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PADI OPEN WATER DIVER The world's most popular beginner scuba diving course

The PADI Open Water Diver course

You've always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, discover new adventures and see the wonderous world beneath the waves - this is where it starts. The PADI Open Water Diver course is the world's most popular scuba course, and has introduced millions of people to the adventurous diving lifestyle.

What You Learn

The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main parts:

  • Knowledge Development - (online or in a classroom) to understand basics of dive theory
  • Confined Water Dives - master the required scuba skills for open water
  • Open Water Certification Dives - bring your newly mastered skills to a real diving environment while exploring!

Open Water Diver course flow


Part 1: Knowledge Development

Learn the facts, principles and concepts needed for diving. You can complete much of the “classroom” work of the Open Water Diver course at your own pace — anytime, anywhere. Choose one of the options below:

  • ONLINE: Login to PADI’s eLearning on your device to explore several modules with reading and short videos, followed by quizzes and the final exam. Have a question? Ask us online or set up a time to meet with an instructor.
  • BOOK & DVD: Pick up the course manual and a DVD to read and watch at your own pace. Once you have completed the knowledge reviews at the end of each chapter in the manual, we will schedule a time for you to meet one-on-one via Zoom with an instructor to go over the knowledge reviews, ask questions, and take a few quizzes and a final exam.


Part 2: Confined Water Dives

In a pool or a confined water area, you will learn and master the different dive skills and techniques needed for certification. The number and length of classes can vary based on your schedule and comfort level in the water. You can choose from one of the options below:

  • HAVE ACCESS TO A POOL? We can come to you! Learn in a private setting at the times that work best for you. Have a family member or friend interested in joining? Even better!
  • COMBINE THEM WITH YOUR CERTIFICATION DIVES AT THE SCUBA PARK! Since pools in DC are still shut down, we can combine your confined water training with your open water dives into 3 days at a local scuba park. Save time and complete your certification faster! As long as the water is warm, we are able to offer this.
  • ON A TRIP! Want to experience the brilliance of a coral reef right away? Join one of our destination courses where Blue Planet Instructors will take you through the course and guide you on the reef!


Part 3: Open Water Certification Dives

This final portion of the certification includes a minimum four dives in an open water setting (such as a scuba park or ocean) scheduled over at least two days. During these four dives, you will demonstrate mastery of the skills learned in the pool in an open water setting, be involved in dive planning, practice equalizing your ears and practice different methods of safe entries and exits. You can choose from one of the three options below:

  • Local Diving Weekend: Join us for a weekend of diving at a local scuba park. We run these certification weekends at least once each month year-round. Stay close to home while seeing the local underwater sites and meeting some new dive buddies. If this weekend does not work with your schedule, let us know and we'll create a new schedule for you.
  • Blue Planet Adventure: You can complete your certification dives during one of our trips to amazing destinations both near and far. Check out our Group Travel page for more details.
  • Referral: If you already have a trip planned, you can complete your open water dives with another PADI shop at your destination. We can provide all of your referral paperwork so you will be ready to complete your open water certification. Be sure to email your request once you have completed the first two parts of the class so we know to send you the paperwork!

Contact us to set up your confined and open water training based on your schedule!



To enroll in the PADI Open Diver course or Junior Open Water Diver course, you must be:

  • 10 years or older (ages 10-14 can earn the Junior Open Water Diver certification)
  • Complete the required paperwork

Open Water Diver student at the lakeThe Fun Part

The fun part about this course is...well, just about all of it because learning to dive is incredible. You breathe underwater for the first time (something you'll never forget) and learn what you need to know to become a certified diver. During the course, you'll make at least five pool dives and four open water dives under the supervision of your Blue Planet Instructor.

The Scuba Gear You Use

In the PADI Open Water Diver course, you learn to use basic scuba gear including a dive computer and standard accessories. You will need to bring your own swimsuit, towel, mask, fins, snorkel and dive booties. We'll provide everything else.


Required Paperwork

Below, you will find the paperwork necessary to begin this course. Please either drop off or email us completed copies as soon as possible. We will need to review this prior to the start of your class.

Liability Release

Safe Diving Practices

Medical Statement

Proof of Vaccination

Course Cost

New Diver Orientation: Free! (You will need to attend a New Diver Orientation sometime before your class meets. These are every Saturday from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, but can be set up for other times during busniess hours too. You must RSVP in advance.

Knowledge Development: $202 (includes PADI eLearning with logbook OR book and DVD with logbook) Purchase eLearning Here

Confined Water Training Sessions: $360 (includes use of rental BCD, regulators, dive computer, wetsuit, cylinder, and weights) Mask, fins, and snorkel need to be owned by the student and brought to class.

Open Water Certification Dives: 

  • Local certification weekend: $360 (includes use of same rental gear as pool sessions; does not include entry fees to the scuba park, transportation, overnight accommodations or meals)
  • Blue Planet trip: varies
  • Referral: price set by dive center at destination



Optional Before you start: Introduction to Open Water


Looking for an overview of what the open water training process is really like? Sign up for the FREE Introduction to Open Water course! This course will teach you everything you need to know before you dive in to the rest your training. 


Sign up by ordering the course here. We will send you the access code within 24-48 hours of purchase!



Contact us to set up your confined and open water training based on your schedule!