Kids LOVE scuba! The dive shop on our island is a full service PADI dive shop offering scuba diving courses and daily dives for certified divers. Kids ages 12 and over have all of the options available to them as far as courses and certified dives go, there are no restrictions for kids in this age group. So kids ages 12 and up simply join adult classes that are offered.
Kids that are 10 or 11 are also able to take adult courses, but only at the discretion of the dive instructor. The dive instructor will accept children this age for adult courses, but PADI authorizes the instructor to direct the child into the Bubblemaker course if they feel the 10 or 11 year old is not yet ready for full certification.
The Bubblemaker course is for kids ages 8-11. It has a 6-foot depth limit. This is a half-day course, and includes a certificate, but does not count toward certification when the child reaches an age where they can go for full certification. Kids in the Bubblemaker course must be accompanied at all times by a dive instructor. They can continue to dive with an instructor for the rest of the week, but not exceed the depth limit imposed by PADI.
If parents are divers, they are discouraged from sitting in on the kids’ certification dive. Our dive shop has found that this impedes the child’s ability to successfully complete the course. Once your child is certified, the whole family can dive together as certified divers. If parents are also students in the same course, then they will all be diving together.
If you are planning to join us for one of our kayak trips you don’t have to commit to diving or dive courses in advance. You simply let us know your intent. We make sure the dive shop knows what you want so they have enough staff to accommodate everyone, but you can make the final decision when you get there.
Diving at Glover’s Reef is some of the best diving in the world! Last year a couple of teenagers in a course saw a whale shark on their SECOND dive! What a way to start!
Click on any image below to see the full picture. Many thanks to Robert Dunlop and Garry Lee for these pictures of their kids on our island packages.
The short answer is yes, you should take a scuba course from a local dive shop if you can before you get to Belize for your island vacation. If you don’t have a local dive shop or enough time before your trip, you can always do it when you get there as long as you have enough time on the island. Scuba courses have three components, but two can be done at home.
The first part is the written part of the course. There are lectures covering the material in your textbook, which these days means watching DVDs with an instructor to answer your questions. After watching the DVDs, you have written tests you need to pass.
The second part is a series of shallow water skills you have to complete. In water no more than 6 feet deep they teach you how to deal with possible accidents, like your mask coming off, or using up all of your oxygen in your tank. After learning the steps of recovery, your instructor then has you simulate the accident (take your mask off underwater, for example), and then demonstrate that you know what to do in such an emergency. All of this is done in shallow water.
The final part is the good part: diving at Glover’s Reef! Each different level of certification has a different number of required dives to complete that level. On course dives you do a few skills at depth (40 feet for beginning divers) and then you just go for a dive like any certified diver would, except you are diving with a dive instructor rather than a dive master.
The reason I recommend you take your course before you arrive if you can, is to avoid using your valuable vacation time on a private island taking tests and watching DVDs. But you don’t have to complete the 3rd part of the certification at home. You can instead get what’s called a ‘referral’ course where you complete the first 2 parts at home, bringing proof that you completed them with you, and finish the fun part on the island. Every Belize scuba shop offers this option. So for example, you can take the Open Water Diver course which takes 4 days and 4 dives to finish. Or you can take the Open Water Referral course which takes 2 days and 4 dives to finish.