Can You Dive Alone With PADI Open Water?
A person taking a dive in open water, completely alone.

If you were to browse the online diving community hang-outs (such as various forums and message boards), you’d notice something interesting. Now, of course, users like to ask a lot of purposeful diving-related questions. However, few of them enjoy the popularity of: can you dive alone with PADI Open Water?

Whenever a question’s frequently asked (and associated with extreme sports), we’re there to help. Anyway, the PADI Open Water Diver course is one of the key topics in your average beginner diver’s book (more tips you’ll find right here). In the text you’re about to read, we’ll discuss should one dive alone with PADI Open Water. Also, we’ll expand our talk to cover other diving-related subjects. Stay tuned!

Yes, it’s possible to dive alone with the PADI Open Water Diver certificate. It’s even possible to dive without it. However, diving alone without proper training or equipment is a pretty risky thing to do. Our recommendation is that you always dive with a buddy, regardless of your past experience or equipment. 

Okay, so that was only a tiny glimpse of what we’ve prepared for you today. It would be such a shame if you were to stop right there!

What is PADI Open Water?

Before we continue our journey deeper into today’s main topic, it might be good to explain some key elements we’ll discuss. It’s only natural that we should begin with the following question: okay, so what exactly is PADI Open Water?

First of all, let’s just note that PADI Open Water Diver (OWD) is the world’s most recognized and renowned scuba diving certificate. You’ll also want to know that more than 900K beginner divers choose to get this one every single year. So, yeah, one could assume that it’s pretty popular. Also, they say that obtaining a PADI Open Water Diver certificate once you start learning how to dive is the same as getting your learner’s permit when learning how to drive.

Now that we’ve given you a brief glimpse into what are the basic contours of the PADI Open Water Diver certificate, let’s see what it involves. In other words, here’s what to expect before you enroll in the PADI Open Water Diver course!

What to expect before you enroll in PADI Open Water?

Now, keep in mind that the PADI Open Water Course usually takes about 3-5 days to complete. Also, PADI courses aren’t time-based, they’re something folks call performance-based courses.  Once you’ve finished the PADI Open Water Diver course, you’ll be certified to dive to a max depth of 60 ft. (18 m). Anyway, you’ll want to know that there are four basic components of the PADI Open Water Diver course:

  • Theory. The only part of the course that doesn’t involve being in the water. You’ll learn some scuba diving necessities (by watching a video and reading a manual) and take the quiz afterward.
  • Confined water work. Okay, so this stage will mostly revolve around learning in shallow water. You’ll practice the hand signals, handling your mask, various emergency skills (such as CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent)), removing/replacing your diving gear, and so. Basically, we’re talking essential diving stuff (like increasing breath hold in freediving, for instance).
  • Waterskills assessment. Here you’ll need to show your instructors how well of a swimmer are you. Also, you’ll float and skin dive. Additionally, you’ll have to complete a 200-meter swim alongside the so-called 10-minute survival float.
  • Open water dives. Probably the part you’ll like the most: four open water dives you’ll have to complete. Each dive will involve some skills for you to practice and complete. All of them you should’ve already learned in the second part (confined water work), so they shouldn’t represent a problem.

Lastly, let’s say that all PADI courses are personalized. In other words: they’ll be modified to suit your needs and abilities. Okay, so let’s see if there’s anything we forgot to mention about the PADI Open Water Diver course.

Is the PADI exam hard?

Of course, most folks are concerned with whether (or not) they will pass the exam before they move past the theory. Now, it’s important you don’t worry and stress too much about this. Most folks say that the PADI Open Water Diver exam questions are super easy. Also, they add, you’ll have an especially easy time if your driving instructor is good at explaining the theory to you (and there’s a really small chance you’ll be stuck with an instructor you can’t communicate with properly). So, yeah, our final answer is: nope, the PADI exam ain’t hard and you’ll finish it without much hassle.

Not to mention the fact that you’ll lose some calories while instructors test you out. Speaking of burning calories, here’s an article on how many calories folks burn with freediving.

Can you fail a PADI course?

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), a person is able to fail a PADI Open Water Diver course. Some say that you can pass the certification process just by breathing at the end of it, but that’s not the truth. You’ll have to go through the stages we’ve mentioned above and prove yourself worthy of the PADI Open Water Diver certificate. Here’s a friendly suggestion: if you’re a bit scared or nervous about this, avoid booking the three-day intensive course.

Okay, so that should’ve done it for the introductory, let’s-get-to-know-the-subject section. Let’s consider the questions of all questions: can you dive alone with PADI Open Water?

A person diving alone in open water near the surface.

Can you dive alone with PADI Open Water?

Now, let’s just say this: you’re able to dive alone with or without the PADI Open Water Diver certificate. However, you should refrain from trying out solo-diving without any finished courses such as the one we’ve talked about above. We’ll elaborate further on that.

The thing is: there’s no such a thing as scuba police or anything similar that will arrest you if don’t possess your “diving license”. No one will bug you if you choose to dive alone without any certificates. Still, you should keep in mind that it’s a bit dangerous and that you’ll be doing it at your own risk. Needless to say, it’s best you avoid such a scenario. Things could turn awry and there’s no one near to help you out. 

Before we say anything else, know that you can dive alone with the PADI Open Water Diver certificate. Proper training is definitely a prerequisite for this. You’ll just need proper equipment, too. Although, you should still consider diving with a partner. Here’s why:

  • By diving with your buddy, you’ll avoid putting yourself in all sorts of risky situations. Now, we’re not trying to sound like overly protective grandparents or something. It’s just that you’ll have a second source of air while diving with a partner. Not to mention the fact that they can bring you up to the surface if you faint or become unresponsive because of this or that. 

Also, pay attention to the “proper training” part since you’ll learn how to deal with nearly a hundred percent of issues that might occur while you’re underwater. We’re talking about running out of air, equipment failure, and so on.

A few arguments against solo diving

You’d probably say now: as if the info above, wasn’t enough, we get it… Now, now. Here at Go Extreme Sports, we have to do anything that’s in our power to ensure that anyone who reads the articles we publish doesn’t go out and do something stupid (dive alone without proper training or equipment, for instance). Okay, let’s see those arguments!

#1 The things about currents

If you’re not well aware of the tides and currents of the desired diving site, refrain from going alone. Even if that’s not the case and you’re absolutely aware of the diving site’s ability to “attract” stronger currents and pretty unpredictable ties, you’re better off diving with a partner. If you’re diving in remote areas (and they’re well-known for their difficult-to-navigate currents), try to do some diving once the waters are at their calmest. 

#2 The so-called entanglement

Did you know that one of the most frequent activities connected to scuba diving revolves around sunken ships? To be more precise: it revolves around the exploration of sunken ships, caves, or other fascinating underwater objects. Usually, these objects possess plant life that can easily entangle your equipment, or your body, for that matter. Needless to say, in such a scenario it’s important that you’re not alone. Getting out of that situation with any issues will be much easier if someone was there to help you out.

#3 Diving equipment failure

Imagine if a certain part of your diving equipment fails in the middle of your underwater adventure. Imagine there are some issues with your only air source. What then, if you’re alone? We don’t want to picture such a happening. Anyway, if something’s to happen to your diving equipment, your buddy could provide you with a functioning air source and help you back to the surface. 

Speaking of diving equipment, here’s how you’ll store freediving fins.

The bottom of the sea

Okay, so we’ve reached the bottom of the sea that was this article on whether (or not) you can dive alone with PADI Open Water! Hopefully, now you’re fully aware of just why it’s always good to dive with a buddy. Also, now you know the importance that proper training has in the world of diving.

For more tips on various “extreme” and less-extreme activities, please feel free to visit our blog page.

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