CONFINED WATER Dives pool or lake

The biggest advantages to using Tigertail Lake during Open Water Diver training is that student divers can complete both the Confined Water phase and the first 2 dives of the Open Water phase in the same day.

For the Confined Water Dives phase, students are introduced both to the equipment and in water skills in a shallow and calm pool or pool like environment.  

Student divers learn and practice essential new skills including: setting up and breaking down the scuba equipment, breathing,  equalization, emergency procedures, communicating underwater, skills involving the mask, fin kicking techniques, and buoyancy.  

Student divers taking the Open Water class must choose where their Confined Water Dives will take place.  Please see the Locations page for exact addresses and other information about each location.

Tigertail Lake is run by Broward Community College and is located next to the Fort Lauderdale Airport in the same complex as Bass Pro Shops. This facility has been set up by dive professionals specifically for the purpose of new diver training.  In fact, Tigertail is where Padi's instructor and dive master exams even take place.  

Sunk in Tigertail Lake there are several platforms where Open Water Divers in training can practice their underwater skills before heading out into the ocean.  In addition there are also many boats, signs, statues, and even a small airplane for divers to swim through.

There is a confined water area enclosed by docks for a pool like environment and shallow water skills training.  The lake is reserved only for divers in training and is not open to the general public for dives.

Confined Water training in a swimming pool will take place at either my private home pool in Weston or at the student diver's home pool if they have one that is suitable (at least 6 ft deep).

There is more flexibility in scheduling and additional time to practice new skills as there is set return/ end time.  Typically sessions at Tigertail last 3-5 hours.  

Divers will reach a maximum depth of 30 ft and will be able to test their ears and equalization capabilities; before heading on a boat charter only to find out they are incapable of equalizing and therefore unable to dive that day.  

Additionally, wind and waves or rough seas will not delay class as the only thing that will keep us out of the water is a lightning storm.  Using Tigertail Lake not only saves times but also saves money, reducing the amount of boat charters needed during the Open Water class.

The most expensive part of any scuba diving class is the boat charters or boat trips excluding purchasing a full set of equipment which is not required.  For more information about purchasing equipment please visit the Equipment page.

E-Learning Course Options

2 Day Course (Most popular) - $568

  • Includes: Padi E-learning Course ($169)
  • Day 1 Tigertail for confined water sessions 1-5 and open water dives 1-2
  • Day 2 Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale Open Water dives 3-4

3 Day Course - $699

  • Includes: Padi E-learning Course ($169)
  • Day 1 Pool only or Tigertail for confined water sessions 1-5
  • Day 2 Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale 2 ocean dives
  • Day 3 Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale 2 ocean dives

The biggest disadvantage to using Tigertail Lake is the limited visibility.  With a sandy and soft muddy bottom visibility can range from 5-15 ft as the bottom contour can be easily disturbed.  There is some but certainly limited marine life as the lake is fresh water and fed by a natural spring.  

For new divers with claustrophobia or anxiety concerns, the limited visibility can make these issues worse and if those concerns are present, usually pool training is a better option.  Temperatures in the lake can also vary greatly, between 60-80 degrees, and there is usually a strong thermocline present getting colder the deeper you dive.

scuba diving fort lauderdale - open water Certification

All Open Water options are priced all inclusively and include: classroom materials, rental equipment, air tanks, air fills, park admission fees, boat charters in Fort Lauderdale, final certification processing fees.  Semi private scuba diving classes will have a maximum of 4 divers. Only tax and gratuity are not included in the Prices shown below.

Group Discounts and Specials For Open Water Scuba Certification

$100 off on 2 Divers
$200 off on 3 Divers
$300 off on 4 divers

E-Learning Vs. Traditional Classroom

Student divers choosing the E-Learning format will pay $169 additional for access to Padi platform.  When registering for a class students will receive an access code via email to redeem and can begin their training at any time.  

E-Learning record should be printed and complete by the date of the pool training scheduled and will complete a quick review before getting into the water.

Typically a classroom session takes 4-6 hours and is completed during the first scheduled day of any Padi Open Water class.  Padi suggests 12-15 hours to complete the Open Water E-Learning portion but some students may complete much faster than the recommended time frame.

Cost should not be the deciding factor as the difference is minimal.  Time is typically why many students choose E-Learning, as students can jump right into the Confined Water Dives.

Usually student divers will know which option will meet their personal needs best.   Classroom sessions are included with all inclusive pricing at Learn Scuba With Paul.  See the Prices page for more information about all inclusive pricing in the Open Water class.  

During a classroom session student divers will view Padi's Open Water video for each section and then complete the corresponding Knowledge Review for that chapter with an instructor.  Structure is almost identical to the e-learning program and style of learning.

Following each Knowledge Review there is a multiple choice quiz (10 questions) and finally a final exam (50 questions) covering all 5 chapters.  Divers must score at least 75% on all quizzes and exams however may retest as many times as needed.

Personally I found that I retained a lot more of the information that I learned when I took scuba diving classes in the traditional classroom style format with an instructor.  One of the biggest advantages of the classroom session is having an expert instructor right there in front of you to answer all of your questions.  

In addition you also get to know your instructor and their particular scuba diving habits and stories.  However the E-Learning platform certainly offers its advantages as a student diver can start and stop whenever they wish (must be completed within one year of start date), move at their own pace, and most importantly skip directly to Phase 2 Confined Water Dives.

Private Traditional Options

Private 3 day Course (Most popular) - $799

  • 1 on 1 or private group
  • In home classroom Day 1
  • Day 2 Tigertail for confined water sessions 1-5 and open water dives 1-2
  • Day 3  Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale Open Water dives 3-4

4 Day Course - $999

  • 1 on 1 or private group
  • In home classroom Day 1
  • In home pool Day 2 or Tigertail for confined water sessions 1-5
  • Days 3+4 Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale 2 ocean dives each day

Open Water Dives Fort Lauderdale

In Ft Lauderdale 2 tank dive charters are typically a 60-70 ft wreck followed by a drift dive along the reef at 25-30 ft.  Fort Lauderdale has an impressive selection of wrecks all very close to each other in suitable depths for Open Water Divers. ​

In Fort Lauderdale usually the visibility is considerably better on the deeper wrecks (60-70 ft) than the shallower reefs (25-30 ft).  On the reefs in Ft Lauderdale there are many healthy areas however there are some portions that have been overfished or damaged where there is not a lot of activity.  

Dives are done as drift dives where divers carry a float and flag while the boat follows and picks you up at the end of the dive.  Wreck dives last 20-40 minutes depending on air consumption and drift dives 45-60 minutes.  

There is even a series of 5 wrecks called "The Wreck Trek," which is a series of 5 ships sunk within 100 yards of each other.  Please view an underwater video tour of the Wrek Trek below.

Learn Scuba With Paul
2881 N Oakland Forest Dr #306 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 US
Phone: 9547280837 Website:

During phase 3 of Open Water, students will complete a total of 4 dives.  These dives take place in the ocean or an "open water like environment" such as lake or quarry.  

Students demonstrate mastery of the in water skills learned during the confined water phase under supervision of their instructor.  This is definitely the most fun part of the Open Water Diver certification.  

Divers in training who complete their Confined Water Dives at Tigertail will have completed 90-100% of their in water skills by the end of the day.  Therefore on the last day of class these divers get to really focus on just diving and having fun.

Student divers enrolled in any Open Water class will choose where their open water dives take place.  Scuba diving charters are available everyday departing between 08:00am - 09:00am and returning 12:00pm- 01:00pm depending on the charter or location.  

Afternoon dives really vary by the time of year and if there are enough divers interested.  Trips are typically 2 tank and dive sites and depth vary by charter and location.

For more information about the locations and times of each charter please visit the Locations page.

For more information about the Open Water class pricing, scheduling or structure please visit the Prices page.

Please visit the Calendar page or Contact Me page for more information about reserving your next Open Water adventure in Fort Lauderdale.

Open Water Ft Lauderdale

Students must choose private or semi-private scuba diving lessons in Ft Lauderdale.  Students must also choose either E-Learning or traditional style classroom with an instructor for Knowledge Development phase prior to in water training.

The Padi Open Water course has 3 phases:

  • Knowledge Development
  • Confined Water Dives 1-5
  • Open Water Dives 1-4  

Participants can complete all 3 phases and become Padi Open Water Diver certified in as little as 2-4 days.  For phase 1, Knowledge Development, students have an option of either completing online independently using Padi's E-Learning or in a traditional classroom style setting with an instructor. 

When choosing E-Learning, divers can complete Open Water in as little as 2 days.  Once a diver completes all 3 phases they are considered a certified Padi Open Water Diver.  This entry level license or certification allows that diver to go scuba diving up to 60 ft without the supervision of a dive professional.  

In addition, a certified Padi Open Water Diver may fill air tanks and participate in scuba diving charters across the globe with their internationally recognized Open Water Diver certification. 

Private E-Learning Course Options

Private 2 Day Course w/ E-Learning - $768

  • Includes: Padi E-learning Course ($169)
  • 1 on 1 or private group
  • Day 1 Tigertail
  • Day 2 Boat Charter in Fort Lauderdale 2 ocean dives

Private 3 Day Course w/ E-Learning  - $999

  • Includes: Padi E-learning Course ($169)
  • 1 on 1 or private group
  • In home pool Day 1 or Tigertail for confined water sessions 1-5
  • Day 2 Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale 2 ocean dives
  • Day 3 Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale 2 ocean dives

Open Water Key Largo

Key Largo is considered the diving capital of the world.  In Key Largo 2 tank dive charters are usually double shallow on either Molasses or French Reef.  

The reefs in Key Largo offer an impressive and consistent abundance of marine life.  Additionally the visibility on average is typically better than in Fort Lauderdale but this can really vary by weather and time of year.  

The dive boat will usually tie to a mooring ball and divers return to the same starting point at the end of each dive.  Dives on the reef usually last 45-60 minutes each.  The reefs in Key Largo are federally protected waters and part of National Marine Sanctuary. Therefore no fishing, spearfishing, or lobstering is permitted in these waters.

Both locations truly offer great scuba diving in South Florida however Key Largo definitely has some key advantages.  Key Largo diving is a bit more expensive and travel time from Fort Lauderdale area is about 75-120 minutes depending on traffic.  

For the additional costs and time associated with diving here I charge an additional $150/ per day (not per person) for any classes taking place on a Key Largo charter. 

Traditional Classroom Course Options

3 day Course (Most popular) - $499

  • Day 1 Classroom Knowledge Development
  • Day 2 Tigertail for confined water sessions 1-5 and open water dives 1-2
  • Day 3  Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale Open Water dives 3-4

4 Day Course - $599

  • Day 1 Classroom Knowledge Development
  • Day 2 Pool only or Tigertail for confined water sessions 1-5
  • Days 3+4 Boat charter in Fort Lauderdale 2 ocean dives each day

Junior Open Water

For Junior Open Water (ages 10-14 year old) classroom sessions may be split up into 2 or 3 shorter sessions.  Junior Open Water Divers will have a shallower depth restriction of 40 ft and are required to have an adult dive buddy during dives after certification.  

The Knowledge Development phase of the Open Water class can be a lot of new information to absorb all at once for anyone; so this can be done for adults as well upon request.  For additional classroom sessions there is a $49 additional charge.  Please visit the Contact Me page for questions about dates and times of availability.