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PADI Open Water Course  |  Other PADI Courses  |  Referrals from other Agencies

A "referral" is a process whereby you do a part of a course with one Instructor and/or dive center and another part with another Instructor and/or dive center. Below you'll find more information on this process and what it involves.

PADI Open Water Course

Many student-divers decide to do the pool training and the knowledge development part of the PADI Open Water Diver Course with a dive center back home and finish the course by completing the open water training dives with a dive center at a tropical holiday destination, during their vacation.

The advantage of this is that you don't need to study or do training during your vacation and you can do the open water dives in warm water and a (usually) much more interesting underwater world.

A typical referral works like this: you sign up for a PADI Open Water Course with a PADI Dive Center near you. After completing the pool training and the knowledge development part your PADI Instructor will fill in and sign the PADI Referral Form, thus verifying what you've done so far. Then you book your open water training dives with a PADI Dive Center located in your holiday destination. There you complete the four dives and the PADI Instructor doing those dives with you, will certify you as a PADI Open Water Diver. Nice and easy, isn't it?

Obviously we offer this service and, if you book it with us, we expect your first dive center to provide you with the course manual, a logbook and the PADI Referral Form signed by your Instructor. If applicable, you need to bring a medical statement, stating that you are fit to scuba dive, signed by a medical doctor. You do not need the blue "PIC Envelope", which is used to certify you, nor do you need to bring passport photos. We do your certification online, directly with PADI, with a digital photo we take ourselves. We provide everything you need for the four dives and your certification. You need to complete the four open water training dives over two days. We normally do 1 two-tank dive (one dive trip with two dives at two different sites) each day.

A PADI Referral is valid for 1 year from the moment your Instructor signs it. If it has been a while since you completed the training and the knowledge development part of the course, we may ask you to go in the water with us to asses your dive skills before we do the actual dives. If we do that, it will be a session of an hour at the most and normally we simply go off the beach in front of our dive center. We may also review some of the knowledge development topics with you, to make sure you still know the important stuff.

The description above is for the standard PADI Open Water Course Referral. You may complete any part of the PADI Open Water Course with a PADI Instructor and he or she can give you a referral form. You could then (within a year) do another part of the course with another Instructor and have him or her sign off what was done on the same referral form or you can complete the whole course. It also works the other way around; suppose you start a course with us, but you can't finish it because you get a cold. We then fill in and sign a PADI Referral Form for you and you can continue with your course with any other PADI Instructor and/or PADI Dive Center within a year.


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PADI Open Water Course  |  Other PADI Courses  |  Referrals from other Agencies

Other PADI Courses

Most of the PADI Courses can be started with one PADI Instructor and/or PADI Dive Center and continued or completed with another PADI Instructor and/or PADI Dive Center. In other words; you can get a referral for them.

Many courses have a PADI Referral Form that your Instructor can fill in and sign, which you'll need to present to your next Instructor. Some courses, like the Advanced Open Water Course or Specialty Courses, do not have a specific referral form. However, your Instructor can and should register the dives you do for those courses using the appropriate training records as well as sign off the dive(s) in your personal logbook.

PADI Referrals are valid for 1 year. The dives you do for the Adventures in Diving Program and Specialty Courses do not have the 1 year restriction, as long as they are properly registered by your PADI Instructor(s).

We accept any PADI Referral, with the exception of certain Specialty Courses that we don't or can't offer here in Huatulco (ice diving, for example :-)


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PADI Open Water Course  |  Other PADI Courses  |  Referrals from other Agencies

Referrals from Other Training Agencies

You can complete your entry-level course with us, even if you did the pool training and the knowledge development part of the course with an Instructor and/or dive center affiliated with a recreational diver training agency other than PADI, as long as it's recognized by PADI* (see below). After completing the preassesment and the training you will be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver.

The preassesment consists of a confined water or pool session, during which we will evaluate your ability to perform the dive skills of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and practise them with you if necesarry. We'll review the PADI Recreational Dive Planner (dive tables) with you because you'll need to complete the PADI Theory Exam for the PADI Open Water Diver Course as well. The whole thing takes a couple of hours at most. We usually do this preassesment portion in the afternoon, the day before you start the open water training dives.

After the preassesment we take you out for the four open water training dives, during which we will ask you to demonstrate certain dive skills. Usually we do the dives over two days, going out for a two-tank dive in the morning each day.

The dives will be registered and verified in your logbook and then we'll certify you.

* PADI recognizes the entry-level training from the following agencies:


Note: Other certifications may qualify, please contact us or PADI for further information.

Universal or Global Referrals

PADI is not a proponent of “universal” or “global” referrals (for several reasons) and our Instructors do not feel comfortable and familiar enough with the standards and training requirements of a different agency to conduct training dives according to other agencies' guidelines. Therefore we don't accept Universal or Global Referrals as they are intended. Instead we deal with those types of referrals as described above. This means you will be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver and we will not sign off your referral form.


Note for Instructor and Dive Centers

Below you'll see the PADI standards and procedures for PADI Instructors on how to deal with students being referred to us by another training agency. These are the standards we will follow.


"You must ensure that the student successfully completes the entire PADI Scuba Review program (refer to the Scuba Review Instructor Guide) along with the PADI Open Water Diver Final Exam. Remediate the student’s knowledge and skills, as necessary, before any open water training occurs."

"Use the PADI Skill Evaluation to assess student skills. In addition to the skills listed on the PADI Skill Evaluation Grade Sheet, the student must also demonstrate mastery of the following skills:"

  • Underwater swim without a mask

  • Air depletion excersice

  • Air depletion/Alternate Air Source (AAS) combined excersice


"A student referred from a certification organization other than PADI must complete Open Water Dives One and Two for Scuba Diver certification, or One through Four for Open Water Diver certification. For instructional consistency, it’s recommended that the receiving instructor/dive center conducting the preassessment and required remediation completes the open water training."


"As the instructor completing the open water dives, only you can certify the student. You must submit a PADI Positive Identification Card (PIC) envelope to PADI for processing and retain the student’s referral documents. You must submit the PIC within seven days of the completion of the course."


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PADI Open Water Course  |  Other PADI Courses  |  Referrals from other Agencies

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