Diving Certification Courses and General Diving Questions
PADI Dive Courses Offered on the Island
Our trips are for both non-experienced and experienced divers. Not certified? No worries, many of our volunteers come to the island to learn to dive. Looking to further your dive credentials? Many of our volunteers come to ReefCI to further their diving certification status. Regardless of your diving level, our island is a wonderful place to learn with calm, clear waters and little current. We swap the cold swimming pool for the Caribbean Sea and the classroom for a hammock under a palm tree!
We have many dive courses available to help you develop your scuba and marine conservation skills while on the island volunteering with us. Below is the price our program charges for each PADI certification course and how long it will take you to complete the certification course on the island.
PADI Open Water Certification – $150 USD (3 days)
PADI Advanced Open Water Certification – $200 USD (1 week)
In order to be certified on the island, you will need to complete the PADI eLearning portion of your course prior to your arrival to our island. PADI is the world’s leading scuba diver training organization that governs and regulates scuba standards and diver certifications. You can get started immediately with the classroom portion of your certification course and work at your own pace using the PADI eLearning system at home. With this convenient online study option, you will complete the classroom/theory portion and theory exam of your course before your arrival. At the end of the eLearning program, you must print out your eRecord and bring a copy of it with you to the island. Once on the island, we will finish off the appropriate in-water diver portion of the course. PADI charges around $185 USD for the eLearning and the cost is paid to PADI via their website. We find our guests like to avoid the book work and theory portion of certification courses while on the island and this provides the best option to get in the water immediately upon arrival to our island. Don’t forget toprint out your eRecord and bring a copy of it with you to the island upon completing the eLearning. Click here to register for PADI’s online eLearning. Please note that when doing the e-Learning, PADI’s registration process will ask you to affiliate with a dive shop – choose any dive shop – the dive shop affiliation does not matter since you will be completing the actual in water portion of the course with us in Belize.
Please note that for the PADI Specialty Courses that we offer (Invasive Lionfish, Coral Reef Conservation, Fish Identification, and Deep Diver) do NOT require any eLearning and all PADI Specialty Courses can be fully completed on the island. However, you must be a fully certified Open Water diver before taking any Specialty Courses.
Frequently Asked Diving Questions
Dive Equipment – What Should I Bring?
All dive equipment is included EXCEPT mask with snorkel, booties, and wetsuits. You must bring your own mask with snorkel, booties, and wetsuit. These items are size specific to each individual -especially wetsuits and booties for your feet.
We provide the rest of your gear at no charge – BCD’s, tanks, regulators, fins, weights, etc.. However, you are more than welcome to bring your own dive gear if you prefer. We do not provide dive computers; however, it is not necessary or mandatory to bring one. We do keep well within safety limits. Anyone wishing to participate in night dives MUST bring their own dive light/torch. These can be purchased for as little as 10 USD on Amazon.
Wetsuits – Full, Short, or None at All?
Do I need a full or short wetsuit in Belize and what thickness? Or do I need one at all? That is a tough question as it varies from person to person. The water temperature is consistently around 80F/26C so a 3mm wetsuit is normally just about right. However, it just depends on how much you feel the cold; some do dive without one while others prefer a wetsuit. During the months of November through March, the water temperature is a degree or two cooler and most choose to wear wetsuits during these months. I recommend bringing a wetsuit regardless of the time of year; being cold while diving is no fun at all. It is reassuring to know you have one in case you need it.
Number of Dives Per Week?
We typically do around 12 dives each week. Two on Monday (first dive is a check-out dive), three dives on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. In addition, we do at least one night dive per week. On Friday’s, we do a pre-breakfast dive, have breakfast then debrief and return to the mainland anywhere from 11am to 1pm We only take small groups and our instructors are great at concentrating on helping individual divers and techniques.
Minimum Age to Dive?
For PADI certification, the minimum age is 10 years old. Divers who are younger than 15 earn the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15.
Check-Out Dive/Dive Refresher?
No worries if it has been a while since your last dive. Feel free to share any concerns you have with the team upon arrival and they will give you a refresher on basic skills on land before your dive if requested. Most of our volunteers are excited about getting in the water but are a little nervous having not dived for a while. Our dive team is here to help and our first dive is a shore dive from the island which will help regain your confidence.
PADI Course Descriptions
PADI Open Water Diver Certification
If you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons, experience unparalleled adventure and see the world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. Get your scuba diving certification with the PADI Open Water Diver course – the world’s most popular and widely recognized scuba course. At the first level, Open Water Diver, divers gain basic knowledge of skills, equipment use, and theory for diving to a recommended depth of about 18 meters/60 feet. Once certified as an Open Water Diver, you will receive a PADI Open Water Certification Card/License which is recognized worldwide and you can dive anywhere in the world!
PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification
You don’t have to be “advanced” to take it – it’s designed to advance your diving, so you can start right after earning your PADI Open Water Diver certification. The course helps build confidence and expand your scuba skills through different Adventure Dives.
Your five Adventure Dives will include the following:
Peak Performance Buoyancy
You get to try out different specialties while gaining experience under the supervision of your PADI Instructor. The AOWD also allows the diver to explore a broader variety of diving to a maximum depth of 40 meters/130 feet.
PADI Rescue Diver Certification
The PADI Rescue Diver course prepares you to deal with dive emergencies, minor and major, using a variety of techniques. Through knowledge development and rescue exercises, you learn what to look for and how to respond. During rescue scenarios, you put into practice your knowledge and skills. The course covers the following topics in seven scenarios:
Self-rescue and diver stress
Panicked diver response
In-water rescue breathing protocols
Dive accident scenarios
Rescue Diver Certification can be completed in one week regardless of the option you choose above.
PADI Dive Master Certification
The Dive Master Certification (DM) rating places you in an elite group of respected divers who have earned this rating through both significant experience and scuba training. Fewer than 2% of divers ever achieve this rating. The course will develop leadership skills and deepen your knowledge of diving. Prerequisite certifications include the PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced, and PADI Rescue with EFR/CPR. The PADI Dive Master Certification takes a minimum of 4 weeks.
PADI Specialty Course – Invasive Lionfish
Thirty years after their accidental introduction, lionfish have conquered the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans and are wreaking havoc on coral reef ecosystems. Unlike in its native Pacific Ocean habitats, there are no natural predators in the Atlantic and Caribbean to keep this invasive species in check. Hence, lionfish populations have exploded, gobbling up native coral reef fish that have no natural defense mechanisms against this invasive species. Lionfish threaten the very survival and sustainability of coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans. Learn what action is needed to control the lionfish population and, learn practical ways to safely and humanely capture and euthanize these fish.
Prerequisite: PADI Open Water Certified and be at least 10 years old.
PADI Specialty Course – Coral Reef Conservation
Everyone likes to scuba dive or snorkel in warm, clear water on a vibrant coral reef, yet many people know little about what they’re seeing or the importance of reef ecosystems. The Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course helps you appreciate the complexity of these habitats and teaches you how you can help conserve these vital systems.
The Coral Reef Conservation specialty course will cover the following topics:
How coral reefs function and the complex nature of life on a reef.
Why coral reefs are so important.
Why many coral reefs are in serious trouble.
What you can do to prevent further decline.
How Project AWARE unites divers and water enthusiasts to make a difference.
No Prerequisite: Anyone who has an interest in the aquatic world can take this course. There are no prerequisites or age restrictions and no water sessions are required to earn this non-diving certification.
PADI Specialty Course – Fish Identification
“What was that fish?” is a common question heard after a dive. If you want to be the scuba diver with the answers, instead of the
one asking the questions, then take the Fish Identification Specialty course. You’ll enjoy your dives even more when you recognize the creatures that you see and can identify the main fish families and their characteristics. During two scuba dives, you’ll learn:
Identify characteristics of local fish families and species
Fish survey techniques and strategies
Project AWARE activities that can help protect aquatic life
Prerequisite: PADI Open Water Certified and be at least 10 years old.
PADI Specialty Course – Deep Diver
The lure of the deep. There’s something exciting and mysterious about exploring deeper dive sites while scuba diving. Sometimes it’s a wreck that attracts you below 18 meters/60 feet, and on wall dives it may be a giant fan or sponge. Whatever it is, to scuba dive with confidence at depths down to 40 meters/130 feet, you should take the PADI Deep Diver Specialty course. During four deep dives with your instructor, you’ll go over:
Specialized deep diving equipment
Deep dive planning, buddy contact procedures and buoyancy control
Managing your gas supply, dealing with gas narcosis and safety considerations
Prerequisite: Advanced Open Water Certified and be at least 15 years old.
PADI Specialty Course – Emergency First Response (EFR)
Emergency First Response training focuses on building confidence in rescuers and increasing their willingness to respond when faced with a medical emergency. Course participants learn simple to follow steps for emergency care and practice applying skills in a non-stressful learning environment.
The EFR Specialty Course meets the CPR and first aid training requirements for the PADI Rescue Diver course and all professional-level ratings. The following EFR topics will be covered:
Primary Care (CPR)
Secondary Care (First Aid)
Care for Children
CPR & AED
No Prerequisite: Anyone who has an interest in emergency first response can take this course. There are no prerequisites or age restrictions and no water sessions are required to earn this non-diving certification.