Dive Course FAQs

Dive Course FAQs

Does The Scuba Doctor just handle technical diving courses?

No. Here at The Scuba Doctor we can arrange courses for all levels of diving including:

This includes: Instructor Courses, Technical Instructor Courses, First Aid, Occupational Dive Courses, Shipboard Safety and Maritime Programmes.

Why private personal training?

All training is with your own personal dive instructor. Our personal dive programmes simply mean more focused training, customised scheduling, and no down time waiting for others. Better dives and more time on each dive to explore with your instructor. Set your own schedule. For more, please see Private Lessons.

Is it hard to learn to scuba dive?

No, in fact, it's probably easier than you imagine especially if you're already comfortable in the water. The entry-level Open Water diver course is split into knowledge development, confined water (pool) skill training and scuba training dives. The course is "performance based," which means that you progress as you learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill. See Learn to Dive in Melbourne.

Do I have to be a great swimmer to be certified as an Open Water Diver?

You need to be is a reasonably proficient swimmer who is comfortable and relaxed in the water. The swimming requirement for certification is an easy 200 metre swim and floating or treading water for 10 minutes.

Fitness helps make diving much more comfortable and easy. However, peak or elite levels of physical fitness are not required. Improving your fitness will make you a more effective, and therefore safer diver. If you can increase your daily level of exercise in the weeks prior to taking a dive course you will enjoy the course more.

I have medical history. Can I still dive?

Probably. Having certain pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, means that you will first be required to have a dive medical that conforms to Australian Standards AS4005.1. Failing this medical will prevent you from diving. So will pregnancy. See Diving Medical for more details.

Am I Old Enough to Scuba Dive?

At The Scuba Doctor we start everybody learning to dive with a full Open Water level course where they will be qualified to dive to 18 metres with a dive buddy. We require students to be at least 16 years of age.

Some dive training agencies permit kid's younger than 16 to learn to dive. Some will let 10 year olds learn to scuba dive and obtain a junior certification, and some dive shops will do that here in Australia. Most will run a "Junior Open Water" course, or something similar. To ensure that young divers don’t exceed their limits, these Junior Open Water certification comes with restrictions, for example:

  • Divers 10-11 years old must dive with a Dive Professional or a certified parent or guardian, and dives cannot exceed 12 metres (40 feet).
  • Divers 12-14 years old must dive with a certified adult and dives cannot exceed 18 metres (60 feet).

We prefer to only run a full "Open Water" course and only for those 16 years or more old.

We know a local diving doctor who is an active diver and former SPUMS director. He wouldn't let his own children learn to scuba dive until they were 16. These kids were comfortable in the water and active strong swimmers and snorkellers, but he still decided 16 was the more appropriate minimum age for scuba diving. This diving doctor won't do a dive medical for any child younger than 16. We think the parents or guardians of children under 16 should consider this very carefully.

Am I Too Old to Scuba Dive?

We're not aware of any upper age limit for scuba diving. Indeed we know Melbourne scuba divers in their 80s who get in more dives each year than most scuba divers. The SPUMS recommends that from the age of 45 years, all divers should have regular assessments at no longer than five yearly intervals. We think this makes good sense.

However, if your age is 45 years or older, we will require you to get a dive medical certificate – see Diving Medical.

My ears hurt when I dive to the bottom of a pool.
Won't they hurt when I scuba dive?

Your ears hurt because water pressure pushes in on your eardrum. In your scuba course, you'll learn a simple technique to equalise your ears to the surrounding pressure, much like you do when you land in an airplane, and they won't hurt at all.

What equipment is provided?

Each course for non-certified divers includes the use of all non-personal, required dive equipment included in the price. That is, BCD, Regulators, Dive Computer, Scuba Cylinder, Wetsuit and Weight Belt. We use only the latest modern equipment.

All equipment is inspected weekly and serviced regularly. Most equipment is Nitrox ready as well.

On courses for certified divers we expect you to provide the required dive equipment. If you don't have it you can rent it from us. Equipment rental is not include in the price of such courses.

We do not provide personal item like masks, snorkels, fins, dive boots, gloves, hoods, etc. These are available for purchase in-store or online.

What type of Wetsuit do I need?
What are the diving conditions?

Melbourne is temperate water diving. In this context, "temperate" is another word for cold, especially if you're doing deep dives or diving in winter. Most people will dive with a 7 mm wetsuit or semi-dry wetsuit, even in Summer. We provide all of our customers with full length wetsuits. If you do feel the cold more than others, we have options available to you.

What is entailed in an Open Water certification course?

Each Open Water dive course, no matter which dive centre it's from, will combine days or evenings of classroom training with pool instruction. In the classroom you will be taught the terminology and concepts that are necessary to be a safe diver. In the pool you will become familiar with the dive equipment and it's use, as well as practice the techniques you will use in the ocean, but in a safe, controlled, and enclosed environment.

Is it actually a class? Is there a test?

Yes, a scuba certification course is a class. It is essential that students gain the knowledge and learn the proper techniques needed to enjoy diving safely. There are both written or online theory tests, plus a series of practical skills tests given during the course. To become a certified diver you must past these, and nearly everyone does.

What does completing a certification course entitle me to do?

Successfully completing a dive course earns you a dive certification card. An Open Water certification card entitles you to scuba dive worldwide, typically to a maximum depth of 18 metres (60 feet). With the card you can take a dive vacation, buy dive gear, fill your tanks at dive shops, and pursue advanced dive courses.

Note: This information is provided as general advice only. Please contact us for answers specific to your NEEDS and REQUIREMENTS. We are always happy to help and discuss any questions you may have.

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