Scuba Diving: The Cheapest Certifications

Scuba Diving: The Cheapest Certifications

There are many different Scuba diving certifications available to indulge in your passion to explore the underwater world. The first certification is an Open water course, followed by the advanced, then specialities.

Of course, there are many factors affecting the price of these certifications, such as the certification itself, the organisation and even the country! 

This can be a little confusing, but hopefully, this article will provide you with some clarity. Discussed in this article, are:

The Cheapest Scuba Certification

The Cheapest certification is a speciality, ranging from £90-200. Specialities include Deep diving, Side mount, Nitrox and more. It is great that specialities are so cheap, allowing you to complete multiple and expand your dive experiences and confidence.

Specialities are usually the cheapest because they only require one or two dives.

However, these specialities can only be started once you have completed the Open Water Scuba diver, which is one of the most expensive courses and you’ve increased your number of dives.

The open water course has theory lessons, pool sessions and 4 dives. This course takes a longer period of time to introduce you to breathing underwater for the first time! It is important you understand the safety procedures and how to become a competent diver. 

Starting to Scuba dive is very exciting.

You can’t wait to get in the water and explore the underwater world. However, you might be on a budget. Maybe you’re travelling and it wasn’t included in your plans, or maybe you’re saving up for a new car. 

This might get you thinking, then what is the cheapest Open water course?

Unfortunately, this question is not as simple as it seems. There are many factors to consider when looking for the cheapest certification, such as the difference in prices between organisations. 

The Cost of Different Scuba Organisations 

PADI is usually the most expensive organisation but is also the most widely recognised around the world. Certifications with SSI, RAID and BSAC can be cheaper but are less widely recognised. So sometimes, cheaper isn’t always better.

You could probably name more than one diving organisation from the top of your head. That’s because there are so many!

One of the most famous organisations is PADI. When looking at a PADI centre identifier, thousands of centres bathe the map, located on almost all continents. Unfortunately, PADI is known to be slightly more expensive than the other organisations. However, it is globally recognised, and the extensive course materials make up for the differences in price. 

SSI is another organisation, highly-regarded and internationally known. There are over 400 registered centres in the USA alone. SSI is known to be more affordable than PADI, as the certification costs are cheaper.

Another international organisation is RAID. Although this organisation is not as well known throughout the world, it is one of the fastest-growing agencies in the world.

There are many more organisations, those are just a few. All of them have their individual price-lists for the different certifications. But which one is the cheapest? 

Different Diving Costs Around the World

Diving is usually more expensive in English speaking countries (USA, UK, Canada and Australia etc). Countries such as Indonesia and Thailand (amongst others) are generally cheaper. If you can find cheaper flights, this may be enough to make use of the cheaper diving!

Take a look at a bucket list of any Scuba diver and it will be flooded with dive sites they want to visit, all over the globe. Fun dives on many bucket lists include diving with seals in the UK, Whale-sharks in Thailand or Manta rays in Indonesia

While travelling around the globe, diving in some of the most incredible dive sites, you will notice how much the prices change. Prices of certifications and fun dives differ in every country.

To compare, let’s have a look at two dive shops: Gili Divers on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia, and Dive Newquay in the UK. 

Diving in South East Asia is well known for the tropical waters, booming marine life and fantastic coral reefs. Another great thing about diving in these locations is that it is a lot cheaper than in Western countries. 

Asia is a popular travel destination due to the low price of food and accommodation. Luckily for us divers, these cheaper prices are reflected within the diving industry. 

The price for an SSI Open water course at Gili divers is around £300. This is a lot cheaper than in the UK, where Open water is £415. So if you are looking to start diving, it might be cheaper to complete your courses in Asia. (Don’t mind if I do!)

As mentioned before, the Open water course is more expensive than the advanced. In Indonesia, the advanced course is priced at around £250. This is again, a lot cheaper than in the UK. 

After completing your Open watercourse, you can go onto your advanced open water, or pick some specialities. One of the most popular specialities is Enriched Air Nitrox, allowing you to change the mix of gas you breathe during your dive, increasing your bottom time. 

The Enriched Air Nitrox costs around £143 in Indonesia, whereas this speciality is slightly cheaper in the UK. There are many reasons which could explain this, one possibly being the accessibility of Oxygen.

As you have seen, prices change a lot depending on the country.

South-East Asia is generally the cheapest, with the UK, USA and Australia being more pricey. If you are looking for the cheapest certifications, it might be worth travelling to them. 

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

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Hopefully, this article has helped you understand that there is no cheapest certification. The specialities are technically the cheapest certification as they can be completed with one dive, but the Open water has to be completed beforehand. 

There are many factors affecting the course prices, such as the certification, the organisation and the country! Some organisations and countries are cheaper than others. 

Usually, you get what you paid for, and most of the time it is worth paying a little extra for high-quality training and enjoyable dives. PADI is more expensive but is worth the extra cost. 

Whether you’re starting your diving journey or you’re collecting certifications, a little bit of research into the certifications with the best value for money can be worth it. Wherever you choose to dive and with whichever agency, have fun and enjoy your dives! 

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Bethany Nyquist

Bethany is a writer, an Environmental Scientist and Dive Master, exploring the underwater world. Practising Underwater Photography, Bethany aims to raise awareness for and help protect marine life.

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