Becoming an SSI Certified Open Water Diver is the first step in unlocking a whole new world to explore underwater. SSI's Open Water Diver Course will teach you the necessary skills needed in order to safely scuba diver underwater with a dive buddy. To enroll in SSI's Open Water Diver Course, you must be at least 10 years old and know how to swim.
In SSI's Open Water Diver Course, you'll learn how to safely breathe underwater with a regulator and air tank, how to slowly ascend and descend in order to prevent decompression sickness, how to properly care for diving equipment, and much more. The academic part of the Open Water Diver Course is available online through SSI's website or directly on your phone through the MySSI app. After you complete the online course, you will take the written exam in our classroom here at The Scuba Shop. Then you will complete 6 dives in our indoor pool. Finally, you will complete 4 open water dives for your lake checkout, which is usually at Wheeler Branch Reservoir in Glen Rose, Texas, unless otherwise specified. You will earn the SSI Open Water Diver certification after completing this program.
What To Expect at Your Pool Session
Most of our Open Water Certification pool sessions are held over the course of one weekend. Before your first pool session, you must complete the final written exam in our classroom. We can answer any questions that you may have prior to completing the final written exam. This is when you apply the knowledge that you acquired from your online eLearning courses. After passing the exam, you'll prepare for your first dive, so be sure to bring the following:
- Your own mask
- Your own fins
- Your own snorkel
- The rental fee for remaining equipment is included in the course costs and will be provided to you onsite.
You will complete pool training dives 1 - 3 on Saturday following the exam. Depending on time and ability of all students to complete skills, dives 4 - 5 may also be added to Saturday. Otherwise, pool training dives 4 - 5 will be completed on Sunday. All courses are listed on our Calendar.
What To Expect at Lake Checkout
Lake checkout also typically takes place over the course of a single weekend at Wheeler Branch Reservoir in Glen Rose, Texas. You will bring the following items with you to lake checkout:
- Your Mask
- Your Fins (with boots, if applicable)
- Your Snorkel
- Food for lunch & snacks
- Water & non-alcoholic drinks
- Lawn chair(s)
- Cash for park admission (Wheeler Branch only accepts cash)
- Tank (Pick up at The Scuba Shop prior to Saturday)
- BCD (If renting, pick up rental at The Scuba Shop prior to Saturday)
- Weights (If renting, pick up rental at The Scuba Shop prior to Saturday)
- Wetsuit (If renting, pick up rental at The Scuba Shop prior to Saturday)
- Your SSI dive instructor will bring a regulator for you if you are not using your own
You will first need to pick up your tank and any rental equipment before Saturday, usually sometime on Friday. You are responsible for bringing all of the equipment you will be using, except for the regulator, to the lake on Saturday. Your scuba diving instructor will bring a regulator for you.
You will receive an email prior to lack checkout with details about what time to arrive. Divers who are enrolled in a variety of courses will be checking out at the lake the same weekend, so different scuba courses may have different report times. You will complete some dives on Saturday and any remaining dives on Sunday. After your last checkout on Sunday, you will complete your final paperwork, and then you will be a certified scuba diver! At this point, you will keep the regulator with you just in case you would like to do additional dives with a buddy before you leave the lake. On Monday, you will return your rental equipment, including the regulator.