Learning to dive is a life-changing experience for many people.

Ocean Diver Pack
     BSAC Ocean Diver Pack

Breathing underwater for the first time is something you will never forget and the experience of learning with others is great fun. Your instructor is trained to look after you every step of the way. 

The Ocean Diver course is for beginners and provides essential knowledge and skills to prepare you for open water diving in Britain and overseas. The BSAC Ocean Diver takes place in the safety of a swimming pool or sheltered water and introduces you to open water in a controlled, safe manner. You will gain experience and confidence under the guidance of a qualified instructor. The course operates at a maximum depth of 20m.


To enroll on the BSAC Ocean Diver course with Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, you must be 12 years or older and be considered "fit to dive"[1]. A basic level of comfort in the water is important and you will have to demonstrate that you can swim 200m in swimwear.

What You'll Learn

The BSAC Ocean Diver course has three main stages:

  1. Lessons and theory assessment on the basic principles of scuba diving.
  2. Minimum of five confined water dives to learn the basics in the water (usually in a swimming pool) plus an optional dry suit dive.
  3. Minimum of four open water dives to further develop your scuba diving skills.

Qualification: What That Means

A BSAC Ocean Diver is defined as a diver who is competent to conduct dives:

  • To a maximum depth of 20m.
  • With another BSAC Ocean Diver or with a BSAC Sports Diver, within the restrictions of the conditions already encountered during training.
  • With a Dive Leader or higher grade, to expand experience beyond the conditions encountered during training, under the supervision of a Dive Manager.
  • Not requiring mandatory decompression stops.
  • Under the on-site supervision of a Dive Manager with respect to site selection, conditions and dive plan.
  • Using enriched air (Nitrox)[2] as part of your diving within certain constraints.

Learning Materials

You will be given a pack as part of your course which includes all the learning materials you need for the BSAC Ocean Diver course. The pack includes: The Diving Manual, BSAC Qualification Record Book, Qualification Card,  application and an A5 binder with your student diver notes.

Required Gear

Swimwear and towel. All other equipment will be supplied during your training.

Recommended Gear

Although the diving equipment is provided, Ocean Diver trainees may wish to buy their own mask and snorkel. You may also wish to use a wet suit or t-shirt for added comfort during the pool lessons.

Welfare & Safeguarding

The safety and safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is of primary importance to Southsea SAC. The club is committed to providing an environment where young people can learn and participate in the sport of scuba diving free from harassment and abuse. All club members working with children have a moral and social responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare and safety of children and vulnerable adults. This Club follows the BSAC Safeguarding Policy to promote and protect the welfare and safety of both children and adults. All SSAC instructors have had DBS checks in accordance with the BSAC Safeguarding policy.

Course Structure

The Ocean Diver Course consists of the following elements:

  • Six classroom lessons covering the following subjects:
    1. Adapting to the underwater world
    2. The body and effects of diving
    3. Going diving
    4. Dive planning
    5. What happens if...?
    6. Enjoying your diving
  • A theory assessment.
  • A basic swimming assessment.
  • Five sheltered water lessons (swimming pool), plus an optional additional pool lesson on how to dive in a dry suit. In the pool you will get the opportunity to learn about how to achieve neutral buoyancy and the key practical skills required to dive. There are also a number of rescue procedures that are taught at this stage. Each student normally takes 5 to 10 pool sessions to successfully learn and demonstrate the skills required to progress to the open water dives.
  • Four open water lessons, normally in the sea or a freshwater lake depending on weather conditions. The open water lessons build on diving and rescue skills developed in the swimming pool.

Course Cost

The price of the Ocean Diver course depends on what diving sites are able to use for the training. The following are included in the price:

  • Pool sessions – qualified instructor, SCUBA equipment, tanks/air, weights, BCD, fins, snorkel and mask during pool sessions. Entry into pool. Dry suit training (1 pool session).
  • Open water sessions – qualified instructor, SCUBA equipment, tanks/air, weights, BCD, fins, snorkel and mask, dry suit for open water dives. We will endeavour to supply hood/gloves but cannot guarantee your size will be available.
  • All theory sessions are delivered by qualified instructors. Theory exam.
  • Training materials (Ocean Diver pack).
  • SSAC joining fee.

What's Not Included?

  • BSAC membership fee is additional and based on the appropriate published rates.
  • Cost of transport, entry into diving centres or cost of the boat for open water dives.
  • Additional open water sessions will be at extra cost.
  • SSAC membership is additional, based on current rates and payable monthly. Click here to view our current membership fees.

Meeting the Standards for Ocean Diver

All SSAC instructors have met the standard of instruction required by BSAC. They will do their best to teach you the skills required to pass the course. Every student is different and will be treated accordingly. There is no maximum time set for the student to achieve the skills required to pass the course however instructors will not sign off the particular session or skill unless the student has been able to demonstrate competence in the task. Payment for the course is not a guarantee that the student will pass and qualify as an Ocean Diver.

[1] "Fit to dive" is assumed on the basis of a completed Self Certification Medical Form or a Certificate To Dive issued by an approved Medical Referee.
[2] Nitrox is a breathing gas containing more than 21% oxygen which is known to be beneficial in reducing the risk and symptoms of decompression illness.