PADI Scuba Diving Courses – Entry-Level

Becoming a ‘Complete’ Scuba Diver – PRIVATE LESSONS

PADI scuba lessons subic bay philippines

I provide PADI entry-level scuba qualifications on a limited basis, only as private courses.  These courses are specifically tailored to provide a very high level of foundational diving competence from the outset. They include far more in-water training than ‘standard’ courses offered by most dive centers, along with extra workshops covering essential diving skills and knowledge not normally included at entry-level training.

Diving Lessons – Philosophy

My philosophy on scuba diving education is to start out with the long-term goals in mind.  Those goals may include technical or wreck diving, underwater photography or videography, deep diving etc…  the common requirement across all those goals is that divers establish a high level of ingrained fundamental scuba skills.

What I CAN do:

I can promise personal, student-focused training to enable the very highest standards of qualification performance.

I can promise no short-cuts or compromises in training and certification standards.

I will endeavor to train my students significantly beyond the skill and knowledge expectations for the level of training.

I will train divers who can confidently plan and conduct scuba dives without the need for supervision and support

What I CANNOT do:

I cannot claim to offer the quickest or cheapest diving courses.  My private entry-level courses are quality based and produce highly competent, confident and safe scuba divers who have significantly above-average skills and knowledge.

I cannot compete on price with diving operations who offer cut-price courses, because they sacrifice quality to make their courses cheaper and only supply the bare minimum training demanded by the agency.



For more information on quality-focused philosophy to training development, please see my articles:

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Learning to Scuba Dive – Core Progression

There are three core PADI scuba diving courses that form the critical stages of becoming a safe recreational scuba diver:

The PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver courses form a core, modular, training syllabus. They should be viewed as a fluid, natural progression towards developing comprehensive ability and safety in the water. Any scuba diver serious about being safe, competent and skillful in the water should view these 3 courses as a single entity – a step-by-step approach towards being a ‘complete diver’.

I believe in offering the most comprehensive training – to develop safe, confident and competent divers.  For that reason, I only offer the Open Water and Advanced Open Water as a single package.  This ensures a minimum of 9 training dives over, at least, 5 days – with ample student-instructor time to refine and master the necessary skills.


At a glance:

Open Water Course

Duration: 5 Days
Dives: 6+
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Advanced Open Water

Duration: 4 Days
Dives: 8+
Read more…

Rescue Diver

Duration: 6 Days
Dives: 8+
Read more…

Costs for Training

My courses are always flexible to allow a personally tailored approach for the individual. That also recognizes that not every person learns at the same speed.  Most diving centers quote only for the minimum time/dives for a course.  Some diving centers only provide that minimum, regardless of whether the student divers has achieved the nessary skills or not.  Diving training is NOT meant to be an attendance course…

I charge a daily expenses rate for my time, nothing more. That rate is only $150USD per day for one-to-one, private recreational-level training (and gets cheaper if 2-3 students book together), based on courses held in Subic Bay, Philippines.  I pass on the costs of training manuals and certification at the standard agency retail rate, which varies depending on the course and exchange rate fluctuations.  The actual costs of diving: boat hire, gas fills and equipment rental are all charged directly to whichever dive center supports the course. These costs are the same as when regular  ‘fun-diving’, like a qualified scuba diver would pay.

For more details of costs, please see the: Course Price List Calculator

Please also take some time to view my FAQ page on PADI scuba diving courses – not all courses are alike… and it’s important to know the philosophy and quality standards of your instructor.

My courses are not designated maximum or minimum duration – qualification is dependent entirely upon the student’s progression, safety, confidence and competence as a diver.  I don’t produce qualified scuba divers like a “sausage factory” – every course is individual and tailored to the student’s needs and requirements.

Lessons can be held in any destination in SE Asia by private arrangement (transport costs and additional expenses apply for some destinations).

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PADI Open Water Diver

The PADI Open Water Diver course is the entry-level scuba diving course.  This course teaches essential knowledge that a scuba diver needs to understand; such as the physics of gas, pressure and depth – and how those principles effect the diver and their body underwater. The diving course also provides the foundation of equipment familiarity and function – how to use scuba equipment. A trainee diver learns how to float weightless underwater, how to propel themselves efficiently and how to control their depth and position.

Last, but certainly not least, the training provides the student with a number of basic emergency prevention and management techniques. These techniques are critical to ensure safety – an ‘insurance policy’ when venturing into a realm that cannot sustain life beyond the finite reserves of gas that you carry with you and can access.

The Open Water Diver course covers the key skills needed to be safe and comfortable in the water.  Many divers view this as a ‘complete’ diving course, but in reality it is just an introduction – ‘the necessary basics’.  It is, however, the essential foundation of all diving capability and therefore, perhaps, the most critical and important course any diver will ever take.

Having developed an understanding of the equipment used, the theoretic principles that apply, the safety drills needed and gained a level of comfort when under water, the student is now ready to progress to the next stage of training – learning to apply those basics within the real context of enjoyable scuba diving…

In a nutshell:

Duration: 5 Days minimum

Syllabus:  5x Classroom Sessions / 5x Scuba Skills Training  Modules (Pool) / 8x Open Water Scuba Dives

Qualification Status:  Graduate diver is able to dive unsupervised within recommended maximum depth limit of 18m/60ft, and within no-decompression depth/time limits.

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PADI Advanced Open Water Diver

Many novice divers assume that this is an ‘advanceddiving course. I am keen to dispel that notion.  The PADI Advanced Open Water course is an extension of Open Water training.  It remains an ‘entry-level’ scuba course and could be considered as “Open Water – Part 2”.

This scuba diving course goes beyond the ‘core basics’ of Open Water, seeking to refine existing diving skills, whilst progressing a diver’s experience and comfort in the water, under varying conditions and whilst sampling different types of diving activity.

The diving course consists of 5 ‘themed’ dives (known as ‘adventure dives’), with associated theory self-study. Two of the dives are mandatory; the deep and navigation dives. The three remaining dives are optional ‘electives’, and can be selected via discussion with the instructor about what you wish to achieve from the course. Your diving strengths, weaknesses and future goals should all play a part in that decision making.

My courses begin with 3 additional  foundation development dives, which focus upon developing core diving skills such as; buoyancy, trim, propulsion, control, communication, team diving skills, situational awareness, gas management, dive planning and conduct. These dives ensure that all students begin the ‘advanced’ activity-focused dives with a base-line of high diving skill.

The  ‘Deep Dive’

The Advanced Open Water diving course is often ‘sold’ on the basis that it ‘qualifies’ divers to a greater depth range. That is technically incorrect – there are no ‘Scuba Police’, no rules or strict limits…  there are only agency ‘recommendations’ made to promote safe scuba diving. Divers are encouraged to set their own personal depth limits, which should reflect their training and experience, in addition to other factors, such as; weather and water conditions, personal fitness, frequency of diving and psychological comfort zones.

The ‘Deep Dive’ is conducted to a depth not exceeding 30m/100ft.  The purpose of this dive is to provide the diver with a safe, supervised experience of deeper water; along with an introduction to particular issues that are not encountered on shallower dives. These issues might include; nitrogen narcosis, less no-decompression time, faster air consumption and, of course, a much greater distance to the safety at the surface if an emergency should arise.

No specific skills are taught on ghis deep dive, which is why this should not be considered as a ‘qualification’ dive.  The emphasis of this training experience is upon conducting progressively deeper dives more safely – through the refinement and precise application of  the core diving skills already taught on the Open Water diving course. The experiences gained further contribute to a student’s self-awareness of their capabilities and help them realistically calculate their personal depth limits.

The ‘Navigation Dive’.

Most divers assume that the navigation dive is just about using a compass underwater. Because  many scuba divers choose to conduct most, if not all, of their dives under the supervision and guidance of a dive-guide, they consequently do not view underwater navigation as a critical scuba skill.  Therefore, it is wise to consider the navigation dive beyond the most simple merits of underwater compass use…and look at how it promotes a wider development of scuba ability.

I believe that underwater navigation practice provides student divers with two, very important, learning outcomes, that stretch far beyond simply getting from ‘A’-to-‘B’;

Task Loading.  Taking responsibility for navigation places the diver under a much higher task-loading. Put simply, there is more to think about and more to do. This has a direct impact, often negative, on the performance of key skills. Until this point in training, it is likely that a student hasn’t needed to concentrate on anything more than ‘doing the core open water skills’ correctly. Navigation practice demands focus, which places stress on core skills.  We learn about the degree to which our core skills are ’embedded’ in our skill-set and, importantly, how critical foundations can suffer due to increasing scope of activity on a scuba dive.  This helps a diver set their personal limitations more accurately and effectively. Navigation practice is a very good method for developing our ability to cope with more task loading underwater, whilst learning to retain undiminished core skills.

Situational Awareness. Navigation practice is an excellent method for developing situational awareness – the ability of the diver to comprehend and process a wider breadth of information from their environment. Navigation involves developing one’s perceptions – looking around and seeing ‘the bigger picture’.  In my experience, most novice divers have a relatively low breadth of situational awareness and are initially preoccupied, to the point of fixation or tunnel vision, upon the performance of core diving skills.  This has negative repercussions on their ability  to perceive and recognize potential risks, to monitor their gas supplies, depth, dive time and their buddy. Of course, increasing situational awareness makes a diver better at performing those functions, even when task loading increases.  It also means they’ll see and appreciate more amazing sights on their scuba dives.

The Elective Dives.

The remaining three dives on an Advanced Open Water course are selected by the student – in line with the development they wish to gain.  Students can pick an ‘adventure dive’ representing any of the available ‘advanced’, ‘specialist’ or ‘marine life/conservation interest’ courses available. This permits a high degree of flexibility and, coupled with a tailored approach to course tuition, ensures that no two Advanced Open Water courses are identical.

In order to determine their goals, students are encouraged to participate in consultative planning with the instructor – communicating in advance to identify any specific diving attributes that they wish to develop or long-term goals they seek to achieve. However, all elective dives, regardless of the specific theme, should still retain a core focus upon the development and refinement of fundamental scuba proficiencies, such as; buoyancy, weighting, trim, propulsion, awareness, dive planning and safety management.

In a nutshell:

Duration: 4 Days minimum

Syllabus:  5x Classroom and/or Practical Application Sessions  / 8x Open Water Scuba Dives

Qualification Status:  Graduate diver is able to dive unsupervised within recommended maximum depth limit of 30m/100ft, and within no-decompression depth/time limits.

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PADI Rescue Diver

The Rescue Diver course can be viewed as the ‘complete’ diver level – the stage at which a scuba diver has a sufficiently comprehensive skill-set and knowledgebase to permit safe, confident diving without reliance upon professional support.  I believe that every diver should have access to rescue and safety support when diving.  During the initial stages of diving, that support may be provided by the supervision of a Divemaster, or a more qualified dive buddy.  Having undertaken the Rescue Diver course, the diver themselves is in a position to support their own rescue and safety requirements.

This diving course is often regarded as the most demanding, yet most fulfilling, training that a recreational scuba diver can enjoy. The training goes beyond basic incident resolution, as taught on the Open Water course, and develops a more pro-active and comprehensive approach to risk recognition, avoidance and incident management. Divers are taught key skills to enable self-rescue from a variety of scenarios, along with a wide spectrum of search, recovery, rescue and first-aid procedures that can be utilized to save the life of a fellow diver.

PADI Rescue Diver Course – Core Syllabus:

  •  Self-Rescue and Diver Stress Management
  • First Aid Applicationfor Scuba Incidents
  • Incident Management and Control
  • Swimming and Non-Swimming Assists 
  • Dealing with Panicked Divers 
  • Missing Diver Search Procedures 
  • Surfacing the Unresponsive Diver 
  • In-water Artificial Respiration 
  • Victim Recovery / Egress (water exits) 
  • First aid procedures for Decompression Sickness/Illness 
  • Common Equipment Failures

In a nutshell:

Duration: 6-7 Days

Syllabus:  5x Classroom Sessions / In-Water Rescue Techniques Development / Rescue Diver Practical Scenarios

Qualification Status:  Graduate diver is able to dive unsupervised within recommended maximum depth limit of 18m/60ft, and within no-decompression depth/time limits.

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 Please CONTACT ME for further details of any of these courses!