SCUBA classes fall into a number of categories like recreational, professional, technical, and free-diving. Scubaland offers a full range of recreational and professional courses and a limited selection of technical courses.
Most students will be interested in recreational dive courses. There are many courses to choose from. Our beginner courses help you build your core dive skills and include courses like the PADI Open Water Diver certification, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and the PADI Rescue Diver certification. There are also many specialty courses that will help you build specific dive skills like underwater navigation, deep diving, night diving, search and recovery, etc.
If you are new to SCUBA Diving and have not earned your initial certification then the PADI Open Water Diver course is your starting point. Regularly scheduled courses take approximately a week to complete and result in the PADI Open Water Diver lifetime certification. Courses are available evenings and weekends. Private and semi-private schedules are also available.
Regardless of the schedule you choose the PADI Open Water Diver course has 3 components. The academic component is completed either online or in the classroom and is designed to give you the knowledge you need to enjoy diving safely. You will also learn about SCUBA gear, the underwaterenvironment, local and remote diving options, and additional training opportunities. The confined water portion of the course is conducted in our in-door heated pool located at Scubaland Adventures. We have the largest and deepest pool in Austin dedicated to SCUBA training. During this phase you will master all the basic skills a SCUBA diver needs like learning to assemble your equipment, clearing your ears, and achieving neutral buoyancy. The final phase of the course is the check-out dives. You will do 4 open water checkout dives at one of our local dive destinations with your instructors and divemasters in order to demonstrate your skills and gain some real-world diving experience.
Some questions you might have when enrolling in a PADI Open Water Diver course include:
Am I physically able to dive?
Most people are. Diving is about using energy efficiently, not about exercising. A general guideline is that if you can walk up a couple of flights of stairs comfortably then you can probably dive. You will be given a PADI medical questionnaire form when you enroll. Any questions about any of the items on the form should be discussed with your personal physician before the class starts.
How good of a swimmer do I have to be?
During the course you will be asked to swim 100 yds/meters using any stroke you are comfortable with and you will be asked to tread water or float for 10 minutes. The purpose of these activities is for you to demonstrate that you are comfortable in the water and able to move and rest when appropriate. If you are unable to complete these activities or feel that you would like to be more comfortable, we will pause your SCUBA lessons and refer you the adult program of our swim school until you feel comfortable enough to continue your SCUBA class.
What class format should I enroll in?
Weekend classes take two consecutive weekends to complete. The first weekend is a full day both days. You will complete all of your academic requirements and confined water requirements the first weekend. The second weekend is your check-out dives. The second weekend usually requires about 4 hours each day to complete two dives each day.
Evening classes meet Monday through Thursday evenings. Two evenings will be in the classroom and two evenings will be in the pool. Check-out dives will be the same weekend.
Daytime classes meet Monday through Thursday during the day for the majority of the day and all class components are completed during this time.
Private and semi-private class formats are available if you need a customized training schedule. Students often use these schedules to go faster or slower or to accommodate work or family scheduling issues. We try and be as flexible as possible when it comes to scheduling. Talk to a staff member if you have scheduling concerns.
What kind of course materials should I get?
PADI offers both traditional and digital materials. Traditional materials include a paper manual. Digital materials include interactive multimedia presentations including text, photos, videos, animations and additional references. Either format is yours to keep after the course and all students are required to have their own set of course materials. Digital materials are available for both Android and iOS devices and receive periodic updates. There is a price difference between the materials sets with the digital materials being the more expensive of the two.
Do I have to buy SCUBA gear?
No. All your SCUBA gear is included in your PADI Open Water Diver Course fee. This gear includes things like tanks, weights, BCDs, regulators, wet suits, etc. However, there are many advantages to owning and learning to dive in your own gear. Many students choose this option to maximize security and comfort. Many discounts and promotions are available to students purchasing SCUBA gear before or during class and Scubaland has a very liberal exchange policy to ensure that you end up with the gear that is right for you – the gear that makes you want to go diving!
Do I have to buy snorkeling gear?
No, but you should. Snorkeling gear can make or break your diving experience. Masks that leak, fins that hurt your feet, and poorly maintained rental gear can ruin your expensive dive vacation, prevent you from completing your certification course, and put your life at risk. Scubaland offers the largest selection of snorkeling gear in Austin for those reasons.
We carry a wide selection of vendors, models, and price points allowing you build a basic, intermediate, or advanced set of gear. We’ll match the price of any piece of gear from any authorized dealer and we will give you our fit guarantee. Our knowledgeable staff will help you select gearthat fits you properly. However, ifyou purchase an item from us that isn’t working for you we will immediately exchange it for a different item and we will do that as many times as necessary to ensure you complete your class with the tools you need to enjoy our underwater world.
Do I have to do my check-out dives locally?
No. PADI has a referral process that allows us to complete your academic and confined water training and provide you a record of that training that you can use to schedule your check-out dives at another location like a dive resort. This may be an option for you but there are some things that you should know about this process.
The cost is usually much higher when paying for check-out dives at a resort. The primary job of dive professionals at a resort is not teaching so the level of instruction may not be as high. The instructor conducting your check-out dives has no history with you – they haven’t seen you in the pool, and you have no history with them – they may use different techniques or have different expectations when evaluating your skills. If possible, it will always be a better experience to complete your course with the instructors that started your course. Speak to one of our staff if you have questions about a referral and we will help you define your options.
Are there any other costs?
Yes. When you go out for your check-out dives, we use one of the local dive parks around Lake Travis or the Meadows Center in San Marcos. These locations have entry fees that you will be responsible for paying. Ask your instructor or the dive store staff where your class is scheduled for check-outs to determine what those fees are.
Most students have no problems completing classes with the allotted time. Occasionally, however, a student may need some additional pool time or may need to repeat a check-out dive. In those cases, we will determine the training program that best meets the needs of the student, in conjunction with the student, and determine what additional fees may apply. A common example of this would be a student that wants/requires more one-on-one time with the instructor or wants a slower paced course. Often these studentsupgrade to a private course. In that case we apply the course fees that the student has already paid towards the cost of the private course.
For questions regarding additional recreational SCUBA courses such as the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, the PADI Rescue Diver course, or any of the PADI Specialty courses please contact one of our dive store staff or ask your instructor for current rates and promotions.
If you are interested in becoming a PADI Professional such as an Open Water SCUBA Instructor, Master SCUBA Diver Trainer, Specialty Instructor, or IDC Staff Instructor, Scubaland offers regularly scheduled courses designed to take you as far as you want to go in the dive industry. Scubaland is one of the oldest and largest PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Centers in Texas.
Interested in technical diving? We offer most of the PADI TecRec courses. However, we are not currently offering trimix or rebreather-based courses.