How to Get SCUBA Certified in Florida

How to Get SCUBA Certified in Florida
Florida is surrounded by water, and that means a deep well of scuba diving opportunities. The southern end of the state is home to the only living coral reef in the United States, the west coast offers the prospect of swimming with manatees and there are shipwreck sites just about everywhere that are perfect to explore. While that means finding a diving school will be easy, it also presents a prospective student with a huge range of options if one is willing to travel a bit to learn how to dive.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Check your physical fitness in the pool before starting the program. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) requires Open Water (OW) students to be able to swim 200 yards and tread water for 10 minutes. That isn't too demanding, but if you can't do it you won't pass. Make sure you can before you start the program.
Step 2
Think about your schedule and whether you are interested in taking advantage of PADI's e-learning program for OW certification. This allows you to do the classroom work online, then go to a diving school for the skills training, compressing the part done outside your home to as little as two days. Almost all the diving schools in Florida are affiliated with PADI, but not all of them have arrangements to handle e-learning students on a regular basis. You can use this to eliminate schools from consideration.
Step 3
Consider the environment where you want to learn. There are some locations in Florida where this can be done only in a pool, while others offer more realistic environments. For example, some schools in the Tampa area split their training dives between initial work in the pool, then complete the program either in local springs or rivers. Some schools in Miami offer shallow dives in local seas for their final training dives. These training dives offer a much more realistic training environment, so if that is locally available or you are willing to travel a little, that might be your best option.
Step 4
Choose the school, do the classroom work, undergo the dive skills training and complete the certification for OW. Depending on what you decided on in Steps 1 to 3, this could take anywhere from three days to three weeks.
Step 5
Solidify your certification by planning a diving trip as soon as possible after completing OW certification. The rich diversity of diving sites in Florida, which includes shipwrecks in 60 feet of water or less, coral reefs, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and lots of colorful fish, makes this not only easy but also a special treat. A sound minimum is a two-dive day trip on both Saturday and Sunday. Those four dives will go a long way to confirming what you learned in the classroom and making the certification more substantial.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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