Learning to scuba dive opens up an exhilarating world of underwater adventure and can be a life-changing experience.
If you’re keen to learn to dive, the BSAC’s Ocean Diver course is the place to start. This entry-level open water diver qualification will equip you with the core skills to dive to a maximum of 20 metres in open water, in the UK and abroad. Read on to hear what real divers say about the open water course.
Life will never be the same… I decided to learn to scuba dive after having a go on holiday. The Ocean Diver course has given me the confidence to explore UK waters which means I can dive far more often. I never realised how much wildlife there was on my doorstep. I’m hooked!
— Lisa Schears, Phoenix Sub-Aqua Club
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The BSAC Ocean Diver course is open to anyone from the age of 12.
You’ll just need to demonstrate that you can comfortably swim 200m in a pool, and the only kit you’ll need is a swimsuit and towel.
Your instructor will start by getting you comfortable breathing underwater in a pool or sheltered water and then develop your skills so that you are competent to dive safely in open water. After that you’ll head out for a series of at least four dives to develop your skills and confidence in open water.
On your open water diving course, you’ll:
- Learn how to use basic dive gear, including your mask and snorkel.
- Control your buoyancy and underwater movements
- Understand your basic scuba diving safety skills – you’ll find out the importance of time, depth and gas
- Discover how to plan and manage your diving.
The ocean diver course includes six theory modules, at least five sessions in a pool or sheltered water, and at least four open-water dives.
Our ocean diver course is continually assessed. So, after your classroom and in-water training and a short theory exam, you’ll have the grounding to continue your scuba diving journey as an open water diver.
What you’ll be qualified to do as a BSAC Ocean Diver
As a qualified Ocean Diver, you can dive buddied with another Ocean Diver, under the supervision of a Dive Manager – so long as you stick to familiar locations and conditions you have encountered during your training.
If you want to expand your experience by exploring different locations and conditions, you can easily do this accompanied by a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.
Your open water diver certification will be recognised worldwide. That means you will be qualified to use breathing gas mixtures of up to 36 per cent Nitrox to increase your safety on dives (you’ll learn all about Nitrox on the course). Many ‘learn to dive’ courses don’t teach Nitrox or rescue skills, but at BSAC we believe they are important skills to start learning from the start of your scuba journey.
What diving experiences will this open up for me?
At depths of down to 20m, Ocean Divers have plenty of chances to encounter a fascinating variety of wildlife and shipwrecks in seas, rivers, quarries, lochs and lakes.
Imagine finning over a rocky reef teeming with fish and covered in sessile life such as seasquirts, sponges and brightly coloured anemones, spending precious moments watching grey seals at play, or exploring a historic wreck.
How do I kickstart my Ocean Diver course?
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Training at your local BSAC club allows you to learn at your own pace, spreading your training sessions over several weeks. You’ll be taught by volunteers who are keen divers, and you'll attend club training sessions with other BSAC members.
What benefits are there?
One of the best parts of becoming an open water diver is that you can get involved in social events at your club. You’ll start building a network of friends to go diving with in future.
Another benefit is having access to professional diving equipment. Many clubs have access to boats, compressors, and diving kit that members can use.
It can take up to five days to complete your ocean diver course. But, doing your Ocean Diver course at a BSAC centre means you can reduce the time it takes to do the course to four days.
What equipment do I need?
You don’t need any special kit to become an open water diver – a swimsuit and towel should be enough, although you may soon want to buy your own mask and snorkel.
You’ll receive a training pack when you sign up, which contains all the learning materials you’ll need. We recommend you also buy a Dive Profile Red Logbook and BSAC Nitrox Decompression Tables, available from the BSAC shop.
An Ocean Diver's view...
After completing your Ocean Diver course
With BSAC's Ocean Diver course, your diving adventure is only just beginning. Developing your scuba diving skills:
- You can quickly progress to Advanced Ocean Diver, which is the next grade in BSAC’s Diver Training Programme, allowing you to progress to 30m depths without decompression stops.
- Alternatively, you can go straight to Sports Diver giving you the opportunity to perform longer, deeper dives with decompression stops, as well as learning rescue skills.
- You could also develop specific skills to expand your diving interests further. Imagine understanding more about wreck diving or driving a dive boat. Check out the Skill Development Courses you can get involved in.
Interested in finding out more about our Ocean Diver course? We're excited to have you on board.
Sign up to learn to dive with a BSAC Training Centre (to learn in around five days) or find a local club (to learn over a period of weeks/months). If you train with a centre, you can always join a club later.
Important note: if you're already a member, you can access your learn to dive training options here.
Need help? Call us on 0151 350 6201 (Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00) or email for a chat!