Scuba diving lessons for children
Deciding when to start your child’s diving career and which program to choose can be confusing. There are multiple programs for each age group and not a lot of information available to clarify the differences. So with this blog, I will try to explain the different options for the different age groups which are available for your children to start scuba diving.
First of all, we will need to understand the age groups into which children are grouped into the PADI system.
7 years and under
Scuba diving is not really for the small children so for children under the age of 8 can’t do any of the scuba diving courses offered by PADI but they can still snorkel which as a great way to build their confidence in the water and we do offer group snorkeling sessions for younger children where they can come along and play around in the pool with a mask snorkel and fin helping them get used to these new bits of equipment.
8 – 10 years of age
Although we can’t take children this young out into open water, we can still introduce them to scuba diving in the pool, first with bubblemaker session and then with the seal team and master seal team courses.
10-12 years of age
At this age we can teach children to scuba dive properly with the junior open water course but although they will complete the same course as everyone else there will be extra depth and standards restrictions because of their young age
12 15 years of age
From the age of 12 to 15, children but don’t have the depth restrictions found with children between the ages of 110 -12 and once they reach the age of 15 it is just a case of contacting PADI to upgrade their card to the full standard PADI open water qualification without having to do any more training.
So, a little about the courses.
The Children’s snorkeling experience is open to anyone of any age as long as they can swim and are comfortable in the water. During these sessions, we will start off by getting the children into the water and making sure they are comfortable while showing them how to use their breathing to float. We will then put the fins on and show them how to fin properly before finding the right fitting masks and putting them on with the snorkel and playing a few games designed to show them how do thing like clear their snorkels of water without taking their faces out of the water and how to dunk dive to pick something up from under the water. At the end of the session, each child receives a special certificate to show off to their friends at school. To find out more about these sessions, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.
The PADI bubblemaker experience is just like a Discover scuba diving session for those over the age of 10 in that it gives children from the age of 8 the chance to have a go at scuba diving and see if they like but unlike the Discover scuba diving session, the Bubblemaker is designed to be a lot more fun with the focus being on games and just playing around under the supervision of a PADI instructor rather then the skills you would try in the DSD session.
The idea behind this is that the younger children will have plenty of time to learn these skills when they move on to either the seal team course or wait a little bit and do the adult courses so this allows us to have a lot more fun all the while allowing the children to learn how to balance the equipment on their backs while swimming around and how buoyancy works so they are not floating around on the surface on laying to the bottom of the pool. If you would like more information about this course, please check out the bubblemaker page by clicking here
Seal team course
The PADI seal team course is the next step for children between the ages of 8 and 10 who have decided they like scuba diving. The course is made up of 5 hour-long sessions and during each session, the children will learn a different skill, from how to tell their instructor how much air they have left using hand signals through to how to make a safe ascent using their buddies alternate air source. These skills are normally taught in session one of the open water course, but we spread them out so that the younger children have a chance to practice the skills and really commit them to memory and also have lots of fun while doing it. This course sets them up for the full APDI open water course when they are old enough by teaching them the basic concepts they will come across in the full course. You can find out more about the PADI seal team course by clicking here.
Master seal team course
The PADI Master Seal team course is probably one of the most fun courses to run and it is made up of 10 sessions, all completely different, just experiencing all the different types of diving. From Wreck diving where we set up an obstacle course underwater for the children to a night dive where we give them torches and switch the light of in the pool to simulate a night dive. The object of this course is to build confidence in the younger children so they are as ready as they can be when they move on to the full Junior open water course. You can find out more about the PADI master seal team course here.
Junior open water diver
The PADI junior open water course is exactly the same as the full open water course except it is for children under the age of 15 which means there are some extra restrictions on what and where they can dive, such as those under the age of 13 have extra depth limits and those under the age of 15 must dive with an adult diver but other than that it is the same course and qualification. Once a child reached the age of 15 it is then just a case of applying to PADI for the standard PADI card instead of the junior one and they are good to go.
I know it all sounds amazing and the best thing is that you can learn to dive with your child if you don’t know already and thus giving you both an experience you can share together for years to come. If you would like to know more about your child learning to scuba dive, please check out the link to the PADI open water course here or you can contact us here.