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Certification – Where Do I Begin?

“It’s time to take the plunge”, so to speak, and you are interested in getting certified, but have no idea where to begin, and there are a lot of questions on your mind.

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What local dive shop do we use?  They teach “X-agency” and I’ve never heard of them!  How much  time is involved?  I’m going on vacation in two (2) weeks; can I complete the training before I depart. And, the questions continue!

First, you are getting certified because “you want to”.  Do not get certified for the benefit of another.  Most likely, if you are taking up diving because a significant other or family member wants you to, you are doing it for the wrong reason.

Now that you have made the decision and can commit to the time required, how do you start your training and find a dive shop. Most will have a friend, family member, business associate or acquaintance who might have a recommendation.  Maybe there is a dive shop nearby, and it is time to stop in for a visit.


Make a couple of visits to the dive shop and “get a feel” for how they do business.  Find out which agency or agencies they primarily teach, and ask questions.

Some questions to consider are:  Is the course over a period of one (1) or two (2) weeks?  Can I do it on weekends?  Can you complete the entire course or only part of the course prior to going on your trip?  Do they have their own pool or a remotelocation to train? 

The local dive shop should be able to advise you the way to complete your certification.  Remember, if you are not satisfied with your visits to the dive shop, there is another shop “around the corner” that would love to have you as a customer.  You can always contact Off The Wall Divers if you have questions and we’d be happy to assist.

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Contact us through this website (we have LIVE CHAT to answer your questions); Facebook/OFFTHEWALLDIVERS or via e-mail:

The four (4)  most recognized training agencies in the USA are: NAUI, PADI, SDI/TDI  and SSI.  Two (2) other names that come to mind are: IDEA and PDIC.


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Today, the internet has made it easier to obtain your certification with the introduction of “online learning”.  There are three (3) parts to obtaining your open water certification:  a) academics b) confined water c) open water /OW/ dives. Your local dive shop can start you on your way. (Please note: most agencies charge a nominal fee to complete the academics online – others do not).

Based upon time, cost and class availability, you can complete any/all portions of the open water certification with your local dive center or once you arrive at your destination.

Obviously, if you can complete your training at home, and arrive as a certified diver, Off The Wall Divers can get you diving and work with you to fine-tune the skills you learned (these are skills that Off The Wall Divers’ refers to as “preventive maintenance” skills).

However, if you arrive in Cayman needing to complete any part of your course to obtain your open water certification, you are arriving as a “referral diver”.  Your initial instructor will be providing you with the necessary paperwork to take with you on your vacation, so that you can complete your certification.Naui logo

Once in Cayman, how long will it take to complete certification?  This depends on how much you have completed.  At Off The Wall Divers, we will not “cut corners” to get you completed.  The more we can work with you and the more time we can keep you underwater, the better.  This will allow you to become more comfortable with the skills.

Off The Wall Divers teaches PADI, SDI and SSI and can complete your certification with any of these agencies.  Using the “Universal Referral Form”, Off The Wall Divers can complete any major certification taught in the US.

Someone once asked me, “do you teach (insert training agency name)”, and I replied emphatically, “we teach diving”.

Come join Off The Wall Divers for  your diving experience – you will be glad you did.

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Our family of five divers and one non-diver spent 8 days with Off the Wall Divers and the experience was outstanding – the great staff, the personal service and the fabulous dives, all simply outstanding. …A great time for all! As expected, the many dive sites at Grand Cayman are as beautiful as ever and Off the Wall did a great job in visiting different sites each day. If you’re looking for fantastic service, a friendly staff of dive professionals, and the best dive experience you’ll ever have, check out Off the Wall Divers.

David L.

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