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  • Open Water

Open Water

This globally-recognized certification program is the best way to begin your life-long adventure as a certified scuba diver. Personalized training is combined with in-water practice sessions to ensure you have the skills and experience required to become truly comfortable underwater.

If you plan to finish your cerification with us, be sure to schedule your training dives. If you plan to finish your certificaion while you are traveling, let us know so we can prepare the paperwork for new dive shop.  

Training dives can be scheduled using this link:  Training dives

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Whether you’re planning for your next vacation or looking for a new hobby, our Open Water Diver course will get you started. The course has four parts:

  • Online academics: A self-paced intro to the class.
  • Classroom workshop: Discuss diving practices and learn the gear.
  • Pool sessions: One 6-hour session to learn skills in the swimming pool.
  • Training dives: Four dives to show your skills in open water.  (Additional registration is required: Training dives)

You need to be at least ten years old to take Open Water Diver, and there is no maximum age because you are never too old to dive! This certification lasts your entire life, but if it’s been a while since your last dive, you may want to check out our Scuba Skills Update page. We offer workshops and pool classes for the Open Water Diver course year-round.

“But what about the cold?”

That’s right; it’s a bit chilly to do your Training Dives during the winter, so we only conduct Training Dives in the lakes from May through October. During the off-season, November through April, you can take only parts 1-3 of the course and return for Training Dives in May; or you can be certified as a Referral Diver.

A Referral Diver comes to Madison Scuba and tells us they want to get Open Water certified for a luxurious warm-water vacation far from Wisconsin's ice and snow. We get pretty jealous, but as long as you seem nice enough, we give you parts 1-3 of the course in the classroom and pool and then set you up as a Referral Diver to do part 4 with another dive shop. When you reach their destination, you do their four dives, and then you can dive for the rest of their trip.

Your class comes with the free DiveSSI app and digital certification card, so your training and logs go where you go. You’ll have the freedom to use your materials the way that you want to use them.

Every student in our classes will use high-quality, weight-integrated BCDs and balanced regulators that are serviced regularly to maintain the highest standards of safety and comfort. You will be provided wetsuits to keep you warm in the pool and open water.

The course is set up to allow you maximum flexibility. The following days and times refer to our typical schedule:

  • Workshop: Wednesday – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Gear Assembly & Pool: Saturday or Sunday – 10:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Training Dives 1&2 (during applicable months): Saturday morning at Devil's Lake or week night class in Lake Mendota (additional registration is required: Training dives)
  • Training Dives 3&4 (during applicable months): Sunday morning at Devil's Lake or weeknight dives in Lake Mendota 

                           You can use the Training dive link to find a list of all available times and locations for training dives.


If you’ve always wondered what lies beneath the surface, now’s the time to find out. Start the journey of a lifetime.  

  • This course certification is good for a lifetime.
  • Extremely flexible times to allow for busy schedules.
  • Private instruction is available.
  • You must be at least ten years old.
  • You need to have the most basic swim skills.
  • You need to have your own mask and snorkel. We have over 40 styles in stock for purchase.
  • Register for this course above, swing by the shop, or call us to get started today (608) 219-5075.

*There is a $125.00 non-refundable charge for course cancellation.* 

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