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Intro Courses

FAQ – Open Water SCUBA Diver


  1. What is Scuba Sensations philosophy on dive training?
    1. We are glad you asked. Please read our philosophy here.
  2. What’s involved in getting certified as an Open Water Diver?
    1. Your open water certification involves successfully completing an eLearning program (SDI or PADI), four classroom sessions, four pool sessions and four open water dives.
  3. What is the difference between SDI and PADI?
    1. Both SDI and PADI recognized worldwide. There are some differences in training flexibility and cost. Please contact us for more details.
  4. What is eLearning?
    1. eLearning allows you to complete your independent study online anywhere and anytime you have access to the internet. No more books and DVDs to keep track of.
  5. How long does Open Water Diver certification take?
    1. The eLearning, class and pool sessions are typically completed in 2 to 4 weeks. Additional scheduling is required for the open water certification dives.
  6. Can I complete my open water certification year round in the Chicago area?
    1. The eLearning, classroom, and pool sessions are available year round. Open water certification dives are generally available early May through early October.
  7. Can I complete my class and pool work here, and get certified on my vacation?
    1. Once you complete your eLearning, classroom, and pool sessions, we will provide you with a referral record. On your vacation, provide this record to the dive operator and they will complete your open water certification dives.
  8. Will you help me find a diver operator to complete the open water certification dives on my vacation?
    1. We are happy to be as involved as you would like us to be in your referral process.
  9. What does it cost to get Open Water certified?
    1. Please see the “Cost” tab on the Open Water Scuba Diver page for details.
  10. How deep can I dive with my Open Water Diver certification?
    1. Your Open Water Diver certification allows you to dive to 60ft.
  11. What gear do I need?
    1. Students provide their own mask, snorkel, boots, fins, and signal tube. All these items are available at Scuba Sensations. As our student, you receive a 10% discount when purchasing them from the shop. We provide BCD, regulator w/ SPG, dive computer, air cylinder, and weights. Please see the “Gear” tab on the Open Water Scuba Diver page for details.
  12. Can I use gear I already have?
    1. Yes, as long as they are SCUBA quality mask, snorkel, boots, and fins. We are happy to look at your gear and explain the difference if you are unsure.
  13. I have a medical condition; can I still dive?
    1. All students are required to fill out a Medical Statement. If you have any preexisting conditions on the form, you will need a signed doctor’s release. Note, a positive response does not necessarily disqualify you from diving.
  14. Do I have to know how to swim?
    1. You do not need to be a strong swimmer, but you do need to know how to swim and be comfortable in water to deep to stand in. The two required watermanship exercises are: float with your head above water for 10 minutes and snorkel swim 300 yards without stopping.
  15. I wear glasses/contacts; will I be able to use them?
    1. Many people dive with contacts. The recommendation is to use soft contacts. Some exercises you learn involve removing your mask underwater, but you are not required to open your eyes. Glasses cannot be used as they do not fit under the mask. Many people get prescription masks.
  16. How old do I have to be?
    1. The minimum age to receive an Open Water certification is 10 years old. For a variety of reasons, we prefer a minimum age of 12. We are happy to discuss these reasons with you. Anyone under the age of 18 requires written parental consent.
  17. Can children take the course by themselves without a parent or guardian?
    1. After completing the course, your child will want to dive. We encourage at least one, if not both parents, take the course with him, or her. It is not, however, required. After certification, 10-11 year olds are restricted to diving with a parent, guardian or PADI Professional to 40 feet maximum depth; 12-14 year olds must dive with an adult certified diver.
  18. What is the staff/student ratio?
    1. Classroom Session: Never more than 4 students per instructor
    2. Pool Sessions: Never more than 4 students per instructor
    3. Open Water Dives: Never more than 2 students per instructor


Click Here to Visit the Open Water SCUBA Diver Page and Get Started