Learning to Scuba…in a Swimming Pool?

You don’t need to jet-set to learn to scuba!

It might not be the most attractive of prospects, but it is possible to get a good amount of your initial certificates without have to leave the country let alone the pool! 

Imagine something if you will: you’re 11 years old, it’s a brisk March day in Devon and you’ve just had your first O2 tank strapped to you. Before you is a forbidding looking swimming pool, there are cracks in the tiles and you can tell that there’s certainly no heating in there. Your knees start to shake from either the cold or the anticipation of how cold you’re about to be. I know it sounds  rather nerve wracking but that was how my first diving experience began.

Two hours later I was happily submerging and rising with my friends at will firm in the belief that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Many gap year kids and travellers have the dream of heading out to a tropical island (like our Clara did in Guadeloupe) and gaining all their certificates in the glorious sunshine, but sometimes it can be a better idea to get your initial certificates back in the UK first.

Confined water diving (usually in an indoor pool) is a fantastic way of getting to grips with the basics of scuba diving whilst remaining in a controlled environment with all the safety measures that come with that. Learning environments really don’t get much safer than this and swimming pool heat pumps guarantee that even though you won’t be in the Caribbean, the warm water will at least make you feel like you are!

PADI certificates are the most commonly recognised diving qualifications in the world, if you choose to get your training completed in the UK it means that when you do eventually find yourself in the Caribbean you can head straight to the sea.

Here are my recommended picks for diving centres around the UK:

Puffin Dive Centre


One of the longest running Dive Centres in the UK, this family owned business has been going for 30 years and in that time they’ve built up a reputation for world-class instruction and safety all of which is operated out of their centre in Oban.

How much? Scuba Diving courses start at £425 and run up to £1099 for Open Water Executive courses.

London School of Diving


The capital’s premier PADI dive school this professionally run outfit offer a high standard of training at a reasonable price with a blend of confined and open water sessions. In addition to excellent modern gear, they also offer high level instructor training so you can equip yourself with the skills needed to make some real money whilst you’re away.

How much? Get your Open Water Diver qualification in two parts for a total of £469. Divemaster courses start at $445 with additional fees and requirements.

Aquatech Diving Centre


Established in 1993 this reputable Northern diving school is a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Centre making it ideal for those with current qualifications to get the top-ups required to gain a full instructor-level certificate.

How much? Get your complete Open Water qualification for a very affordable £395. Advanced Open Water Diver certificates start at £260.