It’s a common story: Mom and Dad learned to scuba dive together and took amazing trips to tropical reefs every chance they got. As a young couple, they logged a bunch of dives, invested in their own gear and became enthusiastic underwater photographers.
Then the kids came along! Scuba diving took a back seat to vacations at Disney and trips to baby-friendly beaches. The most frequently-sighted sea creatures became those sing in cartoons!
But now the kids are a little older and are starting to develop their own interest in the ocean. They’ve tried snorkeling and love it. Suddenly scuba diving becomes a real option for family vacations again.
At Lucky Fish Scuba, we’ve had the pleasure of helping families get underwater together lots of times. If they’re ten years or older, can swim well and are in good physical health, Instructor Glenn can teach them to become PADI Open Water or Junior Open Water divers.
Here’s how we get the kids certified with private scuba lessons:
Paperwork: The health and safety of our kids is the highest priority for all of us in the diving business, and PADI’s Divers Medical Questionnaire is a comprehensive review of possible concerns. If there’s any question, your pediatrician must review and sign off before going further. Recently we had a young student with a history of very occasional asthma. Her doctor and her mom carefully reviewed all the medical advice and signed off on her registration – and she’s now an awesome diver!
Knowledge is power: Before anyone gets wet, they need to spend a few hours working through a fun online course from PADI at home. This replaces the classroom and book learning that Mom and Dad may remember from their certification. There are short quizzes along the way to reinforce key concepts. Instructor Glenn will talk through any questions with the kids and administer a short exam in person too, to make sure everyone is comfortable and understands.
Pool party: Here in Key Largo, we fit them with kid-sized gear and do the confined water (pool) sessions right here at the local pool, starting with a basic swimming assessment. Then finally, it’s time for that first magical breath under water! Instructor Glenn takes his time with young students to methodically learn and practice all the skills needed. They may roll their eyes underwater when he makes the “do it again” signal, but he’ll make sure they can do it right.
Open water, here we come! Next level is to jump on the Lucky Fish and take a quick boat trip out to the reef to complete the four open water training dives. These can be done in two days, with a maximum of two training dives per day to practice and reinforce the skills learned in the pool. Our Key Largo reefs are teeming with fish but also relatively shallow, making them easy and interesting places for training. Sea conditions vary from day to day, giving new divers important experience to draw on later.
And then you have a new scuba diver in the family! We snap a quick photo for the PADI certification card which shows up in the mailbox a few days later. Kids between 10-14 years old are certified as Junior Open Water Divers and become Open Water Divers at age 15.
Finally, family fun dives! Once the kids are certified, we encourage parents to make sure their first few dive trips are organized to build confidence and solidify all the new skills.
When a family books a private diving trip with us, we can really take our time at every step from setting up gear to getting in the water — no bumping elbows with other divers, rushing to meet a set schedule, or finding yourselves at a dive site beyond your experience. We will have an Instructor-level dive guide (usually Glenn himself!) in the water with you for this very reason. As always, we select trip timing and dive sites to based on your interests and experience.
Read more about PADI Scuba Diving Lessons for Kids here.