DOES MY SCUBA DIVING LICENSE RUN OUT?
Good news on this one.... no! Your PADI scuba diving license never expires. It's a life long qualification. But, just like you might want to take it easy after a long break from the gym or driving a car, you need to ease yourself in gently if it's been a while since you last got wet.
Does that sound like you?
Even the pros take time to get refreshed
At the end of March, we saw our lockdown restrictions lift. The Fifth Point Team had been high and dry for over 3 months! As seasoned pros, we knew that it would be a good idea to take a staff dive before we jumped in with customers. It gave us the chance to recalibrate, refresh and remember what it feels like to be submerged in salty water! It also got us back into the swing of things before we became responsible for keeping you lot safe too 😉
And these are our Instructors and Divemasters with over 10,000 dives between them - there were still butterflies in our tummies at the thought of jumping back in after such a long time dry. If you're not as experienced as these guys, the last thing you want to do is to chuck yourself in at the deep end after a long break. It's just asking for trouble. Nerves, fumbling with gear and having a hiccup on a skill can easily turn into panic without warning
That's why although your scuba diving license will never run out, you are expected to take a refresher if you've been out of the water for a long time.
How long before I need a scuba diving refresher?
This is a good question - how long is too long when it comes to being out of the water? Well, there's no official answer. It depends on the rules of the dive centre you're diving with, and it's kinda down to how you feel.
You know yourself better than anyone. If you'd like a refresher after 2 months, 6 months, 9 months... do it! If you want more time and attention than a basic refresher, and you fancy the PADI ReActivate... do it! If you want to bolt on a guided dive after your tank session so that you can explore the big blue under the watchful eye of your Instructor... do it! (You might also be interested in our scuba subscription submerge which will get you back out diving regularly.)
These tools are here for you to feel confident about diving, not as a barrier to getting back into the sport. It shows that even though you know your scuba diving license doesn't run out, you know that it's prudent to get refreshed after a break.
What's the refresher craic at The Fifth Point?
If you come to us and your last dive was over 12 months ago, we'll ask you to do a refresher. Although this isn't an official PADI course (it's a workshop created by the team), it allows you to go over important skills and build your confidence in our training tank with an Instructor. You'll get a stamp of approval in your logbook that shows you're refreshed and ready to go!
If it's been over 2 years since you were last in the water, we'll ask you to do the PADI ReActivate mini-course. This is very similar to our refresher workshop, but it's more in-depth. There's two sessions in the training tank and some eLearning theory to complete. You'll work on skills like buoyancy, mask clearing, reg clearing and emergency procedures plus the sessions can be tailored around the areas that you feel need the most work. It's a great way to work on in-water skills and refresh your theory at the same time. You also get a neat little ReActivated emblem on your cert card so everyone knows you're good to go.
These are the timelines we've set as cut-off limits for The Fifth Point. It's based on what we've learnt after taking hundreds of divers out for adventures. After 12 months divers get rusty. After 2 years, there's a bit more work to be done! We use these timelines because we want to get rid of the nerves that creep in after a break from diving.
What about other dive centres?
Every dive centre will be different, some will ask you to do a check dive before you go out on a dive trip (like we do here), some are cool that you just jump in. Some will insist on refreshers if you've been dry for a while, some won't.
To be honest, when I rock up to a dive centre and they insist on a quick check dive or getting refreshed, that shows they care about their divers and want to keep them safe. Even as an Instructor with thousands of dives under my belt, I've had to do my check dive to prove I can do a mask clear and hold my buoyancy. I'm totally cool with that (especially when you see dolphins on a check dive like we did in the Red Sea!) It's not a chore, you won't be judged if it turns out you need a bit of practice, don't be offended. It's a tool to keep everyone safe and comfortable and help you get the most out of your dives!