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Upgrading Scuba Diver to Open Water

Are you a PADI Scuba Diver looking to advance the certification? If so, you can upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver and remove the limitations.

There are several differences between Scuba Diver and Open Water. But, the main one is having to stay at depths shallower than 12 metres with professional supervision.

Benefits of PADI® Scuba Diver Certification

Beginners consider it as a 'half-way' course. Even so, the advantages that the PADI Scuba Diver certification offers, include:

Note: Continuing with the remaining two (2) theory modules and finishing the two (2) confined and the two (2) open water training dives means you will have upgraded.

Difference between PADI® Scuba Diver and Open Water

Maximum Depth Limits

Why Dive Deeper than 12 Metres?

For most beginners, the thought of diving in deep dark water can be unnerving and a bit of a misnomer. To prove a point, there are shallow dive sites around the world that amaze divers six to twelve metres down. Typical examples include:

Yet, progressing from Scuba Diver to Open Water means you will be able to dive deeper (to 18 metres). Doing so opens up some of the best dive site destinations that you can explore.

It's also worth pointing out that certain species of marine life only live in deep water. So, you may never see these creatures unless you have a certification that allows you to dive deeper.

Finally, it may be an obvious statement, but most of the famous sunken shipwrecks that divers love to explore rest in much deeper waters. Thus, you may need to take the PADI® Deep Diver Specialty Course to get access to these underwater relics.

Course Completion Requirements

Scuba Diver (minimum 2 days)

If you were to shorten the PADI Open Water Diver course by half (or thereabouts) you would end up with the PADI Scuba Diver Course. The outcome of this means it is relatively easy for beginners to upgrade later.

As a result, some of the challenging skills (e.g. swimming at the surface) still need to be completed by anyone who upgrades at a later date. So, to complete the sub-course you only need to:

Note: The PADI Scuba Diver certification is the ideal way for children to start diving or for students with limited time. There is no need to commit to getting the full licence until or unless it suits your schedule.

Open Water Diver (minimum 4 days)

Upgrading from Scuba Diver to Open Water Diver

So, to continue the lessons to meet all of the requirements for the Open Water certification, Scuba Divers will need to complete (all):

Important: You can remove the depth and supervisory related restrictions of the Scuba Diver certification after the successful completion of the extra scuba training. In simple terms, it upgrades future dives to a maximum of eighteen metres when accompanied by another certified diver.

Price to Upgrade PADI Scuba Diver to Open Water 9,900 THB*

PADI Basic Scuba Diver

Until 1987, PADI issued two different entry-level certifications (Basic Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver). Basic Scuba Divers followed the same course knowledge development and performance requirements for confined and open water.

But, it only required two scuba training dives in open water, instead of four. As a result, students may not have demonstrated certain skills during open water training dives (e.g. buddy breathing ascent, controlled emergency swimming ascent).

Important: Some dive centers and resorts may not be familiar with PADI Basic Diver certification because they abandoned it many years ago. Hence, it would be wrong to confuse the Basic Scuba Diver card with a PADI Scuba Diver certification.

Replacing a Basic Scuba Diver Card

The restriction for Scuba Diver pre-entry level certification means divers must dive with a PADI Professional to a depth of not more than twelve metres (40 feet).

If you have an old Basic Scuba Diver certification card it will be a paper or laminated plastic version. When a diver updates a Basic Scuba Diver card they will receive a modern plastic replacement that states "Basic Scuba Diver" on the front.

How to Upgrade Basic Scuba Diver to Open Water Diver?

In fact, the vast majority of Basic Scuba Divers have already upgraded their certification to be Open Water Diver. It is the only way they can continue their diving education.

But, if an instructor gets a request to upgrade Basic Scuba Diver to Open Water Diver they should follow this simple process:

  1. Conduct the PADI Scuba Review program and remediate any necessary knowledge and skills.
  2. Conduct open water training dives three (3) and four (4) and include skills for the controlled emergency swimming ascent (CESA).
  3. Submit a Positive Identification Card (PIC envelope) for an Open Water Diver certification card. You can use the paper version or PIC online.

Related Information and Help Guides

Note: The short PADI video [3:09 seconds] outlines what to expect when you try scuba diving for the first time. Click here to contact Private Scuba in Pattaya, Thailand.

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