Frequently Asked Questons (FAQ'S)

When Can I begin?
You can begin Now – Click on the e-Learning Link and you can begin this very minute. Join our virtual classroom, then when you’re ready to jump into the water c’mon down to our own in-store heated pool to develop your water based skills.

Prefer more traditional learning? We offer flexible learning schedules, from our in house classroom and pool. Join in a group class, starting weekly, or if you prefer private lessons we can accommodate your busy schedule.

What's involved with learning to Dive?
Learning to dive isn’t difficult, but like any activity worth doing, it requires some time and effort.
While taking the PADI Open Water Course, you’ll enjoy three phases: Knowledge Development, Confined Water Dives and Open Water Dives.

Learn to Dive. Anytime. Anywhere. - Learning to scuba dive has never been more convenient. Whether you’re on the go or want to take it slow, PADI eLearning lets you complete the knowledge development portion of the PADI Open Water Diver course online. eLearning is a great match for your active schedule.
While you're working through the PADI Open Water Diver course online or after you complete all the segments, you can print your eLearning Record and bring it in to us at Niagara Scuba Center to start your underwater adventures.
Customize link to our store
The PADI Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means that we can offer the program on a wide variety of schedules, and paced according to how fast you progress. It’s possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as three or four days (provided you take care of reading the manual and watching the video ahead of time).
However, many people prefer a more leisurely schedule. Contact us to ask about our schedules or ask about a private or semiprivate course.

1. Knowledge Development – This develops your familiarity with basic principles and procedures. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best gear and what to consider when planning dives. You complete Knowledge Development on your own, reading each of five sections of the PADI Open Water Diver Manual and watching the corresponding section of the PADI Open Water Diver Video (which also previews skills you’ll learn). If you like learning with a personal computer, you can also get the Open Water Diver Manual and Video together as a CD-ROM. You briefly review what you studied in each section with your instructor and take a short quiz to be sure you’re getting it. At the end of the course, you take an exam that makes sure you’ve got all the key concepts and ideas down.

2. Confined Water Dives – This is what it’s all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills in our pool. Here you’ll learn everything from setting up your gear to how to easily get water out of your mask without surfacing. You’ll also practice some emergency skills, like sharing air – just in case. 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.

3. Open Water Dives – After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you’ve made continue learning during four open water dives with your PADI Instructor at a dive site. This is where you have fun putting it all together and fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course. You may make these dives near where you live or at a more exotic destination on holiday.

How long does it take?
It depends on you; your schedule and ours. We combine home study with class and pool work, then the open water check out dives to complete the course in a minimum of 31 hours in total, most people prefer a more relaxed pace.

We set the pace to your needs, ensuring your learning comfort and style are taken into account.

We offer group classes weekday evenings or weekends, or private study at your convenience.

What’s to Fear?
Scuba diving gives you a unique way to face your challenges and transform your life in new ways. Becoming a diver can give you confidence that spills over into the way you face life every day.
It’s normal to have questions whenever you begin an activity like diving. Niagara Scuba Center can provide you with answers, and below you’ll find the answers to many questions people commonly have.
Q: My ears hurt when I go to bottom of a swimming pool or when I dive down snorkeling.     Will that keep me from becoming a scuba diver?
A: 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.
Q: Does a history of ear troubles, diabetes, asthma, allergies or smoking preclude someone from diving?
A: Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function, 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.
Visit the
Divers Alert Network web site
Q: What about sharks?
A: When you’re lucky, you get to see a shark. Although incidents with sharks occur, they are very, very rare and with respect to diving, primarily involve spearfishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger feeding behavior. Most of the time, if you see a shark it’s passing through and a relatively rare sight to enjoy.
Q: Do women have any special concerns regarding diving?
A: Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Menstruation is not normally a concern.
Q: How deep do you go?
A: With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 40 metres/130 feet. Beginning divers stay shallower than about 18 metres/60 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 12 metres/40 feet where the water’s warmer and the colors are brighter.
Q: What happens if I use up all my air?
A: 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 that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you’ll learn in training.
Q: What if I feel claustrophobic?
A: Although wearing a lot of equipment may seem awkward, many people find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern dive masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your training, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable diver who dives regularly.

Can I try it first to see if I like it?
Absolutely! Try a Discover Scuba in our own in-house heated pool.

We’ll set you up with the gear you need, and one of our instructors will be happy to introduce you to the exciting underwater world.

If you like it, and want to sign up for classes – you’ll already have completed the first pool session of the training, and well deduct the cost of the Discover Scuba Session from your training.

Where will I be able to dive?

PADI Scuba training is recognized around the world. 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.

What’s Required?
If you’re in good average health and comfortable in the water, chances are you qualify for the PADI Open Water Diver course.

If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI Diver.
You'll also want to keep in mind these requirements:
Minimum Age: 10 years. Students younger than 15 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.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief questionnaire that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you’re ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your physician 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.

Download the
Medical Statement PDF

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. You will also float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

Learning Materials :  You’ll need and use 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 and 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 Wheel TM or eRDP TM).

What will I need to bring?

A swim suit and Towel will get you started.

While you are a student with Niagara Scuba Center we are happy to provide you with modern top notch dive gear during your course.

However many of our students find that having your own personal mask, snorkel and fins makes all the difference in comfort and familiarity.

What Gear do I Need to get Started Today?
As a minimum, you want your own mask, fins and snorkel when you start diving in the PADI Open Water Diver course.
Choosing and using your gear is part of the fun of diving. Our experienced staff will help you find the right equipment. Each piece of equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.
We recommend that you invest in your equipment when you start your course because:
you’re more comfortable learning to dive using gear chosen
you’re more comfortable using gear fitted for you
divers who own their own gear dive more
having your own gear is part of the fun of diving
Choosing and using your gear is part of the fun of diving. Our experience staff will help you find the right equipment. Each piece of equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.
What kind of gear you will need depends on conditions where you dive, our knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you in finding the right gear for the diving you want to do.

How Do I Know What the Best Gear Is?
Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. Scuba equipment comes in a wonderful variety that accommodates a broad range of needs, interests and sizes. Our scuba professionals are trained to help you find gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. These professionals can get you set with the right stuff, plus they provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.

How Much Does it Cost?
Compared with getting started in other popular adventure sports and outdoor activities learning to dive isn’t expensive. For example, you can expect to pay about the same as you would for:
a full day of surfing lessons
a weekend of rock climbing lessons
a weekend of kayaking lessons
a weekend of fly-fishing lessons
about three hours of private golf lessons
about three hours of private water skiing lessons
one amazing night out at the pub!

Learning to dive is a great value when you consider that your PADI Instructor is a highly trained and experienced professional. Invest in scuba diving lessons and learn something you’ll enjoy the rest of your life. From the first day, diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you share with friends. And, you can do it almost anywhere there is water.

Our pricing packages match your needs, from training with equipment packages to vacation getaways. Come in and see us for a pleasant surprise.

Can I bring a Friend?
Absolutely! Scuba is a very social sport performed in buddy pairs, and always more fun when there are more divers.

Now that I’m an Open water Diver, What’s next?
Looking for a chance to go diving? Call us to set you up for a dive, or match you up with a buddy on a dive.

Looking for a diving vacation?
Our knowledgeable staff can help you find wonderful underwater vacation spots, or set you up with reputable PADI Dive Resorts at the destination where you are going.

Something a little more exciting? Why not consider a
Florida Live-aboard diving vacation. Picture yourself cruising along the Florida Keys on a 4 star live-aboard catamaran: a little island hopping, plenty of diving, some shopping, tasting the local cuisine and enjoying the luxurious accommodation.

I’m already certified, but it’s been awhile since I last went diving?
Consider the value of taking a Scuba Review. One of our Instructors will be happy to review your scuba skills, refresh your knowledge both of theory and in the pool

I lost my Certification Card, can I get a new one?

Now that I’m an Open water Diver, What’s next?

Can I give a Gift of Scuba?
Have a special someone in your life who loves scuba?
Ask about our Scuba Registry! Perfect for special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

We can help you find that special gift or give a
Gift Certificate.

Already a diver, c’mon in and fill out your
Scuba Gear Wish List.

Want to celebrate with something really unique? Try a
Scuba Birthday Party.

What are the benefits of Scuba?

Escape to a different world.   Scuba takes you to a different world with new colors, shapes, textures and creatures – a world where the roles you play – husband, wife, mother, father, friend – take on a new dimension. Become a scuba diver and escape to a peaceful place to renew your energy and excite your senses.
Explore new places. Scuba diving frees you to explore the underwater world – from historic shipwrecks and pristine reefs to the mysteries of your local quarry. Become a scuba diver and explore what you’ve been missing.
Experience a connection with nature; a feeling of freedom, and a transformation. Diving connects you with nature. It immerses you in new sensations and experiences. It transforms your perception of life forever. Become a diver and transform yourself.  

What lies beyond the PADI Open Water?
A whole new world will open up for you when you start to Scuba Dive, and within that world are many different ways to enjoy the sport.

Move up and experience real adventure with the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course. As you step beyond the PADI Open Water Diver level, you make five dives and have the opportunity to try some of diving’s most rewarding and useful specialty activities, such as deep diving, digital underwater photography, wreck diving and much more. These skills make diving much more than underwater sightseeing. Plus, the Advanced Open Water Diver course takes you one step closer to Master Scuba Diver – the ultimate non professional certification in recreational diving.

For more information about your continuing adventures, click on our training tab, call for information, or come on into the shop, one of our knowledgeable staff will be happy to discuss the merits of these courses.