Scuba diving requires a minimum level of health and fitness. Chronic health conditions, certain medications and/or recent surgery may require you to get written approval from a physician before diving.
Avoid disappointment, download and review the Diver Medical form to ensure you won’t need a physician’s approval to dive before enrolling in a scuba course. Instructors, divemasters and dive shop staff are not physicians and should not be asked for medical advice; only medical professionals can give medical clearance to dive.
If you (or your physician) have questions about medical fitness to dive, contact the experts at Divers Alert Network (DAN).
Course prerequisites: able to swim, medically fit for diving, comfortable in the water
During the Open Water Diver course, your instructor will ask you to:
Minimum age: 10
Divers certified between the ages of 10-14 earn a Junior Diver certification
Junior Open Water Divers automatically become Open Water Divers at age 15. Any replacement certification card or eCard purchased the day after the diver’s 15th birthday will automatically show an Open Water Diver (not Jr. Open Water Diver) certification.
Children eight or older can try scuba diving in a pool (or pool-like environment). Ask your PADI Dive Shop about a Bubblemaker experience or birthday party. Children who are comfortable in the water can participate in the PADI Seal Team program, a multi-day pool diving experience.
Looking for a detailed explanation of what’s involved with learning to scuba dive? This comprehensive article covers everything you need to know about scuba certification.
You can also review the frequently asked questions about learning to scuba dive at the bottom of this page.