Nearly 300,000 people in France practice scuba diving in a club. This activity is open to all provided they have a medical certificate. If you wish to learn this sport, different solutions are available to you…
First, it is important to know that diving is a supervised and regulated sport. The depth and the degree of autonomy of the diver varies according to his experience. The passing of practical and theoretical exams allows the obtaining of a diver’s card determining the level. According to this level, you can dive at a certain depth, supervised by an instructor or in autonomy with other divers of the same level.
If you are a beginner, you can do a first dive. These baptisms can be proposed by diving centers located on the seaside for tourists or in the pool for people wishing to join a club. The equipment is lent, and a small debriefing takes place with the instructor who will accompany you for the duration of the dive. The dive will take place in a height of less than 6 meters and will last between 15 and 30 minutes.
Diving trips: they are accessible whatever the level, if you provide a medical certificate stating that there are no contraindications to the practice of underwater activities. Stays can be for example a 3- or 4-day long weekend in the South of France, a one-week cruise in the Red Sea, a 2 week stay in the Maldives etc.
Practical in diving clubs. These associative or commercial structures offer year-round registrations and the obtaining of a diving licence. Time slots are arranged and allow divers to train in the pool every week. Outings in pits (pools whose depth varies between 15 and 20 meters) and sea outings are also planned during the year. The clubs allow divers to pass the different levels and certificates related to diving.
Passing levels: apart from baptisms and stays for beginners, the practice of diving requires to have previously obtained a diving level.
Several possibilities to pass the levels:
Registering for the year in a club. Sea trips are then mandatory to validate the practice and obtain the levels.
Register for training courses offered by diving centres located on the seaside.
Make trips through holiday organizations or travel agencies that offer this type of training.
These training courses which allow the obtaining of a level are divided into 3 parts: a theoretical training, a practical training (given in swimming pool or at sea) and tests allowing to validate the level of the candidate.
For recreational diving, there are 4 different levels (N1, N2, N3 and N4). These levels define a degree of autonomy for the diver and a depth limit that must not be exceeded.
Level 1: Diver who can go down to 20 meters with the need to be supervised by an instructor.
Level 2 : Autonomous diver up to 20 meters with the possibility of descending to 40 meters supervised by an instructor.
Level 3 : Autonomous diver up to 60 meters.
Level 4 : Guide of the pulley system. The diver can take with him other divers of Level 1, 2, 3 or 4. The depth is then limited by the diver with the lowest level.
Whatever the level of the divers, the dive is always practiced by at least 2 people.