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Scuba Certifications vary widely in what you get for how much you pay. Our course fees include all certification and diving fees, meaning you’ll never be surprised by unexpected costs. Call us today for information on specific courses and their costs.

Channel Islands Scuba uses Scuba Schools International (SSI) as our scuba certifying agency. SSI is recognized internationally, allowing you to dive anywhere in the world. All of our Dive Pros are SSI trained and ready to help you get the most out of your Scuba experience. Below are the SSI Courses and Certifications we offer. Call us today for specific information on schedules and rates.


Dive Specialties

Advanced Skills

Dive Pro

Diving Safety

Open Water Diver FAQ

When researching certifications, always know what you’re signing up for. If you want to be able to dive without an instructor, you NEED to be Open Water Certified. Don’t pay for general scuba certifications that don’t qualify you for your diving needs.

Open Water Diver Certification

The SSI Open water Diver Certification is the most comprehensive certification to allow you to dive anywhere in the world. At Channel Islands Scuba, we provide personalized training to make sure you are truly comfortable underwater with the necessary skills and equipment. This is your first and most important step to becoming a diver.

Try Scuba Diving

If you’re not sure that you’re ready for the full open water certification, you can take this introduction to scuba diving. We’re sure you’ll love it, so the open water dive for this course will count as the first of your required dives if you pursue open water certification.

Boat Diving

A lot of vacation diving takes place from boats. This course teaches you proper boat diving techniques and dive travel recommendations.

Deep Diving

To experience the wonder of diving below 60 feet, you need the right skills and knowledge, which is what we provide in our deep diving course!

Underwater Photography

If you’ve been wondering how to take high quality photos when diving, this course is for you! Our experienced instructors will answer all your digital underwater photography questions and more!

Dry Suit Diving

If you want to dive in cold climates, you’ll want to take our dry suit diving course. During 2 mandatory dives, you will learn and apply correct dry diving techniques, as well as care and maintenance of a dry suit.

Enriched Air- Nitrox (EANx)

Nitrox is the key to having longer no-decompression limits to take underwater photos and explore wrecks. In our Enriched Air Nitrox program, you will learn all the necessary rules for planning dives with Nitrox and using Nitrox in a safe way.

Underwater Navigation

Learn how to navigate with a compass and apply natural navigation skills underwater! We teach you how to estimate distances, navigate search patterns, find your way to marking points, and be able to get back to the exit at any time.

Night & Limited Visibility Diving

Diving at night allows you to experience diving from a completely different point of view. This course provides you the knowledge and experience to get you ready for night diving.

Perfect Buoyancy

This course prepares you for mandatory check-dives where you’ll have to demonstrate your buoyancy skills in order to dive around reefs and other environmental locations.

Search and Recovery

Learn search patterns using ropes and compasses, search planning techniques, and the correct process for bringing heavy items to the surface.

Waves, Tides, and Currents

Our Waves, tides, and currents course includes a minimum of 2 open water dives and answers all your questions about navigating various water conditions when diving.

Wreck Diving

In our wreck diving specialty course, you will learn where and how to get background information on wrecks, how to locate wrecks and how to prepare for a wreck dive. During the 2 mandatory dives, you will apply the correct wreck diving techniques, as well as evaluate and avoid the potential risks while diving on wrecks.

Diver Stress and Rescue

This course teaches divers how to avoid, recognize, and solve problems both on the surface and underwater. As a prerequisite for certification, you need to have a valid CPR, First Aid & Oxygen Provider certificate.

Science of Diving

Our Science of Diving program provides detailed and comprehensive information on physics, physiology, decompression theory, marine life, and diving equipment. This course is a prerequisite to becoming an SSI certified Dive Professional.

Dive Guide

SSI Dive Guides can lead and guide certified divers. Additionally, after passing the Snorkeling Instructor program, a Dive Guide can teach and issue Snorkeling certifications.


Dive Guide plus the Science of Diving program equals Divemaster. Divemasters can assist SSI Instructors with pool/confined water and open water training.

Dive Control Specialist

As a Dive Control Specialist, you will be an assistant instructor who can teach "Scuba Skills Update", "Snorkeling" and "Try Scuba" (pool only) courses.

Training Specialist

A Dive Control Specialist can become a Training Specialist and teach certain SSI specialties by simply purchasing the training materials and co-teaching that Specialty with an SSI Instructor. These SSI Specialty programs include: Boat Diving, Digital Underwater Photography, Navigation, Perfect Buoyancy, and many more.

As a Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) Affiliated and Trained Dive Shop, we can provide you with key skills for helping in diving emergencies.

Your first step is becoming a DAN member. DAN provides members with top-notch dive safety education. Join today, and get great benefits such as AlertDiver magazine, and the option to sign up for Dive Insurance. This is invaluable in the event of an unforeseen dive emergency.

Now that you have taken care of that, you are ready for some great dive safety and treatment courses…

Diving First Aid for Professional Divers

DFA Pro is comprised of information from the Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries, Neurological Assessment, First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries and CPR HCP courses.

Diving Emergency Management Provider

The DEMP Program combines the knowledge and skills from the following courses into a single approach to managing diving emergencies: Basic Life Support: CPR and First Aid, Neurological Assessment, Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries and First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries.

Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries

This course will teach you the techniques of emergency oxygen administration for suspected diving injuries and nonfatal drowning. You will learn the fundamentals of recognizing dive-injuries along with response and management.

First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries

This course teaches divers how to identify and avoid potentially harmful marine life. It also provides first aid skills to minimize these injuries and reduce discomfort.

Nuerological Assessments

Learn how to obtain essential information about an individual involved in a dive emergency or suspected of having a stroke and what information to relay to EMS.

Basic Life Support: CPR & First Aid

You will learn how to perform CPR, use an automated external defibrillator (AED) and become familiar with the signs and symptoms associated with heart attacks and respiratory arrest.

CPR Health Care Provider with First Aid

Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and respiratory arrest and proper methods of shock and wound management.

What is Open Water Diver Certification?

Open Water Diver Certification is a program for those people who are ready to become full, autonomous Scuba Divers. This means being able to dive without the assistance of a Dive Professional. This course is not intended to determine if you would like Scuba Diving. It is a full training program involving multiple class and pool sessions, as well as verification of skill competency in an ocean setting over five dives at the beach and on a boat. If you are unsure if Scuba Diving is for you, we recommend signing up for a Try Scuba course instead. This is a one-day course that introduces you to the basics of Scuba in a class and pool session – understanding the basic theory of diving, as well as familiarity with the gear, watermanship, and skills that will be required to complete your Certification course. If you enjoy that, and are comfortable with the environment, then you know you’re ready for full Certification.

What are the requirements to receive my Open Water Diver Certification?

Open Water Diver Certification requires attendance at three academic sessions, two pool sessions, and completion of five dives in the ocean – one snorkel skills dive and four scuba dives. There are a set of skills that are taught that each student must demonstrate adequate mastery of to their instructor to ensure they will be safe, competent divers after Certification. The vast majority of people are able to do so over the course of the standard program, but please keep in mind that this is a Certification. Attendance at the required sessions does not guarantee Certification – adequate mastery must be demonstrated, and, if it is not, additional sessions may be required in order to complete the course. Skills include clearing water from the diver’s mask while underwater, retrieval of lost regulators underwater, adequate buoyancy control, and ability to maintain depth during a safety stop, to name a few.

Why does your Certification include Beach and Boat Dives?

According to the book, a certified Open Water Diver can dive without a Dive Professional to depths of 130’. However, common sense dictates that a diver is truly qualified only in conditions that are within those to which they have been trained, and diving beyond that takes time and small steps to achieve safely. We utilize Beach and Boat dives to ensure our divers experience the most common diving environments and challenges, and are prepared to manage them following Certification. In the long run, this maximizes our divers’ ability to dive where and when they want to do so, safely and confidently.

I’m interested in Scuba Diving, but not sure I will like it. Is Open Water Diver for me?

Open Water Diver Certification is a Certification course. We have to assume that each of our students in the course is committed to learning to be a diver, and that they’ve already made up their mind that they are going to do so. If you are unsure if this is for you, it is much better to enroll in a Try Scuba course, determine if you’re comfortable in the water and with the equipment, and, if so, move into full Certification.

Why do I have to purchase my Personal Scuba Gear?

That question is a bit complicated, but here we go.

Our students need their Personal Scuba Gear – mask, snorkel, fins, gloves, boots, dive bag, and surface marker.

First, Scuba Diving is an equipment intensive sport. We have learned that the safest and most comfortable way for a person to learn to dive is in equipment that has been personally fitted to them, that performs well, and that they are comfortable with. If you are comfortable in the water, you will get more out of the instruction, becoming a better diver at the end of your course.

Second, we’ve all been there. If you want to participate in an activity, but the first stop in performing that activity is going someplace else to get something, we will find excuses not to do so. Divers who have more gear dive more often – they don’t need to go rent gear in order to go diving. They just go. And because of that they go more often, becoming better divers more quickly.

Third, keep in mind that this type of gear isn’t always available for rent. Some places will provide you with basic gear during your certification (and charge you more for the class because of it). When you’re done with your course, you may not be able to rent it, and now have to buy the gear anyway if you want to go diving. We prefer to be up front with our customers – we keep the cost of our course as low as possible, get you in to your own gear, and you walk out with your certification, your gear, and the ability to dive for the same prices some charge just for the course itself.

Fourth, remember, humans are not designed to live 60 feet under the water. It may not seem like it, but everything we put on to go diving is life support equipment. Your safety depends on the performance of your gear. Our students are paying to learn Scuba, but also to do it in a safe fashion. If the gear you try to use doesn’t meet safety standards, we cannot accept the liability of taking you in the water, knowing that so much is riding on how that gear performs.

Finally, trust that Scuba gear is durable. Well maintained gear lasts almost a life time. Your fins should last over 10 years. A mask, if it isn’t lost or broken (watch where you set your tanks!), can last 20 years. Getting set up with your own gear costs very little over the life of that gear. You could pay far more for it in the long run by continually renting.

Ultimately, we want to ensure you are safe, comfortable, and confident during your diving experiences with us, all at the best possible value, short and long term, for you.

How expensive is Scuba Diving?

We’re not going to lie to you. Scuba Diving can be expensive. If you don’t own all of your own gear (and we mean ALL of it – regulators, BCD, wetsuit, etc. – the equipment we provide during training), a day on a boat (usually a three tank dive day) runs about $200, and a day of beach diving (usually a single tank dive) runs $60. This should be factored into your decision on moving forward with this sport. Many people ask why Certification is so expensive. If Certification puts a strain on your budget, be aware that your diving opportunities may be very limited, and you may want to hold off until you are more comfortable with the expense. Remember, Scuba Diving is a very muscle memory intensive sport, much like riding a bike. If you get certified, and then dive only once or twice a year, it will take a long time for you to get really comfortable. You may actually lose ground on your skills. We want our students to be informed, and not get in over their heads with something.

How do the On-Line materials work? Can I get a book if desired?

SSI (our certification agency) has moved to digital materials (e-learning). This means you can access your training materials from any computer or smart device. This provides you with much more flexibility in terms of where and when you complete them, without having to worry about losing a book. If you would prefer printed materials, they are available at an additional cost, but once we see what the digital materials have to offer, we doubt you’ll want to go that route.

Once I’m certified, where can I go to Dive?

The options are really limitless. Open Water Certification qualifies you to dive without a Dive Pro in attendance. That means you can go to a local beach anytime you want to, and hit the water. There are plenty of dive boats in our area that take divers out to hard to reach spots along the coast and out to our Channel Islands. And there is always dive travel as well.

I’ve heard a lot about PADI. Why do you use SSI as your Certification Agency?

We get asked that question a lot. First off, be aware that all Scuba Diving standards are set by the Recreational Scuba Training Commission, an international team that sets the standards for what Scuba Divers need to know / be able to do for all levels of certification. Organizations such as SSI, PADI, NAUI, etc. take these standards, and develop training materials to meet these standards, while injecting their methodology on how they are to be taught. All of these certifications are recognized the world over.

We utilize SSI because we feel it gives our divers some distinct advantages. All certification agencies provide divers with Knowledge and Skills to achieve their Certifications. SSI adds on two important factors that are unique in their approach:

  1. Equipment: SSI increases the focus on equipment. Scuba Diving is an equipment intensive sport, and divers must master their equipment in order for it to become an extension of them, with the ultimate goal of no longer having to think about the equipment. Rather, we’ve used it so much we build our muscle memory to its configuration, and get to the point where we use it without thinking about it, and instead can focus just on our dive and enjoy it more. The fact is, this only occurs when you own your equipment, and use it all the time. And SSI is honest about that. Ultimately, the more of your equipment that you own, the more comfortable, confident, and safe you will be in the water. SSI feels that is important for divers to know and understand.
  2. Experience: SSI is the only Certification Agency that includes an experience component to advanced certifications. This prevents what is known as “over learning” of skills. Every skill you add on needs to be exercised and cemented in your skill set before you add on new skills. Otherwise, you may forget key concepts of old skills in the pursuit of new. Imagine learning to ride a bicycle, and, as soon as you get your training wheels off, you sign up for a motorcycle riding course. They both have two wheels, right? But the additional skills needed to master a motorcycle can only be achieved if you’re already very comfortable on a bicycle. That’s why SSI has dive number requirements to achieve Advanced Certifications such as Specialty Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver. It taps the brakes to ensure you go out and dive with your current skill set a few times, increasing your comfort with existing skills, before another set is introduced. The ocean isn’t going anywhere. Don’t rush your training.

What is your refund Policy on classes?

Putting together a Scuba Class requires a large outlay of resource – instructors, divemasters, learning materials, gear check outs, and boat charters. Once you’ve committed to a course, we commit resources to ensure you will be able to complete it. Those resources don’t have a refund policy for us, thus, once you’ve committed to taking a class, we can’t issue a refund, because we’ve spent that money to secure the resources to complete your course, and we can’t get it back either.

What is your refund Policy on Personal Gear purchased for the class?

When you purchase your Personal Scuba Gear with us, you have some advantages. Try it in your first pool session. If something doesn’t feel right, or you want to try something different, bring it back in at end of day, and we’ll swap it out for you for the day two pool session. Decide which set you prefer, and we’ll settle up any differences. Keep in mind that once the gear has been in the Ocean, we can’t offer a refund. Otherwise, our standard refund policy applies to any gear purchases.

Do I need to know how to swim to go Scuba diving?

Know how to swim? Absolutely. Be a world class swimmer? Absolutely not. You will need to complete a water comfort evaluation during your Certification – a 250-meter swim (non-stop, no time limit, any stroke) and a 10-minute float (no touching the bottom). This is not a “test,” rather, it is to ensure you are comfortable in the water to begin with, and won’t be liable to panic just because you’re in the water. We have a lot to do to get you Certified, and our students need to be comfortable in the water to begin with so they can focus on what we need to teach them.

"Great instructors and staff! I did the SSI open water certification and purchased some of my gear through them and I would highly recommend CI scuba for anyone interested in getting certified or buying gear. They made the whole experience so much fun and really individualized the training to each students' needs. The world just became 70% bigger for me thanks to the instructors at Channel Islands Scuba!"

-Nicole M.
"Kudos to our rock star instructors Mike, Doak, and Jay. Thank you so much! You all kept us at ease, safe, and made it fun to get out into the water for our first real dive experience!"

-Mila F.
"I had a Great experience with the Dive Team at CI Scuba! ALL of the instructors are long time Divers and want you to learn and get you excited about Scuba. They supplied top of the line equipment for our dives and made sure it fit you. They took their time in training and gave you the confidence to do the Dive! They have a nice store with good prices! Can't wait for my next dive! Thank You CI Scuba!"

-Shawn M.
"Great instructors and staff! I did the SSI open water certification and purchased my gear through them and I would highly recommend CI scuba for anyone interested in getting certified or buying gear. They made the whole experience so much fun and really individualized the training to each student’s needs. The world just became 70% bigger for me thanks to the instructors at Channel Islands Scuba!"

-Nicole M.
"Great scuba shop, well stocked with state of the art equipment. Good prices with very nice employees and customers. Do yourself a favor and dive with them soon.

-Lance H."
"Hi Mike – We are having a great time and love diving! Please let your staff know how much we appreciate all they did to get us here!

-Valerie V."
"Everyone at Channel Islands Scuba was amazing. The instructors were everything you'd want: knowledgeable, patient, friendly, helpful and SO. MUCH. FUN! Mike and his son helped us pick out the right gear to get our new adventure started. If you want to learn to scuba, Channel Islands Scuba is the only place to do it."

-J B.
"Lots of fun and I felt safe and secure-- not only when it came to being in the water with Mike as my instructor but also in knowing he won't just pass anyone because they paid for the class. He is willing to work overtime and have students really learn scuba safety and procedures. I'd recommend this class to family and friends for sure!"

-Lindsay S.
"The best people. I wouldn't go anywhere else, the staff help so much, they are amazing people. And after years of trying they made a dream come true, to be dive certified. Thank you so much."

-Ian S.
"Channel Islands Scuba is Wonderful. The instructors are very knowledgeable, friendly, and patient. Everyone who works in the shop are also very kind and knowledgeable. I know I can always find the answer I need."

-Deanna D.
"Channel Islands Scuba is GREAT! Very friendly and helpful people, high quality equipment at very fair prices. The instructors are extremely knowledgeable, very patient, super friendly, abundantly helpful and lots of fun. Great service... Mike and team go above and beyond to treat their customers well."

-Roger F.
"Just got open water certified! CIS took care of everything in a very professional and organized manner. Mike was a fantastic instructor, and he really cared about getting each one of us certified. We were able to efficiently reschedule times for open water training due to bad weather. I really feel that I have benefited from this class and feel very comfortable diving because of it. I would highly recommend CIS!"

-Chris W.
"I just recently received my open water certification from CIS and I can't say enough how great the whole team is at the shop. Everyone was very friendly and encouraging the whole time. I had to miss one beach and boat dive and Mike was very accommodating and let me reschedule to another weekend. Thank you CIS for the great dives and look forward to getting more certification with them!"

-Charles K.
"Great Dive Shop! The staff and the instructors are as good as it gets. Very knowledgeable and friendly. I would highly recommend them to everyone."

-Kevin R.
"I had a really great time learning how to dive. Everyone is so nice and helpful, which made the experience even more enjoyable. We had a really awesome day at the beach dive at Paradise Cove and also at Catalina. I've always wanted to learn how to dive, and CIS was definitely the best place to achieve my goal."

-Anna H.
"I just finished my open water with CIS. Jay was our instructor. He is very professional, helpful, and a very nice guy. All the staff is very helpful and was able to answer any questions I had. I would recommend the shop 100%."

-Chad R.
"Thank you! You and Ron were such great instructors. I couldn’t have asked for a better intro to diving, and I know Brian really appreciated it as well and feels more comfortable than he did after his initial certification."

-Emily H.
"I want to thank you very much for your excellent instruction and caring approach to SCUBA. Your teaching style really makes a difference. THANK YOU again!!!!!"

-Roger F.