Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification? (Is It Legal To Dive Alone?)

Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification

Is it illegal to dive without certification and is it legal to dive alone?

Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification

People ask the question ‘Is it illegal to dive without certification?’ The short answer to this is no, but please read on.


It's not illegal to dive without certification. But it is dangerous to dive without certification. Also, you'll not be able to dive with any reputable dive centre or dive club without first getting certified to scuba dive. If you want to scuba dive, then do it the right and safe way and get trained. You have a choice of a few scuba diving schools, where there are three top schools around the world: PADI, SSI and BSAC.


Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification?

It Is Not Illegal But It is Dangerous To Dive Without Certification

To answer a question that many ask, which is 'Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification?' The simple answer is no. It's not like passing a driving test to drive on the road. There are no scuba diving police waiting to check your diving certification when you surface from a dive.

However, scuba diving without certification is dangerous.


It's not illegal to dive without certification, but it's dangerous to dive without the proper training.

You're unlikely to be able to find any dive centre, scuba diving operator or dive boat that will not want to first check your diver qualification. If they don't check your certification, then they are either unscrupulous or being outright negligent.

Although I shouldn't really say this; there is actually nothing to stop you from buying all the scuba diving equipment and scuba diving alone. You don't require a certificate to buy equipment. It's not like buying a gun at a gun shop.

If you decide to scuba dive alone, without first getting your diver certification, you're not about to get arrested the moment you step out of the water.

However, you may never step out of the water. Diving is extremely dangerous without first understanding what these dangers are. You may die in the process from one of the many mistakes you could make as an unqualified diver.

That may sound dramatic, but I want to drive the point home. You must first learn how to scuba dive first, before you venture into the water on your own. Which is another point on its own (see below about scuba diving alone).

Do you have to be certified to scuba dive?

You don't have to be certified to scuba dive, but you must get certified for your own safety. You can do what's known as a try-dive or a tryout session in a swimming pool or sheltered shallow reef.

However, under these circumstances, you will be under the guidance of a qualified diving instructor. Before you descend, the instructor will run through some basic safety first. Then they and lead the way. They will be with you at all times and ideally will be no more than two try-divers per instructor.

There are many dangers associated with diving underwater that you learn from all of the diving schools and centres. The top three scuba diving centres include PADI (Most widely available world wide), SSI (The second most widely available worldwide) and BSAC, which is one of the leading and most recognised diver certifications you can have.

With all three top dive centres you will learn about the implications of the pressure of water, as you go deeper. Part of this training about depth and water pressure, is about safe ascents and decompression, decompression stops and safety stops. You will also learn about breathing underwater and about how dangerous it is to never hold your breath, and why this is the case.

The main theme running through all diver training is safe diving practices, which is at the forefront of any diving instructor.

Which leads on to diving alone and why you should never do this, whether you are certified or not.

Is it legal to dive alone?

It is Legal To Dive Alone But It is Dangerous To Dive Alone

It's not illegal to dive alone, but diving alone is not safe to do. All diver training schools teach the buddy system, which means scuba divers always dive in pairs.

As it is not illegal to dive without certification, it's also not illegal to dive alone. But that doesn't mean you should dive alone.

As you go through your training to become a scuba diver, you will learn about the dangers of diving alone.

All diver training is taught on the buddy system. This means that divers should always dive in pairs for safety. Diving alone is dangerous, because you are underwater and in an environment not designed for us to be in ordinarily.

To dive underwater we require an aqua lung. The aqua lung supplies air for us to breathe underwater. Should this equipment fail, your buddy will be there with their alternative air source (or octopus), to come to your rescue. If you are diving alone, you will not have this back up.

More Reading: How do I get a dive buddy? (5 easy ways to find a dive buddy)

Can anyone go scuba diving?

Anyone can go scuba diving, which includes both men and women, young and old (but perhaps not very old). However, there are certain physical and medical reasons that preclude some people from scuba diving.

Whilst scuba diving is a gentle sport and not a work-out as such, it non the less put stresses and strains on the body. The equipment for one is heavy and cumbersome when you're out of the water.

Then once you are under the water, although the scuba equipment becomes weightless, there are other factors to take account of.

The pressures of the water and the gasses that get dissolved into your body tissues, means that you need be medically certified to be able to dive.

Most dive centres are happy for you to do a self-certification of your medical status. But don't certify yourself medically safe if you have the slightest of worry.

If you have any doubts about your physical or medical ability to go scuba diving, you are better to consult your doctor. It's always better to be safe than to be sorry.

How much does it cost to become a certified scuba diver?

Most probably, the reason why you are reading this article is that you are looking for the answer to the question: 'Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification?' Having now had this explained to you, you may now be wondering how much it costs to become a certified scuba diver.

This is not an easy question to answer, as it depends on which organisation you decide to train with. Plus it will depend on where in the world you decide to train too.

The best approach for this and to find out how much it costs, is to decide where you want to do your scuba diver training. Once you know this, find out from the nearest dive centre to where you want to train, how much it costs.

Is PADI certification good for life?

Your PADI certification is good for life, however, you must keep your diving up to date. The same applies for SSI and BSAC too.

To keep your diving up to date you need to be diving at least on a semi-regular basis. I'd say at the very least once every 6-12 months, depending on your experience. If you are new to diving and don't have much experience, then I would say you need to dive more regularly.

However, if you have had a gap in your scuba diving experience, there's no need to worry. All dive centres will be happy to provide you with a refresher session and dive. This will help you to become familiar with the underwater experience and with your equipment and how to use it once more.

More Reading: PADI vs BSAC (Which diving qualification is better PADI or BSAC?)

I hope you enjoyed this article about is it illegal to dive without certification

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about is it illegal to dive without certification), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!

Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification? (Is It Legal To Dive Alone?)

2 thoughts on “Is It Illegal To Dive Without Certification? (Is It Legal To Dive Alone?)

  1. To your point about just buying gear and going diving without certification. You would find that no reputable dive centre will fill your air tank without checking your qualification – and you really don’t want to be filling it up at the garage ?

    1. Hello Tony – thank you for your comment, always appreciated. Not sure what part of the world you’re in, but in the UK there’s nothing stopping anyone from filling air tanks without having to show dive qualifications. I don’t do too much UK diving any more, but when I did, I would often go to my local dive shop to fill my tanks before a dive. But I was never asked to show my diving certification, ever!!

      But I would not have been able to use the tanks for diving with the club I was with if I wasn’t a certified scuba diver. But there would be nothing stopping me if I were so inclined from donning my scuba gear and going diving by myself or with someone else (they would have to be crazy too) if I didn’t have a scuba diving certification, which of course would be a stupid and very dangerous thing for anyone who’s not certified to do.

      By the way, I’m not sure of many garages that fill scuba tanks though!! But I know this was said in a bit of tongue and cheek! 🙂 😉

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