home
Great Advice, toll-free! USA: 1-800-207-2453
Australia: 1-800-101-319  U.K.: 020-300-20906  Skype: divethereef.com

 
COMPANIES
EMAIL US
ABOUT US
MY ITINERARY

Australia

HOME  |  DIVING TRIPS  |  ADVENTURE TRIPS  |  LODGING|  LOCAL INFO

Scuba Diving

Reef Trips
Learn to Dive
Adventure Trips
Lodging
Reef News
Local Info
Galleries
Maps
Companies
Contact Us



Dive School FAQ

Copyright © Reef Magic

? - What is entailed in a dive certification course?
? -
Is it actually a class? Is there a test?
? - How often are dive courses starting in Cairns?
? - Why is Cairns such a great place to learn to dive?
? - How should I go about selecting a dive course?
? - How do all the many dive courses in Cairns differ?
? - How old do you have to be to take the course?
? -
How active or physically fit do you have to be to take a dive certification course?
? - How healthy do you have to be to pass the medical exam?
? - What kinds of medical conditions would prevent you from taking a dive course?
? - What is the difference between a PADI, SSI, and NAUI certification course?
? -
How do I learn more about these associations?
? - What proportion of dive course students does not complete the course? Why do they fail?
? - What does completing the certification course entitle me to do?
? -
What kinds of advanced certification are there?
? - How soon after being certified can I take the advanced course?
? - English is not my native language, what courses and materials are there to assist me?
? - Are there certification courses offered in other languages in Cairns?
? - What days of the week do the courses given in foreign languages start each week?
? - What is the refund policy if I decide that diving is not for me?
? -
I don’t have four days to spend taking a dive course, what options do I have?

What is entailed in a dive certification course
Each dive course, no matter which school, will combine two days of classroom and pool instruction. In the classroom you will be taught the terminology and concepts that are necessary to be a safe diver. In the pool you will become familiar with the dive equipment and it’s use, as well as practice the techniques you will use in the ocean, but in a safe, controlled, and enclosed environment.
Top of Page

Is it actually a class? Is there a test?
Yes, a scuba certification course is a class, it is essential that students gain the knowledge and learn the proper techniques needed to enjoy diving safely. There is both written and a series of skills tests given during the course, and to become certified students must past both, and nearly all do.
Top of Page

How often are dive courses starting in Cairns?
Courses in English are starting daily in Cairns, in fact most days you can choose between as many as 10 different course options. Courses given in foreign languages are not quite as common, courses in Japanese start daily, German dive courses 4 days per week.
Top of Page

Why is Cairns such a great place to get learn to dive?
We can think of a number of reasons that Cairns is a great place to learn to dive. Here are just a few:

  1. There are four dive schools operating here, and tens of thousands of students get certified here every year. These operations have extensive experience training divers. What’s more is that the competition between these schools keeps the price low and the value high.
  2. Learning to dive here means that you do your training dives on the Great Barrier Reef, an easy and comfortable place to dive. The water is warm, the visibility good, and the ocean life diverse and colorful.
  3. Cairns itself is a great place to holiday. There is a huge range of places to stay, lots of interesting things to do, and nearby are beautiful beaches, lush tropical rain forests, and the rugged outback, all begging to be explored.
    Top of Page

How should I go about selecting a dive course?
How do all the many dive courses in Cairns differ?
That is a hard one answer, as the differences between courses and dive schools are pretty subtle. The biggest differences that are important to students might be the following:

  • Nearness of dive school to your lodging: You might like to save time for other activities by staying near the campus of the dive school you choose. If you will let us know your desire to do be close to your dive campus, or if you have already selected a place to say, we can help match you up with a school/lodging combination that suits you.
  • Boat trip: The boat trips that are a part of each dive course differ greatly between dive schools, and even between different dive courses offered by a given dive school. Read over the dive trip descriptions carefully, to make sure the trip suits you well.
  • price: Price does vary between the courses, and is clearly marked on the dive school description page. Generally the difference in course price reflects the different length and service levels of the boat trips associated with each course.
  • Certifying association: For those of you already hooked on the idea of diving, getting certified by an association that operates in your home area may make taking advanced courses easier, but the trend lately has been for dive shops to consider all basic dive certification courses as equal. Still, if you are concerned, find out which association your local dive shop works under.
    Top of Page

How old do you have to be to take the course?
In Australia you must be 14 years of age or older to take a dive course.
Top of Page

How active or physically fit do you have to be to take a dive certification course?
Fitness helps make diving much more comfortable and easy. However, peak or elite levels of physical fitness are not required. The minimum is to be able to swim 200 meters and tread water for 10 minutes. Improving your fitness will make you a more effective, and therefore safer diver. If you can increase your daily level of exercise in the weeks prior to taking the course you will enjoy the course more.
Top of Page

How healthy do you have to be to pass the medical exam?
The Australian government has set it’s own medical standard for dive medical exams, called the Australian standard 4005.1. While stricter than other countries, it is intended to assure that dive school students not have medical conditions that may be aggravated, or endanger their lives, while diving. Most reasonably healthy persons pass the medical.
Top of Page

What kinds of medical conditions would prevent you from taking a dive course?
We are not doctors, and cannot explain all the medical terminology. Generally, any medical condition that may be aggravated by the exercise or underwater environment of diving to the point where it impairs your health or ability to dive safely would be of concern to the dive doctor.

The best review of medical problems make diving unsafe we have found online is at the NAUI website (www.naui.com).

If you have a specific medical condition we recommend you talk with a doctor who knows diving, try your local dive shop for a recommendation. Here are some other diving medicine websites you may find informative:

DAN (Divers Alert Network)
Diving Medicine Online
Doc’s Diving Medicine Homepage
Diving Medicine by Dr. Fred Bove
Scuba Diving Explained

Top of Page

What is the difference between a PADI, SSI, and NAUI certification course?
If there is a $64 question in diving this is it. PADI, NAUI, and SSI are all organizations that train and certify dive certification courses. Each intends to devise dive courses and training methods that produce safe scuba divers, with minimal risk to the students and instructors.

A certification card from a dive course by any of these three organizations will entitle you to take a dive vacation, or to fill a tank at a dive shop.

PADI is the biggest of the three; around half of the divers certified in the world take a PADI course. In Cairns three of the four Dive Schools offer PADI course, while the fourth offers both PADI and SSI courses. NAUI is primarily based in the USA.
Top of Page

How do I learn more about these associations?
PADI http://www.padi.com/
SSI Australia http://www.ssiaust.com/
NAUI http://www.naui.com/
Top of Page

What proportion of dive course students does not complete the course? Why do they fail?
In most dive schools less than 10% of the students do not pass the course. The reasons vary but typically one or more of the following are involved.

  • The students never become comfortable underwater, despite the encouragement and support of the instructor and class.
  • The student does not take the time to learn the material during the course.
  • The student has a medical condition that prevents them from passing the medical exam.
    Top of Page

What does completing the certification course entitle me to do?
Successfully completing the course earns you a dive certification card, which entitles you to scuba dive worldwide. With the card you can take a dive vacation, buy dive gear, and fill your tanks at dive shops, and pursue advanced dive courses.
Top of Page

What kinds of advanced certification are there?
The next course after basic certification is the advanced certification. The intent of the course is to give you additional skills and knowledge that will make you a more skilled and capable diver.

This course is usually a guided self-study course that combines reading and discussions with actual diving. There is a range of topics to choose from, many of which will make you a better and safer diver. These topics include underwater navigation, deep diving, night diving, and underwater naturalist. Five dives are typically required to complete this course.

Following advanced certification there are further courses, ranging from dive master all the way up to dive instructor. One of the dive schools is starting these courses each week, email us and we can send you a schedule of these courses if you are interested.
Top of Page

How soon after being certified can I take the advanced course?
You can take the course immediately after completing the course. In fact, in Cairns all the dive schools offer a 6-day dive course that includes both the basic and advanced certification.
Top of Page

English is not my native language, what courses and materials are there to assist me?
Are there certification courses offered in other languages in Cairns?
The answer is an emphatic yes! Courses in English are starting every day in Cairns, and there are also courses offered in German and Japanese starting weekly. Nearly every school has a collection of course materials in other languages also, including French, Spanish, most maintain a collection of materials in 14 languages!
Top of Page

What days of the week do the courses given in foreign languages start each week?
Japanese: Tu, We, Fr, Sa, Deep Sea Divers Den
Daily: Cairns Dive Center
Daily: Down Under Dive
German: M, Th Deep Sea Divers Den
Tu, Fr. Pro Dive Cairns
Top of Page

What is the refund policy if I decide that diving is not for me?
Each company has their own cancellation policy, but all offer full refunds to those who do not pass the medical exams, or those who withdraw after the first day of the course. Here is a summary of the cancellation policy of each of the Dive Schools operating in Cairns:

Cairns Dive Center For cancellations after the first day of the course an AUD$68 cancellation fee will be charged. For cancellations during the second day of the course an AUD$132 cancellation fee will be charged. There will be no refunds offered for cancellations after the second day of the course.

Deep Sea Divers Den: Full refund will be given if a customer fails the medical examination or if they feel they are not confident in diving. On day 2, a cancellation fee of AUD$150 sill be charged if a customer decides to cancel their course. After day 2 no refund will be given.

Down Under Dive: Cancellation of a dive course for any reason is fully refundable up until the end of day one only. On very rare occasions all cruise services or a single dive can be subject to the effect of weather or unforeseen circumstances. All dives are weather permitting and Captains discretion. No refund for in-complete dives. Should a cruise not operate for any such reason passengers will be offered an alternative day or refund for days lost only.

Pro Dive Cairns Course fees paid to Pro Dive Cairns are fully refundable up to the end of day one of your Open Water Course for any reason
Top of Page

I don’t have four days to spend taking a dive course, what options do I have?
You actually have two different options. The first is taking the classroom and pool portion of your dive course at home, then doing the dive portions of your course on the Great Barrier Reef. This would save you two days on your holiday for other activities. The cost of referral courses is a bit less than the full course, but then you still need to pay for your course/pool work at home. What the extra expenditure buys you is two days on your holiday in Australia.

The second option is to do what is called an introductory scuba dive. An introductory dive (or many of them) will not lead towards your dive certification, but it will get you a scuba experience.

An introductory dive is a highly supervised, limited depth scuba dive. The dive will be preceded by an instruction session where you will learn the basic techniques and skills. There will never be more than four introductory divers assigned to a single dive instructor. Depth is limited for an added safety margin. The upside to the depth limit is that the most abundant and colorful reef life is seen in the uppermost 10 meters anyway.

An introductory dive will cost an additional AUD$15-40 per dive, depending on the operator. (The cost is clearly listed in each reef trip description on our site in the extra cost section.) It is possible to take up to two introductory dives each day on most reef trips.
Top of Page

Do you have a question that is not answered here?
Send it to us and we will be happy to send you a personal reply.
Top of Page

Copyright © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises

Scuba Vacation

Dive The Reef
Toll Free USA: 1-800-207-2453
Toll Free Australia: 1-800-101-319
Toll Free UK: 020-300-20906
Local USA: 805-275-1801
Skype: divethereef.com
FAX: 775-806-4289

Images: Copyright
Great Barrier Reef Enterprises,
Reef Magic

Webmaster: webmaster@divethereef.com
Information: information@divethereef.com
Companies: business@divethereef.com
Travel Agents: affiliates@divethereef.com

Unless credited otherwise,
the contents of this web site are copyrighted
Copyright © 1999 - 2017 DTR Services, LLC,
all rights reserved.

 The information on this website may inadvertently contain inaccuracies and/or typographical errors.
All information should be verified at the time of booking.
Dive The Reef reserves the right to update/correct any information at any time.