Marine Conservation Philippines
Volunteer in Marine Conservation Philippines

PADI Open Water Diver Course

The Padi Open Water course consists of a number of theory modules, dives in confined water and open water dives. The course is structured in a logical fashion, so that you gain confidence in the skills you learn in shallow confined water, before you get to practise it in earnest in open water. Dives are interspaced with theory, so your instructor will rarely sit down for hours and drone on about theory. As with any skill requiring physical mastery you actually learn it by doing it!

As most of our dive students are not on strict travel iteneraries, we can afford to do things a little differently. While the PADI Open Water Course, strictly speaking, can be completed in as little as three days, we usually choose to spread it out and interspace it with several experience dives. We feel this gives the student valuable in-water experience and a good chance to actually get a feel for diving and allows the buoyancy control to become more subconscious and automatic. We know from experience the added buoyancy training is invaluable – especially for conservation and survey work under water, so we enjoy the luxury of using the extra time and believes it adds value to the course and makes everyone better divers.

While there are a multitude of certifying scuba diving agencies, we’ve chosen to employ the PADI system of education because it’s recognised worldwide and enjoy an excellent safety record. This is partly due to superior educational material, (even if the Open Water Video is a little cheesy) but also in part due to a rigorous quality assurance program. If Scuba instructors don’t adhere to strict protocols and safety rules, they’re simply expelled from PADI. This assurance has served PADI and their students well in decades.

For our conservation volunteers we strive to add extra value by adding experience dives and buoyancy workshops as mentioned above. However, if you’re doing the diving course outside of the conservation program the course standards listed below in the blue box will be those your diving course will adhere to – and the course can be completed in three or four days.


  • When I first started my Open Water Course I had no idea where it would take me many years later. I wanted to do it, sure, but I'd have laughed if you told me how I'd teach it one day. I'm forever thankful to the guy who opened up the sea to me - it has given me so many amazing discoveries and experiences since - and I have met people and made friends from all over the world thanks to scuba.
    Søren Knudsen, Scuba instructor
  • I've always wanted to do the dive course, but at same same time been a bit afraid of it. Finding the right instructor made all the difference in the world for me - I did the course one on one, and while I can't say I breezed through it, I think I did alright. Now I'm hooked on diving.
    Helle Larsen, Volunteer manager MCP

What can you do as a PADI Open Water Diver?
The PADI Open Water course allows you to dive to 18 meters together with a buddy in conditions similar to those under which you were trained. Even though you'll be a proficient diver and be allowed to dive together with a buddy, you may still prefer diving with someone more experienced acting as dive guide.