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Depending on the course you are looking for, each will have its own standards of theory, pool and open water diving. Check out the specialty and certification pages for exact details on how to get certified. 
All divers must have an up to date medical. 

Your path to breathing underwater is accomplished in three exciting phases:

1. Knowledge Development - Learn the lingo.

During the first phase of your PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification, you develop an understanding of the basic principles of scuba diving. You learn things like how pressure affects your body, how to choose the best scuba gear and what to consider when planning dives. You briefly review what you have studied in the five knowledge sections with your instructor and 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.

Select the knowledge development option you prefer:

  • Start right now and learn to scuba dive online with THE DIVE SHOP via PADI eLearning at your own pace—anytime, anywhere (great for busy schedules)
  • Attend a scheduled scuba diving class at THE DIVE SHOP (great for meeting new friends and dive buddies)
  • Take advantage of home study using PADI multimedia materials (manual, video) purchased through THE DIVE SHOP.
2. Confined Water Dives - Scuba Skills Training.

This is what it's all about – diving. You develop basic scuba skills by scuba diving in a pool or body of water with pool-like conditions. Here you'll learn everything from setting up your scuba gear to how to easily get water out of your scuba mask without surfacing. You'll also practice some emergency skills, like sharing air or replacing your scuba mask. Plus, you may play some games, make new friends and 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 - Locally or on Vacation.

After your confined water dives, you and the new friends you've made continue learning during four open water dives with your Instructor at a dive site. This is where you fully experience the underwater adventure – at the beginner level, of course. You may make these dives around Calgary with The Dive Shop or at a more exotic destination while on vacation or with a group trip.

Each course and specialty will vary depending on theory involved, classroom sessions, pool sessions and equipment needed for open water diving. Check out the certification and specialty pages for exact rates. If you are commited or short on time - during the summer you could go from zero-to certified in 1 week! 

It's possible to complete your confined and open water dives in as few as two or three days by completing the classroom portion online via PADI eLearning or home study options offered by The Dive Shop.

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

Your instructor's interest is in your learning to scuba dive, 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 to become a confident scuba diver who dives regularly. You can start learning to scuba dive online right now with The Dive Shop and PADI eLearning.

Each course and specialty will vary depending on theory involved, classroom sessions, pool sessions and equipment needed for open water diving. Check out the certification and specialty pages for exact rates. 

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 - your The Dive Shop PADI Scuba Instructor. From the first day, scuba diving starts transforming your life with new experiences you share with friends. And, you can do it almost anywhere there is water. Start learning online withThe Dive Shop and get ready to take your first breath underwater!

For all pool session all of the equipment is provided. For open water diving all divers are required to have their own personal mask, snorkel and open heeled fins. 

Choosing and using your scuba gear is part of the fun of diving. All equipment is provided for the pool and classroom portion of your course, this allows you to try different masks and find what fits you the best. 

The Dive Shop will help you find the right gear. Each piece of scuba 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 should own for the Open Water Certification Dives is;

  • mask
  • snorkel
  • wetsuit boots
  • fins

These have a personal fit, and The Dive Shop will help you choose ones that have the fit and features best suited to you. Included in the cost of your PADI Open Water Diver course, The Dive Shop will provide a:

  • regulator
  • BCD (Buoyancy Compensation Device)
  • dive computer
  • scuba tank
  • wetsuit
  • weight system and weights

Check with The Dive Shop to confirm sizing available for your course package. It's recommended that you invest in your own scuba equipment when you start your course because:

  • you're more comfortable using scuba gear fitted for you
  • you're more comfortable learning to scuba dive using gear you've chosen
  • scuba divers who own their own scuba diving equipment find it more convenient to go diving
  • having your own scuba diving gear is part of the fun of diving

The kind of gear you will need depends on the conditions where you dive. You may want:

  • tropical scuba gear
  • temperate scuba equipment
  • cold water scuba diving equipment
Come talk to us! We have a HUGE selection of equipment and one of our staff members will take the time to answer all your questions and get to touch and try on the gear in store. 

Easy. There is no best gear. But, there is the best gear for you. The professionals at The Dive Shop are trained to help you find scuba gear that best matches your preferences, fit and budget. These professionals can get you set with the right stuff, plus they provide service and support for years of enjoyable and dependable use.

You may also want to talk to other scuba divers in PADI's online scuba community to get recommendations on particular scuba equipment brands and models.

A completed PADI Medical is required for all divers. Each certification will have its own pre-requisites for the course. For getting your open water level, you need to complete your pool skills and theory development then 4 open water dives! 

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:

  • 12 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. You must be at least 13 years old to take scuba lessons online with PADI eLearning, due to international internet laws. If you're younger, you can still learn to dive – just have your parent or legal guardian contact THE DIVE SHOP.

Physical: For safety, all students complete a brief scuba 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 dive physician (SPUMS) must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you're fit to dive. In some areas, local laws require all scuba students to consult with a physician before entering the course.

Waterskills: Before completing the PADI Open Water Diver course, your instructor will have you demonstrate basic waterskill comfort by having you:

  • swim 200 metres/yards (or 300 metres/yards in mask, fins and snorkel). There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want.
  • float and tread water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

About Physical Challenges: Any individual who can meet the performance requirements of the course qualifies for certification. There are many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements. Individuals with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges commonly earn the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Even individuals with more significant physical challenges participate in diving. Talk to your PADI Instructor at your local PADI Dive Shop or Resort for more information.

Learning Materials : Unless you choose PADI eLearning, you'll need and use the following training materials during the PADI Open Water Diver course, and for your review and reference after the course:

  • The PADI Open Water Diver Manual
  • PADI Open Water Diver Video on DVD or the PADI Open Water Diver Multimedia (combines manual and video for computer based learning).
  • You will also need your PADI Log book and Recreational Dive Planner (Table, The WheelTM or eRDPTM).
EVERYWHERE!!! We dive locally at Lake Chaparral, Two Jack Lake, Lake Minnwanka, Waterton National Park, Forget-me-not Pond, Twin Lake, Jasper just to name a few local lakes! We also dive West Coast, Caribbean waters really any where there is diving you can scuba! 

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, if you've just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course, 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.

Your local dive site can be anything from a special pool built just for divers like one found in Brussels, Belgium, or more typically natural sites like Belize's Great Blue Hole, Australia's Great Barrier Reef , Hawaii or even Cozumel Mexico. It may be a manmade reservoir or a fossil-filled river. It's not always about great visibility because what you see is more important than how far you see. Here in Calgary, we dive all the local lakes including those around Banff, Waterton Lakes in Southern Alberta as well as Lake Chapparel. 

The only truly important thing about where you dive is that you have the scuba diving training and experience appropriate for diving there, and that you have a dive buddy to go with you. THE DIVE SHOP can help you organize great local diving or a dive vacation. Visit today to get started.

We get this one alot. Thaks Hollywood. Sharks truly are not interested in divers and are pretty skittish animals. As long as you are not attempting to feed and condition them you should have no problem. Still worried? Wear dark colors, yellow fins stand out and look like a yummy fish to a predator. Remember if you act like prey, you will be treated like prey. 

When you're lucky, you'll get to see a shark.

Although incidents with sharks have occurred, they are very, very rare.  Most common shark encounters primarily involve spear fishing or feeding sharks, both of which trigger eractic feeding behavior. Sharks main food source is fish and if they can get a free feed they will. 

Most of the time, if you see a shark it's passing through and a relatively rare and amazing sight to enjoy.


Once you have your open water certification you are certified to 60ft at sea level (local altitude diving has some extra conditions). If you want to go deeper then the Advanced and Deep Diver course is for you! 

Open Water Certification allows divers to stay shallower than 60 feet (18 meters), unless you are a Junior Open Water Diver then it is 40 feet (12 meters). Although these are the limits, some of the most popular diving is no deeper than 40 feet/12 meters where the water's warmer and the colors are brighter.

With additional training and experience, the limit for recreational scuba diving is 130 feet (40 meters) with the Deep Diver Certification. 

Thank fully we never dive along and your buddy is right beside you to help with an out of air scenario. We train our divers to watch and communicate often about air reserves and we always dove conservative to mitigate out of air risks. Our pool training covers what it feels like to be air depleted, how to recover and donate a regualtor to a out of air diver and learning about ways to circumvent that from happening. 

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 mouthpiece that allows you to share a single air supply while swimming to the surface. There are also other options you'll learn in your PADI Open Water course withThe Dive Shop.

Remember big deep breaths. It can be overwhelming at first with all the equipment in an environment new to you. Be open and honest about your feelings in the pool and in open water. It may take some extra training sessions, but we are confident there are ways to work with you and adjusting various equipment to make you comfortable. 

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training with THE DIVE SHOP, your instructor gives 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 who dives regularly.

THE DIVE SHOP keeps classes small so that we can give you more time to get comfortable with the amazing world of diving.

Equalization is a skill we teach and develop in the pool. There are many different ways to equalize our air spaces, maybe you haven't found the one that works for you yet. If it is a persistent problem you may need to consider seeking medical advice. 

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.

No. However, you will need a signed medical form to dive in the pool or take a course. 

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. Physicians can consult with the Divers Alert Network (DAN) as necessary when assessing a scuba candidate. 

DAN has information available online if you wish to do some research.

Sea Sickness can be common, non-drowsy gravol can help. Of course we are always on the look out for sysmptoms of DCS (learn more about that in your Open water and rescue courses) so proper hydration is key while diving. Dry cotton mouth from breathing compressed air can be unfomfortable and a good excuse to eat candy! 

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

Contact The Dive Shop for information about exposure protection needed for any of your diving.