With world class conditions and a robust dive industry, the Cayman Islands is one of the best places to learn how to dive. There are over 15 PADI 5-Star Centers in the Cayman Islands, ready to teach you everything you want to know about diving.
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Learning to dive is essential for many new arrivals to the Island. Popular training agencies for diver education and certification are PADI, NAUI, SDI, TDI, IANTD, and SSI, offered by a variety of dive operators in Cayman.
Discover Scuba Diving (DSD)
Prior to committing to a full certification programme, many people try a Discover Scuba Dive first. This ‘mini-course’ consists of a short theory session where you’ll learn the simple do’s and don’ts of diving, get an introduction to the equipment and learn some very basic skills. You will first start in a swimming pool to become acclimatised to being underwater before finally taking a shallow ocean dive with your instructor. This programme normally takes about four hours, is offered around the Island, and is a great way to see if diving is for you.
While the Discover Scuba Dive is a fantastic introduction, it does have its limitations. You have to go with an instructor, you are limited to a shallow depth (40ft) and you can+ only dive again with the dive instructor or the shop you completed the course with. If you want to go further, the next step is the Open Water Certification course.
Open Water Courses
The open water courses are often completed in as little as three days and is the licence you need to dive. Many people choose the e-learning route which allows you to do the class work at home, and then the remainder of the course only takes two days. This option gets you in the ocean quicker and out of the classroom on your days off. Completion of this training is the minimum qualification required to rent equipment, go on excursions and basically get you in and out of the water safely. Many dive operators on the Island offer flexible learning options designed to suit your schedule.
After completing your open water certification, you may want to complete further courses to build on your experience.
The Advanced course introduces you to deep diving, navigation diving, plus three other specialty dives in areas that interest you. The very little classroom study required for the course can also be done online, with the remainder of the course completed in the water. Various other advanced courses include: underwater photography/videography, search and recovery, stingray interaction, reef awareness, wreck diving, scooters, buoyancy, technical applications and the popular Enriched Air (Nitrox) course.
The Rescue Diver course will prepare you to prevent problems and manage dive emergencies. To become a Rescue Diver, you must first be certified as an Advanced Open Water Diver and have a valid Emergency First Responder training. The Rescue Diver Course takes 2 full days to complete. There is also a Junior Rescue Diver Course.
If you want to become a dive instructor or professional diver, you will need to take the Divemaster course. This course is also ideal for those who wish to expand their dive knowledge or increase their self-confidence. The Divemaster course is the first level of professional training. It provides in-depth knowledge, which you will then use to lead others and direct a variety of scuba diving activities and assist with student divers and dive training sessions. In order to do this course you must be a certified Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver, as well as CPR and First Aid training. The Divemaster course takes approximately 10-14 days to complete.
If you are truly adventurous, you can learn to use Rebreathers (devices originally designed by the military that emit no bubbles or noise), mixed gases or certain techniques for extended-range diving. Rebreather diving (Closed Circuit Rebreathers/CCR) allows you to massively extend your dive time. You could spend three hours at 100ft and, as there are no bubbles, you’ll get up closer to the marine life.
Nitrox, Advanced Nitrox, Normoxic Trimix, Trimix and Advanced Trimix courses enable divers to safely explore greater depths. This allows divers to dive to the same depths as normal scuba divers, but for a longer bottom time. It also provides an extra margin of safety as it reduces the amount of nitrogen being absorbed by your body. A Nitrox course usually costs CI$150 and one-tank of Nitrox will only cost about CI$10 more than a regular tank of air. If you like diving within 100ft-150ft, Advanced Nitrox enables you to stay safely at these depths for about 45 minutes instead of the usual 10-20 minutes. Normoxic/Non-Hypoxic Training takes divers to the 200ft range, reducing oxygen content to about 18% and adding helium to buffer the effects of narcosis. For those wishing to go deeper (330ft+), Advanced Trimix, Expedition and Rebreather courses, and try-dives are offered by Divetech.
You may even wish to turn your passion for diving into a career by becoming a Divemaster. Divemaster training develops your skills to a professional level. You’ll work alongside full-time instructors and you get paid too!
Dive Courses for Children
The open water course is also offered to those aged 10 and up, and children under 15 are able to become certified as Junior Open Water divers. Options also exist for you to be taught at home in your own pool.
The following companies offer dive programmes for children ages five and up: Divetech, Fitness Connection, Red Sail Sports and Seahorse Diving School.
Recommended Dive Shops
Contact the dive shops below to learn more about their PADI certification courses.