Frequently Asked Questions

Experienced instructors hear many of the same questions time and time again from student divers. If you are having any of the same concerns or are wondering about the answers to any of these questions, then you are not alone!

It really does depend on you. The advantage of using the e-learning is that you can do it at your own pace and easily fit it around everything else you have going on. If you have a free day to play with, you could get all your theory done in a day or you can break it down into bite-sized chunks over a few days or weeks. On average it will take you 8 hours of self study.

Typically, it takes 8-10 hours of pool time to learn and practice the required skills. Our pool sessions are organised on a regular basis so again there is an element of flexibility, but we tend to do courses on the first two Saturday afternoons or an intensive Sat/Sun course. If you can’t complete the sessions in one go with one group, you can come back and continue with the next course. If you need a personally tailored course to suit your schedule or would prefer a more individual experience, we can do that too, just call us to discuss options.

The open water dives are again flexible. You have a MINIMUM of four open water dives to complete and three dives can be done in one day however, we find two is more than enough for most students. Two should take 5 hours maximum from arriving at the dive site which allows for briefings and equipment preparation, dive one, debrief and surface interval. That is then repeated. So, using the different options we offer, it could be two whole days out at an inland dive site, a weekend away at the coast or two half days in Malta.

It is at our instructors discretion as to whether you are competent, safe and confident to be let loose on the diving world and we quite often require students to complete a couple of extra dives under our supervision before signing off.

For your course, we think it’s important that the gear you use is right for you from the start. Everyone’s face is different and there is nothing more frustrating than a mask that doesn’t fit. In our packages you get to choose your own mask, snorkel and fins. From there it is up to you. In our experience, the more gear you get of your own, the more comfortable you are knowing it’s right for you.

We have been diving for a long time now and seen and tested most things out there, come and chat to us for some impartial advice.

This one is tricky to answer because it depends on how quickly you breathe your air. Most people have some nerves before their first dive which means beginners use their air faster than experienced divers. Other factors also affect air consumption; body makeup, depth, fitness, sea conditions, how effectively you use your fins and even water temperature! Your first dive should be a minimum of 20 minutes and on average first dives usually range from 25 – 40 minutes but some first timers manage a full hour. You won’t know until you try but one thing’s for sure, your air consumption will improve the more you dive.

The first 2 dives of the PADI Open Water Diver program are a maximum of 12 meters and the 3rd and 4th dives are a maximum of 18 meters (or 12m for 10-11 year olds). Your dives should be more than 5 meters but you do not HAVE to go to 18 meters. Talk to your instructor if you are anxious about depth.

Yes absolutely. One option is to dive in contact lenses – daily disposables are best in case you lose one during some of the mask skills which can happen from time to time. If you are not a contact lens wearer then a prescription mask is a great option. Some dive centres have prescription masks available but it can be difficult to hire one that matches your eyesight requirements exactly so it’s a good idea to invest in one of your own. If you are long sighted (have difficulty reading but are okay with distances), then you can buy prescription stickers that you apply to the lower section of a regular mask – much like wearing reading glasses.

Yes. The PADI Open Water Diver course is designed to make it accessible to everyone, no matter what your preferred learning style is. The program is not just reading (although there is some), you will also be able to learn the theory through video presentations, practical demonstrations and practice and instructor presentations. If you are worried about “cramming” the PADI eLearning options allow you to study from home, at your own pace prior to going to the dive centre. If you are smartphone or tablet user then try the PADI Open Water Diver Touch Version which you also complete at home and provides a more interactive way of learning.

This depends entirely on where you are diving and what you understand by “dangerous”. In some areas there are corals or plants which may sting if you brush up against them. Most marine animals do not attack and have stingers for defensive reasons only. Your instructor will explain to you how to interact with marine life in an observatory way which means you will experience some great encounters with many wonderful species. The golden rule is not to touch anything – most humans would be annoyed if something they didn’t know came into their environment and poked them!

Yes, no problem! You may find that you have a one on one program with the instructor who will also be your buddy or you may form part of a group so you’ll meet new buddies. Divers are sociable and welcoming!

You don’t need to be Michael Phelps to learn how to dive but there are some minimum requirements for safety reasons. You will need to complete a 200meter swim (any stroke and it is not timed), you will also need to “float” for 10 minutes (this can be laid on your back, swimming or treading), you will also complete some snorkelling skills. The most important consideration is that you feel comfortable in the water. If you are not there yet then taking a couple of swim classes will improve your confidence and overall enjoyment.

Firstly, it is highly unlikely that this will ever happen. During your PADI Open Water Diver course you will be taught how to monitor your air supply frequently and you will learn that we never dive until the tank is empty, we always end the dive before air supply becomes an issue. You will also learn several different ways to deal with an “out of air situation” safely so in the unlikely event that you did run out you will have the skills required to manage the situation.

Still have questions or ready to dive in?
Don’t hesitate to pop in or give our team a call.

Join The Shack Club for FREE

    Register today to receive email notifications as a member of The Shack Club
    You will receive occasional emails with - Equipment & Course updates, alongside special content & discount codes

    By registering you are agreeing to our privacy policy, you can unsubscribe at any point if you change your mind