Becoming a family of certified divers opens up a whole new world of adventure and discovery. Tim Ecott talks kids and learning to dive with PADI.
My obsession with diving has allowed me to explore all of the world’s oceans and given me the privilege of remarkable underwater meetings with everything from giant humpback whales to pygmy seahorses. Breathing underwater is so vital to my happiness that I have even cleaned the grout between the tiles in swimming pools just to spend an afternoon in my diving kit.
Apart from the wonder and excitement of meeting fish, turtles, starfish, sea-slugs and stingrays, being underwater is an exercise in meditation that enriches my life. Being underwater frees my mind in ways that don’t seem possible on dry land.
Most dive centres around the world operate under the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) system. It is a tried-and-tested method of learning to dive and allows children to do a basic certification from the age of 10. It imposes restrictions on the type of diving children may do and offers different levels of certification to children and adults, and is carefully designed to develop the skills needed to be a safe and competent diver.
From the age of eight, the PADI system allows children to become ‘bubblemakers’ on a pool-based course that familiarises them with using scuba equipment and helps them gain confidence.
From the age of 10 they can dive in open water down to a maximum depth of 12m, but only when accompanied by a PADI professional or a certified parent or guardian.
After the age of 12 they can dive to 21m, accompanied by a certified adult.