For those of you who are passionate about scuba diving, you have probably been excited by the prospect of your kids being able to start learning to dive as well. After all, there’s nothing more fulfilling than watching your children follow in your footsteps. Plus, diving can be a fantastic activity that you can take part in together for some awesome family fun filled adventures. Therefore, the main question you probably have is if your kids are old enough to get started. For this blog, we will go over some of PADI’s recommendations in relation to age requirements as well as other factors you may want to consider regarding whether or not your kids are ready to start diving!

Training and/or certifying through a PADI shop like Reef Haven is guided by industry milestones determined by your child’s age. This is to ensure they only participate in depths and skills appropriate for them. Furthermore, each time your child dives, they will be closely monitored and guided by professional divers with many years of experience. If scuba diving is something that either your child has expressed interest in or you’d like to have them try, we will guide you through the age determined milestones below so you can get your kids off to making unique lifetime memories.

PADI ultimately considers any diver that is below fifteen years of age to be a ‘Junior’. What this essentially means is that there are several important guidelines designed for safety that they will need to adhere to such as depth limits until they reach the ripe old age of fifteen.

Therefore, if your child is under fifteen you can have them get a Junior Open Water or Junior Advanced Open Water qualification depending on their age and skill level. The actual curriculum and requirements for these are actually quite similar to each other, with the exception of the varying depth limits. Once your child qualifies as a Junior diver they will be required to dive with a qualified adult such as yourself or an instructor.

However, let’s get a bit more in depth with what you can expect with more specific age ranges for your kids. Plus, there are considerations you will also want to take into account.

8-9 – PADI Bubblemaker

If you are looking to start your child young, this is the absolute youngest you can have them begin learning how to scuba dive with a qualified professional instructor. Kids tend to soak up information like little sponges, so the opportunity to learn with an instructor will be a great experience for them to get started just in terms of learning the basics and evolving from there. They will learn everything from the various functions and proper use of the equipment to many of the important skills and techniques needed for diving.

Why not start younger you may ask? Well, the age limit being set here is mainly a result of your child’s lung development. Not much research has been done on the effects diving can have on your child’s still developing lungs. Of course it would make sense as to why not much experimentation has been carried out in this particular area. Nevertheless, the age limit is simply to be as cautious as humanly possible. Afterall, I’m sure you can agree that the absolute most important factor when it comes to your child learning to scuba dive is their safety and overall well being.

Another important thing many people actually overlook is just the size of your child. This is a larger factor than you may initially think. Which is as simple as locating equipment made for their still small physique. Equipment specifically tailored for kids is out there, however won’t necessarily be available everywhere you go. For sure, you want your child to be wearing gear that feels comfortable. If it’s too big and heavy it will severely limit their overall movement in the water and their overall enjoyment of the experience will be hindered. Remember, first impressions are important.

At eight years of age, your child will just be in the pool with their maximum approved depth set at four meters for their safety. However, this is a fantastic way of allowing them to become comfortable in the water using their gear as they work with the instructor who will help guide their experience. Beyond safety, another reason why so much care and consideration should go into these early experiences is to ensure your child is left with a positive attitude towards diving which will keep them committed to it for the long term.

10-14 – Junior Open Water

Once your child reaches ten they can then get enrolled in their very first official qualification. This is an exciting landmark as this is the same qualification course that adults take only with shallower depth limits. Now once completing this, they will still be required to be with an adult. This is important to remember. Still, this is a fantastic milestone for your child to achieve. Their qualification status will be with them permanently and be recognized worldwide. It’s a huge leap towards the next level of their diving experience. From here on out it’s just a matter of continuing their diving to hone their skills as much as possible.

As they get a bit older they will be granted access to greater depth limits than ever before. Though they will still need to continue diving with an adult certified diver, the gradual nature of their path means that once they are ready to dive without a supervising adult they will be absolutely ready and prepared.

Extra Considerations

Of course there are some exclusions in terms of speciality courses your child will be limited from. Overall though, they are perfectly suited towards the standard recreational diving. This means your whole family can enjoy time diving together. Just always keep in mind that your child’s limits are different from your own. Always take this into consideration with each dive you do together. Also, remember that certain diving environments like caves and shipwrecks require a bit more experience and your child will need to be of an appropriate age before taking on those unique challenges.

Age is not the only consideration you need to take into account in regards to your child. You need to ensure they are mentally prepared for diving and understand how important it is to take it seriously. Be sure to explain to them that while it’s a fun activity that they can enjoy, it also comes with certain risks that they must be prepared for to ensure their safety. Not to mention that diving in pairs means being in a position where you may find yourself relying on each other in certain situations. You will want to use your best judgment to decide if your child is ready to take on that responsibility. Don’t force or push your child into diving if they are not quite ready. Every child is different and may be ready at different times despite their age.

There are so many great things that can come from your child learning to dive from an early age. It will build up their confidence in the water and allow them to explore and enjoy incredible sights and places beneath the sea. It can also be a great education to give them first hand experience with becoming aware of the entire underwater ecosystem and the importance of protecting it. It is an incredible bonding experience that you can share together that will help teach responsibility and will be something they can continue doing far into the future!

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