Beginner Scuba Courses

Open Water (Beginner Courses)


Please see the FAQs page for any additional questions not answered on this page.

The Open Water Diver course consists of 2 parts: eLearning & the pool followed by 4 open water dives or 5 in a drysuit.

Begin your scuba adventure with a pool session, eLearning, and 4 open water dives at Dutch Springs, Miami or elsewhere in the world.  Skills practiced include buoyancy, proper weighting, equipment assembly, hand signals, and dive planning.  Learn about equipment maintenance, physiology and the marine environment.

* Minimum age 10

* Must bring signed doctor's note to classroom session if any questions are answered with a yes.

* Must pass a swim test.  You can't take a scuba class if you can't swim.

Open Water Part 1: eLearning & pool


$139.95 for SDI eLearning & $450 for class & pool

Why waste vacation time taking exams? Learn in the comfort of your own home with a home study option. Learn how to setup scuba gear in the Urban Manta classroom.

First you would buy the elearning Open Water course from SDI/ and affiliate with Urban Manta.  This is the link:

Urban Manta SDI Open Water eLearning

Please read carefully because we MUST GO OVER EVERY SINGLE MISSED QUESTION.  Speed reading is great if you want to spend all night in the classroom session.

The pool sessions cost $450.  You must know how to swim.

Open Water Part 2: open water checkout dives


The 4 open water dives cost $700 or $800 in a drysuit.  You can do them here or I can issue a referral and you can do them on vacation. Enjoy a weekend at the lake completing your Open Water certification. 4 dives (5 in a drysuit) over 2 days exploring sunken boats, airplanes, a helicopter, a fire truck, a schoolbus, a trolley, etc in the local underwater training lake Dutch Springs. Camp out on the lake and wake up and dive!


Why are my rates what they are?  Because I teach you how to hover motionlessly and to understand what negative buoyancy or being head or foot heavy (out of trim) feels like.  This took me a lot of trips to and classes in cave country Mexico and Florida to learn.  Very few in the Northeast understand or teach trim and buoyancy.  I do.  See Urban Manta You Tube for videos.  You can pay less for a cattle call class and then pay more overall for a bullshit PADI “advanced buoyancy” cert that has you flutter kicking through hoops (constant fin kicking or sculling unconciously compensates for being negatively buoyant) or, you can learn how to actually dive in the first place. This takes more focus and effort on both of our parts.  I have students who come to me with over 50 or 100 dives who tell me they want to learn to hover like my Open Water students.  If learning control doesn't intetest you, I’m not the right instructor for you.  Plenty of others will give you a cert card in exchange for money.


Also, class sizes are small.  Everyone gets attention.  I prefer this over teaching cattle call classes with people flailing around and crashing on their knees.  Take a look around at the lake and you will understand what a difference it makes when students put trim, buoyancy and team awareness before skills. No students are allowed out of my peripheral vision.  This teaches you to be a safe, aware buddy from day one.


Most people finish in 2 days.  My rate is $300 per day not including gear rental.  If the OW class takes more than 2 days, additional days are charged at a rate of $300 per day plus gear.  Sometimes people pass the pool, get to the lake, and freeze.  No problem!  I will take as much time as you need, but still need to charge per day.  Please understand the skills do take 2 days to get through, but if extra days are needed due to psychological blocks, my rate is still the same per day.  I teach mostly advanced students and love working with beginners, but need to charge a daily rate for those who need additional coaching to break through mental barriers.  This includes time lost due to students showing up late on dive day.  If this translates into us needing another dive day, I need to charge for my time.  We really do need to leave at 7:30 a.m. in order to move at  slow pace and amswer all questions, and we leave the lake at 6 pm to arrive home at 8 pm.  We can cut class short to get you home for dinner plans or to walk the dog, but if the skills aren’t complete and an extra training day is needed, I need to charge.  If we get to the lake and you have forgotten everything from gear setup to buddy checks and we don’t enter the water until the afternoon and don’t get through day 1 skills, I need to charge for an extra day.  If you need extra classroom time, you can come on a weekday evening for gear or concept review for free.  This can save you an extra day of lake time.  When we are at the lake, it is dive time.


The other schools that don’t take a full day at the lake?  They don’t teach neutral buoyancy and control.  You get put on your knees and have your hand shaken.  This isn’t my style.  Knees are for Friday nights, not my scuba classes. You only pass if you can control your body and your buoyancy.  Otherwise, you are a hazard to yourself and others underwater.  You only receive a license that says you are a self sufficient diver if you are a self sufficient diver.


Big party come up or did it dump snow on pool day? No problem!  I understand beginners aren’t commited to the sport.  As I cap class size and stay commited to my calendar, I do need to keep deposits for cancellations.  You can go on a bender and cancel class, but keep in mind that is your day I set aside for you.  I said no to my own rebreather tec trips or other plans.   I will reschedule for emergencies, but not for parties, ski days, or because you got back late from the Hamptons.  I don’t have these issues with advanced students, but I do need to add this to the beginner page.  Times have apparently changed.  Deposits will be kept for last minute cancellations.  The day you book and pay for is fhe day you book and pay for, unless there is an emergency and a doctor’s note.


Open Water Requirements


In terms of gear people are required to buy their personal gear which consists of a mask, snorkel, fins & booties for the pool.  Wetsuits can either be rented or bought.  This is true of all shops in the northeast.  Urban Manta has a full stock of gear available for purchase and can fit you for the correct sizes. Scuba is a gear intensive sport and proper fitting gear is required for your comfort under water.  It is recommended that you purchase quality gear from Urban Manta as not all gear is created equal.  You don't want a leaky mask or non-hydrodynamic fins!  BCs, regulators, tanks and weights are included for the pool sessions.

For the open water checkout dives most students rent the Buoyancy Compensator Device, regulators, drysuit and drysuit underwear.  (The drysuit class is recommended and costs an additional $100 with the Open Water course or $350 as a separate class.  A 7mm wetsuit can be rented instead.)  Tanks and weights are free for students.  I have some tanks pre-filled with air and we will re-fill as needed at the local lake in Pennsylvania Dutch Springs.  It takes 2 days to do the 4 open water dives at the lake.  We camp out at Dutch Springs or there are hotels nearby.

Looking forward to getting you in the water!

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