You need adequate swimming skills and need to be in good physical health. No prior experience with scuba diving is required, but you can try it first through the Discover Diving program. Minimum age to try diving is 10 years old.
NAUI and PADI are the two most recognized diving certification agencies in the world. While PADI is a for-profit business, NAUI is the oldest and a not-for-profit certification international organization and is used by the United States Navy. Both agencies offer a variety of diving certifications for different level divers, however there may be few skills that one agency emphasizes more than the other.
Not really, no. PADI is a for-profit business, with ample marketing funds, so you will see more of their brand worldwide. It does not mean you need to be certified PADI to go diving through one of their affiliated locations. Once certified as a scuba diver, you can use any dive shop of your choice.
We occasionally plan group outings to dive shipwrecks in Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is cold water diving and visibility can be very unpredictable. If you are looking to go on Lake Michigan dives and we have nothing set up, we recommend Double Action Dive Charters. They go on shipwreck dives in the summer. Caveat is you need to own or rent scuba equipment. We do rent scuba equipment.
As far as getting certified goes, we offer an entry-level 60' Open Water course.
You would need to come into our shop and fill out some paperwork, and from there, you would get the education material and access to the pool scheduler, which would allow you to sign up for pool sessions. It would also be an ideal time for you to try on the gear to make sure you have the right one for your needs.
We enjoy going to Haigh Quarry to complete the Open Water dives. It’s called the Caribbean of the Midwest, but don’t let the nickname fool you. It’s neither warm, clear, nor blue. It’s an exciting place to go, and we firmly believe if you can learn to confidently and comfortably dive these waters, you will be a better-trained diver than those who get certified in tropical waters.
We totally understand, and yes, there is!
Instead of signing up for the entire Open Water Scuba Diver course, you can choose an Open Water Scuba Diver Referral course. You would still do all of your academics and training with us in the pool but you would then go on holiday or vacation somewhere lovely and warm and complete your four Open Water dives on destination. This route does save you some money upfront but expect to pay a bit more to complete those checkout dives.
Another option would be to join one of the warm water destination trips that take place after your pool dives are complete. We always have instructors on our trips offering Open Water and Advanced Open Water checkout dives.
Certification agency policy is you have 1 year from the start of the course to finish all of the academics, pool training, and Open Water dives.
You will need to pay a re-admittance fee, and we will start you back at dive 1. We have you start back at the beginning because diving can be loosely compared to riding a bike. Suppose you haven’t been on a bike for a long time; you forget how to balance and counterbalance, how hard to squeeze the brakes, how hard to peddle or when to change gears. It takes you a few tries and probably falls until you figure out how to get comfortable riding again. Scuba diving is similar. Putting gear together, how to descend and ascend, when to equalize, how to control your buoyancy and breathing, hand signals, watching out for your dive buddy, and more. You can forget a lot in a short period of time. We are doing this for your safety and because we want you to be the best divers out there.
There is no such thing as the best manufacturer or brand. The best gear is the gear that works best for you and the place you are diving. That said, Scubapro octos have been proven mechanically to be the industry leaders for recreational diving.
All certifying students are required to own personal equipment. Personal equipment is defined as a diving approved mask, snorkel, boots, and fins (please note that swimming and snorkeling fins are not suitable for diving). The agencies also require students to own a surface marker buoy and a water-resistant timepiece. It does not need to be a dive computer or expensive for the Open Water dives.
Our staff are currently only allowed to service Scubapro branded equipment.
Depends. Our first question for you is, are you planning on an upcoming trip in a few weeks or a couple of months?
If you aren’t in an immediate rush, you’ll be fine.
‘What do you consider “an immediate rush”‘?
We urge caution trying to get certified in less than a two month period of time. If you have an upcoming trip and need to be certified by a specific date, please call us, and we can help figure out if you can get the process going.
During the high season (May 1 to October 1), we experience higher volumes and it is very common for many people to wait until the end of summer to get started. We have limited pool sessions and staff to train. You are best served to get in as early as you can as we cannot guarantee space towards the end of high season.
We do not have our own pool but would love to have one someday. Historically, we have served a variety of pools throughout Chicagoland, depending on whether the locations are allowing scuba. Currently, we expect to teach at University of Chicago, UIC and Bensenville. The Water’s Edge Aquatic Center in Bensenville, IL, and the Physical Education Building Small Pool at The University of Illinois of Chicago (UIC). We are always looking for access to more pools so if you know of a place we can check out, please let us know. We want to provide more opportunities for our Chicago community to experience diving.
Depends. During the high season, we aim to offer four sessions a week from Monday through Thursday. During offseason, we reduce the offerings based on demand and staffing availability and add some weekend pool sessions. Please visit our pool calendar to see when we have pool sessions.
Not at Learn Scuba Chicago, but you should always ask any other facility whether you will need to pay for anything else before you become certified and keep asking until they say no. You will be surprised how other shops fail to mention additional costs.
When you sign up for a full Open Water certification through Learn Scuba Chicago, the price of the course includes the academics required and rental equipment for training. Rental equipment consists of a buoyancy compensator device (BCD), a cylinder of air, a regulator, a belt, and weights, a wetsuit for the quarry dives during our Open Water season, and all pool sessions, even the extra sessions if you require them.
The quarry has a $25 per day entrance fee paid on the day. The University of Chicago charges a fee to use their pool.
Plan for roughly 2 hours. You will not be in the water the entire time. You need time to set up your gear, complete some swim tests, discuss or plan the dive you are doing, dive, debrief after, break down your gear, and pack up. You will want to arrive early as your group gets in the water when everybody in that group is ready.
A dive computer. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Dive computers are helpful for many reasons, but primarily they take the hassle out of sitting down and working out your dive tables. The dive computer is the first piece of equipment we recommend students purchase if they plan to dive a few times a year. It also does not need to be the most expensive computer. It needs to be able to log when you start your dive, how long you’ve been down and when you end your dive.
We do offer refresher sessions.
If you have not been diving in the last 4 to 6 months, you need to take a refresher. Most dive shops will want to see a log from your last dive and will not allow you to dive if you haven’t had a recent dive.
When purchasing your refresher, please have your diver number and certification agency available, as we will need to verify your diver status. Once you’ve completed your refresher session, we can provide you with a document stating you completed a refresher dive with us and are good to go diving.
We can help you complete your certification. Just get us your paperwork from your training and we will get you started.
As a scuba diving student, there may be circumstances under which you began your certification with another shop and need to complete it with us. Inversely, you may want to begin your confined water dives with our organization and complete your Open Water dives while on vacation.
Everyone at LSC, outside the store staff, are volunteers and our Divemaster Candidates (DMCs) are a vital part of our organization. Learn how to become a DMC and make an impact here.
Yes, visit our Volunteer page to learn more about getting involved with LSC here.
We do not offer classes on snorkeling, however our staff would be more than able to assist a student with snorkeling as part of their Discover Dive purchase.
We do not but we take donations and can provide a tax donation receipt if requested.
We are always traveling to new destinations and welcome our students to join us on our fun in the sun adventures! Please see our travel page for the most up-to-date trip list.
Check out some of our Specialty Courses listed on our website or inquire about our Divemaster Candidate Program.
As long as your Scuba Diver certification has not expired, we offer upgrades to Open Water Certification. Please contact the store for more information.