Open Water Diver classes start monthly

November 2, 2023, December 7, 2023, January 11, 2024, February 8, 2024, March 14, 2024. Reserve a spot now! Price increases are coming January 2, 2024.

This is your first step to discovering how awesome the sport of scuba diving can be! In this course you'll build a foundation of skills to use as you explore under water.

2023 Classes are held monthly. During the summer, multiple classes each month are available! In the winter we travel to Florida's springs to conduct certification dives. Private classes are available too!

Sign up now or check our Calendar of Events for the full year's schedule! Please note that classes held in winter months will require a trip to Florida freshwater springs that is not included in our regular Open Water course price.

Private lessons are available.


Click the circle below to sign up online!          

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If you've always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, discover new adventures or simply see the the amazing variety of life beneath the waves, this is where it starts. The PADI Open Water Diver course is the world's most popular scuba course, and has introduced millions of people to the adventurous diving lifestyle.

What You Learn

Columbia Scuba's PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases:

  • Knowledge Development (classroom, home study or online ) to understand basic principles of scuba diving,
  • Confined Water Dives to learn basic scuba skills,
  • Open Water Dives to review your skills and explore!

If you've participated in a Discover Scuba Diving experience or resort course, the skills you learned may be credited towards a portion of the full PADI Open Water Diver course certification.



To enroll in the PADI Open Diver course or Junior Open Water Diver course, you must be:

  • 10 years or older (PADI eLearning requires a minimum age of 13 years due to international internet laws).

The Fun Part

The fun part about this course is... well, just about all of it because learning to dive is incredible. You breathe underwater for the first time (something you'll never forget) and learn what you need to know to become a certified diver. During the course, you'll make at least five pool dives (typically at Jeep Rogers YMCA or the Northwest Family YMCA) and at least four dives at local dive sites (Lake Murray and Lake Jocassee) under the supervision of your PADI Instructor.

During winter months (December - March) we travel to Florida's freshwater springs to conduct our final four open water certification dives. We make it a fun weekend and include a drift dive down Rainbow River and opportunities for group dinners where new divers can enjoy one of the greatest things about diving, the fellowship of other divers! The cost of this trip is in addition to the Open Water course fee and includes hotel, and all park entrance fees.


Gear You'll Need to Take the Course

Included:   As part of your Open Water course fee, we include rental all of the basic gear required to dive: a BCD (Bouyancy Compensation Device), Regulator, Dive Computer, Weights and all Air necessary for you to complete the course. We rotate our teaching gear every two years to ensure students can become familiar with current gear configurations.

Not Included:   Personal snorkeling gear is necessary for the course. These items include a personally-fit scuba mask, fins, booties and a snorkel. The most important thing about personal gear is that it fits and is comfortable. Any of our staff at Columbia Scuba will be happy to custom fit  you with your own gear! 

Wetsuits:   Wetsuits are not included in the course fee however we do have them availble for rent if you don't choose to purchase your own. We typically have the suit you'll need in stock and carry Henderson, Hyperflex and Bare.


The Learning Materials You Need

There are two options for the Open Water course materials, a book/DVD combo or eLearning. Columbia Scuba prefers students to use the printed manual because it gives ample opportunities for questions and answers during the classroom sessions. However, if your schedule or preference requires PADI's eLearning environment allows learners to access course materials through download via the internet.

Contact COLUMBIA SCUBA to personalize the best study option for you! Click here to see our course calendar

Getting Started

Sign up online or contact Columbia Scuba today at (803) 788-9166 or to enroll in the course.