Recently got asked a question at a Dive Centre about cutting costs on PADI Courses, here is the question:
[Dive Student Question] I am looking to complete my open water diving course as soon as i can. In the past few years i have done day dives in the Caribbean (including wreck and reef dives) and in Greece. I have done many dives learning the same skills each time. I purchased the PADI open water dive manual and have read all through it and completed all the quizes. I was wondering if there was a way of taking the exam part of the course for a cheaper price at all? I have a swimming pool at home and my dad and brother have dive equipment. My brother is a licensed diver and my dad used to be so i have used his equipment in the pool and done it abroad in open waters many times. I have wanted to complete my open water, and go on to advanced for about 5 years now and wondered if there was a way of taking the exam for a cheaper price and then doing the open water dives with an instructor somewhere?
[IDC Guide Reply] We wouldn’t recommend practising with dive equipment in a pool until you have completed a full Open Water Course with a teaching status PADI instructor and received your certification card. There are things you may not be aware of from your ‘try dives’ or ‘fun dives’ on your vacations that could cause you problems or injury even in a pool. Its really great that you have taken an interest in diving and want to improve yourself by getting an Open Water manual and reading it and filling out the quizzes but there is more to the course than the academic side of it, indeed both the practical and study side of the course should be learned together to re-enforce the lessons you read about.
We would encourage you not to focus on trying to save money but spend money on good quality education to ensure your diving is fun and safe. There are no short cuts and no way to cut costs in dive education and if you look at what you learn, experience and remember from a PADI course you will reflect on it in years to come and think it was very good value for money. Here is a little known fact: most dive centers either break even or make only a small profit on Open Water courses as they are so labour / time intensive and the dive center hopes you will come back and dive with them again.
You have the option now to take the open water course as an Elearning course, take a look at PADI’s website for more info on Elearning courses.