Recreational Scuba

Basic Diver (ISO 11121)


The SSI Basic Diver program provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to complete introductory scuba dives with an SSI Open Water Instructor in an open water environment.

Note | This program does not result in an entry-level certification. The instructor should only teach the skills outlined in the Basic Diver Instructor Manual and focus on the students’ safety and enjoyment.

Minimum Instructor Rating

An active status Open Water Instructor may conduct the Basic Diver program.

Student Prerequisites

  • Minimum age: 10 years old.


  • There is no recommended duration for the Basic Diver program.

Depth Limitations

  • Maximum pool/confined water depth limit: 5 meters.
  • Maximum open water depth limit: 12 meters.

In-Water Ratios


  • The student-to-instructor ratio is 8:1.
  • Certified assistants cannot be used to increase ratios.

Confined Water and Open Water

  • The student-to-instructor ratio is 4:1.
  • The ratio may increase to 6:2 with one (1) certified assistant.
  • No more than two (2) participants per instructor or certified assistant may be under the age of 12, and none of the remaining participants may be under the age of 15.

Minimum Supervision

  • An active status Assistant Instructor or higher must directly supervise all academic and pool/confined water activities.
  • An active status Open Water Instructor must evaluate all required skills in the pool/confined water prior to any open water activities, and must directly supervise all open water activities.

Note | Any Open Water Instructor may verify completion of the required pool/confined water skills prior to the open water training dive.


  • During in-water skill evaluations, the students must remain under direct supervision of the SSI Professional so that physical contact can be made at any time.

Requirements For Completion

  • Complete all academic and pool/confined water sessions and assessments as outlined in the instructor manual for Basic Diver.
  • Complete at least one (1) open water training dive as outlined in the instructor manual for Basic Diver.

Issuing a Recognition Card

  • Upon completion, process all students in MySSI so they may receive their digital recognition card.
  • Basic Divers may dive under the direct supervision of an SSI Open Water Instructor in environments equivalent to their training, and within the recommended depth limits, for six (6) months after completion of the Basic Diver program.
  • After six (6) months, the student must retake the Basic Diver program, or register for a Scuba Diver/Open Water Diver program to continue diving.


  • SSI Professionals can count one (1) open water training dive from in the Basic Diver program towards the Scuba Diver or Open Water Diver certification.
  • Credit only applies if done within six (6) months of completing the Basic Diver program.
  • An open water training dive may only be credited towards the Open Water Diver program if the dive is conducted to a minimum depth of five (5) meters for at least 15 minutes.
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