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Learning to dive opens a window onto a new and exciting world, awash with vibrant colours and enthralling encounters. But choosing where to take your Open Water course and finding the best dive centre can be daunting, so why not choose one of our carefully crafted learn to dive trips for that extra peace of mind?

View all learning to dive trips

Why our learn to scuba dive holidays are so successful:

We only work with the most experienced and safety conscious dive centres
Small groups sizes ensure you receive the highest possible level if tuition
We recommend only destinations with ideal conditions for learning to dive
Our experienced team can answer all your questions before you book

And with over 15 years’ experience in creating tailor-made dive holidays, you can trust us to design a learning to dive trip that meets your specific requirements.

Learning to dive

Our experienced and friendly Dive team will help to demystify diving, unravelling the different types of Open Water course available, along with the various certifying agencies. We’ll help to answer any questions you have and discuss any concerns.

Calling on our many years of experience, we have created a shortlist of destinations that are ideal for taking your first breaths underwater and qualifying as an open water diver. For those looking to further their education, these destinations are also ideal choices.

Learning to dive destinations

All of our featured diving destinations have outstanding diving opportunities and it is possible to learn to dive in the vast majority. With warm, crystal clear waters and fantastic dive centres, the Caribbean is spoilt for great destinations to take the plunge. We suggest learning to dive on the wrecks and reefs of Grenada, experiencing the Cayman Islands fabulous wall diving or getting certified on the colourful reefs of Honduras.

In the Middle East, the reefs of Aqaba in Jordan and also those of Oman are great places to learn, while the Maldives offers so much above and below the azure blue waters. For a truly exotic experience, head to Thailand or Indonesia, while closer to home, Malta offers unbeatable value for a short break.

Types of Open Water course

The first recognised qualification in scuba diving is the Open Water course. This course is three to four days and will teach you all you need to know to be a competent scuba diver, comfortable both with the equipment and underwater environment.

The course consists of videos and personal tuition from your scuba diving instructor, confined water sessions either in a swimming pool or sheltered, shallow environment to get to grips with your equipment and practice key skills, plus four open water scuba dives. You must be able to swim to complete your open water course and be in good health, but no prior diving experience is required.

For those short on time, there is an alternative version of the course known as the Open Water Referral course. For the referral course, students participate in the study and confined elements of the course with a local dive centre prior to their holiday, before completing the open water dives while on holiday. It is vital to ensure that your local dive centre and the dive centre you plan to complete your course with teach the same course with the same certification agency.

Certifying agencies

PADI and SSI are the most widely recognised certification agencies and most of those learning to dive on holiday will do so with one of these agencies. The format of their courses is almost identical and teaches divers the same skills. The British diving association is known as BSAC and it is possible to take BSAC courses in a handful of overseas destinations. The entry level BSAC course is called Ocean Diver and is roughly comparable to the Open Water course. Other certification agencies include NAUI (USA) & CMAS (France). Generally, once qualified with one agency, you will be able to dive anywhere in the world.

Furthering your education

Once qualified as an Open Water diver or equivalent, many divers feel that they wish to continue their diving education and this can be done as part of a diving holiday. The next course is known as the Advanced Open Water Diver course and takes you through a number of specialities or more advanced skills to help you get more from your diving. These vary depending on destination, but can include wreck diving, diving with a computer, fish identification and many more. As part of your Advanced Open Water course, you will also learn about navigation and train to dive to 30 metres in depth.

Beyond the Advanced Open Water course, there is the Rescue Diver course and many speciality courses. Those looking to work in the diving industry will need to take their Divemaster course, while experienced divers may also start to look towards technical diving courses to advance their skills still further.