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Kids in Diving: An Underwater Childhood Dream

The sea is a place of wonder for kids. This sense of wonder and fascination with life under the sea makes scuba diving a natural activity for young people interested in the ocean and marine activities.

There are many opportunities for the young scuba enthusiast. PADI Discover Scuba, a pool-only experience, and Discover Scuba Diving, an experience that also includes open water dives, are popular introductions to diving offered in most dive resort destinations to participants twelve years of age and older.

Likewise, many local PADI Dive Centers offer Discover Scuba programs to school, scout, or other youth groups and host social or educational activities designed to introduce scuba to nondivers. PADI hasn't forgotten the younger kids either, offering PADI Discover Snorkeling for participants of all ages and PADI Skin Diver certifications to children who have reached their eighth birthday. PADI Discover Snorkeling tours and PADI Skin Diver courses are also enjoyed by nondiving parents of young scuba enthusiasts who aren't quite ready to "take the plunge" with their offspring.

Above and beyond PADI Experience Programs, the world of scuba opens up to young divers aged twelve to fourteen, beginning with the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification. The Junior Diver certification stipulates that the diver must dive with an adult. During the PADI Junior Open Water Diver training course, young divers undergo the same training as their older counterparts (participants aged fifteen years and up), progressing one step at a time through classroom and pool training with a grand finale of certification check-out dives in the open water.

Once certified, junior PADI Divers may continue to participate in a wide variety of interesting PADI courses, earning additional certifications along the way. PADI Junior Open Water Divers aged twelve to fourteen can progress to PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver, PADI Junior Advanced Plus, and PADI Junior Rescue Diver. Young divers getting started in scuba who have reached their 15th birthday may begin with the PADI Open Water Diver course and continue with PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, Advanced Plus, and Rescue Diver. Junior Divers can also enroll in PADI Specialty courses, such as PADI Night Diver, Underwater Photographer and Videographer, Underwater Navigator, Underwater Naturalist, Equipment Specialist, Multilevel Diver, Dry Suit Diver, Drift Diver and Boat Diver. Fifteen year olds can also enroll in PADI Wreck Diver, Deep Diver, and Search and Recovery Diver.

Scuba certifications and experiences also have value in the realm of traditional formal education. For students studying in the United States, college credit may be awarded for PADI courses completed. Young adults, beginning at age eighteen, can earn professional PADI certifications such as PADI Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, and Instructor. Upon achieving professional level certification, many students find excellent part-time employment during their college years. Colleges that offer scuba instruction in their curriculum may offer positions to students who are certified dive professionals.

Thus, kids and growing kids at heart have a wealth of diving opportunities. Underwater childhood dreams can definitely come true.