We will do our best to complete further education courses such as PADI Rescue and Speciality courses Should you wish to participate in these (local payment). However please be aware that the Xtreme Marine Hero Programme is primarily a conservation initiative.
We can guarantee the PADI Open water and mostly you should be fine for the Advanced Open water.
PADI Dive Courses Offered on the Island
Our trips are for both non-experienced and experienced divers. Not certified? No worries, we can certify you as a PADI Open Water diver in 3 days. Many of our volunteers come to the island to learn to dive. It is a wonderful place to learn with calm clear waters and little current. We swap the usual chlorine filled swimming pool for the Caribbean Sea and the classroom for a hammock under a palm tree! Your PADI Open Water Certification is recognized worldwide and allows you to dive anywhere in the world.
We have many dive courses available to help you develop your scuba skills while on the island volunteering with us. Below is the price our program charges for each PADI certification course and how long it will take you to complete the certification course on the island.
- PADI Open Water Certification – $100 USD (3 days)
- PADI Advanced Open Water Certification – $150 USD (1 week)
- PADI Rescue Diver Certification – $200 USD (1 week)
- PADI Dive Master Certification – $400 USD (4 week minimum stay)
- PADI Specialty Course: Deep Diver – $100 USD (3 days)
- PADI Specialty Course: Fish Identification – $100 USD (3 days)
PADI Course Certification Options
Volunteers have two options when taking a PADI certification courses with us.
We recommend using PADI’s online eLearning. PADI is the world’s leading scuba diver training organization that governs and regulates scuba standards and diver certifications. You can get started immediately with the classroom/knowledge portion of your certification course and work at your own pace using the PADI eLearning system at home. With this convenient online study option, you will complete the classroom/theory portion and theory exam of your course before your arrival. Once on the island, we will finish off the appropriate in-water diver portion of the course. At the end of the eLearning program, you must print out your eRecord and bring a copy of it with you to the island. PADI charges $185 USD for the eLearning option and the cost is paid to PADI. Our program receives no monetary value for the eLearning but we find our volunteers like to avoid the book work and theory portion while on the island and this provides the best option to get in the water immediately upon arrival to our island. Don’t forget to print out your eRecord and bring a copy of it with you to the island.
This is the more traditional option in which you must purchase the relevant PADI certification course manual. These are relatively inexpensive on Amazon ($60 USD). You will be required to complete the knowledge reviews in the PADI certification course manual before you arrive to the island. You must bring your completed knowledge reviews in the PADI manual with you to the island. While on the island, our instructors will review some important classroom and theory aspects about diving and then you will complete the theory/classroom exam. Next, we will finish off the appropriate diver portion of the course. This option is good for those on a budget or who are with us for multiple weeks. You must complete the knowledge reviews in the PADI manual prior to your arrival and bring the manual with you to the island.
We are happy to do either option; however, we recommend the PADI eLearning (option 1). The big difference between the two options is that the eLearning option enables you to start your certification dives upon arrival to the island; whereas, option 2 requires you to take the exam on the island and for our instructors to review some important classroom/ theory before you start your certification dives. Regardless of the option you choose above, ReefCI charges an additional fee (see prices at the top of page 1) to complete your PADI certification course on the island.
Frequently Asked Diving Questions
Dive Equipment – What Should I Bring?
All dive equipment is included EXCEPT mask with snorkel, booties, and wetsuits. You must bring your own mask with snorkel, booties, and wetsuit. These items are size specific to each individual -especially wetsuits and booties for your feet.
We provide the rest of your gear at no charge – BCD’s, tanks, regulators, fins, weights, etc.. However, you are more than welcome to bring your own dive gear if you prefer. We do not provide dive computers; however, it is not necessary or mandatory to bring one. We do keep well within safety limits. Anyone wishing to participate in night dives MUST bring their own dive light/torch. These can be purchased for as little as 10 USD on Amazon.
Wetsuits – Full, Short, or None at All?
Do I need a full or short wetsuit in Belize and what thickness? Or do I need one at all? That is a tough question as it varies from person to person. The water temperature is consistently around 80F/26C so a 3mm wetsuit is normally more than sufficient. However, it just depends on how much you feel the cold; some do dive without one while others prefer a wetsuit. During the months of November through March, the water temperature is a degree or two cooler and most choose to wear wetsuits during these months. I recommend bringing a wetsuit regardless of the time of year; being cold while diving is no fun at all. It is reassuring to know you have one in case you need it.
Number of Dives Per Week
We typically do around 12 dives each week. Two on Monday (first dive is a check-out dive), three dives on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. In addition, we do at least one night dive per week. On Friday’s, we do a pre-breakfast dive, have breakfast then debrief and return to the mainland anywhere from 11am to 1pm We only take small groups and our instructors are great at concentrating on helping individual divers and techniques.
Minimum Age to Dive
For PADI certification, the minimum age is 10 years old. Divers who are younger than 15 earn the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15.
PADI Course Descriptions
PADI Open Water Diver Certification
If you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons, experience unparalleled adventure and see the world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. Get your scuba diving certification with the PADI Open Water Diver course – the world’s most popular and widely recognized scuba course. At the first level, Open Water Diver, divers gain basic knowledge of skills, equipment use, and theory for diving to a recommended depth of about 18 meters/60 feet. Once certified as an Open Water Diver, you will receive a PADI Open Water Certification Card/License which is recognized worldwide and you can dive anywhere in the world!
PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification
You don’t have to be “advanced” to take it – it’s designed to advance your diving, so you can start right after earning your PADI Open Water Diver certification. The course helps build confidence and expand your scuba skills through different Adventure Dives.
Your five Adventure Dives will include the following:
- Deep Dive
- Peak Performance Buoyancy
- Night Dive
- Underwater Navigation
You get to try out different specialties while gaining experience under the supervision of your PADI Instructor. The AOWD also allows the diver to explore a broader variety of diving to a maximum depth of 40 meters/130 feet.
PADI Rescue Diver Certification
The PADI Rescue Diver course prepares you to deal with dive emergencies, minor and major, using a variety of techniques. Through knowledge development and rescue exercises, you learn what to look for and how to respond. During rescue scenarios, you put into practice your knowledge and skills. The course covers the following topics in seven scenarios:
- Self-rescue and diver stress
- Emergency management
- Panicked diver response
- In-water rescue breathing protocols
- Egress (exits)
- Dive accident scenarios
- CPR/First Aid
Please note that the CPR /First AID (EFR) should be completed by a third party (Red Cross or other similar organization) before or after your arrival. Rescue Diver Certification can be completed in one week regardless of the option you choose above.
PADI Dive Master Certification
The Dive Master Certification (DM) rating places you in an elite group of respected divers who have earned this rating through both significant experience and scuba training. Fewer than 2% of divers ever achieve this rating. The course will develop leadership skills and deepen your knowledge of diving. Prerequisite certifications include the PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced, and PADI Rescue (or equivalent certification from another training organization). First aid and CPR training from another organization is also required prerequisite – which can be done in a ½ day with the Red Cross or similar organization. The PADI Dive Master Certification takes a minimum of 4 weeks.
PADI Specialty Course – Deep Diver
The lure of the deep. There’s something exciting and mysterious about exploring deeper dive sites while scuba diving. Sometimes it’s a wreck that attracts you below 18 meters/60 feet, and on wall dives it may be a giant fan or sponge. Whatever it is, to scuba dive with confidence at depths down to 40 meters/130 feet, you should take the PADI Deep Diver Specialty course. During four deep dives with your instructor, you’ll go over:
- Specialized deep diving equipment
- Deep dive planning, buddy contact procedures and buoyancy control
- Managing your gas supply, dealing with gas narcosis and safety considerations
Prerequisite: Advanced Open Water Certified and be at least 15 years old.
PADI Specialty Course – Fish Identification
“What was that fish?” is a common question heard after a dive. If you want to be the scuba diver with the answers, instead of the one asking the questions, then take the Fish Identification Specialty course. You’ll enjoy your dives even more when you recognize the creatures that you see and can identify the main fish families and their characteristics. During two scuba dives, you’ll learn:
- Identify characteristics of local fish families and species
- Fish survey techniques and strategies
- Project AWARE activities that can help protect aquatic life