Back to: Learn to dive

Basic Open WaterIf you have wondered what lies beneath the surface, now is the time to find out!! In the HSA Open Water Scuba Diver course, your HSA Instructor takes you through the basics of learning how to scuba dive. You start in a pool and progress to open water in the sea, lake or quarry (or all three!!).
Our open water training programs for people with disabilities are taught with a high margin of safety because we use teaching techniques developed with over 30 years of continuous research and feedback. You are trained and certified according to HSA Physical Performance Requirements and a multilevel Certification system so exacting and sensitive it enables us to train and certify people with a wide range of disabilities, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, visually impaired, PTSD, and those with high-functioning intellectual disabilities. We base our multilevel certification on the ability of the diver to assist another diver using basic rescue skills, or the type of assistance they may need.

Your Course

The HSA Open Water Course consists of three main components:

  • Knowledge Development to understand the basic principles of scuba diving
  • Confined Water Lessons, usually in a pool, to learn basic scuba skills
  • Open Water Dives to review your skills and explore!!


  • Minimum age 15 years old.
  • You do not need to swim, but comfort in the water helps.
  • Physical Examination for scuba diving. This examination is for medical conditions contrary to safe diving, such as heart disease, lung damage and seizure disorders. Having a physical disability does NOT disqualify you from Scuba diving!
  • If you are between the ages of 10 and 14 years old you can earn a Junior Open Water Scuba Diver certification.
  • Junior Open Water Scuba Diver certification qualifies you to scuba dive with your parents' consent until you are 15 years old.

Also unique to our training system is Marine Life Identification. Our Open Water Scuba Course requires that you find, describe, and identify one marine life form on each of your five certifying open water scuba dives!! Not only will you learn to scuba dive, you will also begin to understand the marine environment that surrounds you.