SCUBA diving is a fascinating way to explore underwater habitats. Children as young as eight can start learning how to SCUBA dive. However, until children turn 15, they will have to dive with restrictions.
The basic requirement for a child to SCUBA dive is to know how to swim and be comfortable in water. Parental approval is also required for a child to SCUBA dive. A child can start learning how to SCUBA dive at the age of eight. For these beginner courses, children will learn how to use basic SCUBA gear and how to clear a mask and regulator. These courses all take place in a pool at no deeper than six feet.
For a child to SCUBA dive outside of a pool, he or she must be at least 10 years old and possess at least a Junior Open Water Diver certification from PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Children wishing to earn this certification must be adequate swimmers who are confident enough to swim in open water. The Junior Open Water Diver course will teach children how to use basic SCUBA gear in a pool and in the open water. For children aged 10 to 14 to dive in open water, they must do so with either a professional dive instructor or with a certified parent or guardian. They will not be allowed to dive depths in excess of 40 feet.
Starting at the age of 12, children can earn a Junior Advanced Open Water certification with PADI, which will allow them to dive up to 70 feet if they complete the training needed for deep dives. Children with the Junior Advanced Open Water certification must still dive with a certified adult.
After the age of 15, children are able to either automatically convert any junior diving certification to an equivalent adult one or enroll directly in adult courses. Any restrictions placed on junior diving certifications will also be lifted.
Teaching children to SCUBA dive is a great way to get them interested in marine life and to teach them skills that will lead to a lifetime of adventure.
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