Maui Scuba Certification: How to Prepare
You have always wanted to earn your SCUBA certification. Researching your next vacation to Maui, you find that it’s a great place to get scuba certified! Maui offers a wide variety of diving, featuring both beach and boat diving. The unique corals and sea life, coupled with the warm tropical water, guarantee a most memorable scuba certification experience. This article will discuss how to prepare and choose the best Maui scuba certification course for you.
Choosing Your Scuba Certification Agency
PADI, SSI, NAUI, BSAC, CMAS…There are loads of scuba certification agencies to choose from in terms of what kind of scuba certification you want to pursue. PADI and SSI are probably the most recognized certification distributors worldwide; PADI is the most widely recognized certifier globally.
Banyan Tree Divers is a PADI scuba certification outlet. Aside from being the most reputable and recognized scuba certification agency, PADI offers standardized courses that are approachable to a wide range of scuba diving abilities. Whether you are just starting your scuba diving journey or are looking to become a professional diver, PADI’s structured courses provide seamless training no matter where in the world you are learning.
Choose Your Maui Scuba Certification
One question we often receive is, “My time on Maui is limited, so how long does it take to get certified?” This question does not have a straightforward answer, I’m afraid. My first question in response is, “What kind of diving do you hope to be doing once you are scuba certified?” Maui scuba diving is welcoming to all levels of scuba diving experience. Still, places like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or Indonesia would require more advanced dive experience. Therefore, it is best to choose the dive course that will best reflect the kind of diving you plan to do.
PADI Scuba Diver
If you come to Maui often, perhaps once a year, and don’t plan to dive other than that one time a year, the PADI Scuba Diver course might be perfect for you. PADI Scuba Diver is an introductory diving certification. It is valid for life and internationally recognized. It takes 1 to 2 days to complete and certifies you to a depth of 40 feet, under professional supervision.
While Scuba Diver is a certification, it does NOT allow you to rent gear and dive independently. These are the big difference between the Scuba Diver and Open Water scuba certification. However, if you plan to keep your dives shallow and always hire a guide, then PADI Scuba Diver is a good option for people with limited time.
PADI Open Water Diver
The PADI Open Water course is the most widely recognized introductory dive course for new divers. Whether you want to keep your dives shallow or eventually move up the PADI ladder to more dive experience, everyone takes the first step with the Open Water course. An Open Water scuba certification allows for a maximum depth of 60ft, is valid for life, and is internationally recognized. After you earn your Open Water scuba certification, you may technically rent equipment and dive with just you and a buddy.
However, Banyan Tree Divers Maui strongly recommends that you get many dives under your belt before diving without a guide. The course takes 3 to 4 days to complete and is certainly more in-depth than the PADI Scuba Diver course.
PADI Open Water Referral Dives
Suppose you have minimal vacation time to scuba dive in Maui, but you still want to complete the full PADI Open Water Diver course. What can you do? One way to achieve this is to complete your PADI Open Water Referral Dives with us in Lahaina.
The Open Water program divides into three sections: academics, confined water skills, and open water training dives. With this Referral Dives option, you would complete the knowledge review questions, quizzes, final exam, and shallow water skills with your local dive shop before arriving in Hawaii. Your local dive shop instructor supplies you with referral paperwork to pass along to your new instructor at Banyan Tree Divers Maui. Then you join us in Lahaina for four Open Water training dives at excellent dive sites like Airport Beach and Mala Wharf! Ultimately, this option significantly reduces the amount of vacation time needed for your scuba certification.
For example, I completed my PADI Open Water Diver certification using the Referral Dives. I finished the academics and confined water skills in California before leaving for Hawaii with my family. I am too much of a wimp to dive in Monterey’s cold waters, so I went to the Big Island for my four open water dives. This setup allowed me to get my course done quickly and still have ample time to explore the island!
How to Prepare for Your Maui Scuba Certification
Before getting dive certified, the first thing to consider is assessing your physical and mental ability to complete the course. While scuba diving is both relaxing and exciting, it does require some physical fitness to pass. You must be able to complete a 200-meter unassisted swim, a 10-minute survival float, as well as snorkeling skills. It is good to practice these before starting your course if you think any of these components will cause you to struggle.
Every PADI course consists of an academic portion. Much of this portion must get completed before you spend any time in the water. The Scuba Diver course consists of the first three chapters of the PADI Open Water Manual. The Open Water course requires you to complete all five sections of the manual.
eLearning or Paper Manual
PADI offers two ways to complete the academic portion of any scuba certification. Deciding which avenue is best for you depends on the time you have, how much you want to spend, and how you best retain information.
PADI eLearning quickly became the most widely used method to complete the Open Water Diver certification. PADI eLearning is comprehensive and prepares you for the ocean training portion of the course. Not only does it walk you through the chapters in the manual, but it also administers the quizzes and final exams before you even begin working with your instructor!
This program is very beneficial for anyone with limited vacation time in Maui. Don’t spend precious beach time answering quizzes and exams when you can utilize PADI eLearning. Get your academics done at home and focus on scuba diving with us while you are visiting Maui.
You can purchase PADI eLearning directly from PADI’s website. At the time of writing, eLearning is $195.00 for the Open Water Diver course. This fee is paid directly to PADI, so it does not get included in the course price offered by Banyan Tree Divers Maui. However, to help offset some of your eLearning fees, we offer a small discount for groups of two or more who complete PADI eLearning before arriving in Maui. Contact us for a unique coupon code when making your Open Water course reservation.
While more expensive than purchasing a paper manual, many divers prefer eLearning because of its convenience, preparation for the course, and ease of completion.
PADI Open Water Manual, 2015 Edition
The PADI Open Water manual consists of 5 chapters. At the end of each chapter, you will find a list of questions called Knowledge Reviews. These questions must get filled out and prepare you for the quizzes and final exam. If you are completing the Scuba Diver certification, you will only receive the first three quizzes. The Open Water scuba certification will consist of all four quizzes and the 50 question final.
Your instructor will go over each chapter of the manual with you to make sure that you understand all of the information before administering the tests. Naturally, this requires you to complete much of the academics while on vacation since your instructor must be present to go over the chapters and administer the tests. On a typical day with Banyan Tree Divers, this will add about two hours to each day of your scuba certification course.
At the time of writing, a PADI Open Water manual 2015 edition is available on Amazon for $70.20. If you want to save a bit of money and don’t mind doing homework during your Maui visit, this might be the best option. Make sure you buy the 2015 EDITION! The PADI Open Water course has evolved over the years, and books published before 2015 are too old-fashioned.
Invest Time and Effort Into Your Scuba Certification
Earning a scuba certification is a rewarding experience. It takes a significant time commitment to become a competent certified diver. Rest assured that Banyan Tree Divers makes this process approachable and fun! We can’t stress enough, however, that dedicating time to learning about scuba diving and preparing for your scuba certification will lead to a massively enjoyable experience all around.
If you have questions regarding a Maui scuba certification, please email our dive shop in Lahaina at [email protected] or call us at (808) 446-6099.