Learning to dive is a fun weekend of training and getting certified to dive literally gets you a license for adventure. Once certified, you are allowed to dive without supervision in conditions you have been certified for. The core recreational progression of certification levels is Openwater, Advanced-Adventure, and Rescue Diver. Openwater is the entry level certification and is good for diving in the real world up to 60′. Advanced-Adventure is good to 100′. Rescue focuses on building on your diving skills so that you can help another diver in an emergency, or ideally prevent an emergency from occurring in the first place. Additionally there are many specialty certifications as well, like Nitrox (breathing more Oxygen for longer bottom times), Deep Diver (130′ max depth), Underwater Navigation, Wreck Diver, Boat Diver, Drift Diver, Night Diver, Search and Recovery, and many more. A recreational Rescue diver that has earned 5 specialties is recognized as a Master Diver. A Divemaster is on the other hand a Rescue Diver that has undergone a working internship to become a professional diver. DMs lead other certified divers as guides and help full fledged instructors teach classes.
Technical Divers have delved deeper into the training required to exceed no decompression limits, dive alone or in overhead environments like ice or caves, breathe specialized mixtures beyond normal nitrox, use rebreathers or sidemount configurations, and dive beyond 130′.
Recreational Divers who attain advanced certification with the Nitrox specialty can go on any of the charters we offer. Basic Openwater diver are sufficiently trained to dive on our Inshore wrecks. Similarly, most places around the world that divers may travel to will have plenty of places for Openwater divers, with some that are limited to Advanced divers only due to the depth or currents or some other environmental factor.
Open water is the beginning scuba certification for divers. The certification is for up to 60′ diving with a certified buddy at this level of dive training. Openwater class has two portions to complete. First there are the academics, which are completed online at your own pace. They teach the science behind diving as well as provide a basic understanding of the scuba gear itself. Next you complete in-water training with us. Our student divers will spend a day learning the basics in a pool (confined water) and then 2 days of open water diving. Students need to have their own mask, snorkel and fins before pool work begins. The academics can be done online, at your leisure. There is no extra fee for use of our rental gear for our OW students, all entrance fees, and boat fees are covered by us. Our classes Go to the pool on Fridays, the State Park on Saturdays and dive off the boat or State Park on Sundays. Classes are limited in size due to supervision ratios. Ages 12 and up only due to the size of the dive gear. Private Openwater classes with a custom schedule are available for $700 per student. Please call us if you have children under the age of 15, medical conditions or any special concerns. Some medical conditions require a doctors approval. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have if you want to know more!!
To get started you need to click the “book now” button to reserve your spot in the class for the in-Water training with us. We will create an online account for your academics and email you an access link to the program. To create the account we need your Name, DoB, Mailing Address (for the certification card) and phone number. We do not give the information to anyone else.
Refresher Class $125
Refresher Classes are a sound idea for certified divers that have been on dry land longer than they planned on. If you feel like your gills have dried out, take a refresher class! A dive professional will go over the basics with you and fill in any gaps in your knowledge and skills. We supply any needed equipment for the checkout dive at the St Andrews State Park as well as the park admission.
We offer the academics of our diving classes online. This means you complete all of the academic portion, including the exam, on your PC at your own pace and then schedule your in-water training with us when you are done. This eliminates days of lecture; keeping costs lower and putting less of a demand on your precious time. So you work at home but we are still available to you at the shop if you have any questions. Our staff is more than happy to share their knowledge of scuba diving with you should you have any questions about anything diving related between now and your class start date, so feel free to call 850-588-8077 or email Pat@panamacitydiving.com and ask away.
Download the Medical Questionnaire to make sure you are healthy enough for scuba diving. This is a mandatory form for enrollment in any dive class. If you answer “yes” to any of the conditions, your physician will need to review and approve your form.
Already started you class and only need to finish up your Openwater or “Checkout” dive training? That is a referral class. Typically you will just need to come down and join our OW classes for their Sat and Sun portions. We will need your “referral paperwork” from the instructor that began your training. We can accept students who began with any agency and finish you with a referral in either PADI or SDI as is your preference.
Advanced Open Water is the next serious step in dive training. Most charter operators require this level of certification to do wrecks or reef dives beyond 60′. In Panama City we have some great dives in the range of basic openwater divers but we have many more in offshore (Federal) waters that are beyond that shallower limit. The advanced scuba certification requires additional eLearning and 5 specific training dives. These dives prove introduction to 5 different specialties (deep and navigation dives are required as two of the five with the other 3 up to the instructor). Advanced scuba Certification is for dives up to 100′. This course usually requires a trip into the deeper waters offshore for the deep training component so reserving your class in advance is required to get a seat on the boat. This class pairs very well with a nitrox class to help divers get the most out of their bottom time.
Students will need their own;
Mask, Fins, Wetsuit (seasonally), Regulators, BCD, Computer and SMB. *rental gear is available and we offer generous student discounts as well as gear packages if you are considering purchasing your own gear.
To get started you only need to reserve your class by clicking the book “now button” and we’ll send you the eLearning access as well as be standing by to answer any questions you might have.
Tanks, Weights, Liftbags ,compasses and other class specific gear is provided free of charge.
Rescue divers are trained in various lifesaving scenarios that they may be encountered by divers and offered introduction into how to best provide assistance to injured, panicked and unconscious scuba divers. At this level students are required to own their own a complete set of gear before class. A minimum of 20 logged dives is required before enrollment of this class. Students will instructed in the safest ways to respond to a variety of emergency in-water and out of water situations. Current CPR and 1st Aid training is required to earn this certification and is usually taught in conjunction with it. This is a very long 2 day class of physical hands on training.
Master Scuba divers, are recreational Rescue Divers that have earned at least 5 full specialty certifications. Master Diver is a special recognition of divers who have committed to learning as much as they can from the recreational side of diving.
Divemasters are rescue divers who have decided to “Go Pro” into the world of diving. Divemasters must demonstrate mastery of dive theory and all core dive skills as well as complete an internship under an active scuba instructor. Divemaster candidates will sit in on charters and classes to pickup and fine tune their skills needed to accept leadership roles in the dive community as part of their internship. Divemasters must have 60 logged dives by the completion of their internship, at a bare minimum. Since they are responsible for leading groups of certified divers and assisting instructors with uncertified divers, they are required to carry liability insurance.
* Training can take up to as long as several weeks to complete depending on the rate at which students master the skill sets and cooperative weather and water conditions.
Learn to extend bottom times by safely adding oxygen to your breathing mix. This diving class gives you the most bang for your buck and time. Duration 3 hours. Sign up and we’ll send you the eLearning course and you’ll only need to come into the dive shop to learn how to physically analyze tanks and plan a dive with an instructor to be signed off.
SDI’s Deep Diver Course is a must for any diver wishing to explore a little more, go a little deeper, and learn the risks and benefits associated with deep diving. Many interesting sights lay just beyond open water diver training limits such as: beautiful wall dives, shipwrecks, and critters that don’t come into the shallows.The purpose of this course is to provide the necessary training to plan and execute dives that are beyond the depth range experienced during an SDI Open Water Scuba Diver course, specifically beyond 18 metres/60 feet and to a maximum depth of not greater than 40 metres/130 feet. By the end of the course your knowledge, awareness, and comfort level with deep diving activities will have increased.
Learning to dive with a knowledgeable instructor is a blast. With us the classroom, pool, and openwater training sessions are peppered with humor and laughter (above water anyway) as the basic skills are learned and practiced.
Our dive instructors are consistently the highest reviewed by actual customers (compare us to all the other shops…. please!) because they offer individual attention in a pressure free learning environment making our students happier, more relaxed and consequently better trained. Our scuba certification classes consistently produce capable confident divers that stay active in the sport. To that end, we train our divers in the marine environment by default instead of pools and springs. Our gear selection has jacket style BCDs but also offers streamlined Back Inflate options favored by advanced and technical divers. We want our divers to have access to everything the sport has to offer, not just the bare minimum required.
We include the cost of admissions, rental gear, AND include a dive charter (as weather and scheduling allows) to do the last two openwater training dives on wrecks. As much as we want to sell a new gear package to every single student, there is no charge to use our any of gear. We do offer student discounts and package deals if you would like to purchase your own gear.
Our prices are $475 for a scheduled 3 day class (Fri-Sun) with open enrollment or $700 per person for a private class with a custom schedule.
Philosophically we operate on a customer service centered long term profit business model instead of a volume based short term profit model. This is illustrated perfectly by our boat operation. Our “Big” boat (a custom 36′ Newton) can legally run with 20 divers but we limit it to 14 since this is the actual number of divers that can comfortably go on it and about the right number of divers to drop on most of the wrecks offshore. Too many divers can overcrowd a shipwreck, but not on our trips.
All of our classes and charters are therefore offered via reservations to better assure our goal of the best possible experience in the water for you and your friends and family.
We have regular scheduled classes and can schedule other classes with about a weeks notice, sometimes much less. We try to maintain the highest degree of customer service by planning the logistics of classes and charters with a finite number of Instructors, Captains and sets of dive gear around the Florida weather. This is why we ask for a reservation as far in advance as possible, to better serve our customers!