Scuba diving parties for kids

Learning to snorkel
Learning to snorkel

Earlier this month we hosted a scuba diving birthday party in our pool, for a group of extremely excited eight year olds. It was a slightly chaotic but enormously enjoyable day! The boys first mastered the use of snorkels, making drawings on slates while submerged. We were impressed by how well they took to skin diving, and they rocketed up and down the pool like sea otters.

After that they tried out scuba gear, and we were amused by the various ways they found to enjoy themselves. One of the boys kept inflating his BCD because he liked the sound the over-pressure valve made. Another made foamy fountains of water by purging his octo in the shallows. Others seemed to feel like Jacques Cousteau as they explored the pool! We taught them how to inflate an SMB using their spare regulator, and brought out our collection of underwater cameras for them to take innumerable selfies and group portraits that they could take home with them.

Parties like this are ideal for small groups of four to six participants, as they are supervision-intensive and a small group lets each child fully enjoy their turn to try out scuba gear under the supervision of the instructor. A little bit of advance planning is recommended for the purposes of paperwork, so get in touch sooner rather than later if you think this is something your child might enjoy. We can conduct the event in your swimming pool at home if it’s less than two metres deep, or at our pool. We have conducted a similar event at the Virgin Active gym, but that requires special permission. Be warned, the scuba diving bug might bite!

Sketching on slates
Sketching on slates

The PADI Bubblemakers and Seal Team programs are designed for kids aged 8-10, and enable them to master the use of scuba gear in the swimming pool. You can read more about those programs on the PADI website. From the age of 10, children can obtain a Junior Open Water qualification, which upgrades to a full Open Water qualification when they turn 15.

I’ve carefully chosen these photos so you can’t identify the kids, hence their mixed quality! The big kid with the silver hair is Tony.

Scuba diving for kids

Underwater exploration in the pool
Underwater exploration in the pool
  • Are you looking for a way to keep your family busy during the school holidays?
  • Do you enjoy being outdoors and exploring the beautiful environment around us?
  • Would your child benefit from the sense of achievement that comes from mastering a new set of skills, and the enjoyment that comes from spending time in the ocean?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, read on!

It is a little known fact that children as young as 10 years old can qualify as scuba divers, allowing them to dive with a certified adult diver or scuba instructor. It’s often easier for children to learn the new skills that are associated with scuba diving, because they listen and imitate well, they usually don’t have a lot of built-in hang ups and fears, and it’s really exciting for them to be learning something new.

Kids aged 8-9 are too young to become certified divers, but there is a choice of programs available that allow them to experience breathing underwater in the safe, controlled environment of a swimming pool. If the bug bites, they can complete the course to become fully qualified Junior Open Water divers once they turn 10.

Scuba diving is a great activity for the family to do together – I have taught family groups comprising parents and children, and it’s always a lot of fun. Alternatively, if your kids are keen to dive but you would rather sunbathe on the beach or go for a run with the dogs, that’s also fine! I conduct childrens’ dive course with a high ratio of supervisors (Instructors and Divemasters) to participants.

The confined-water (swimming pool) part of all our dive courses is conducted at our pool in Sun Valley, and the sea dives (for courses with participants age 10+) are usually conducted from Long Beach in Simon’s Town, and off our boat, Seahorse, launching from False Bay Yacht Club or Hout Bay depending on the weather conditions.

Ages 8-9

The PADI Bubblemakers and and SDI Future Buddies programs are for kids aged eight and up, and introduce scuba diving in a swimming pool environment. The PADI Seal Team program is available for the same age group, and involve some basic scuba skills and underwater missions to further increase diving competence.

Ages 10 – 15

SDI Junior Open Water or PADI Junior Open Water course is for wannabe divers aged 10 and up. These courses qualify kids to dive to 12 metres while with a certified adult diver or instructor, and when they turn 15 it is possible to upgrade to a regular Open Water qualification.

Age 12-15

From the age of 12, youngsters can earn the PADI Junior Advanced Diver (qualifying them to dive to 21 metres while with a certified adult diver) and Junior Rescue Diver qualifications.

To see all the dive courses we offer, visit our website. For more information about scuba courses for kids or any other diving related enquiries, use the contact form below to send a message:

Directions to the Southern Suburbs swimming pool

If you learn to dive with Tony (which you should, if you haven’t already) you will do your confined water skills at our pool at our facility in Sun Valley. You might also do a Discover Scuba DivingBubblemakers (if you’re a kid), or Seal Team course at the pool.

We used to use 2 Military Hospital swimming pool on Wynberg Military Base. It’s indoor, and heated to about 24 degrees. The water quality varies wildly, with visibility from 3-25 metres.

The pool is on the corner of Buren and Scobel roads in Wynberg and is run by SwimLab. Once you’re inside the Military Base, just follow the signs for the hospital.

Here’s how to get there:

From central Cape Town (or anywhere north of Wynberg):

  1. Get onto the M3 towards Muizenberg.
  2. At the top of Wynberg Hill take Exit 12, to Trovato Link Road.
  3. Follow Trovato Link Road through a set of traffic lights.
  4. At the second traffic lights, turn right into St John’s Road.
  5. Where the road forks, take the left fork into Camp Road.
  6. Turn right into 51st Avenue.
  7. Take the first left into Brink Drive.
  8. Follow Brink Drive to the T junction with Buren road, and then turn right.
  9. Look for Scobel Road on your right – the pool is covered with a domed white plastic cover and will be on the corner.

From anywhere else:

  1. Get onto the Main Road heading towards Wynberg.
  2. Turn into Constantia Road from whatever direction you’re approaching from.
  3. Go through the traffic circle at the Engen garage, taking the second exit (so you’re still going in the same direction).
  4. When you can see the police barracks in front of you (large, unsightly blocks of flats), turn right up Bower Road.
  5. At the top of Bower Road, turn right at the traffic lights.
  6. At the next set of traffic lights turn left into St John’s Road.
  7. Follow the directions from point 5 above.
Inside the pool area
Inside the pool area

Newsletter: Bye for now…

Hi everyone,

Claremont Virgin Active
Claremont Virgin Active - note the scuba divers at the end of the pool!

We spent Friday in a 24 degree swimming pool with a bunch of kids aged 8 and up. We were conducting Bubblemaker programs, open to all kids 8 and older and it was amazing how quickly they took to scuba gear. A small 10 litre cylinder looks huge when strapped to an eight year old, but within minutes they had the concept, good buoyancy and were off to explore the pool.

Bubblemakers in the pool
Bubblemakers in the pool

The wind was not kind in False Bay this weekend but we managed to dive with Open Water students on Saturday and Sunday in a calm and pleasant Simon’s Town yacht basin. Saturday afternoon we braved the rough ocean for Rescue diver course and despite the rough surface conditions we had good viz and pleasant diving. Many divers, eager to get wet, braved the wind on Saturday and I reckon there were easily 50 divers in the water.

The Sodwana weekend is here and 10 of us are off for a taste of warmer water and a relaxing long weekend. We leave on Thursday and will be back on Tuesday 12th. Gerard, Tami, Justin and Sophie will return as Advanced divers and Clare will complete her Underwater Navigator speciality. I hope to be armed with lots of humorous stories and many, many incriminating photos. Did you know you can make a fortune selling your friends’ incriminating evidence of them misbehaving purely buy using this statement: “How much will you pay me to keep this photo OFF facebook…?” Hehehe… Very profitable…

I am starting a new Open Water course on Wednesday 13th so I will be in the water every day from Wednesday to Sunday.

I plan to book a boat again for Saturday 16th to visit another wreck in Smitswinkel Bay. We will also simulate a few rescue scenarios on the trip so it will be fun. The last dive we did there was pleasantly rewarded with whales right next to us as we surfaced.

I am keen for a night dive again on Saturday 16th, I have torches and cyalumes. Sunday the 17th we plan to dive at Boulders and see if we can coax a few penguins to pose for us for a photo shoot… Underwater that is…

Be good, have fun, and go diving.

Don’t forget to get your dive permit from a post office.

Learn to Dive Today logoTony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog
Diving is addictive!

Bubblemakers

Friday was spent at the Virgin Active pool in Claremont, in crystal clear warm water. The pool is heated and I would guess it was around 24 deg celsius. We had a great time with a bunch of kids, conducting PADI Bubblemakers programs. We also had a couple of DSDs and all round good fun.

Going through the Bubblemakers/DSD flip chart
Going through the Bubblemakers/DSD flip chart

It is amazing at how quickly kids take to scuba diving. The youngest participant was eight years old and they become so amusing and small looking when you strap a 10 litre cylinder to them. Even the smallest mask looks huge on an eight year old head and the neat small mouthpieces we use as adults fill their mouths to a point that they seem like chipmunks. Within 15 minutes they had good buoyancy, understood the signs and signals and swam the length of the pool several times picking up small tiles and other odds and ends in the water.

Underwater exploration in the pool
Underwater exploration in the pool

If you want your children to be safe and comfortable around water then the Seal Team program is an extremely good way to achieve this. It follows on from Bubblemakers and can be done from the age of 8 years. They become real scuba divers, have a chance to perform navigation, search and recovery, underwater photography and a few other exciting skills.

Imagine how good your underwater skills would be today if you started when you were eight!!