FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

A: Learning to scuba dive is an incredible adventure! There are three phases to your training.

  3. OPEN WATER (ocean) DIVES.

1. Knowledge Development

During the first phase of your Open Water training, you either work online, at your own pace, from anywhere in the world to develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving, or you review a DVD and complete a workbook at home then complete a classroom session at Scubatude. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best gear and what to consider when planning dives. At the end of each of the five knowledge sections you will take a short quiz to be sure you’re getting it. At the end of the course, you’ll take a longer quiz that makes sure you have all the key concepts and ideas down. You and your instructor will review anything that you don’t quite get until it’s clear. More info.

2. Confined Water Dives – Scuba Skills Training

This is what it’s all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills by scuba diving in the confined water of a pool. Here you’ll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get water out of your mask. You’ll learn how to breathe underwater and practice some emergency skills, like sharing air. Plus, you'll 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 continue learning during four open water dives with your instructor. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course. These can be shore dives along the Southern California coast, boat dives from one of the many commercial dive boats we work with, dives at the World Famous Catalina Island Dive Park, or a combination of those.

It’s possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as three or four days by completing the classroom portion online.

The Open Water Diver course is incredibly flexible and performance based, which means that we can offer a wide variety of schedules, paced according to how fast you progress.

Our interest is in your learning to be a safe and skilled scuba diver, not in how long you sit in a class. So, training is based upon demonstrating that you know what you need to know and can do what you need to do. This means that you progress at your own pace – faster or slower depending upon the time you need.

Compared with getting started in other popular adventure sports and outdoor activities, learning to scuba 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 scuba dive is a great value when you consider that you learn to dive under the guidance and attention of a high trained, experienced professional instructor. From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences, and you can do it almost anywhere there is water. Start today and get ready to take your first breath underwater!

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. Each piece of equipment performs a different function so that collectively, it adapts you to the underwater world.

When you start learning to scuba dive, as a minimum, you need your own:

  • Mask
  • Fins
  • Snorkel
  • Hood
  • Boots
  • Gloves

All other equipment can be provided for you by SCUBATUDE if needed:

  • Regulators
  • Buoyancy Compensator
  • Wetsuit
  • Computer
  • Underwater Compass
  • Weight Belt and Weights
  • Scuba Tank

We recommend that you invest in your own scuba equipment when you start your course because:

  • You’re more comfortable using gear fitted for you
  • You’re more comfortable diving in gear you learned with
  • Scuba divers who own their own equipment find it more convenient to go diving
  • Having your own gear is part of the fun of diving

If you have an appetite for excitement and adventure, odds are you can become an avid PADI scuba diver. You'll also want to keep in mind these requirements:

Minimum Age:

13 years old
Students younger than 15 years, 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.


For safety, all students complete a brief medical 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.

Water Skills:

Before your first confined water session, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic water skill comfort by having you:

Swim 200 meters/yards. There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want. Float or tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

Learning Materials :

You will need a PADI eLearning Open Water Crewpak.

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. Where you can scuba dive is determined by your:

  • experience level
  • site accessibility
  • conditions
  • interests

For example, once you complete your Open Water training, you probably won’t be diving under the Antarctic ice on your next dive. But, don’t limit your thinking to the warm, clear water you see in travel magazines. Some of the best diving is closer than you think. The Channel Islands, just off our Southern California Coast, attract divers from around the world. Catalina Island's Avalon Underwater Park is one of the best know scuba dive parks in the US, and is only an hour boat ride from Long Beach.

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. If you have no difficulties adjusting to air pressure during flying, you'll probably experience no problem learning to adjust to water pressure while diving.

Not necessarily. Any condition that affects the ears, sinuses, respiratory function or heart function or may alter consciousness is a concern, but only a physician can assess a person’s individual risk. Students with this type of history will need to have their doctor fill out a medical statement prior to any in water work

Sun burn and seasickness, both of which are preventable with over the counter preventatives. The most common injuries caused by marine life are scrapes and stings, most of which can be avoided by wearing an exposure suit, staying off the bottom and watching where you put your hands and feet.

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 spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger a feeding behavior in sharks. Most of the time, if you see a shark it’s passing through and a relatively rare sight to see and enjoy.

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.

With the necessary training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 40 meters/130 feet. Beginning scuba divers stay shallower than about 18 meters/60 feet. Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 12 meters/40 feet where the water’s warmer and the colors are brighter.

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 regulator that allows you to share a single air supply while safely ascending to the surface. In turn, you will have a spare regulator for you buddy. There are also other options you’ll learn during your training.

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing and enjoyable. Once underwater, you feel like you are in a very large place, because you are. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba training your instructor will give you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver.