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Frequently Asked Questions

Isn't scuba diving dangerous?

No. It's actually safer than driving a car. The recent fatality rate for scuba diving is 16 deaths per 100,000 certified divers, while the recent fatality rate for driving a vehicle is 21 deaths per 100,000 licensed drivers. The leading cause of scuba diving fatalities is reckless behavior, which is why we stress the importance of safety and preparation in all of our classes.

Do I need to be a good swimmer?

No. You should be comfortable in the water, but you do not need to be a good swimmer to dive. As a diver, you'll wear a BC (buoyancy compensator) that keeps you afloat when you are on the surface. Underwater you don't use your arms to move around; instead, your motion is controlled completely through finning and buoyancy control--skills you learn in the beginning classes.

How physically fit do I need to be?

In general, if you can comfortably walk a mile you are fit enough to dive. In any case, you must fill out a medical questionnaire before we can teach you any classes, and if you answer Yes to any of the questions you will need a physician's permission to dive. Needing a physician's permission to dive is not unusual, and most physicians are familiar with the form they must fill out and sign.

How old do I have to be to get certified?

We include students as young as 12 years old into our regular classes.

Students who are 10 or 11 years old may enroll in individualized instruction for our Discover Scuba Diving, PADI Scuba Diver, Open Water Diver, and Adventure Diver classes, as well as many specialty courses.

Is there a maximum age for diving?

No. If you are fit enough to dive, it doesn't matter how old you are.

How quickly can I get certified?

Through individualized instruction we can certify you to become a PADI Scuba Diver in just one day, or an Open Water Diver in just two days. You must be motivated and meet all course requirements.

How long does a typical class take to complete?

Discover Scuba Diving gets you in the water and on your first dive in about two hours.

Typically, the PADI Scuba Diver class takes 2-3 days, and the Open Water Diver class takes 3-5 days to complete the course.

The Adventure Diver class does three dives in just one day, and the Advanced Open Water class does five dives over two days.

Specialty classes, such as Search and Recovery or Peak Performance Buoyancy will range according to the specialty class and your training level, but they unsually take one or two days to complete.

If you are interested in our Rescue Diver or Divemaster classes, contact us for a typical timeline.

How deep can I go?

Let me preface this by saying that diving is about enjoying the world under water, and there's often a lot to see and do in depths shallower than 40 feet.

That said, Discover Scuba Divers and PADI Scuba Divers are trained to dive to a depth of 40 feet.

In general, Open Water Divers are trained to 60 feet, Advanced Open Water Divers are trained to 100 feet, and Deep Divers are trained to 130 feet, but shallower limits apply to divers under the age of 15.

How long is my certification good for?

A Discover Scuba Diving card expires after one year. All other PADI certifications last as long as you do. If it's been a while since your last dive, though, we recommend that you take a Scuba Review refresher class.

Your prices are higher than the prices at my local dive shop--why should I take your class?

My prices are higher because I give you more. I include everything you need to get certified--manuals, log books, even gear rental if you need it. I keep my class size limited so students gets the attention they deserve. Plus, I'm a knowledgeable and approachable instructor, with more than 20 years of diving and non-diving teaching experience and consistent positive feedback from my students. I love diving and I love teaching, and that shows in my classes.

Dive course pricing is a difficult subject to discuss without sounding negative. But when my students realize that the price they are paying is worthwhile, the obvious next questions are: Why do so many dive shops offer cheap tuition, and why do so many instructors accept such low pay? Both are excellent questions that deserve well-thought answers; the following is my attempt.

Who is PADI?

PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the world's largest diver training organization. PADI diver certifications are accepted throughout the world. You can find more information at www.padi.com.

What's the 8th Element?

The 8th element of chemistry is Oxygen, which provides us with the air we need to live. The 8th element of yoga is Enlightenment, which is a state of peace, awareness, and compassion with detachment. The allure of diving is using the former to achieve the latter, as you experience the beauty of the underwater realm.

Can I ask a question that's not listed here?

Of course! Contact us with your question and we'll get back to you with an answer.


8th Element Diving: Scuba classes in the Northwest and Diving Adventure trips throughout the world.

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