PADI Open Water Diver

Course Overview

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:

  • Knowledge Development to understand basic principles of scuba diving, done via electronic learning.
  • Confined Water Dives to learn scuba skills.
  • Open Water Dives to use your skills and explore!

Knowledge Development 

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.  


Learn More

If you are ready to begin the best open water scuba training experience. Classes start when two to four people are ready.

Open Water Scuba Course Details

Please read this section carefully

Required Materials

Each student diver must purchase his/her own set of course materials through me.  The eLearning materials are included in my tuition fee. 


Required Equipment

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:  

  • Electronic Course Materials, electronic dive planner, and electronic logbook.
  • Knowledge development, pool, and open water instruction.
  • Use of premium SCUBA unit.  Air fills for pool training and first checkout dive.
  • Certification Card.
  • Paper manual, dive planner, and paper logbook available at additional cost if desired.
  • All certifications include a donation on your behalf to Project AWARE.

Not Included:

  • Food, lodging, and transportation to open water dive site.
  • Entry fees and air fills at open water dive site (first air fill provided).
  • Additional pool, open water time if needed.
  • Open water dives in Caribbean destination (please inquire).
  • Mask, fins, snorkel, booties, and wetsuit suitable for temperature of open water dive site.
  • Private one-on-one, couples or family instruction is available for an additional fee.

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.


Physical Requirements

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.  


Age

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. 



The Best Experience

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.  ​

Learn More

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!