Diver trainingRecreational Diver training is the process of developing skills and knowledge in the use of diving equipment and techniques so that the diver is able to dive with minimum risks.
Not only is the underwater environment hazardous but diving equipment can be dangerous, there are unexpected problems that divers must learn to avoid. Divers need practice and a gradual increase in challenge to build their confidence in their equipment and themselves, to develop the skills needed to control the equipment and to respond properly if they encounter difficulties.
Most commercial operators and dive clubs serving divers insist that each diver is able to show them " certification", for the type of diving the diver intends to do. Dive operators, dive shops, and compressor operators on occasion have been known to refuse to allow uncertified people to dive, hire diving equipment or have their diving cylinders filled.
Scuba training for younger membersMost training agencies have minimum ages for diving and often restrict younger children to snorkeling. BSAC allows 6 year olds to train for the "Basic Snorkel Diver" qualification.
From the age of 8 years old PADI has the "SEAL Team program" and SSI have "SCUBA Rangers"  which teach diving in shallow swimming pools.
PADI allows 10 year olds to do the full Open Water Diver course. They are called "Junior Open Water" divers. There are restrictions on their depth and group size when diving. Also they must dive with their parents or a professional. When they reach the age of 12 they can dive with a qualified adult. Over 15 they are considered capable of diving with others of the same age or above.
BSAC allows 12 year olds to do the full entry level diving course - the Ocean Diver course. This qualification has no restrictions for the young diver, but individual branches of BSAC are free to set their own minimum age of branch membership.
Location of training lessonsInitial training typically takes place in three environments:
- Classroom - where material is presented and reviewed
- Confined Water (Swimming pool or equivalent natural body of water) - where skills are taught and initially practiced.
- Open Water - where the student demonstrates and refines the skills he or she has learned.
Typically, early open water training takes place in a local body of water such as a lake, a flooded quarry or a sheltered and shallow part of the sea. Advanced training mostly takes place at depths and locations similar to the diver's normal diving locations.
Sources of diver trainingMany diver training organizations exist, throughout the world, offering diver training leading to certification: the issuing of a " C-card" or qualification card.
Competent diving instructors may work independently or through a university, a dive club, a dive school or a dive shop. They will offer courses that meet, or exceed, the standards of the certification organization that they work with. Many dive shops in popular holiday locations offer courses that try to teach you to dive in a few days, and can be combined with your vacation.
Excellent advice on how to find quality diving instruction can be difficult to come by. There are computer bulletin boards such as ScubaBoard that, at their best provide sterling advice: "How to find an excellent SCUBA class," but that at their worst can be less than accurate.