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Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about your PADI Certification

Over the past 32 years we have helped many new divers make the their first bubbles underwater. In this blog we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about different rules and requirements of Scuba Diving and your PADI certification.

Let´s start with some examples.

Never hold your breath is one of the first things you will learn as you start your open water course. This isn’t a PADI certification rule however it’s an important safety guideline every diver should follow.


Another rule is that anyone can call off the dive at any time for any reason. And diving within the limits of your training and experience is another important rule.


Now when we talk about requirements these are standards that are clearly defined and created by PADI from we cannot deviate for the safety of our divers. Let´s look at a few questions about PADI certification requirements we hear a lot.

Scuba divers in Costa Rica

1. What is the minimum age for obtaining a PADI scuba certification?

Children aged between 10 and 15 years old have the opportunity to attain a Junior Open Water Diver certification. This program covers identical content to the standard Open Water Diver course but incorporates depth limitations and maintains lower student-to-instructor ratios.

Upon certification, Junior Open Water Divers are required to dive under the supervision of a PADI Professional or a certified parent or guardian, depending on their age. Dive depths are capped at 12 meters / 40 feet (ages 10-11) or 18 meters / 60 feet (ages 12-14) for these individuals. More information about the PADI Junior Open Water Diver course can be found HERE.

Additionally, there is a range of other PADI programs tailored for young enthusiasts. The minimum age requirements vary:

  • Two of PADI’s Mermaid courses are accessible to children as young as six.

  • Aspiring divers aged eight and above can experience scuba diving in a controlled pool environment through programs like PADI Bubblemaker and Seal Team.

Diver in the pool

2. Is it possible to dive without my PADI certification card ?

If you're planning to dive with one of the 6600+ PADI Dive Shops worldwide, they can verify your certification online.

However, for dive centers, resorts, and live-aboard boats not affiliated with PADI, accessing your certification online won't be an option.

To ensure a smooth dive experience, many divers opt to carry both electronic and plastic versions of their certification card. This way, you're always prepared, eliminating any worries about missing out on a dive due to card-related issues. Remember, you can conveniently access your eCards through the PADI app or by logging in to your PADI eLearning account and navigating to Certifications & Credentials under My Profile.

3. Is it possible to scuba dive without certification ?

Yes, it is. This experience is known as a Discover Scuba Diving experience. It's designed as an introductory dive to give individuals a taste of scuba diving and help them determine if it's something they enjoy. You find more information about the discover scuba dive experience HERE. Alternatively, you can read this article for further insights into scuba diving without certification.

4. Is solo diving against PADI certification rules ?

Solo diving poses significant risks without adequate training. In fact, it's prohibited by law in certain regions, and many dive operations strictly prohibit it due to safety concerns.

Only divers with specialized training, such as those holding a PADI Self-Reliant Diver certification, should contemplate solo diving. The Self-Reliant Diver Specialty course provides thorough instruction on safety protocols and strategies for managing the inherent risks of solo diving, including how to plan and equip oneself for self-redundancy.

However, it's crucial to note that even with proper training, local laws and dive operator policies always take precedence over what a certification card permits. And why dive alone ? It is a lot more fun to dive with a buddy or your friends !

Diver girl in Costa Rica

5. How many dives are required for the PADI Open Water Diver course ?


Our Open Water Course takes 3-4 days. The first one or two days we spend the morning in the pool to get you comfortable with using the equipment and learn the necessary skills to make you a safe diver. And then you do four dives as part of your PADI Open Water Diver training. Click HERE to learn more about what to expect during your Open Water Diver training dives.

6. What are the depth limits with a PADI certification?

If you've recently obtained your initial PADI certification (Open Water Diver), you're trained to dive to a maximum depth of 18 meters / 60 feet. Alternatively, you can dive to the depths achieved during your training dives if they were shallower. For deeper dives, consider enrolling in the Advanced Open Water Diver and/or Deep Diver Specialty courses. If you wish to exceed the recreational limit of 40 meters/130 feet, there are specialized PADI TecRec courses available.

However, it's important to note: local laws may impose specific depth restrictions. For instance, in regions like the Maldives where diving below 30 meters / 100 feet is prohibited by local regulations, all divers must adhere to this rule, regardless of certification. Additionally, respecting any depth limitations set by dive boat operators is essential.

7. Essential Rules for every diver

As a PADI ECO-Dive center we encourage our guests and students to show respect for marine life and the underwater environment. "Take only pictures, leave only bubbles" or "Do no harm, leave no trace."All divers must recognize themselves as visitors in the underwater world and treat it with the utmost care.

Moreover, there are several safety principles every diver should adhere to. While these aren't specific PADI certification rules (though they are taught in PADI courses), they are fundamental dive safety practices refined through years of research:

  1. Conduct a thorough buddy check before each dive.

  2. Always do a minimum 3-minute safety stop at 5 meters or 15 ft.

  3. Avoid surpassing a safe ascent rate.

  4. Follow DAN's recommendations regarding flying after diving.

DAN Guidelines Flying after diving

If you find yourself forgetting basic procedures such as what BWRAF stands for, the appropriate depth for a safety stop, or the definition of a safe ascent rate, it may be wise to consider our scuba refresher course.

If you have any other questions about your PADI certification or like to get certified. Then our staff is ready to help you taking the first steps. Contact us for more information at:

Rich Coast Diving

Mrs. Céline Monfort

WhatsApp +506 8610 0914

Rich Coast Diving Logo


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