Learn To Dive/ Certifications

Learning to scuba dive is safe, affordable and requires a modest amount of training. An entry-level certification course takes approximately 32 hours to complete. Classes may take place during the day or evening and take from a couple of weekends to several weeks to complete. In order to earn a scuba certification, you will participate in classroom sessions and practice essential diving skills in a pool. Finally, you will test your knowledge on a written exam and apply your skills during training dives in a lake, quarry, spring or ocean. Upon completion, you will receive a certification card that identifies you as a trained diver, allowing you to rent scuba equipment, participate in advanced training and explore diving destinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How old must I be to earn a YMCA Scuba certification?
In order to take a YMCA Scuba certification course, individuals must be 15 years of age or older. Children ages 12-14 may earn the Junior Open Water Diver certification, which requires them to dive with an adult diver.

2. How long does a certification course last?
A traditional YMCA Scuba Open Water Diver course includes approximately 32 hours of training in the classroom and in a pool or confined body of water. These classes occur during day or evening hours over a period of a couple of weekends or several weeks, depending on how the class is structured.

3. How much does a certification course cost?
The cost of a course depends upon the following factors: class location and  size, instructor, checkout dive destination and materials included. You will want to contact individual instructors in your area to get price comparisons.

4. What equipment will I need to begin a course?
In most cases you will need only a mask, snorkel and fins. Instructors provide other equipment and materials during the course, but this depends upon the instructor.

5. How do I get started?
You first must contact a YMCA Scuba instructor in your area. You can locate an instructor in our directory or visit ymca.net to find a local YMCA near you that offers scuba classes. The instructor will give you information about class schedules, cost, necessary materials and equipment, class location, etc.

6. What if there isn't a YMCA facility in my area?
Not all YMCA Scuba instructors operate at YMCA facilities. Many of them offer courses at colleges and universities, dive shops or recreational institutions throughout the United States and abroad. YMCA Scuba is always certifying new instructors, so if there is not currently an instructor in your area, you may want to check our list from time to time. You also may decide to travel outside of your area to attend a certification course.

Scuba Certification Courses:

Snorkeling

YMCA Snorkeling introduces individuals and families to the recreation of examining underwater magic from above. Because there is no age requirement for snorkeling, it is an activity that can be shared by the whole family.

Skin Diving

YMCA Skin Diving is designed for swimmers and snorkelers who want to expand their aquatic exploration. With simple equipment and basic techniques, swimmers ages eight and older will find this course enjoyable and challenging. The underwater world is a fascinating place that can be discovered with a minimal amount of effort and the use of a mask, fins and a snorkel.

Open Water Diver

The YMCA Open Water Diver course is for individuals ages 12 and older. Learning to scuba dive is safe, affordable, and requires a modest amount of training. An entry-level certification course takes approximately 32 hours to complete. Classes may be available during the day or evening and take from a couple of weekends to several weeks to complete. In order to earn a scuba certification, you will participate in classroom sessions and practice essential diving skills in a pool. Finally, you will test your knowledge on a written exam and apply your skills during training dives in a lake, quarry, spring or ocean. Upon completion, you will receive a certification card that identifies you as a trained diver, allowing you to rent scuba equipment, participate in advanced training and explore exotic diving destinations.

Open Water Diver II

YMCA Open Water Diver II is designed to give certified scuba divers two additional open water dives. This guided experience is important for new divers who want more training before going out and diving without supervision.

Advanced Open Water Diver

The YMCA Advanced Open Water Diver course is for divers who want to expand their knowledge and diving experience to include a variety of diving environments. The course provides an introduction to specialty diving, and features five open water dives, including a night dive. This course is highly recommended for all newly certified Open Water divers to help them gain experience and comfort in the underwater world.

Silver Advanced Diver

This level includes five dives beyond the Advanced Open Water Diver course. It can be taken in conjunction with the Open Water courses, where a total of ten dives are included. Additionally, several hours of advanced classroom subjects are included. By the end of this course, divers will have completed a variety of guided experiences and will have logged at least 15 open water dives.

Gold Master Diver

Certification in this course is the highest and most prestigious nonleadership rating that can be attained by a YMCA Scuba diver. It is considered the supreme standard of diving excellence and is a recognition of expert training. This course is often offered to students over a period of time rather than in a formal class environment. Divers completing this course will have attained at least 25 open-water experiences including dives to 100 feet in depth.

Specialty Courses

Our specialty courses permit the diver to gain comprehensive abilities in virtually any field of aquatic endeavor. Please be aware, some instructors may not have the credentials to teach every specialty course.

Specialty Certification Courses:

Aquatic Environmentalist
Boat Diving
Cavern Diver
Computer Assisted Diver
Dry Suit Diver
Equipment Service
Ice Diver
Night Diver
Nitrox Diver
Oxygen Provider
Public Safety Diver
Reef Ecology
Research Diver
Search and Recovery
SLAM Rescue
Underwater Archaeology
Underwater Navigation
Underwater Photographer
Wreck Diver

Divers with Disabilities

People with disabilities often can participate easily in scuba training. YMCA Scuba, from the very beginning of nationally certified scuba education and training, has taken the lead in the development of safe, educated and well-trained sport divers who dive for the enjoyment of the sport while also minimizing the risks involved. Y Scuba is committed to the principles of the YMCA, including the development of spirit, mind and body. In keeping with YMCA philosophy, Y Scuba does not discriminate against people with disabilities in any of their programs, including skin diving and scuba diving. It is the policy of Y Scuba to allow its instructors flexibility in administration of teaching standards in order to reasonably accommodate the needs of students with disabilities. Based on the student’s ability to successfully meet the requirements and challenges of the program, the instructor will determine any specific conditions placed upon the diver. The conditions will determine the level of certification the diver will achieve.

Springfield College

Academic credit toward a Bachelor’s degree is available for Open Water Diver and Scuba Instructor courses at Springfield College. Located in Springfield, Mass., Springfield College has a distinguished history as an official YMCA educational institution. The academic credit earned through this process can be used in a Springfield College degree program or applied as transfer credit toward a Bachelor’s degree at most colleges in the United States. www.spfldcol.edu/homepage/dept.nsf/ymca