How long is the PADI Open Water Course?

How long is the PADI Open Water Course?

Embarking on the journey of learning to scuba dive opens doors to an incredible underwater world, and various agencies can assist you in this exciting endeavor. Among these, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) stands out as the most widespread, recognized, and one of the longest-standing recreational scuba training agencies. Now, let's dive into the details of the entry-level course – the PADI Open Water course.

  • How long does it take?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How many dives are included?
  • What are the basic prerequisites?


Become a PADI Open Water Diver in Koh Tao, Thailand

How long does the PADI open water course take?

The PADI Open Water course typically spans 3 to 4 days. PADI adopts a 'mastery' learning approach, allowing students to continue learning until each skill is mastered. The duration can vary slightly among students. In holiday destinations, most dive centers structure the course with a dedicated day for pool or confined water skills. This day is specially designed to introduce students to scuba gear, boost their confidence in breathing underwater, and master essential safety exercises. Following this, they get two days in the sea or a lake to put their acquired knowledge into practice.

Some Dive centers may opt for a half-day of pool training followed by sea diving, while others, especially European dive clubs, might offer weekends dedicated to pool exercises before a weekend away at a dive spot for natural environment practice. All these options are equally valid and depend on logistical considerations. In Koh Tao, many professional dive centers prioritize refining diving skills in the pool on the first day before venturing into the sea, ensuring a more pleasant and relaxed natural environment experience. Choosing this location for your PADI Open Water course offers distinct advantages, as outlined below.

How Much Does the PADI Open Water Course Cost? 

Course prices vary significantly based on the location. In Europe, you may find courses ranging from 500 euros to 800+ euros. Club prices, such as those of student union clubs, might be more budget-friendly, but they often involve waiting for a sufficient number of participants before proceeding, potentially delaying your entry into the sea, quarry, or lake. In the USA, starting prices are also around 500 euros or higher.

Major diving countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico and Honduras typically offer a range of prices based on factors such as proximity to the sea, boat usage, site popularity, dive center rating, facilities, and standards. While some courses might be available for just under 200 euros, it's essential to conduct thorough research before choosing based on price alone to avoid unpleasant surprises or dealing with unsafe/unprofessional dive operators.

PADI eLearning

Be cautious of seemingly cheap prices that do not include PADI course materials (typically an additional 80 euros at least). Additionally, consider what's included in terms of diving equipment, dive computer, insurance, extra dives and other factors.

How Many Dives Are Included in the PADI Open Water Course?


Open Water Diver Student in Koh Tao, Thailand

  • The PADI Open Water course comprises 4 open water dives. These dives must be conducted in a natural environment, last a minimum of 20 minutes, and reach a depth of at least 5 meters to be considered valid.
  • Confined water dives are divided into 5 sessions, typically completed over a single day with breaks in between. These sessions occur in a training swimming pool or a protected area with  "pool like" conditions.

What Are the Basic Prerequisites?


Open Water Diver Student on Coral Grand Divers Boat, Koh Tao. Thailand

Participants must be 10 years old or older. Divers aged 10 to 14 will become PADI Junior Open Water divers and have different depth limits, they automatically become open water divers when they turn 15.

  • Proficiency in swimming and comfort in the water are essential. As part of the prerequisites, students will be required to swim 200 meters without help or support from any flotation devices or swim 300m with mask, snorkel and fins.
  • Demonstrate the ability to float or tread water for 10 minutes.

While covering 300-meter snorkel or a 200 meter unaided might seem daunting, the good news is that there's no time limit, and you can use any swimming style you are comfortable with—front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, or even a mix of styles. The main goal is to ensure you can cover the distance while staying relaxed.

  • Medical fitness is crucial. Individuals can check with the dive center for any specific concerns. A medical form, which is sent in advance, needs to be checked. In case of uncertainties or preexisting conditions that might impact diving, seeking a medical evaluation from a physician and obtaining a medical certificate before commencing the course is advisable.

Completing the Open Water Diver Course in Koh Tao with Coral Grand Divers

Embarking on the PADI Open Water Diver Course in Koh Tao unfolds over a divetastic three-day journey.

At Coral Grand Divers, we're committed to providing you with the knowledge and skills essential to transform into a confident and proficient diver, so you can safely explore the ocean's wonders and encounter amazing marine life.

Coral Grand Divers PADI 5-Star IDC, located in Sairee Beach, Koh Tao. Thailand

First up, You will receive your PADI eLearning and you will begin your dive education at your convenience prior to arrival, the rest of your time with us will be packed with the fun stuff – being underwater!

Day 1 kicks off with an orientation at 9 am, where you'll meet your dive instructor and plan your course for the upcoming days. From 9:40 am to 12:00 pm, dive into confined water training in our on-site pool, perfecting essential skills. Following a well-deserved lunch break, keep going with confined water training until about 4:00 pm.

Moving to Day 2, when the real fun begins! Between 12:30 pm and 4:15 pm, jump on the boat for Open Water dives 1 and 2, applying what you've practiced in the pool the previous day and reaching a maximum depth of 12 meters.

On the final day, set sail once more from 6:30 am to 11:45 am for Open Water dives 3 and 4, exploring depths of up to 18 meters. Typically, all skills are mastered by the end of dive 3, making your last dive a pure blend of fun and exploration at the dive site.

Wrap up your adventure by completing the final exam and earning your well-deserved PADI Open Water Diver certification!

Happy Open Water Diver, Koh Tao. Thailand


Our PADI Open Water Diver Course includes:

• Fishtastic vibes
• PADI eLearning in your preferred language.
• PADI Open Water certification on completion.
• PADI fee.
• Diving equipment (including dive computer and compass).
• Insurance coverage.
• Dive Instructor tuition.
• Refreshment, fruits, cookies, tea-coffee on board during boat transfers to the dive sites.
• Discount on accommodation if required.
• Free shuttle service from and to Koh Tao pier when staying at Coral Grand Resort.

An Open Water Diver Certification might just open up a whole new world of perspectives and travel experiences!

Brace yourself for a shift in your world view! Get in touch!


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