How to Run a SCUBA Day Camp Program

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Are you looking for a new specialty day camp? Do you live near a place that offers SCUBA lessons? If so, this post may be of interest to you.


This camp is all about one thing, getting your “campers” SCUBA certified. There will be no arts and crafts, large group games or anything else that might happen in a typical day camp.

The ages of this camp are 10-14 years old. It will most likely be a small camp (6-20 kids) due to the subject and cost.


PADIPADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) offers a Junior Open Water Diving Course. The first thing to do is to find a PADI certified SCUBA shop to partner with. The shop I got my certification at was close to the camp, so I approached the owner and he liked the idea of a SCUBA camp, and why wouldn’t he, the shop will receive fees from the classes and will most likely get the business from these kids (and their families) when they go to purchase their masks, snorkels, wetsuits, fins and whatever else they decided to buy, now and in the future.


I run this as a 6-day day camp.

First I make sure that all registered “campers” have their written materials to learn the book work portion of the certification process. I then ask them to review the material at home before coming to camp.

Day 1: Classroom

On the first day we go through the manual and videos together. The kids take their tests at the end of the day.

PADI girlDay 2: Gear and Pool Intro

On the second day we get all of the gear from the shop and head over to the pool to get an introduction to the lessons that will be learned in the pool.

Day 3 – 5: Confined Water Dives

Most of the week will be in the pool. Since I am already certified, I stay out of the pool and read. Other staff are allowed to take the course with the kids if they choose. They must pay for the course themselves, however.

Day 6: Beach Dive

We meet at the beach for their first ocean dive. After the dive there is usually time to spend playing in the sand and water.

Day 7: Open Water DiveSCUBA boy

Our group is taken by boat out to a nearby island for the open water dive. Warn kids and parents who are not used to being on a boat that there is a chance of sea sickness and they should be prepared. This is the culmination of the whole week and is so much fun. We all have a great time, and the kids feel a great sense of accomplishment for completing the “camp” and earning their SCUBA certification.


  • To get to the shop, pool and open water you’ll need to transport the “campers” and their gear. We did it with a 15 passenger van and a truck.
  • SCUBA finsThis is an expensive camp. The certification course including all the classes and dives will cost around $375. When you add the cost of staff, transportation and other camp fees, the price for this camp can be quite high. On top of that, campers will need to purchase their own gear as well.
  • Occasionally you might get a camper that cannot handle breathing underwater or the cumbersomeness of the gear. You’ll need to make sure you have policies in place in the event a camper has to quit halfway through the week.
  • The book work can be done online, and that may be a good option for your camp.

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