Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

PADI Certified?

Call me crazy… but why are people paying for this certification?  What is stopping people from buying their own scuba gear, reading “Scuba Diving for Dummies” and then going off to dive into any ocean they want?  Is there some sort of scuba police that I don’t know about where they’re waiting to ask for your PADI ID?!

Don’t get the wrong idea here, the money isn’t the problem – its’ the time.  Frank and I and the kids are going to Hawaii in the next month and Frank wanted to get certified before we went.  To me it seemed like a logical thing to do until our ‘scuba instructor’ told me yesterday that Frank and I have to watch a DVD, read a 150 page book, answer the 5 chapter tests, get acquainted with our RDP contraption, and meet him on Friday for an orientation meeting!  What the heck!  All I want to do is breathe under water!  Does it really take all this to get that accomplished?? 

Frank and I have been scuba diving before.  Well let me rephrase:  I’ve been scuba diving before.   A couple years ago we went to Cabo San Lucas (ahhh) and we added scuba diving to our itinerary online while we were booking the trip.  When we got to the hotel who was sponsoring this adventure the instructor gave us our gear, told us there was a 15 minute instuctional video and when we were done to meet him on the pier at the boat!

This scared the heck out of Frank because he’s not the best of swimmers coming out of upstate New York and all.  He was expecting a class at the hotel pool.

I wasn’t scared yet.  I had never been scuba diving before but I had been snorkelling in Catalina Island before.  So since there was no formal training being given here I just thought this was going to be easier than I ever imagined.

caboWe got all our gear on, met our instructor at what looked like a fishing boat, drove out to the picturesque rock formation that is on every postcard from Cabo and then we threw the anchor.


The instructor who could barely speak english reminded us to swallow every foot to a foot and a half and to wave to him if there was a problem.  Frank and I initially had problems starting because we weren’t used to breathing through a straw.  This was it for Frank.  He was freaked out.  He climbed back up into the boat and told me to go ahead.  It took me a while to get the hang of it but eventually I did and went down.  I loved it.  I saw a family of seahorses nestled into the ocean wall and I had this fish follow me for most of the whole experience.  It was a pretty euphoric feeling.

A little scary at first but well worth the anxiety.  I’m a little nervous right now about doing this in Hawaii but mostly because we’re taking the kids with us.  So we’ll see how it goes.


July 8, 2009 - Posted by | Children, Family, Traveling | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Yes, gosh what’s up with that?
    It’s just like driving licenses. Why do they have to make us watch those videos in high school of a patrolman scooping up bits of brain off the road after an accident? And why cant we get a license at 8years old, it’s obvious we can reach the pedals by then. Accidents only happen to people not paying attention, but I always pay attention so they’ll never happen to me! If anything happens under water, I’ll just swim up as fast as I can back to the surface, what could go wrong!?

    Comment by A. Diver | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. If you really have to ask these questions, then you should really do the course. A lot of things can go wrong, that is why they don’t let children under the age of 12 do it! I hadn’t dived for 3 years and had to do a scuba review. (I recently wrote about this) There are a lot of safety issues to remember or you could really damage your lungs or die! As with anything unfamiliar, one needs to learn the rules and safety issues.
    Like driving, you need to read the manual, see a few films, have lessons, and take a test! Not that easy.
    Even experienced divers need to be up to speed with things and not get complacent. When using complicated equipment, you really need to learn how to use it effectively. You will be doing yourself and your family a big favor by getting proper PADI qualifications. It could mean life or death.
    There are many people who offer a taster and then get you out in the water. That is not safe. I would never dive with people like that. THAT would be a waste of my money!

    Comment by Arlene | July 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. As a follow up, I completely understand why PADI exists now and I cannot believe that when we were in Cabo they just took us out on the boat and gave us some gear and dropped us in the ocean.

    I’m thankful for the experience and I’m glad nothing went wrong but after reading and taking a couple classes now to get certified I wouldn’t go scuba diving like that ever again.

    Comment by C | July 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. Hi, I came here accidently and need to blame you. You stole about 1 hour of my valuable lifetime. I am joking, …nice read, you got some nice points, thanks a lot for sharing.

    Comment by Luito Ambayan | July 17, 2010 | Reply

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