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Scuba Diving Courses: Where Can I Learn To Dive In The UK?

Looking for a scuba diving course in the UK? Here are some of the best beginner diving courses

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Scuba diving courses are available all over the UK. Photo: iStock

There are hundreds of scuba diving courses across the UK for beginners. Whether you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, there are lots of scuba diving centres that offer a variety of courses – from basic scuba skills to specialist courses focusing on the environment.

There are three main diving certification bodies: Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and Scuba School International (SSI).

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PADI is probably the most widely recognised, there are PADI diving centres across the world. However, SSI and BSAC qualifications are just as accepted at many global diving centres.

So where should you start? Here are the diving qualifications you’ll be working towards as a beginner diver plus where these courses are run. You can read more about what scuba diving equipment you will need here.

BEGINNER SCUBA DIVING COURSES: PADI OPEN WATER

PADI Open Water is probably one of the most frequently discussed scuba diving courses. It’s the one many of your friends will have done.

  • Two to four day course
  • Includes pool dives and four open water dives
  • Basic scuba diving theory is learnt via. PADI E-Learning online course and quizzes
  • You need to be over age 10, be able to swim 200m, tread water for 10 minutes and be in good physical health to take part in the PADI Open Water
  • PADI Open Water qualification entitles you to dive to maximum 18m

WHERE CAN I DO MY PADI OPEN WATER?

These are just a handful of PADI dive centres scattered around the UK. Find out where your nearest PADI scuba diving centre is here.

LONDON SCHOOL OF DIVING

DEEP BLUE SCUBA, SCOTLAND

AQUATECH DIVING CENTRE, MANCHESTER

DV DIVING, NORTHERN IRELAND

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You can choose from a PADI, BSAC or SSI scuba diving course. Photo: iStock

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BEGINNER SCUBA DIVING COURSES: BSAC OCEAN DIVER

BSAC are the UK’s national governing body for scuba diving. Most of the BSAC instructors are volunteers. UK waters are cold and generally have bad visibility, BSAC training is regarded by its members as more comprehensive than other scuba diving courses.

  • 5 day course with 5 pool dives and 5 open water dives
  • Lessons on the basic principles of scuba diving plus an assessment
  • You need to be over age 12, comfortable in water and be able to swim 200m in swimwear
  • Qualification entitles you to dive to maximum 20m

WHERE CAN I DO MY BSAC OCEAN DIVER?

There are lots of BSAC scuba diving centres across the UK. Find out which BSAC scuba diving centre is near you here.

SOUTH BAY SCUBA, SCARBOROUGH

GWYNEDD SUB AQUA CLUB, WALES

WEST CUMBRIA SUB AQUA CLUB

EXETER SUB AQUA CLUB, DEVON

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Lobsters are among the common wildlife you will see on your open water dive during a scuba diving course. Photo: iStock

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BEGINNER SCUBA DIVING COURSES: SSI OPEN WATER DIVER

SSI is an American scuba diving organisation, founded in the 1970s. It has recognised SSI centres all over the world with a similar scuba diving course qualification path as PADI.

  • 4 day course with pool dives and four open water dives
  • SSI Online Training – theory of basic scuba principles online, then reviewed at SSI centre
  • You need to be over age 10 and comfortable in water
  • Qualification entitles you to dive to maximum 18m

WHERE CAN I DO MY SSI OPEN WATER DIVER?

SSI dive centres aren’t as common as PADI centres but there are still plenty to be found across the UK. Find out where your nearest SSI diving centre is here.

DIVE NEWQUAY, CORNWALL

EXTREME MARINE, BRISTOL

DIVEMASTER SCUBA, NOTTINGHAM

ANGLESEY DIVERS, WALES

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