Scuba Diving Depths For Kids: can 5 to 16 years olds learn to dive?

Scuba Diving Depths For Kids

You maybe looking into scuba diving for kids, and into how old your kids have to be to scuba dive. Then you may be interest to find out how deep can children dive after they have received their scuba diving certification. Below are two handy tables which contain all this information for kids aged 5 to 16 years old.

I paid for my daughter to learn to scuba dive when she was 12 with PADI. It was great, as I was already a scuba diver, so I was able to follow along on her first open water dives. It’s a great experience to explore the underwater world with your children.

The youngest age for kids to scuba dive is with PADI, NAUI and SSI, where the minimum age for scuba diving is 8 years old.

But although an 8 year old can try scuba diving at 8;

  • With the PADI Seal Team experience, they learn scuba diving skills in a swimming pool or with the Bubblemaker experience they learn scuba diving skills in water shallower than 2 metres (6 ft).
  • With NAUI an 8 year old can participate in the confined water portion of the NAUI Try Scuba and Passport Diver programs.
  • With SSI 8 year olds can only Try Scuba where they scuba dive in a pool or confined water area.
  • For BSCA the scuba diving experience for children begins at aged 10.

There are two handy tables in this post:

  • The first table is about what age can a child learn to scuba dive and includes the the ages that kids can start to dive with PADI, BSAC, NAUI and SSI.
  • The second table is about how deep can a child scuba dive once they’ve learned how to scuba dive.
What age can a child learn to scuba dive

What age can a child learn to scuba dive

Age of childPADIBSACNAUISSI
Can a 5 year old learn scuba dive?NoNoNoNo
Can a 6 year old learn scuba dive?NoNoNoNo
Can a 7 year old learn scuba dive?NoNoNoNo
Can a 8 year old learn scuba dive?PADI Seal Team experience and learn scuba diving skills in a swimming pool.
Bubblemaker experience and learn scuba diving skills in water shallower than 2 metres (6 ft).
NoNAUI Try Scuba and Passport Diver program - 8+ may participate in the confined water portion of the program.Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Can a 9 year old learn scuba dive?PADI Seal Team experience and learn scuba diving skills in a swimming pool.
Bubblemaker experience and learn scuba diving skills in water shallower than 2 metres (6 ft).
NoNAUI Try Scuba and Passport Diver program - 8+ may participate in the confined water portion of the program.Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Can a 10 year old learn scuba dive?Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Scuba Diver - Shorter course if you only intend to dive with a dive guide - max 12 metres (40 ft).
Discover Scuba Diving - Not a certification course, but you learn the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.
Discovery Diver course - in a pool or sheltered water. Learn to dive up to 12 metres (40 ft), but under the direct supervision of a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.NAUI Try Scuba - an introductory scuba program.
Passport Diver program - Kids can continue to enjoy scuba diving under the direct supervision of a NAUI Instructor to a depth of 12 metres (40 ft).
Scuba Diver/Junior Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Advanced Scuba Diver/Junior Advanced Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Junior EANx certification - Enriched Air Nitrox Diver.
Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Basic Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - one dive only.
Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - 3 dives.
Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Can a 11 year old learn scuba dive?Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Scuba Diver - Shorter course if you only intend to dive with a dive guide - max 12 metres (40 ft).
Discover Scuba Diving - Not a certification course, but you learn the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.
Discovery Diver course - in a pool or sheltered water. Learn to dive up to 12 metres (40 ft), but under the direct supervision of a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.NAUI Try Scuba - an introductory scuba program.
Passport Diver program - Kids can continue to enjoy scuba diving under the direct supervision of a NAUI Instructor to a depth of 12 metres (40 ft.
Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Advanced Scuba Diver/Junior Advanced Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Junior EANx certification - Enriched Air Nitrox Diver.
Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Basic Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - one dive only.
Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - 3 dives.
Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Can a 12 year old learn scuba dive?Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Scuba Diver - Shorter course if you only intend to dive with a dive guide - max 12 metres (40 ft).
Discover Scuba Diving - Not a certification course, but you learn the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.
Advanced Open Diver - Learn to dive deeper to 30 metres (100 ft) (Must have completed Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver).
Rescue Diver - Learn to prevent and manage problems in the water.
Enriched Air - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Discovery Diver course - in a pool or sheltered water. Learn to dive up to 12 metres (40 ft), but under the direct supervision of a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.
Ocean Diver course - Learn to dive to 20 metres (66 ft).
Sports Diver - Advance your certification (Sports Diver allows a max depth of 35 metres (115 ft), but at 12 you'll still be limited to 20 metres).
Ocean Diver or Sports Diver Nitrox workshop - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
NAUI Try Scuba - an introductory scuba program.
Passport Diver program - Kids can continue to enjoy scuba diving under the direct supervision of a NAUI Instructor to a depth of 12 metres (40 ft.
Scuba Diver/Junior Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Advanced Scuba Diver/Junior Advanced Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Junior EANx certification - Enriched Air Nitrox Diver.
Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Basic Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - one dive only.
Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - 3 dives.
Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Can a 13 year old learn scuba dive?Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Scuba Diver - Shorter course if you only intend to dive with a dive guide - max 12 metres (40 ft).
Discover Scuba Diving - Not a certification course, but you learn the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.
Advanced Open Diver - Learn to dive deeper to 30 metres (100 ft) (Must have completed Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver).
Rescue Diver - Learn to prevent and manage problems in the water.
Enriched Air - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Discovery Diver course - in a pool or sheltered water. Learn to dive up to 12 metres (40 ft), but under the direct supervision of a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.
Ocean Diver course - Learn to dive to 20 metres (66 ft).
Sports Diver - Advance your certification (Sports Diver allows a max depth of 35 metres (115 ft), but at 12 you'll still be limited to 20 metres).
Ocean Diver or Sports Diver Nitrox workshop - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
NAUI Try Scuba - an introductory scuba program.
Passport Diver program - Kids can continue to enjoy scuba diving under the direct supervision of a NAUI Instructor to a depth of 12 metres (40 ft.
Scuba Diver/Junior Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Advanced Scuba Diver/Junior Advanced Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft)
Junior EANx certification - Enriched Air Nitrox Diver.
Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Basic Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - one dive only.
Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - 3 dives.
Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Can a 14 year old learn scuba dive?Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Scuba Diver - Shorter course if you only intend to dive with a dive guide - max 12 metres (40 ft).
Discover Scuba Diving - Not a certification course, but you learn the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.
Advanced Open Diver - Learn to dive deeper to 30 metres (100 ft) (Must have completed Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver).
Rescue Diver - Learn to prevent and manage problems in the water.
Enriched Air - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Discovery Diver course - in a pool or sheltered water. Learn to dive up to 12 metres (40 ft), but under the direct supervision of a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.
Ocean Diver course - Learn to dive to 20 metres (66 ft).
Sports Diver - Advance your certification (Sports Diver allows a max depth of 35 metres (115 ft), but at 12 you'll still be limited to 20 metres).
Ocean Diver or Sports Diver Nitrox workshop - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Dive Leader - Advance your certification and dive deeper to a max depth of 50 metres (164 ft).
Advanced Diver - Enhance your diving skills and rescue management.
NAUI Try Scuba - an introductory scuba program.
Passport Diver program - Kids can continue to enjoy scuba diving under the direct supervision of a NAUI Instructor to a depth of 12 metres (40 ft.
Scuba Diver/Junior Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Advanced Scuba Diver/Junior Advanced Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Junior EANx certification - Enriched Air Nitrox Diver.
Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Basic Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - one dive only.
Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - 3 dives.
Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Can a 15 year old learn scuba dive?Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Scuba Diver - Shorter course if you only intend to dive with a dive guide - max 12 metres (40 ft).
Discover Scuba Diving - Not a certification course, but you learn the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.
Advanced Open Diver - Learn to dive deeper to 30 metres (100 ft) (Must have completed Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver).
Rescue Diver - Learn to prevent and manage problems in the water.
Enriched Air - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Deep Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Discovery Diver course - in a pool or sheltered water. Learn to dive up to 12 metres (40 ft), but under the direct supervision of a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.
Ocean Diver course - Learn to dive to 20 metres (66 ft).
Sports Diver - Advance your certification (Sports Diver allows a max depth of 35 metres (115 ft), but at 12 you'll still be limited to 20 metres).
Ocean Diver or Sports Diver Nitrox workshop - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Dive Leader - Advance your certification and dive deeper to a max depth of 50 metres (164 ft).
Advanced Diver - Enhance your diving skills and rescue management.
NAUI Try Scuba - an introductory scuba program.
Passport Diver program - Kids can continue to enjoy scuba diving under the direct supervision of a NAUI Instructor to a depth of 12 metres (40 ft.
Scuba Diver/Junior Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Advanced Scuba Diver/Junior Advanced Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Rescue Scuba Diver - Enhance your diving skills and manage risks and effectively handle limited in-water problems and diving emergencies.
EANx certification - Enriched Air Nitrox Diver.
Master Scuba Diver - Enhance your scuba diving skills.
Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Basic Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - one dive only.
Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - 3 dives.
Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Deep Diving - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Enriched Air Nitrox Level 2 (40%).
Can a 16 year old learn scuba dive?Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Scuba Diver - Shorter course if you only intend to dive with a dive guide - max 12 metres (40 ft).
Discover Scuba Diving - Not a certification course, but you learn the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.
Advanced Open Diver - Learn to dive deeper to 30 metres (100 ft) (Must have completed Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver).
Rescue Diver - Learn to prevent and manage problems in the water.
Enriched Air - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Deep Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Discovery Diver course - in a pool or sheltered water. Learn to dive up to 12 metres (40 ft), but under the direct supervision of a Dive Leader or higher-grade diver.
Ocean Diver course - Learn to dive to 20 metres (66 ft).
Sports Diver - Advance your certification (Sports Diver allows a max depth of 35 metres (115 ft), but at 12 you'll still be limited to 20 metres).
Ocean Diver or Sports Diver Nitrox workshop - Learn to dive with Nitrox.
Dive Leader - Advance your certification and dive deeper to a max depth of 50 metres (164 ft).
Advanced Diver - Enhance your diving skills and rescue management.
NAUI Try Scuba - an introductory scuba program.
Passport Diver program - Kids can continue to enjoy scuba diving under the direct supervision of a NAUI Instructor to a depth of 12 metres (40 ft.
Scuba Diver/Junior Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Advanced Scuba Diver/Junior Advanced Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Rescue Scuba Diver - Enhance your diving skills and manage risks and effectively handle limited in-water problems and diving emergencies.
EANx certification - Enriched Air Nitrox Diver.
Master Scuba Diver - Enhance your scuba diving skills.
Try Scuba - Try scuba diving in a pool or confined water.
Basic Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - one dive only.
Scuba Diver - Learn to dive to 12 metres (40 ft) under supervision from an SSI Professional - 3 dives.
Open Water Diver - Learn to dive to 18 metres (60 ft).
Deep Diving - Learn to dive to 40 metres (130 ft).
Enriched Air Nitrox Level 2 (40%).
If you want to find out more about any of the courses for your child to learn to scuba dive, scroll to the information below for each organisation where you’ll find links for each of the courses below.


Always bear in mind that deeper is not always better. There are plenty of great dive sites under 18-20 metres (60-66 ft) deep. As I recommend to divers of all ages and abilitiy; take your time, build up your confidence and experience slowly and be safe.

Here’s a taster of what it would be like for you to learn to scuba dive as a kid in this video from NAUI:

I hope this video inspires you to want to join this fantastic underwater sport. But then you may like to know how deep a child can dive, which is summarised in the following handy table.

How deep can a child scuba dive

How deep can a child scuba dive

Age of childPADIBSACNAUISSI
How deep can an 8 year old dive?2 metres (6 ft)NA2 metres (6 ft)2 metres (6 ft)
How deep can an 9 year old dive?2 metres (6 ft)NA2 metres (6 ft)2 metres (6 ft)
How deep can an 10 year old dive?18 metres (60 ft)12 metres ( 40 ft)40 metres (130 ft)18 metres (60 ft)
How deep can an 11 year old dive?18 metres (60 ft)12 metres ( 40 ft)40 metres (130 ft)18 metres (60 ft)
How deep can an 12 year old dive?30 metres (100 ft)20 metres (66 ft)40 metres (130 ft)18 metres (60 ft)
How deep can an 13 year old dive?30 metres (100 ft)20 metres (66 ft)40 metres (130 ft)18 metres (60 ft)
How deep can an 14 year old dive?30 metres (100 ft)50 metres (164 ft)40 metres (130 ft)18 metres (60 ft)
How deep can an 15 year old dive?40 metres (130 ft)50 metres (164 ft)40 metres (130 ft)40 metres (130 ft)
How deep can an 16 year old dive?40 metres (130 ft)50 metres (164 ft)40 metres (130 ft)40 metres (130 ft)
If you want to find out more about any of the courses for your child to learn to scuba dive, scroll to the information below for each organisation where you’ll find links for each of the courses below.

Diving courses for children with PADI

Diving courses for children with PADI

The following courses are available to children with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), subject to their age as per the above what age can a child learn to scuba dive table.

Diving courses for children with BSAC

Diving courses for children with BSAC

The following courses are available to children with BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club), subject to their age as per the above what age can a child learn to scuba dive table.

Diving courses for children with NAUI

Diving courses for children with NAUI

The following courses are available to children with NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors), subject to their age as per the above what age can a child learn to scuba dive table.

Diving courses for children with SSI

Diving courses for children with SSI

The following courses are available to children with SSI (Scuba School International), subject to their age as per the above what age can a child learn to scuba dive table.

Why are there scuba diving age restrictions?

Scuba diving age restrictions are for the safety of children, as scuba diving is a dangerous sport and a child needs to have the maturity to be able to understand the safety aspects of scuba diving. Like all divers, kids will learn to scuba dive with a certified instructor.

How old do you have to be to scuba dive alone

There is never an age that you should scuba dive alone for your own safety. Buddy diving is designed for safety underwater and as a backup in case either buddy gets in to trouble or has equipment failure.

How old do you have to be to scuba dive in the top dive destinations in the world?

  • How old do you have to be to scuba dive in UK – 10 years old for Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver.
  • How old do you have to be to scuba dive in US – 10 years old for Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver.
  • How old do you have to be to scuba dive in Australia – 10 years old for Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver.
  • How old do you have to be to scuba dive in Mexico – 10 years old for Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver.
  • How old do you have to be to scuba dive in The Bahamas – 10 years old for Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver.
  • How old do you have to be to scuba dive in The Maldives – 10 years old for Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver.
  • How old do you have to be to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef? 10 years old for those already certified as an Open Water Diver/Junior Open Water Diver.

I hope you enjoyed this article about scuba diving depths for kids

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 go-pro’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 how tight should a drysuit be), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkeling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.

Have fun and be safe!

Scuba Diving Depths For Kids: can 5 to 16 years olds learn to dive?

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