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OPEN WATER SCUBA DIVER The First Step to Your Life Underwater

PADI Open Water Scuba Diver course

If you've always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, discover new adventures or simply see the wonderous world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. The PADI Open Water Diver course is the world's most popular scuba course, and has introduced millions of people to the adventurous diving lifestyle.

What You Learn

The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases:

  • Knowledge Development to understand basic principles of scuba diving,
  • 5 Confined Water Dives (in the pool) to learn basic scuba skills,
  • 4 Open Water Dives (at local dive sites) to review your skills and explore!

If you've participated in a Discover Scuba Diving experience or resort course, the skills you learned may be credited towards a portion of the full PADI Open Water Diver course certification.


To enroll in the PADI Open Water Diver course or Junior Open Water Diver course, you must be:

  • 10 years or older (Note: 10-14 year old divers earn a Junior Open Water Diver certification)
  • Adequate Swimming Skills
  • Good Physical Health

The Fun Part

The fun part about this course is...well, just about all of it because learning to dive is incredible. You breathe underwater for the first time (something you'll never forget) and learn what you need to know to become a certified diver. During the course, you'll make at least five pool dives and four dives at local dive sites under the supervision of your PADI Instructor.

The Scuba Gear You Use

In the PADI Open Water Diver course, you learn to use basic scuba gear including a dive computer, and standard accessories. Basic Scuba Gear consists of your personal gear, buoyancy control device (BCD), a regulator and alternate air source with depth and air guage, a compressed gas cylinder, weights, and exposure protection. 

We do ask that you have your own personal gear, which can all be purchased at our shop location on Wallace street in Downtown Fredericksburg.

Personal Gear includes:

  • Mask
  • Fins
  • Snorkel
  • Dive Boots

The SCUBA Shack will provide the rest of the gear you will need to start breathing underwater!

The Learning Materials You Need

PADI e-Learning allows you to complete all course work at home at your own pace. The e-learning enhancement crewpak that we provide to you contains the dive tables and logbook needed for the course. A quick review quiz is administered by your PADI Instructor once you have completed the online program.

PADI's Open Water Diver materials cover what you need to know about basic scuba diving skills, terminology and safety procedures. For each concept you'll read a description and watch a video demonstration. Then you'll jump in the pool (or pool-like environment) to practice these skills with your instructor.

When We Have Classes 

Classes are offered monthly beginning the on the first Saturday. Please refer to the Shack Calendar for specific dates and call us to see if space is available.

  • Orientation for eLearners - Saturday 9am (1 session), prior to the first pool session
  • Pool Sessions - Saturday - 5:30pm to 9pm and Sunday - 4:30pm to 9pm (for 2-3 sessions)
  • Open Water Training Dives - Four dives conducted over two days
    • Local Quarry - Saturday and Sunday Morning
    • Escorted Dive Trip - Join us on any instructor-led trip to the warm waters of the Caribbean. 
    • Referral - We can refer you to any PADI location around the world. 

What It Costs

  • Complete PADI Open Water Diver Certification - $895
    • Academics & Pool Only - $535 (Includes eLearning, gear rental & pool fees)
    • Open Water Dives Only - $360 (Includes gear rental & quarry fees)
  • Personal Gear Packages (Mask, Snorkel, Boots & Fins) - Starting at approx. $210
  • Complete Scuba Gear Packages - Starting at approx. $1,500