Swimming Requirement for Scuba Diving Certification

by Arleen
(Manila)

Do you have to be a swimmer to try scuba diving?

Hi Arleen,

In short - yes, you need to know how to swim in order to try scuba diving. However, you do not need to be an Olympic swimmer.

To get your scuba diving certification, you are required to pass a swimming test.

For instance, if you are getting certified by PADI, you must demonstrate basic waterskill comfort by swimming 200 yards. There is no time limit for this, and you may use any swimming strokes you want. You must also float in deep water for 10 minutes, again using any methods that you want.

So it is not a rigorous test but you do need to have some swimming ability.

You are going to be in the water and you want your safety to be a priority. Comfort in the water will go a long way toward making you a safer and more confident diver.

In addition, if you are doing any boat diving, you will inevitably find yourself having to tread water before you start your dive or as you wait for the boat to pick you up after your dive. Knowing how to swim is thus a must.

As you wait in the water before descending, knowing how to swim will also usually help lessen any anxiety you might feel about diving. Which should increase your chances for a safe and comfortable dive.

You can learn more about the requirements for diving on our scuba diving certification page.

If you have any more questions, just let us know.

Good luck and let us know how it goes if you try scuba diving.

Dianne

Similar Question From Another Reader

Is Swimming Required For Scuba Diving?
by Kim Treece
(Derby, UK)

I would like to know if you have to be able to swim to go scuba diving?

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the question. And the short answer is yes - you must be able to swim to go scuba diving. One of the requirements to receive your scuba certification is passing a swimming test.

For example, for PADI (one of the major dive certification agencies) one of the requirements to receive your open water certification is to pass a swim test. In this test your are required to swim 200 yards.

However, you can use any stroke you want and there is no time limit on how long it takes. You also have to be able to tread water or float for 10 minutes. Again, you can use any methods you want.

Hope this helps. For more information on what is required to be able to scuba dive, see our page on scuba diving certification.

Thanks for the question. Let us know how it goes if you decide to go scuba diving.

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