If you feel the calling to explore the unknown, then you’ve most certainly considered scuba diving. From coming nose to snout with a shark or discovering sunken treasure to venturing into the last unexplored places remaining on the planet, it’s no wonder scuba diving ranks highly on every adventurer’s bucket list.
While far too many people have left their dreams out to dry due to the misconceptions about the logistics of scuba diving, learning to dive has never been easier. In fact, you can deep dive into becoming a certified scuba diver from anywhere, at any time!
If you’ve ever thought scuba diving was reserved for far-flung, tropical locations or that you needed to block out a week-long commitment to complete your training, think again! PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) offers online scuba diving lessons beginning at $195, enabling new divers to learn at their own pace wherever they are in the world. With the holidays fast approaching, PADI online scuba diving lessons make the perfect hassle-free gift of a lifetime for anyone that doesn’t want to limit themselves to just 30% of the planet.
PADI eLearning – Digital Scuba Diving Lessons
As a newcomer to this sport, the wave of questions were flooding in.
Some of my questions pertained to the simple basics of scuba living—like what gear do I need? And how do I go about getting it? Others were a bit more free-spirited—what exotic discoveries await? Do I need to worry about sharks?
Luckily, I got a chance to speak with PADI Worldwide’s Chief Brand and Membership Officer, Kristin Valette Wirth, to learn more about how I can join in on seeking adventure and saving the ocean. With over 30 years of experience in the scuba diving industry, as both an active PADI Master Scuba Dive Trainer and previous manager of a dive center in Santa Barbara, California, Kristin is a swimming encyclopedia of scuba diving knowledge.
Before my conversation with Kristin, I would’ve said there’s only one place you can find me this coming year and that’s out in the open water. But the reality is, thanks to PADI online scuba diving lessons, you can find me anywhere — at least while I complete my training. So be sure to check out why PADI eLearning is more convenient and accessible than you realize. And if you’re still looking for a last-minute gift this holiday season, look no further than gifting a lifelong passport to the final frontier! It’s the stand-out gift that keeps on giving.
BroBible: There’s plenty of options when it comes to scuba diving certification. Why is a PADI certification the most respected and sought-after?
Kristin: With more than 50 years of experience, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world’s largest global network of dive centers and resorts with more than 6,600 Dive Centers and Resorts and 128,000 passionate PADI Professionals in 186 countries and territories worldwide. PADI is the most well-respected and sought-after scuba diving brand globally, having issued over 28 million diver certifications to date, making up 75% of the market share globally. We offer the most instructionally solid system in diver education as PADI Instructors are trained and held to the diving industry’s highest standards for safety and performance. As the trusted leader in diver education, exploration and experiences, PADI is dedicated to enabling anyone, anywhere in the world to seek adventure and save the ocean.
BroBible: I noticed PADI eLearning offers both online and in-person components. How does that work? Particularly, if I’m not from a part of the world known for its scuba diving locations.
Kristin: You don’t have to be in a location known for scuba diving to start your diver certification journey. Learning to dive can be accomplished in three steps, which may begin in the comfort of your own home and finish at any PADI Dive Center or Resort around the world. These phases include: 1-knowledge development online (through PADI eLearning) or in a classroom setting; 2-confined water training dives with a dedicated PADI Instructor to develop basic skills and confidence; 3-open water training dives with the instructor to ensure skill-mastery prior to certification. Once you are a PADI Open Water Diver, you hold a lifelong passport to exploring almost any body of water on the planet.
BroBible: These holiday months are particularly busy, will my PADI lessons expire? And what flexibility is offered to fit into my busy schedule?
Kristin: With PADI eLearning, you have the flexibility to work at your own pace and fit it into your busy schedule. The online component normally takes 5-10 hours in total to complete. You can then complete the in-person (and in-water) portion of the course with a PADI Dive Center or Resort located near you or abroad during a time that is convenient for you. A helpful tip to consider if you are planning to complete the course while on holiday is to finish the eLearning component before you leave, giving you more time to explore beneath the surface of the destination you are traveling to.
BroBible: What if my swimming skills are limited – am I still qualified for scuba diving lessons?
Kristin: To become a certified PADI Open Water Diver, you will need to have basic swim skills and be able to comfortably maintain yourself in the water. Your PADI Instructor will assess your skills by having you swim and untimed 200 meters/yards in any swimming stroke you want. Additionally, you will also need to float or tread water for 10 minutes using any method you want. There are also many adaptive techniques that allow individuals with physical challenges to meet these requirements, in which people with paraplegia, amputations and other challenges have commonly earned their PADI Open Water Diver certification with the support of a PADI Instructor.
BroBible: What inspired you to become a PADI diving instructor?
Kristin: For me, when I find something I love to do so intensely, I want to share the joy and awe with others. Scuba diving literally opened up a whole new world for me, and I wanted to be able to pay it forward to others, knowing they would go through the same transformative experience that I did. So, it was truly my love for the ocean and desire to protect it, that drove my interest in becoming a PADI Instructor allowing me to share this love with others and create more advocates for our ocean. I’ve taught hundreds of people to scuba dive over the years and truly feel that I changed their lives for the better, which is an incredible thing to be able to do.
Recently, I had the honor of teaching my 13-year-old daughter to dive off Catalina Island, CA and I watched her discover the wonder and beauty of the underwater world. On her first dive, she encountered a rare six foot (two meter) long giant sea bass, which is a critically endangered species and an extremely uncommon and remarkable sighting. As we swam through the kelp forest and the giant fish revealed itself to us, hovering motionless and undeterred by our presence, I could see in her eyes that—in that moment—her life was changed. She witnessed the magnificence of nature on her very first ocean dive and she is now and forever an advocate. This is the power that scuba diving can bring to an individual, how it can change their life and why I love to teach.
BroBible: Can you share with us some of your most memorable scuba diving stories? Any rare encounters or sunken treasures?
Kristin: It’s near impossible to narrow down my most memorable scuba diving stories because there have been so many over the 30+ years I’ve been diving. One of my earliest stand out memories was diving out at the Channel Islands, offshore California with hundreds of sea lions. My dive buddies and I had sea scooters (or DPVs, diver propulsion vehicles) that allowed us to move quickly through the water with the sea lions. We were twisting, circling, and somersaulting in the water as if we were all part of an underwater flash mob, doing a choreographed synchronized swimming routine – just incredible.
Another wonderful memory was diving in Indonesia on a wall, watching two mega schools of barracuda merge together where the wall came to a sharp point. It looked like two of the world’s busiest freeways coming together and merging at high speed; the two massive schools of fish blended seamlessly into one gigantic school and began to circle in a tight formation. I cautiously and respectfully swam up from underneath into the thousands of circling fish as they fully engulfed me into their swirl, allowing me to hover in the middle of their cyclone-shaped formation in awe of their coordinated beauty.
One of the more intense diving memories was made while diving with tiger sharks in the Bahamas on a shallow sandy knoll, where my colleagues and I were joined by a magnificent female tiger shark who swam commandingly through the other lemon and reef sharks to make her appearance known to our group. Her dark black eye was penetrating and humbling, as was her sheer size and speed. Immediate respect for mother ocean kicked in like an instinctual survival mechanism. She was beautiful and revered. There are just so many more to share, but I’ll leave it at those first three that come to mind.
BroBible: Besides the digital scuba training provided by PADI eLearning, what else does PADI offer?
Kristin: PADI offers a complete diving experience, enabling divers to do more of what they love, above and below the surface. This begins with PADI Learning, which unlocks diver training at every skill level. PADI Travel gives divers’ the chance to explore through life-changing diving vacations and experiences at the world’s best resorts. There are also liveaboard boats and dive centers with hundreds of dive destinations and thousands of dive holiday packages to choose from. PADI Club is the world’s largest diver membership, inspiring adventure and connection to the ocean through pure and vivid content, exclusive privileges and insider access to savings. Finally, PADI Gear offers an ocean-first marketplace for branded merchandise and sustainable alternatives, providing the highest quality products that celebrate the dive lifestyle and protect our oceans.
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