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Learning to scuba dive with International Scuba and PADI is an incredible adventure! With PADI as your training organization, your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in three exciting phases:

1. Knowledge Development - Learn the lingo.

During the first phase of your PADI Open Water Diver Scuba Certification, you develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives.

  • You will complete 14 to 15 hours of  online training with International Scuba via PADI eLearning.  You go at your own pace—anytime, anywhere (great for busy schedules).

You will take a small quiz of what you have studied in the five knowledge sections to be sure you're getting it.  You will need to have all of the PADI eLearning complete before you come to International Scuba for your confined water dives.

2. Confined Water Dives - Scuba Skills Training.

This is what it's all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills by scuba diving in our heated pool at International Scuba. We keep our class sizes small (no more than 6 people) so you get the best training.  Here you'll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get water out of your scuba mask without surfacing. You'll also practice some emergency skills, like sharing air or replacing your scuba mask. Plus, you may play some games, make new friends and have a great time. There are five confined water dives, with each building upon the previous. Over the course of these five dives, you attain the skills you need to dive in open water.

We offer three different schedules to choose from for your Confined Water Dives:

  • Three evenings from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm:  Monday, Wednesday, Monday
  • Three evenings from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm:  Tuesday, Thursday, Tuesday OR
  • One Weekend from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm  Saturday AND Sunday.

  • If this schedule doesn't work for you, we offer Private or Concierge Service on your time at an additional fee.

3. Open Water Dives - Locally or on Vacation.

After your confined water dives, you and the new friends will meet the following weekend (Saturday and Sunday) to complete four open water dives with your International Scuba PADI Instructor at the Clear Springs Scuba Ranch in Terrell, TX (appx one hour from Dallas)).  This is a spring-fed quarry that is used specifically for scuba with sunken planes, boats and Sisco the shark to explore. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course.

You may also choose to make these four dives at a more exotic destination while on an International Scuba group dive trip or on your own vacation.  If you do choose to get certified while on vacation, we highly recommend getting your confined dives done here.  Nobody wants to spend their vacation time in the classroom, and we feel that we can assure you get the proper training (without cutting corners) so you know what to look for to maintain the highest levels of safety on your checkout dives wherever you are.

You can get Open Water Certified in as little as four days.  However, most of our students should plan on a minimum of four weeks to complete certification.

First, you will complete 14 to 15 hours of  online training with International Scuba via PADI eLearning.  You go at your own pace—anytime, anywhere (great for busy schedules).  Then, it is possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as two to three days working with a private instructor at International Scuba.

We offer three different schedules to choose from for your Confined Water Dives:

  • Three evenings from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm:  Monday, Wednesday, Monday
  • Three evenings from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm:  Tuesday, Thursday, Tuesday OR
  • One Weekend from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm  Saturday AND Sunday.

You will complete your Open Water Certification the following weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

Here is a good example.  It is June 1.  You register for your class on June 15.  You give yourself two weeks to complete your eLearning and purchase your personal gear prior to your class on June 15.  You will have class on the evenings of  June 15, June 17 and June 22.   Then, you will plan to be at the lake for your checkout dives on June 27 and June 28.

Learning to scuba dive is right in line with getting started in other popular adventure sports and outdoor activities.  You can expect your training to be at around $20 to $30 an hour.

You will learn to dive under the guidance and attention of a highly trained, experienced professional - your International Scuba PADI Scuba Instructor. From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you share with friends. It is one of the best family sports there is.  People of all ages (10 and up) and varying athletic abilties can scuba dive together.  And, you can do it almost anywhere there is water.

We keep our class sizes small with a variety of training schedules.  Our Open Water Certification is $475 and that includes 14 to 15 hours of eLearning, five confined water dives, and four checkout dives.  When you purchase your personal gear with us at International Scuba (mask, fins, snorkel and boots) your rental equipment (BCD, wetsuit and regulators) are no cost for your check out dives.  You can expect your personal gear to last 15 to 20 years when well cared for.  You can expect to invest approximately $325 for your personal gear (mask, fins, snorkel and boots.)

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. INTERNATIONAL SCUBA will help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.

When you start learning to scuba dive, as a minimum, you want your own

  • scuba mask
  • snorkel
  • boots
  • scuba fins

These have a personal fit, and INTERNATIONAL SCUBA will help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited to you. Included in the cost of your PADI Open Water Diver course, INTERNATIONAL SCUBA will provide a:

  • dive regulator
  • scuba BC
  • dive computer
  • scuba tank
  • scuba wetsuit
  • weight system and weights

Check with INTERNATIONAL SCUBA to confirm sizing available for your course package. It's recommended that you invest in your own scuba equipment when you start your course because:

  • you're more comfortable using scuba gear fitted for you
  • you're more comfortable learning to scuba dive using gear you've chosen
  • scuba divers who own their own scuba diving equipment find it more convenient to go diving
  • having your own scuba diving gear is part of the fun of diving

The kind of gear you will need depends on the conditions where you dive. You may want:

  • tropical scuba gear
  • temperate scuba equipment
  • cold water scuba diving equipment

Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. At International Scuba, we pride ourselves on giving our divers the best value.  Our staff is trained to help you find scuba gear that fits you best, matches your preferences, and meets your budget. Our professionals can get you set with the right personal gear, plus we provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.

Your personal gear:  Mask, fins, boots and snorkel, should be purchased prior to your confined water class.  You can expect to invest $300 to $350 for your personal equipment that will last 20 years if taken care of properly.  When you purchase your gear at International Scuba, your equipment rental for the checkout dive weekend is waived.

When you are ready to invest in your BCD (vest), regulators, dive computers and wetsuits, our experienced divers on staff will make sure you have all the information you need to make the best choice for you.

If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI scuba diver. You'll also want to keep in mind these requirements:

Minimum Age:

  • 10 years old
  • Students younger than 15 years, who successfully complete the course qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15. You must be at least 13 years old to take scuba lessons online with PADI eLearning, due to international internet laws. If you're younger, you can still learn to dive – just have your parent or legal guardian contact International Scuba.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief scuba medical questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply to you, you sign the form and you're ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your physician (SPUMS) must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you're fit to dive. In some areas, local laws require all scuba students to consult with a physician before entering the course.

Waterskills: Before completing the PADI Open Water Diver course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic waterskill comfort by having you:

  • swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
  • float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

About Physical Challenges: Any individual who can meet the performance requirements of the course qualifies for certification. There are many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements. Individuals with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Even individuals with more significant physical challenges participate in diving. We have trained HSA Instructors on staff to work with individuals who require adaptive techniques.

Learning Materials: You will need to complete the coursework.  Most of our students use PADI eLearning.  If you need to have a classroom environment we can provide you with the following training materials during the PADI Open Water Diver course, and for your review and reference after the course:

  • The PADI Open Water Diver Manual
  • PADI Open Water Diver Video on DVD or the PADI Open Water Diver Multimedia (combines manual and video for computer based learning).
  • You will also need your PADI Log book and Recreational Dive Planner (Table, The WheelTM or eRDPTM).

You can dive practically anywhere there's water – from a swimming pool to the ocean and all points in between, including quarries, lakes, rivers and springs. Where you can scuba dive is determined by your:

  • experience level
  • site
  • accessibility
  • conditions
  • interests

For example, if you've just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course, you probably won't be diving under the Antarctic ice on your next dive. But, don't limit your thinking to the warm, clear water you see in travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer than you think.

We have many local dive sites to choose from and you can join our IS Dive Tribe Facebook page to connect with local divers with all levels of experience.  It can be anything from a special pool built just for divers like one found in Brussels, Belgium, or more typically natural sites like Belize's Great Blue Hole, Australia's Great Barrier Reef or Japan's Yonaguni Monument. It may be a manmade reservoir or a fossil-filled river. It's not always about great visibility because what you see is more important than how far you see.

The only truly important thing about where you dive is that you have the scuba diving training and experience appropriate for diving there, and that you have a dive buddy to go with you. We love travel at International Scuba and have at least seven trips planned at any given time.  We can help you organize great local diving or a dive vacation. Let us know what you are looking for and we will get you started!

No, assuming you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses. The discomfort is the normal effect of water pressure pressing in on your ears. Fortunately, our bodies are designed to adjust for pressure changes in our ears – you just need to learn how. If you have no difficulties adjusting to air pressure during flying, you'll probably experience no problem learning to adjust to water pressure while diving.

Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function or heart function or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person's individual risk. Physicians can consult with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary when assessing a scuba candidate. 

DAN has information available online if you wish to do some research.

Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are preventable with over the counter preventatives. The most common injuries caused by marine life are scrapes and stings, most of which can be avoided by wearing gloves and an exposure suit, staying off the bottom and watching where you put your hands and feet.

Feel free to contact International Scuba for information about exposure protection needed for any of your diving.  We are always here to help and are happy to answer your questions.


When you're lucky, you'll get to see a shark. 

Not what you expected to hear, right?  Unfortunately, Hollywood has portrayed these majestic creatures as attacking maneaters.  Once you educate yourself about sharks, you will find that the majority are docile with little to no interest in you.

Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare.  Most shark encounters primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger eractic feeding behavior. Sharks main food source is fish and if they can get a free feed they will. 

Most of the time, if you see a shark it's passing through and a relatively rare sight to enjoy.

Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving and water pressure on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Menstruation is not normally a concern.

With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 60 feet. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 50 feet unless you are a Junior Scuba Diver then it is 40 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 40 feet where the water's warmer and the colors are brighter.

That's not likely because you have a gauge that tells you how much air you have at all times. This way, you can return to the surface with a safety reserve remaining. But to answer the question, if you run out of air, your buddy has a spare mouthpiece (regulator) that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you'll learn in your PADI Open Water course with International Scuba.

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training with International Scuba, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly.

International Scuba keeps classes small so that we can give you more time to get comfortable with the amazing world of diving. 

If you are really concerned about this, then consider doing a Discover Scuba.  This is  small investment of time and money to figure out if scuba diving is right for you.