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Open Water Diver

Difference between open water divers and scuba divers

If someone says “I'm a PADI Diver,” this means they've completed the PADI Open Water Diver course. PADI Open Water is the most-recognized scuba certification in the world, and more than 900,000 divers choose PADI each year. The PADI Scuba Diver course is (roughly) the first half of the PADI Open Water Diver course.


When people say they have a diving license or a scuba certification, they’re talking about an Open Water certification. An Open Water Diver certification card allows you to obtain air fills, rent dive equipment, dive on your own with a buddy, book boat dives, and take additional classes such as underwater photography/videography.


Completing the PADI Scuba Diver course is a bit like obtaining a learner’s permit when learning to drive.


– Open Water Divers: can plan and execute dives with a certified buddy or dive professional to a maximum depth of 18 meters/60 feet.


– Scuba Divers: may only dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Professional to a maximum depth of 12 meters/40 feet.