and answer every question with the full word YES or NO.
You should be at least 18 years old. I may offer junior certifications to exceptional young people 13 or older when taking a class along with a parent.
You deserve the best experience possible when learning to dive. I do not cut corners like some instructors do. Dive conditions vary like Texas weather. I regularly hear horror stories about instructors taking too many students to low visibility, cold, shallow, or otherwise poor open water dive sites. Sadly, this happened to me when I learned to dive, but I did not know better at the time. While I can't control mother nature, I strive to take you to the open water dive site/s with the best possible combination of visibility, temperature, and other factors. You will not do lake dives in water temperature less than 70 degrees, because you would either be very uncomfortable or need to spend an excessive amount of money on a thick exposure suit you will rarely use in Texas. You will not do a weekend rush job class, because these are not safe or effective. Diving is not hard, but it takes time to process the important knowledge and skills involved. You will never be in an open water class larger than 4 people. My class is more rigorous than most and features emphasis on performing skills neutrally buoyant and in proper trim whenever possible. I teach from a marine conservation "take only pictures, leave only bubbles" standpoint and expect my divers to respect and value aquatic life. I offer a personally tailored, concierge, boutique style scuba course, without the boutique price. If you are interested in a large group, retail dive store experience- my course is not for you.
Classes begin whenever 2-4 people are ready. What are you waiting for! If you are ready to transform yourself, contact me now to get started!