The Aquanauts Guide To PADI Diving Courses

December 13, 2022 4 min read

person taking a scuba diving course

PADI Discover Scuba Diving

If you’re curious to try scuba diving but don’t want to commit to any official PADI diving courses, a PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD for short) session allows you to have a taste of scuba diving lessons before you decide whether it’s for you. With a qualified instructor or DSD leader, you will experience breathing underwater with scuba equipment and practise a few basic skills to keep you safe, such as how to clear your regulator underwater. Once the skills are completed, the rest of the session provides time for you to practise swimming underwater and have fun! Bear in mind that Discover Scuba Diving is not a scuba diving certification but an experience, so if you’re still not ready to do your PADI Open Water course, you can do a try dive as many times as you like!

PADI Open Water Course

Perhaps you did a Discover Scuba Diving session and loved it, or are keen to learn to scuba dive straight away, the PADI Open Water course will give you all of the necessary training to be able to dive anywhere in the world, with a buddy, to a maximum depth of 18 metres. The course lasts 3 days, with the first day completing all of the confined skills in shallow water, so that you’ve mastered important skills such as mask removal, before you head out into the open ocean. Here at Aquanauts, we have our own private heated pool for you to complete the confined skills session. The next two days will see you completing 4 open water dives, where you will repeat some of the confined skills, work on becoming neutrally buoyant and fine-tuning your position in the water (trim). The course is intensive, but fun and will transform you from an inexperienced novice to a confident underwater explorer ready for your next adventure.

PADI Advanced Open Water

You’ve done your PADI Open Water, loved it, and are eager to find out what’s next. Luckily, there are plenty of PADI diving courses to help you progress your skills further. The Advanced Open Water is designed to further your diving skills and teach diving skills more specifically catered towards your personal interests. The course consists of 5 adventure dives and the theory is more relaxed than the Open Water course, with just 5 knowledge reviews specific to each dive and no final exam. Two of the adventure dives are compulsory: Deep Dive and Navigation Dive. The Deep Dive will qualify you to the deeper depth of 30 metres and the navigation dive will teach you a variety of different ways you can navigate underwater. The rest of the adventure dives are up to you! The options of advanced open water PADI diving courses that are available will vary from centre to centre, but some of the options are Wreck, Fish ID, Search and Recovery, Night, Naturalist. We would strongly recommend choosing the Peak Performance Buoyancy adventure dive, as this will fine tune the buoyancy skills you learnt during your PADI Open Water and give you more confidence for the rest of the course, however, the final choice is yours.

PADI Emergency First Response

One of the ‘dry’ scuba diving courses that PADI offers is the Emergency First Response course, or EFR for short. This can be either a prerequisite to those wishing to complete their PADI Rescue Diver course, or as a stand alone detailed First Aid and CPR course. The course focuses on how to safely approach emergency situations, looking for hazards and deciding how best to act, depending on the incident. Following this, you will practise a wide range of Primary and Secondary care skills, from bandaging wounds to treating shock.
You will also learn the invaluable skills of how to correctly give CPR to a victim and practise this at length. Once you have learned and practised all of the caregiving skills, your instructor will give you some ‘real life’ scenarios, to allow you to practise approaching the situation calmly, before deciding which action will most help the victims. Although it doesn’t involve any diving, this is one of the most important PADI diving courses, as you never know when you may end up needing to use those vital skills.

PADI Rescue Diver

Often considered to be the most valuable of the PADI diving courses, the rescue course equips you with the skills and mindset needed to approach an emergency situation safely, and deal with different incidents in a proactive and calm manner. You’ll practise a range of useful rescue skills in the water with your instructor, before putting them into practice in life-like scenarios throughout the course. The rescue course is designed to take you out of the ‘diver tunnel vision’ that you may have had in your PADI Open Water course, where your main concern is still getting your buoyancy and kicking style correct! As a PADI Rescue Diver, you will forever be keeping an eye out for your fellow divers, and be ready to tackle any problem, big or small. Exhausting, intense and really fun, you’ll learn more about yourself as a diver in this course than on any other PADI diving courses.

PADI Divemaster Course

The first professional level of PADI diving courses is the PADI Divemaster course, which qualifies you to supervise dive activities, assist instructors during courses and will ultimately improve your own diving skills tenfold. It is generally completed over the course of 30 days, during which time you will complete some amazing projects, including mapping a dive site, demonstrating skills to instructor level, conducting your own Discover Scuba Diving adventures, practising your dive site briefings, alongside many, many more. This course is demanding and challenging, but equally enjoyable and can often lead to you making lifelong dive buddies. Here at Aquanauts we offer a divemaster internship, where you can come and work with us in the Aquanauts dive shop alongside completing the criteria to complete your course. If you are dreaming of becoming a PADI professional, ask us for more information!

Lizzie Chapman
Lizzie Chapman



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