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Are you wondering how old you need to be to get started with scuba lessons? In this article, we dive deeper into the different age requirements for beginner scuba divers per certifying agency like PADI or SSI.

Twenty years ago, I was already old enough to be a scuba diver, but never really had the courage (or opportunity) to enroll in a scuba diving course. For me, it was not until my mid-twenties, that I discovered the ever so tempting underwater world on scuba. Don’t be like me!

These days I listen to my fellow instructors and guests talking about the wonders of the Mediterranean with its Groupers as big as VW Beetles and lobsters under every rock, or the Red Sea with Grey Reef or even Hammerhead sharks on all the drop-offs, even the ones close to shore, twenty years ago. Even though I realize that some memories might get bigger and more impressive over time, it is true, that species are vanishing, and numbers of fish are on the decline.

When you are interested in the underwater world, it is a good idea to start with your scuba lessons early.

Every day, little by little, there will be less, fish, fewer species, less adventure, and not one day will go by on which you do not wish you had started earlier!

Start taking scuba lessons and you will create the incredible opportunity to dive down into ocean waters and spend time exploring the breathtaking world beneath the waves.

From colorful coral reef systems that are filled with fascinating marine life of all kinds, including tiny crustaceans and massive whale sharks, to historical wreck sites and cool caverns that you can swim through, diving is an experience like no other. You will get out of diving what you put into it!

scuba diving kids
There is a minimum age limit before you can start your scuba lessons

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You need to take scuba lessons before you can explore the underwater world

Though diving is fun and relaxing, it is an activity in an environment that we are not made for, so as on the surface, certain risks are involved. Imagine nobody had taught you to look out for cars before crossing the road! That would be dangerous, right? The same principle goes for underwater. The risks are few and easy to handle, but of course, you need to learn about them from a professional instructor to be able to avoid them.

You also need to know all the rules in diving and how to be a safe diver. You will learn how to assemble and properly use your equipment, how to swim and breath underwater, what dangers you may face underwater and what happens to your body while diving.

It is for this reason that you must become a certified diver before you are allowed to go scuba diving. This is for your safety, and the safer you are, the more fun you will be having, so it is worth investing the time it takes to finish a certification course.

There are several scuba diving certification agencies which all teach the same basic rules, skills and safety measures that all divers, regardless of age, need to know. However, each has its certification requirements and. Therefore, they differ from each other slightly.

Also read: 3 Great Alternatives To PADI You Should Know About

If you are ready to start taking scuba diving lessons, you first to meet the age requirement before enrolling in one of the many programs offered by the various certification agencies.

While most agencies do offer courses for children as young as eight years of age, these are usually held in a confined body of water like a swimming pool and will not certify you to go out to the sea or a lake to dive. If you are only eight years old, they provide an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the world of diving and are great fun, so it is worth trying them out.

PADI offers two fun programs called the Seal Team and the Bubblemaker, and SSI is offering a similar program called SSI Scuba Rangers, introducing the younger children to Scuba Diving.

If you want the real stuff, you will first enroll in the Open Water Diver program, but after completing it, you may then move on to more advanced levels of certification.

Did you ever forget to bring an piece of gear on scuba trip? Download the ultimate scuba trip checklist today just like 5.000+ other divers already did and never miss a dive again.

How old do you have to be to start a PADI scuba course?

To take diving lessons from a PADI instructor, you need to be at least 10 years of age. The most basic course is an Open Water Diver certification, and students younger than 15 years of age who complete the course become Junior Open Water Divers. Junior Open Water Divers are only allowed to dive down to 12 meters, or 40 feet, and must be accompanied by an adult at every dive to ensure their safety.

When junior Open Water Divers reach the age of 15, their credentials are then automatically upgraded to the Open Water Diver certification, and they are allowed to dive 18 meters, or 60 feet deep, with other certified divers.

To take PADI Scuba lessons online. However, a student must meet the minimum age requirement of 13 to comply with international internet laws.

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If you can start young with scuba diving

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How old do you have to be to enroll in a SSI scuba class?

Like the PADI certification programs, if you choose to pursue your Open Water Diver schooling through SSI, which is short for Scuba Schools International, the minimum age requirement is 10. However, just as with the PADI program, children under 15 are only recognized as Junior level divers and are upgraded when they reach the proper age.

Read more about the difference between PADI and SSI

How old do you have to be to enroll in a BSAC scuba class?

BSAC, short for the British Sub-Aqua Club, is open to training young students. However, unlike the PADI and SSI schools, they require their students to be at least 12 years of age when they begin to learn how to dive.

So what are you waiting for? Get started, to discover all the wonders the underwater world has in store for you! Discover the beautiful reefs with their colorful fish, visit that sunken ship, go and swim with those dolphins! And as you grow more confident and become a better diver, new and exciting opportunities and possibilities will open up for you!

Want to know how eerie diving at night can be? Want to find treasure and need to learn how to search and recover? Want to know all the names of all the fish and then write them in your log book? Want to see what is deeper down? Believe me, the opportunities are endless and exhilarating! You will love it!

Would you like to learn to dive? Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners that offer scuba lessons.

Did you ever forget to bring an piece of gear on scuba trip? Download the ultimate scuba trip checklist today just like 5.000+ other divers already did and never miss a dive again.

Blog written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.

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