PADI® Open Water Referral allows you to complete most of your scuba training at home and then finish your certification dives anywhere in the world. This means you can support your local dive shop and avoid studying during your vacation at the same time. You’ll complete all of the classroom theory in advance, and while you are on holiday, you get to enjoy the fun part underwater! Now, let’s get into the details
Becoming a certified diver has three phases
- Phase one: Knowledge development. This is the theory part of the PADI Open Water Course, and you can opt to learn in the classroom or with PADI eLearning at your own pace from home or wherever you are.
- Phase two: Confined water. This is where you get to go underwater for the first time! You’ll practice using scuba gear in a pool (or pool-like environment) until you’re comfortable. During the confined water sessions, you’ll learn the basic scuba diving skills in a progressive order, where each skill builds on the ones previous to it. PADI training includes practice “mini dives” to help you build confidence in your new abilities and practice your skills in various scenarios.
- Phase three: Open water dives. This is the best part – it’s what you’ve been waiting for! The open water portion includes four dives in open (unrestricted water), including bodies of water such as the sea, lake, or flooded quarries.
PADI Open Water Diver is the first scuba certification level that allows you to dive independently (with a buddy but without an Instructor or other scuba diving professional). A highly-trained PADI Instructor will teach you to scuba dive in a relaxed, supportive learning environment. By the end of the course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to dive at home or abroad and be an ambassador for the underwater world.
What is a PADI Open Water Referral Course?
You’ll complete some or all of the two phases (knowledge development and confined water) with an open water referral before leaving home. You can finish the final part of your scuba course, the open water dives, aka ‘check out dives,’ anywhere.
To put it another way, instead of spending 4-5 days of your holiday studying and practicing skills in a pool, you’ll arrive with the majority of your open water course done. The final portion of the course typically takes a day and a half to complete. Once certified, you can spend the rest of your time exploring and gaining additional dive experience.
Open Water Referral FAQs
How long do I have to finish the course? An open water referral is valid for up to 12 months, but it’s better to complete your training as soon as possible after taking the theory and confined water sessions (while your knowledge and skills are still fresh).
What if I run out of time to complete all theory and swimming pool sessions before traveling? No problem. Your local PADI Instructor will fill out an official student referral form and check which skills you’ve completed and the date. You can give this form to any PADI Instructor worldwide and pick up where you left off.
Is PADI eLearning the same as a referral? PADI eLearning allows you to start your knowledge development online, whether you plan to do a referral or complete your course from start to finish in the same place. This is an excellent idea if you plan to learn to dive as a family – you can study together at home and support each other as you progress.
Although eLearning is the most popular option for knowledge development. You can still study with a book and DVD while attending classroom sessions instead – this is a good option if you are learning with a friend.
Will I have time to practice before going into the ocean? Yes. The instructor at the receiving dive shop will have your gear up and review scuba skills in a pool (or pool-like environment) before taking you to open water. Let the instructor know if you have any questions or aren’t feeling comfortable.
What are the advantages of an open water referral? With a PADI referral course, you can take as much time as you need to complete your knowledge development and pool work. You won’t feel rushed or like you’re ‘cramming’ for a test. You’ll also support the lovely people at your local dive shop and become a part of your local diving community.
What are the disadvantages of an open water referral? Sometimes students allow too much time to pass before finishing their course. You can take up to a year to complete your certification, but it’s better to meet your knowledge development and pool training closer to your holiday.
If you’ve gotten comfortable with a particular gear configuration, using different gear can be an adjustment – just like riding someone else’s bike or borrowing someone’s car. It’s basically the same, but the handling and placement of certain things may be unfamiliar at first. Also, you’ll probably end up using different brands of diving gear.
Owning your own scuba gear is a great way to increase your comfort underwater. If you’re not ready to invest in everything at once, consider purchasing a few pieces at a time.
What else do I need to know? It’s a good idea to contact the store where you’d like to finish your course in advance. Confirm your schedule availability and the price to complete your course, including training, certification fees, any rental gear, and boat dives (if applicable). Also, if your local dive shop asks you to obtain medical clearance from a doctor, bring a copy of your doctor’s sign-off to the referring dive shop.
PADI Open Water Course Referral
- 6 Dives over 2 Days
- Classroom or E-Learning
- 2:1 Instructor to Student ratio