padi the way the world learns to scuba dive
We have 100s of happy customers and we are 5 star rated on Google
PADi scuba diving courses in bedfordshire, hertfordshire and cambridge

PADI Dive courses and trips

Underwater Adventures is a scuba diving club offering scuba diving trips in the UK and abroad and PADI Dive school with meetings in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Cambridge. We have meetings at the Orange Tree pub in Hitchin, the Park Pub in Bedford, and the Red Bull pub in Cambridge, plus pool session at the Robinson pool in Bedford and the Bourn golf club just outside Cambridge. Offering PADI scuba diving courses for all levels from beginner to instructor, UK scuba diving trips all year round plus many foreign dive trips. We offer full equipment servicing and compressed air or nitrox fills delivered right to your door as well as scuba diving equipment rental and servicing plus discounts on courses and dive trips for club members.
Contact us for more info
Scuba diving training Bedfordshire


Humongous thanks to the most tolerant and supportive instructor I could ever have wished for! Today's dive in the Lake was awesome and I loved every minute! Next dive - Hikkaduwa in Sri Lanka in 3 weeks!!!
Underwater Adventures have blessed me with a whole new world. Please ensure you contact them for all your scuba inquiries! Stephen is an exceptional instructor and the other
divemasters involved really have been outstanding throughout my 6 months of training and preparation... it has been a long road but I am over the moon. I am now a PADI open water scuba diver and immensely proud of myself!

Aiden Lunnon, Hertfordshire 5 out of 5 stars
padi scuba diving courses in hertfordshire bedfordshire and cambridge
PADI Scuba diving training Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridge


What is the PADI rescue diver course?

Scuba divers describe the PADI Rescue Diver course as the most challenging, yet most rewarding course they’ve ever taken. Why? Because you learn to prevent and manage problems in the water, becoming more confident in your skills as a diver, knowing that you can help others if needed.

The PADI rescue diver course is the third core course is the PADI system and the highest-level scuba diver you can reach before deciding if you which you move down the professional or tech routes or to stay as non-professional and aim for your master scuba diver award. The PADI rescue diver course is designed to allow you to learn a wide range of rescue skills, both for yourself and to help rescue other divers, through some basic skill practice in a real environment followed by a lot of scenario practice where you will be able to use the skill’s you have learned in this course and your previous courses to, along with your fellow students, deal with a number of set problems that may occur during your time on the course, so you must be ready to deal with anything that might happen at any time, stay alert.

The PADI rescue diver course is said by those who complete it to be one of the most enjoyable courses they have done while still being incredibly challenging and when asked, a new PADI rescue diver will tell you that it is a very worthwhile course and they would recommend it to anyone thinking of taking the course.


How long is the PADI rescue diver course?

The PADI standards state that the PADI rescue diver course should be at least two open water sessions and the minimum recommended time the course should take is at least 25 hours including the dive theory part of the course so if someone offers you a course that is less then any of these please stay well away.
During the Underwater adventures PADI rescue diver course, on top of the two open water sessions and dive theory parts of the course we offer at least one but normally two or three extra hours in the pool beforehand so that you can refresh the basic self-rescue skill’s you learned in the PADI open water course and start to get comfortable with the new rescue skill’s you will learn on this course before you go to open water. While at the open water site you will spend full days on site going over the skills in a real scuba diving environment and dealing with any and all the scenarios your instructors have planned for you. These scenarios can be anything for dealing with a lot of divers to someone having a small cut on their hand, so you should be prepared for anything to happen.


What happens during the PADI rescue diver course?

As mentioned above, you will start with your dive theory and pool sessions. The dive theory is completed online with the support of your instructor if you need it. This way you can fit it in around your life, maybe complete a section on the train commute to work, or just by doing a little bit each night once the children have gone to bed. The idea is to make it as easy for your, the student, to fit it around your life as possible all the while you will have the support of your instructor who is just a phone call away anytime you should need it. 
The pool sessions take place at the deep pool in Bedford, where the 4-metre depth gives us plenty of room to work and practice in. First of all, you will practice the basic self-rescue skill’s you learned in your PADI open water course such as cramp removal and tired diver tows, before moving on to learn the best way to raise an unconscious diver from the bottom while keeping yourself safe. You will also practice skill’s like how to perform rescue breaths int eh water on a non-breathing diver and how to deal with a panicking diver among other things and you will be given plenty of time to practice these skills.
During the open water weekend, you will start with simple things like doing a site risk assessment, the thing most divers do every time they go to a dive site but don’t even think about. This time we will get you to write it down and go through it with your course mates and instructors so you have a chance to really think about any risks you might come across and how to minimize them. You will also come up with a plan of what to do in an emergency, if you are at an inland site, what to the procedures already in place if this goes wrong, if you are on a boat, what are the rules of the boat and how do they deal with something happening?
You will then be given time in the water to practice the skills you learned in the pool and maybe learn a few new ones, all the while staying alert for any emergency scenario that might happen, just in case your instructors have something planned for you. This will be the makeup of your two full days at the site and the scenarios will test all of the skills you have learned and give you a chance to practice them in different ways but I can’t go into more detail as that might ruin the surprise.


How much does the PADI rescue diver course cost?

The PADI rescue diver course is a very in-depth course which can run over a number of weeks but is still very reasonable at just £499 per person and if you are a member of the dive club it is just £449, plus we do offer monthly payment options if you prefer? If you would like to find out more about joining the Underwater Adventures dive club, please follow this link (CLICK HERE)

What’s the Minimum age for the PADI rescue diver course?

The minimum age for the full PADI rescue diver is 15 but divers from the age of 12 can complete the Junior rescue diver course as long as the instructor feels the diver is strong enough and mentally capable of completing the course requirements.

Do I need a first aid certificate?

Yes, you will need a first aid certificate from a course you have taken within the past two years and you will need to keep your first aid certificate valid with only a 2-year window between first aid courses. 
Most standard first aid certificates are OK for this, just check with your instructor beforehand but we suggest the EFR primary and secondary care course, not only because it is the one we offer but also because it covers a number of things scuba diving related that you won’t normally find on a standard first aid course. You can find out more about the first aid courses we offer by following this link (CLICK HERE)


What’s next after the PADI rescue diver course?

Once you have completed the PADI rescue diver course you can then decide to move on to the PADI Divemaster course, which is the first level of professional scuba diving PADI offer and is the gateway to a career in recreational scuba diving. You also have the option to move into technical scuba diving with rebreathers (one of the oldest forms of diving and has been around before SCUBA systems were invented) or trimix gas blends and extended range scuba diving.
The more technical side of things will allow you to explore deeper and stay under for longer but this does also increase the risks you are taking which is why most people don’t head down this route but it can open up the possibilities for you to explore cave systems no one has ever entered before or dive a sunken wreck no other divers have dived and no other human being has ever seen since it sank.
With the PADI Divemaster course, you learn the basics of looking after students as they learn to scuba dive and move through their scuba diving careers. This also opens up the opportunity for you to progress to instructor level and then up through the instructor levels possibly even aiming for PADI course director, which is the highest level in the PADI system and is the level at which you are teaching new PADI instructors.
Of course, you can still stay at the very respectable level of PADI Rescue diver and once you have reached this level you can look into doing a few specialties in areas of scuba diving that interest you such as Photography or marine ecology and with 5 specialties and once you have completed 50 dives you can apply to become a PADI master scuba diver, which is the highest non-professional level in the PADI recreational system. At underwater adventures we have found this option is very popular, so much so that we have agreed with PADI to extend this and add a couple of extra levels to master scuba diver for those people who have reached this goal but still would like something to aim for without going in to technical or professional diving and you can read more about those options which are only open the member of the underwater adventures dive club by following the link here (CLICK HERE)

If you would like to find out when the next rescue diver course and would like to sign up please contact us by following this link (CLICK HERE)

How do I learn to scuba dive?

Learning to scuba dive is a dream for most people and it really is rather easy to learn. The PADI open water course, which is the most wildly recognized and most used entry level scuba diving course, is made up of three-part (dive theory, pool sessions, and 4 open water dives) and can be completed over the space of a few weeks. You can learn to scuba dive anywhere in the world and with our PADI open water course, we can tailor it to be flexible and fit around your needs and time restrictions. If you are not sure about learning to scuba dive here in the UK can do have the option of a PADI referral which is where you complete the first two parts of the course here in the UK and then finish the course with your open water dives while on holiday somewhere hot but I will talk about that a little later

What does learning to scuba dive involve?

The PADI open water course is designed to teach you in a step by step process using some of the latest teaching techniques making it fun and enjoyable so you learn without feeling like you are learning. The first part of the course is the dive theory where you will learn about the effects water pressure might have on you and the air you are breathing, how your equipment works and the basic safety rules you need to follow. This is followed by a series of pool session where you learn the basic dive skills you need to scuba dive safely and be able to enjoy your scuba diving experiences while  third part of the course is where you will be taken to an open water dive site and actually do 4 open water dives under the close eye of your instructor and dive team. Once you have completed these 3 stages of your course you will be qualified as a full PADI open water diver and be able to scuba dive anywhere in the world.

                               learning to scuba dive with the padi open water course

Dive theory

You have a lot of new and exciting equipment to use and ideas to understand and this part of the course is where we start introducing you to these new things. Designed by teaching professionals and constantly improved over the past 50+ years, there is a reason the PADI open water course is the way the world learns to scuba dive and with the introduction of the new online dive theory products, you can start your course in the comfort of your own home and in your own time. You can fit it around your work and home life, be it on your commute to work or while waiting for the children to come out of school. You can make it fit around your needs. 
If you prefer we do also offer 1-2-1 dive theory session with one of our instructors where we will arrange a date and time for one of our instructors to come round to your home and go through it with you at your own pace once you have completed the home study part of the course which uses books and DVDs to take you step by step through the theory.
The materials themselves are made up of 5 chapters each covering a different topic and at the end of each of these chapters is a knowledge review, a small self-assessment if you like, where you can check to make sure you have understood everything and then at the end of the five chapters is the final test, but don’t worry too much about it as it is just going over the stuff you have just read and tested yourself within the knowledge reviews and even if you don’t pass, one of our PADI instructors will go over the things you didn’t quite understand and make sure you are comfortable with it before letting you re-sit the test.

Pool sessions

During the pool sessions, called confined water in the PADI materials, you will start in shallow water which you can stand up in where you will go through the equipment you will be using and take your first breath underwater and yes you will sound a little like Darth Vader when breathing through your regulator (the bit you put in your mouth to breath) on the surface. You will then go for a swim to start to get a feel for the equipment and breathing underwater so that you feel comfortable with it and then to finish your first session you will be shown the first couple of skills such as how to clear your mask underwater and how to take your regulator out and put it back in underwater.
During your subsequent pool sessions, you will be given the chance to develop your buoyancy skills so you don’t bounce along the bottom of the pool and have the chance to practice all of the safety skills. Now with most other dive schools you come across you will only have 5 pool sessions to learn these skill’s but here at underwater adventures we offer unlimited weekly pool sessions so that you can learn at your own pace and have plenty of time to practice the skills you have learned so that you are completely comfortable with them before you move on to your next skill and if you like to can go back over skills you are not sure about during the next couple of weeks. We want you to be the best divers you can be, which is why we give you all the support and time you need to learn.

PADI Referral

This is the point in the PADI system where if you don’t fancy completing your PADI open water course here in the UK you can finish the course while on holiday abroad in a nice warm country. Although the UK does have a lot to offer scuba divers, it is not for everyone and this option does give you the chance to get the bulk of the course out of the way here in the UK so that you are not wasting any of your valuable holidays stuck in classrooms or swimming pools when you can be out diving amazing reefs.
With the referral system, we will take you through the first two parts of your course and sign the certificates to show you have completed them which you will then take with you to your holiday destination and give them to the dive centre over there. They will then give you a quick pool session just in case it has been a while since your last pool session and to give you and the instructor a chance to get to know each other before taking you out to sea for your 4 open water dives over two days. This is a great option for those of you who will only scuba dive when on holiday but the main drawback to this is that it often works out a lot more expensive as you are having to pay two different dive centres. This option doesn’t exclude you from scuba diving in the UK though as even if you have taken this option we are happy to have to join our dive club when you get back and ease you in to scuba diving in the UK and teach you the extra skills you may need such as how to dive in a dry suit or use a delayed surface marker buoy.

Open water dives

The final part of your course is your 4 open water dives. This will take place over a weekend, or two if you prefer, and you will complete 2 dives a day. During these dives you will demonstrate a few of the skills you have mastered in the pool mostly just to confirm to yourself that you can do them anywhere, and you will have a nice little swim around and enjoy the fish and marine life you see, all while under the close eye of your instructor and the dive team who are there to guide you and make sure you are safe and relaxed.
At underwater adventures, we use a specialist scuba diving lake where has been cleared on dangers, stocked fish loads of different fish and even had a few wrecks especially sunken for you to investigate including a London double Decker bus and a jet airplane which you can sit in the cockpit of. It is a friendly site with loads of other divers for you to chat to, a fully stocked dive shop and a cafe for the obligatory bacon butty and cup of tea after the dive.
Once you have completed your forth open water dive you will be a fully qualified PADI open water diver who is confident and relaxed enough to scuba dive anywhere in the world and explore some truly amazing places while on holiday or you can join the underwater adventures dive club which will give you access to all of our dive trips around the UK and aboard plus you’ll get to meet some great people who love diving and will be able to guide you through any area of scuba diving you wish to pursue.

                                   learning to scuba dive in the uk

 What’s next?

Learning to scuba dive opens up a whole new world for you with many different things and places to explore, be your interests in a wreck, of which we have loads around the UK coast, or wildlife, either just seeing them or taking pictures of them. The most important thing to do once you have learned to scuba dive is to keep diving.
As a new scuba diver you can take the option of starting some specialty courses to learn more about an area that interests you or you can take the option most other divers do which is the PADI advanced open water course where you will experience 5 different areas of diving, from wreck diving to search and recovery diving, so that you can better get an idea of what sort of diving appeals you to. Or you can just carry on as an open water diver and join dive trips to explore your new skills and all the cool things most other people never will get a chance to.
If you are still not sure if scuba diving is for you then why not do a taster session beforehand? This is just an hour long pool session where we will take you through the basics of scuba diving and give you a chance to try it out. The PADI version of this is called Discover Scuba Diving and we run these sessions monthly at out pools.
If you still have questions about learning to scuba dive we also have an FAQ’s page which you can check out by clicking here.
So if you have whetted your appetite for scuba diving and would like to book on a course or you just have some questions which weren’t covered in the FAQs page please feel free to give Steve a call on 07805045867 or drop us an email at

Learning to scuba dive, FAQ’s 


Having spent the past 15 years as a scuba diving instructor, 11 of which running underwater adventures, I have been asked every scuba diving related question you can think of, so to help you with deciding if you want to learn to scuba dive I thought I would write out a list of the top frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) I have been asked in all of my years in teaching people of all ages to learn to scuba dive. 

                   learn to scuba dive with underwater adventures

How long does it take to learn to scuba dive? 

The standard PADI open water course consists of dive theory, 5 confined water (pool) dives and 4 open water dives and it is the same with most other training agency’s including SSI and BSAC courses and these should take you at least a week to complete the full course although you might find shorter courses in holiday resorts which can last as little as 3 days. 

At underwater adventures, we want you to learn to scuba dive at your own pace so instead of limiting you to just 5 confined (pool) dives, we offer you unlimited access to our pool sessions so if you feel you need longer to learn a skills you can take your time and only move on when you feel ready. We have found that this leads to more confident and relaxed divers who enjoy their first few dive a lot more. We do obviously charge a little more for this but we feel you will enjoy it more and make you a better diver; this leads me on to my next FAQ 

How much does it cost to learn to scuba dive? 

The standard price as of writing this here in the UK is around £500 for the full PADI open water course and as I mentioned above we do charge a little more at £549 due to us offering the unlimited confined water (pool) sessions. The price will vary from country to country with the dive centres in tropical holiday spots tending to be the cheapest option due to the high numbers of students they allow on each course, the more people on each course the cheaper it is to run the course, but you will still be looking at around £300-£350 in these holiday resorts. If you find one that is much cheaper than this I would strongly recommend you ask yourself why it is that much cheaper as in scuba diving, as in most things, you get what you pay for and going with the cheapest is not always the best idea. 

How deep can you scuba dive down too? 

The deepest scuba dive ever was in Egypt in 2005 by Ahmed Gabr who got down to 332.35 metres. This dive took him over 14 hours to complete due to the amount of time he had to spend decompressing on his way back up but most of us will never go anywhere near that depth as we are mostly all recreational divers. 

The PADI recreational dive limits, I’m using PADI as that is the agency I teach with so I know the most about but most agencies are the same or at least very close, are for an open water diver (entry level) 18 metre’s which increases to 30 metre’s once you complete your advanced open water course and then it goes up to the maximum recreational limit of 40 metre’s with the deep diver course.  

These are the recreational diver limits and you can go deeper if you wish by completing technical diving courses which slowly build up your limited with time and experience as the deeper you go the more things can go wrong so you want to be as prepared as possible before going really deep. 

The thing I always tell my students who ask me this is that most of the cool fish and stuff like that tend to be around the 15-25 metre range so sticking with those depth means you will be able to see most things and not miss out on too much. 

How long will my air last? 

This is one of those “how long is a piece of string” questions as it will depend on a number of different factors such as how much experience you have, how relaxed you are, how deep you plan to dive to, how much work you have to put in any currents there are, and a whole range of other things. Generally speaking, all thing being considered, a relaxed, experienced diver with good trim who is staying around the 20-metre mark will stay down for around an hour. But Like I said, there are a number of factors that will affect your air consumption and one of the best things you can do is learn to scuba dive properly, with proper weighting and good buoyancy control and you will find that you will be able to stay under the water for as long as you need for the dive you are planning. 

Which agency should I learn to scuba dive with? 

PADI, SSI, CMAS, BSAC, NAUI, SDI, SSA, PDA, It’s like alphabet soup when you look at all the names of the different training agencies you can learn to scuba dive with and it can seem a little daunting to choose the right training agency to go with but in all honesty, they will all teach you to scuba dive safely and they will all cover the same basic skill’s during the course, just with some of the extra skill’s within the course is slightly different. 

Obviously, the larger agencies such as PADI and SSI are better known around the world but even the smaller agencies are recognized in most countries, although the dive centre you go with may have to do a little research to check the limits a qualification from a smaller agency has. So ultimately it doesn’t highly matter which agency you go with, what really matters is that the dive centre teaching you sticks to the standards and the instructors who are teaching you do a good job and make you feel comfortable so it is important to do a bit of research before booking looking for good recommendations for divers who have done courses with them before. 

Do I need to be able to swim? 

Yes, but you don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer, you just need to be comfortable in the water so you don’t panic when you are in water too deep to stand in. For the PADI open water course, you do need to be able to swim 200 metres but there is no time limit and you don’t have to do a certain type of stoke while swimming, you can doggy paddle if you like and take an hour to complete it. As I said, it is more about making sure you are comfortable in the water while you learn to scuba dive. 

If you can’t swim already or would like to improve we do have a number of contacts at swim schools who can help you and we are happy to put you in contact with them.  

Can my children learn to scuba dive? 

We can start children’s scuba diving courses from the age of 8 with the PADI Bubblemaker, PADI Seal Team, and PADI master seal team courses which are designed to get children accustomed to scuba diving in the safety of a swimming pool before they are old enough to move up to the full PADI junior open water course at the age of 10. From the age of 10 to 12 there are limits on what children can do with their open water qualification like only being able to go to 12 metres rather than the 18 metres you can with the full PADI open water course for safety reasons but it is great to get children into the water early in life as they learn so quickly at this age and from my point of view, children are a pleasure to teach. 


I have a medical condition, can I still learn to scuba dive? 

I have added a link
here to the padi medical statement so you can take a look through it and if you tick yes to any of these questions you will need to speak to a scuba diving doctor before we can allow you in the water but generally, as long as the medical issue to under control, there is not normally a reason why you can scuba dive with most medical condition. But do read through the PADI medical statement first and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to put you in contact with a specialist scuba diving doctor who will be able to help you. 

Do I have to have all my own equipment before I learn to scuba dive? 

Generally speaking, No. Like most dive centres we offer rental equipment for the course which is included in the price of the course although we don’t hire out wetsuit boots as here in the UK it is very hard to get them completely dry between dives so if you are sharing wet boots nasty things can spread. Some dive centre may ask you to buy your own mask, snorkel, and fins but this is the exception to the rule as most dive centre will be able to provide you with everything you need. 

Once you have learned to scuba dive you may wish to start investing in your own equipment which is fine but I would suggest starting slow and just picking up a few basics to start with so that you have time to dive with other equipment and learn more about it before buying the big things as it can start to get expensive and you don’t want to rush out and buy a load of kit only to find out it doesn’t feel right for you or you decide to want to move into another type of scuba dive where you need slightly different kit setups like underwater photography or wreck penetrations.  

I’m afraid of being eaten by sharks 

This is probably one of the most asked questions I get, or at least something similar. Don’t worry, despite what Hollywood is telling you, sharks have no interest in eating a scuba diving. We are covered in think rubber and have a large lump of steal on our backs which makes us not very tasty and a lot of hard work for any shark big enough to take a bite. In fact, once you have started scuba diving you are the one most likely to be chasing sharks just so you can get a good picture of them to show everyone just how cool sharks are. 

I’m nervous about scuba diving, is that a problem? 

Have a few nerves is totally normal, you are about to breath underwater which is something you have never done before. So don’t worry if you are a bit nervous before you start to scuba dive as this is to be expected and as such, your instructor will be ready for it and take their time with you to make you feel comfortable in the water and won’t push you to do anything you are not ready for. If you are really nervous about scuba diving then why not do a discover scuba diving session first, where we will take you in the pool with the equipment so you can have a go and see if you like it before signing up to the full course?

So why not take the plunge and contact us to book you try dive or full PADI open water course