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Boat Diver Certification

Ready to take your first giant stride into the open ocean? Become a certified PADI Boat Diver! Catalina Island is the perfect location to continue your journey.

As a PADI Boat Diver, you’ll be comfortable diving new, more remote areas of the world – some that can only be accessed by boat.  Imagine taking your whole family on a liveaboard vacation in an exotic location where you’ll do nothing but eat, sleep, dive, repeat!  In addition, this specialty will count toward your Master Scuba Diver rating.

Boat diving etiquette, techniques and services differ depending on the type of boat, number of divers and local customs and regulations in a particular area of the world. Your class will cover a range of topics including:

  • safely entering and exiting the water
  • descending directly into deep water
  • proper use of surface and descent lines
  • when to use your SMB
  • practical compass use
  • understanding boat safety practices
  • types of gear bags and onboard storage
PADI boat diving

Even if you’ve already done some boat dives, California boat diving might be a new experience as Divemasters do not enter the water with you unless you’ve booked a private guide. In this class, you’ll have an instructor right by your side, so you’ll feel comfortable while you gain more confidence in your abilities.

You’ll learn to be a safe, independent diver – understanding the “how and why” of each skill so you’ll be able to make informed decisions when your instructor isn’t around to offer guidance.

All of our classes are private, limited to just you or your small group. However, for this specialty we will be joining an excursion with a local operator, so there may be other divers onboard. If you’d like to keep your class private, we may be able to arrange that when making reservations. (All boat fees are separate and in addition to your class and reservations are at the discretion of the boat operator.)

This class is generally planned over a minimum 2-day period, but with us, learning happens at your own pace.  Rushing through is not the way to go.

Our belief in the art of possible and adaptive approach to teaching empowers you on a journey that is unique to you.

Our approach is different than you’ll find elsewhere: we celebrate inclusivity and diversity and ensure that everyone is treated with respect, patience, empathy and kindness.

All PADI courses are performance-based, meaning that we modify skill techniques to meet performance requirements by leveraging what individual students can do.  Your purchase a class, but you earn your certification.

If you are an Adaptive Diver, give us a call to discuss your needs.  Learn more

What to Expect
  • Your instructor will call each diver before the class begins, so you’ll be able to get to know each other and get answers to any questions you might have, as well as discuss logistics and set expectations for your day of diving.
  • Your minimum 2-day class will have two components: one day on shore including a checkout dive and two boat dives the next day. (Adaptive accommodations are usually available.)
  • If you are already certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver and completed a Boat dive as an Adventure dive, only one additional dive is required, and the second dive will be a fun dive.
  • Similarly, the first dive of this certification may count as an Adventure Dive for Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver certification. Please ask your instructor for details.
  • Pacific water is considered cold water year-round (upper 50s-low 60s F in winter and upper 60s – low 70s in summer), so you will be wearing a 7mm wetsuit, boots and possibly a hood.
  • NOTE: Use of any kind of camera during your dives is not allowed.


  1. We’ll meet at the beautiful Casino Point Dive Park, which is a world-class marine preserve located in Avalon with a shore entry down a short flight of stairs. (Adaptive accommodations are available.)
  2. The price of your course includes the required eLearning, which you’ll complete at home before your arrival on Catalina Island. We’ll review the information you learned to make sure you have a clear understanding of the information.
  3. Next, you’ll complete a checkout dive to allow your instructor to evaluate your abilities (including SMB and compass skills) and level of comfort in the ocean as well as dial in your gear and weighting.
  4. Lastly, we’ll confirm our plans for Day Two.

PLEASE NOTE: The Park is considered Confined Open Water by PADI standards.  None of your class will be conducted in a pool – there are no pools available on the island.

There’s always time for questions – we’re here to help you every step of the way!


  1. We’ll meet up first thing in the morning at the foot of the Green Pleasure Pier in the center of town.
  2. Your instructor will distribute any gear you’ll need and then go directly to the boat dock where we’ll sign in with the crew and board the boat.
  3. Site briefings and general boat information will be provided by the boat crew and your instructor will be giving direction for your specific dives and performance requirements.
  4. We’ll be doing two dives at locations of the Captain’s choice, with lunch (provided by the boat operator) during our surface interval.
  5. Some divers need additional time to complete the class, and multiple options are available to do so.
  6. If you’ve completed all performance requirements, TA-DA! You’re now a certified PADI Boat Diver!
What’s Required
  • All divers must currently hold Open Water or Jr. Open Water certification.
  • Class Size: For the Boat Diver Specialty, we prefer to keep the class size to a maximum of 4 divers in one party so that everyone has enough time to learn in comfort at their own pace. However, if you have a larger family group, please call us and we will try to accommodate your needs.
  • We have had requests by friends or family members to join divers on certification classes. Generally, this is not allowed, as both the student and instructor need to be focused on diver skills and safety. If this is something you feel strongly about, please call us to discuss your concerns.
  • Minimum Age: Certified divers ages 10 and up may participate (depth restrictions apply).
  • Insurance: You must purchase DAN Dive Insurance for every member of your group and provide proof of insurance prior to your arrival on Catalina Island. This is required to board the boat. Learn more 
  • Gear: Each diver must have their own Surface Marker Buoy. Give us a call and we’ll help you choose from all the options.
  • Logbook: Please bring your current Logbook for your instructor to review.
  • Medical Clearance: All certification classes require medical clearance before arrival on the island. Please download and complete this form immediately, returning it signed via email as soon as possible before your arrival.
  • Depending on each diver’s unique circumstance, signoff by a medical doctor may be required. Please contact us immediately if you have any concerns whatsoever. If you need medical signoff and you do not have that before your arrival, you will not be allowed to proceed with your class.
  • If anyone under the age of 18 is participating, there are additional forms which will be provided, and which must also be completed and signed by a parent or guardian and returned via email as soon as possible before your arrival.
  • You must be able to swim and be in good overall health.
  • Do bring your own bathing suit and towel. We also recommend bringing a warm jacket for surface intervals.
What’s Included
    • eLearning: The price of your class includes the required eLearning, which must be completed prior to your arrival on Catalina Island. Once you’ve purchased your class, a link to your personal e-Learning will be provided.
    • Private Instruction: Your class will be yours alone. No one you don’t know will be participating. However, for this specialty we will be joining an excursion with a local operator, so there may be other divers onboard.

Standard Gear Package

    • 7mm wetsuit, hood, boots and gloves, as needed
    • Computer, if needed (Note: If earning a separate Nitrox certification, you must have your own computer.)
    • Mask, fins and snorkel
    • BCD, regulator, tanks and weights
  • Sizing: Please indicate the correct body weight, height and shoe size for each diver. Because we bring your gear to you, we would need to leave to exchange sizes or retrieve necessary items. This may not leave enough time for all dives planned per day (or cause us to miss the boat) incurring additional fees.
  • If you already have your own gear, we’ll fit you and help you learn to use it properly if needed.
  • If you have your own computer, please download and carefully read the user manual before you arrive.
  • Boat Dive Gear: Compasses, flashlights, slates, etc. are available, but we encourage you to purchase your own. Give us a call and we’ll help you choose the correct option. Each diver must purchase their own Surface Marker Buoy.
  • Proof of Certification: We will process your certification and PADI will issue a certification e-Card upon completion of your class.  Physical cards may be purchased from PADI at an additional charge

Our Commitment to Sustainability ensures that our gear, products and packaging are as eco-friendly as possible. Learn more

Pricing Options


Boat Diver Certification Class – 2 days, including 1 Checkout Dive and 2 Boat Dives

  • $595 per person
  • If you have already purchased your eLearning, you will receive a $100 discount. Please call us to provide your eLearning code and receive your discount.

Boat Fees

  • All boat fees are separate and in addition to the price of your class. Please contact us for current details as their prices may change.
  • Reservations, cancellations and refunds for boat dives are at the discretion of the boat operator.
  • If the boat operator cancels the boat for that day, Scuba by Design will issue a full refund for the cost of your class, minus eLearning which is non-refundable.

Additional Training Days

Purchase of a class does not guarantee certification. Additional days may be required to complete training dives (at the discretion of your PADI instructor) in order to meet PADI standards for certification.

  • Additional training day: $350 per person, plus additional boat fees
  • NOTE: For Adaptive Divers, different rates may apply. Please call us to discuss your unique situation.


  • Add PADI AWARE Specialist certification: $55 per person Learn more
  • Add Enriched Air/ Nitrox certification: $195 per person (includes eLearning) Learn more 
    • A second certification may be earned during your Boat Diver class at a reduced rate from purchase of a stand-alone class. There is no separate in-water dive, but Nitrox may be used during a training dive.
    • eLearning must be complete before arrival.
    • You must have your own computer so that you can change your gas mixture settings independently.
    • Nitrox tank rental may be done on-site through a local vendor at an additional fee.
  • Bundling Classes: If you are interested in bundling other certifications, please call us to discuss your options.

All prices are in US dollars.

Please carefully review our full Terms, Conditions and Cancellation Policy before purchase. 

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