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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 difference between a PADI master scuba diver and a PADI Divemaster?

This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to the higher levels of the PADI qualifications tree and the simplest answer is the PADI Divemaster is a professional qualification and is a sperate course on its own whereas the PADI Master scuba diver is a rating which you can apply for once you have enough experience and qualifications but is not an actual course. 
But let’s go into a little more detail about the differences and to do that the first thing we should do is look at the individual courses themselves.

                                        padi divemaster v padi master scuba diver          padi divemaster vpadi master scuba diver

The PADI master scuba diver rating.

The PADI master scuba
 diver rating is the highest non-professional level you can reach in PADI recreational scuba diving and means you have completed at least 50 dives, you are a PADI rescue diver and a first aider and you have completed five different PADI specialties, which means you have loads of experience although I have heard some people saying that 50 dives aren’t that many, the fact is to have completed all of those courses you more than likely have done way more than 50 dives and it is just used as a base figure, no one who has ever come to me for the master scuba diver rating is ever anywhere near the 50 dive mark is normally well over a 100 dives by the time they have completed the rescue diver course and five specialty courses.
The PADI master scuba diver rating is designed to give people who are not interested in becoming a professional or going down the tech diving route, something to aim for. I know through underwater adventures that a lot of divers like this and like having goals to aim for which is why we have set up, with PADI, extra levels of Master scuba diver with master scuba diver bronze, silver, gold and platinum which are levels beyond your standard master scuba diver rating and helps give experienced scuba divers who have no interested in technical or professional scuba diving something to aim for and challenge themselves with and to find out more about the underwater adventures master scuba diver challenge you can click here. 

                                        padi divemaster v padi master scuba diver      divemaster courses vs master scuba diver    

The PADI Divemaster course

The PADI Divemaster course is the first step on the professional ladder for those who wish to take their scuba diving to the next step and start introducing new people to the wonders of scuba diving. The course itself can be done in two ways, either the fast route where you will be fast-tracked through the course, ticking all the boxes needed to pass so that you can get it done properly and have the “black card” to show off to your friends but with this you won’t actually get to do any real divemaster stuff and will probably never work as a divemaster anywhere other than with the dive company through which you learned. The second way is a much longer process taking anywhere between 6 to 12 months where you will be taught all the skills and information you need to pass the course but also you will be mentored by your instructor through a number of dive courses with real students so you can learn the in and outs of being a divemaster, how to deal with students and how to overcome all sorts of problems, from something as simple as a blown O-ring to how to build up and bring confidence to student who is a little worried about their first open water dive.
The PADI divemaster is basically the Instructors righthand-man on a dive course and as such you will normally end up team teaching with an instructor so that you can both work better together as a team to make sure the students feel comfortable and enjoy themselves through a course and let me tell you there is nothing better then taking a worried non-diver with fear in their eyes through their first pool dive all the way to completing their PADI open water course with huge smiles and thanking you for taking through their journey into the underwater world and opening up the rest of the planet to them, just gives me goosebumps just writing that.
The PADI Divemaster course is also the first step to becoming a PADI instructor and if you are thinking of using your scuba diving to travel I would Strongly suggest becoming an instructor and possible even a Master Scuba Diver Trainer before you go as that will massively increase your employment prospects while traveling. The reason I mention this now is that it ties in nicely with this blog in that PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainers (also known as MSDT’s) are able to teach the courses needed for someone to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver which is where we started this Blog.

                                        padi divemaster v a padi master scuba diver          padi divemaster v padi master scuba diver

So, what is the Difference?

So, what is the difference between a PADI Divemaster and a PADI Master Scuba Diver? Well, its as simple as the PADI Divemaster is a Professional diver with more knowledge of dive theory and excellent skill base and the PADI master scuba diver is a very experienced non-professional scuba diver who just wants to enjoy their scuba diving without taking things too seriously and without the responsibility of looking after new students.

I hope this has been of help to you and that you underwater it better but if you would like more advice about where to take your scuba diving career, be the professional or non-professional route, please feel free to contact us here at underwater adventures for free and impartial advice and you can find our contact details by clicking here.
Reef safe sun protection for your scuba diving holidays.
We all know that we need to put on some form of protection from the Sun while scuba diving, even here in the UK we run the risk of sunburn while we are out on a boat between dives and although our dry suits and wetsuits protect most of us, our hand and face can be at particular risk of sunburn during a day out scuba diving. So it makes sense to use a sun cream while we are on the dive boat or chilling onshore between dives and I know I always keep some sun cream in the van. But something we are only just starting to think about is what are these chemicals we are putting on our skin to protect ourselves doing to the environment and the delicate ecosystems we enjoy visiting during our scuba diving trips.


I know what you are thinking. It’s only a small bit of cream and the oceans are so vast, but what we must remember is that there are so many of us suing the water know that it soon builds up.

Say you have 15 divers on a boat using sun cream, and then look at a place like Sharm El Sheik which has around 50 boats heading out a day, that’s 750 people where sun cream going into the water each day just from that one location and doing that one sport. If you expand that to look at it globally and include all other sports like surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling, plus add all the people who just go to the beach for a day’s fun, you have thousands upon thousands of people going into the sea with sun cream on each day, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of sun cream and the chemicals its made up from, being washed into the ocean each day and these levels soon build up.
But what can we do? We can’t go without sun protection!
It’s actually quite simple. We just need to start using reef-safe sun creams. The sun creams which protect us but don’t contain harmful chemicals, and let’s face it, putting less harmful chemicals into our own body systems is a good idea anyway.

OK, so what do we need to avoid if possible?

The big one is Oxybenzone, which has been shown to increase coral bleaching, (click here for an interesting video on its effect ) but we also need to look out for Titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide Nanoparticle which, when introduced into the ocean can change into hydrogen peroxide, you know, that stuff you use to bleach your hair blond. At least we used to but now we use a chemical that isn’t so damaging to our hair and if hydrogen peroxide does that to our hair, just imagine what it's doing to the reef life. I must be clear here, with these we are looking at the Nanoparticle titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide which you will find in clear sprays, uncoated titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide which is safe for reefs as it doesn’t change into hydrogen peroxide in the water, just because life’s not confusing enough anyway.
We should also avoid Octinoxate, Butylparaben, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor. A recent study shows that these chemicals which are commonly found in sun creams do cause significate damage to reef systems (click here for a link to the paper)
Unfortunately, those chemicals do seem to be in most of today’s sun creams but there is a populist movement away from these chemicals and towards reef-safe sun creams with place like Hawaii looking at banning sun creams which aren’t reef safe altogether and you can do your part too just by making sure you buy reef-safe sun creams and encouraging others to do the same. If we stop buying the stuff that’s damaging the environment we love to visit while scuba diving, the companies will stop making it, people power at its best ????
Here are some links to help you find reef-safe sun creams ready for your next holiday

Badger Sunscreen SPF 30         

Lovera Natural sunscreen SPF 30           

Jasons Natural sunbrella sunscreen SPF 20      

Bio Solis Melt-on Sun Cream - SPF 30 (100ml)       

Although we want to protect the reefs and all the fishes we also want to look after ourselves, so if you do spend a lot of time outside like us scuba divers do and you find something you are not sure about on your skin, please don't just shrug it off, follow this link for some more information from the NHS.
                                                                                    Click here 
What is the PADI advanced open water course?

The PADI advanced open water course is your next step once you have completed the PADI open water course and is designed to build your confidence in your scuba diving ability through experience by allowing you to complete five different types of diving while under the guidance of your PADI professional. During the course, you will work on your underwater navigation and dive deeper than you have ever done before and through this course, even more of the underwater world will be opened up for you.

At the start of your PADI advanced open water course you, with your instructor, will choose 3 different dives to complete which will depend on what you want and what you find interesting so that your course is designed for you and not just some generic course in to which you are expected to fit in. With your PADI instructor, you will discuss your interested and where you would like your scuba diving to head and your PADI instructor will direct you to the best dives to help you achieve your scuba diving goals.

I say you will choose 3 dives’, that’s because you will be asked to complete two based course dives to help build your experience and confidence. These are the underwater navigation dive and the PADI deep dive, which every PADI advanced open water diver needs to complete.

The core dives for your advanced course.

The two core dives for the PADI advanced open water course are the underwater navigation dive and the deep dive. The reason these dives are included in your course as core dives is to help you first build up your confidence in your ability to navigate underwater, a skill I’m sure you understand is rather important as being able to find your way underwater will not only help you find the coolest wrecks and interesting marine life while scuba diving but also help you find your way back to shore or the boat from which you are diving. You will also be asked to complete a deep dive, don’t worry, you don’t have to go really deep, just past 18 metres and this is just so you can experience what it is like to scuba dive deeper then you have been before.

What will you do during the navigation dive?

The navigation dive on your PADI advanced open water course is a step up from the navigation you completed as part of your PADI open water course where you used your compass to navigate a reciprocal heading in a straight line and did a bit of natural navigation on dive 4. During this dive  you will be shown and then asked to navigate a square using your compass, which obviously is a little more complex then then a straight line but will show you how to navigate to a number of different sites using the compass which, trust me, will be very handy in your scuba diving future. You will be then asked to navigate using both a compass and natural navigation, a planned dive. This way you gain the experience of leading a dive to a set location, finding it and making your way back but all the while under the guidance of a PADI professional.

What will you do on your Deep dive?

During your deep dive, you will dive past 18 metres, which is the depth limit of a PADI open water diver. You and your PADI professional will pick a site which allows to you see something interesting at a depth below 18 metres so you can have a good look around and while you are down there you will compare dive computers and depth gauges with your PADI instructor and any other divers on your course so you can make a note of any discrepancies between the readings. The point of this is to show that not all computers and gauges will give you the exact same reading and that you should always go with the most conservative reading for your dive.

                                                  padi advanced course, enjoy scuba diving

Your other 3 adventure dives.

For your 3 other adventure dives to complete your PADI advanced open water course, you have a huge range to choose from. PADI has 30 different specialties and over 20 different distinctive specialties. With such a large choice it can seem a little daunting but that is why your PADI instructor is there to guide you so that you pick the courses that are best for you and what you want to do. Below we have listed the most popular ones but please take a look at the list on our website (click here) or on the PADI website (click here) for a full list of the courses you can choose from.

                                                  PADI advanced course wreck diver specialty dive

PADI wreck diver

Here in the UK we are so fortunate to have some of the best wreck diving in the world and most of these wrecks have really interesting histories, from diving first and second world war wreck’s through more modern ship’s which ended up becoming wrecks through misadventure through to what’s left of the wreck from the 17and 18 hundreds where the main markers are the old cannon’s. Because of this wreck diving is one of the most popular types of scuba diving in the UK and the PADI wreck diver course will teach you how to safely dive a wreck and penetrate it to have a look around inside. Choosing the PADI wreck diver as one of your dives on your advanced course is a great way to see if this is something you would be interested in by giving you a taste of what is involved in scuba diving on a wreck.

                                                  padi advanced course UK underwater photography dive

PADI underwater photographer

Underwater Photography is a skill which takes years to master but can result in some truly impressive pictures. Here in the UK, you will find different skills are needed to get the best shots due to the differing light you find in temperate waters and the increased amount of Zooplankton in the water column. Because of this we do have a lot more marine life then you will find in tropical waters and the life we have is unbelievably interesting so it is worth your while like to take underwater pictures here in the UK as well as in tropical waters and you will get a great basis for these skill’s with the PADI Underwater Photographer course and choosing this dive in your PADI advanced course will help you to decide if this is something you might be interested in.

                                                  padi advanced course delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) course

PADI Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB)

The PADI delayed surface marker buoy course is probably one of the most important courses you will ever do as being able to signal to people on the surface where you are when you are underwater, make scuba diving so much safer. With this course, you will learn the safety considerations that you must think about when using a DSMB and how to send one up from whatever depth while neutrally buoyant. You will have covered the use of surface marker buoys in your PADI open water course and this course will take it one step further which is why I always recommend that my advanced open water students take this as one of their electives on the PADI Advanced open water course.

                                                 PADI advanced course buoyancy control

PADI peak performance Buoyancy

If you have done your PADI open water course and learned to scuba dive with us here at Underwater Adventures, you will know how important your buoyancy is which is why we spend so much time working on it during your open water course. The PADI peak performance course can help you take it one step further allowing you a couple of extra open water dives with a PADI professional to work on fine-tuning those buoyancy skills and work on your trim underwater. If you just want a little tune-up on your skill’s then why not pick this dive as one of your elective dives during your PADI advanced open water course so that you will get one dive with a PADI professional who will watch you dive through a little bit of a natural obstacle course where you will need to change depth’s and directions a number of times so they can then give you pointers on how to improve with just a few little changes to your scuba diving technic.

                                                 PADI advanced course dry suit diver

PADI dry suit diver

A popular one here in the UK due to the perceived cold water, although the sea temp on the south coast is very similar to what you will find in Tenerife and Lanzarote during the summer month. Although I dive in a wetsuit and I am warm enough when diving here in the UK I can understand how a lot of people want to use a dry suit and its advantages. Choosing the Drysuit dive during your PADI advanced open water course will give you a chance to see if you like diving in a dry suit and if it is the way forward for you.

                                                  PADI search and recovery diver course

PADI search and recovery

The dream of every scuba diver is to one day happen across a sunken treasure chest full of gold doubloons so that you never have to work a day again in your life and can spend your time scuba diving instead, but ever thought about how you would get the sunken treasure chest to the surface? That’s one of the things covered in the PADI search and recovery course and let’s face it if you did find a sunken treasure you would want to know how to get it to the surface without losing it. Admittedly, this is kind of an extreme scenario but I’m using it to show you just how much skill’s like this could come in handy, plus it is one of the most enjoyable and fun PADI specialty courses we run so why not find out more about it by choosing it as one of your electives during your PADI advanced open water course?

                                                  PADi advanced course night diver

PADI Night Diver

Things change when you scuba dive at night, the day time fish find somewhere safe to sleep and all the nocturnal fish come out to hunt and feed, and with the limited visibility of just your torch beam, it puts a whole different look on the dive site you may have dived a hundred times in daylight. The PADI night diver course goes over the skills and considerations you need to think about when diving at night and you can check it out and see if you like it first by choosing it as one of your electives on your PADI advanced open water course.  
So, if any of this has whetted your appetite for taking your scuba diving to the next level and signing up for your PADI advanced open water course, then why not contact us and book on your next course?