Frequently Asked Questions - Have a Go


If you have never tried scuba diving before it is very natural to have a few questions. Underwater everything is a little different, the way we move, how we breath, and what we see. Our instructors will be right beside you to ensure you can make the most out of this exciting new experience! 

What pre-requisites must I meet to try scuba diving?

Meeting the criteria is easy.

You must:

  • be 10 years of age or older if booking in a group or private session.
  • be 14 years or older if booking as an individual on a regular public session. 
  • complete the medical questionnaire.
  • demonstrate basic comfort in the water - expert swimming skills are not required.

I have a physical disability. Will this preclude me from trying diving?

Anyone who can successfully meet the medical  requirements can try diving. Many of the skills are flexible in how they can be mastered and our qualified instructors will work with you using adaptive techniques to help you discover the fun of diving.

My ears hurt when I go to the bottom of a swimming pool or when I dive down snorkelling. Can I still learn to dive?

Yes, as long as you have no irregularities in your ears and sinuses. The discomfort is the effect of water pressure on your ears. Your body is designed to adjust for pressure changes in your ears, you just need to learn how to achieve this. Once you learn the proper techniques, equalisation will become a natural habit.

Does a history of asthma preclude someone from diving?

Not necessarily. Because you will tick yes on the medical questionare you will need to obtain an RSTC medical from your doctor.

How deep do you go?

Our pool is 3.5 metres deep but we will only take you as deep as you are comfortable.

How long does a tank of air last?

This is a common question that unfortunately doesn't have a single easy answer. As an approximation, a diver sightseeing in calm, warm water in the 5 - 10 metre depth range can expect the average tank to last about an hour.

Why choose Dive Otago?

We have a long and safe history in SCUBA diver training at all levels. Managing Director and company founder Dave Watson has been teaching since 1991 and we are the only PADI 5 Star Career Development Centre in New Zealand - an award recognising that we meet the highest requirements for training SCUBA divers. Our often-admired world-class Dunedin facility has a heated dive pool, classrooms, cafeteria, retail shop, servicing facilities and hire department. We operate a dive boat called “Sea Horse” that is purpose built for the often challenging southern sea conditions. Just 20 minutes away is the most interesting training site in New Zealand, the Aramoana Mole. Perfect for all levels of training and recreational diving, it boasts a diverse range of aquatic life and a number of wrecks to explore.

What is PADI?

PADI is an acronym for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. PADI is recognised as the world leader in diver education and certification. Your PADI certification will be recognised world-wide.

I wear glasses. Is that a problem?

No, not at all. If you have contact lenses, you shouldn't have any problems. You can even get prescription lenses in your mask! We do not have any of these fore use during your sesson but they can be purchased in out store.

Do women have any special concerns regarding diving?

Aside from pregnancy, no. Because physiologists know little about the effects of diving on the fetus, the recommendation is that women avoid diving while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Menstruation is not normally a concern.

What if I feel claustrophobic?

People find the “weightlessness” of scuba diving to be quite freeing. Modern scuba masks are available in translucent models, which you may prefer if a mask makes you feel closed in. During your scuba diving training, your instructor gives you plenty of time and coaching to become comfortable with each stage of learning. Your scuba instructor works with you at your own pace to ensure you master each skill necessary to become a capable scuba diver who dives regularly.

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