What is the difference between diving license types? What is the recommended diving license (C card)?

Diving license type
Activity Japan editorial department

For beginners who are aiming to acquire a diving license from now on, we will introduce the type of license called C card, major instruction groups such as PADI and their differences, and instructor qualifications.


What are the types of diving licenses?

Scuba license type Let's understand the diving license

Colorful fish in the clear water .... Diving where you can forget about your daily life and enjoy the beautiful sea is perfect for relieving stress. This activity is also recommended for working women.

If you want to enjoy diving as a hobby, you should definitely get a "diving license". If you don't have one, it's customary to take a basic lesson before each dive and then dive with the help of an instructor.

However, Once you get a diving license, you don't have to take basic lessons and you can swim more. In addition, the depth of the water to dive is deeper than without a license, and there is an advantage that the dive time is long. It is.

通常ダイビングショップでは,体験ダイビングプランの他はlicenseの提示がなければ,ダイビングの器材のレンタルorタンクの購入ができません。このため,本格的にダイビングを楽しもうと思ったら, License acquisition Let's consider.

Here, we will introduce the features, types, course contents and costs of diving licenses.

Scuba license type

Generally called a "license" (qualification), a diving license is not a national qualification, but a qualification certified by a private leadership organization such as a diving school. The official name is "C card". C is an abbreviation for certification, and if you acquire it, it will be a proof that you have acquired the knowledge and skills necessary for diving.

In order to obtain a C card, it is necessary to take a "C card class" by a guidance organization.


Recently, there are some organizations that can carry out the department by e-learning, so it is possible to complete the department at your own pace while you are busy.

There is more than one C card in Japan, and about 40 organizations including overseas issue it. Even C cards of the same group are ranked according to their diving skills, and there are differences in the depth of water and diving points depending on the type (the rank of the C card will be described later).

Diving school and dive shop instructors belong to one of these organizations. If you take a C card course from an instructor, you will get a C card for the organization to which the instructor belongs.

Since the concept of diving and the content of the course are slightly different depending on the group, I would like to check which group's C card can be obtained before taking the course for obtaining a license. However, if you have a C card of the same rank, there is no big difference in what you can do after getting it, even if the group is different.

Scuba license type

There are various organizations, but they account for 60% of the world market share. One of the major players in Japan is the C card of PADI, an American leadership organization. is. If you have a PADI C card, you can enjoy diving overseas, so if you are unsure about which group to join, you may choose PADI as an option.

On the other hand, there are some spots where you cannot dive with the C card of an organization with very few licensees, and some shops do not lend out equipment. If you want to dive in various spots, whether in Japan or overseas, it is safer to get a C card from a major organization.

However, when actually acquiring a license, compatibility with the instructor is also an important factor. It is a good idea to choose a school or shop while considering the organization that suits your diving purpose and the compatibility between you and your instructor.

In the next chapter, we will look at the differences between groups.

Differences between organizations issuing diving licenses

Scuba license type

Well-known organizations that issue diving licenses include PADI, NAUI, and SSI. The motto and course content are slightly different, but the price for the beginner's course is the same as 50,000 yen.


An organization founded in Chicago, USA in 1966. A course with the concept of "enjoying," "learning," and "polishing" for divers with the mission of "teaching more people around the world about scuba diving and letting them know its wonders and fun." Is being deployed.

For the first time in the diving industry, where military-style training was the main focus, PADI has developed "a groundbreaking training that can be enjoyed easily and with peace of mind." The PADI system, which allows you to hone your skills while having fun, has become popular with many people.

Currently, We are affiliated with more than 5,800 dive centers / dive resorts in more than 180 countries around the world, and the number of PADI certified divers is more than 17 million, which is one of the largest in the world. is.

PADI is focusing on maintaining the quality of the course. The feature is that you can take lessons with unified content both in Japan and overseas. A variety of courses are available for beginners to advanced users, so you can step up and improve your skills little by little.

There is "PADI Open Water Diver Course" as a course for beginners. Participation age is 15 years old or older, and it takes 3 days for practical training in addition to the department. The department also offers e-learning. The tuition fee varies depending on the shop and the number of participants, but it is about 50,000 to 100,000 yen.


NAUI is A historic organization that held a diving instructor course in the United States in 1960. With the mottos of "trust that can be entrusted to a loved one" and "Dive Safety Through Education", we have provided a solid program for skill development. Due to its solid training content, we are also affiliated with NASA, Walt Disney World Resort, and The Florida Aquarium.

There is a "NAUI Open Water Diver Course" for beginners, and the participation age is 15 years old or older (junior divers are 10 years old or older). The schedule varies depending on the shop and starts from 2.5 days, and the price starts from 50,000. Departments can utilize e-learning.


SCUBA SCHOOLS INTERNATIONAL (commonly known as SSI) is an organization established in 1970 in response to the desire of divers to "make it possible for anyone to learn scuba diving." We are affiliated with more than 2,800 shops in more than 110 countries around the world.

Because it is one of the diving guidance organizations approved by the international ISO SSI's C card is like a passport that allows you to dive in the oceans around the world.

The beginner's course includes the "SSI Open Water Diver Course". Participation age is 15 years old and over, and the fee starts from 50,000 yen.

PADI Diving License List

Even C cards issued by the same organization are ranked according to their level. Let's check the license type of the representative organization PADI.

license Water depth Acquisition days Acquisition cost Acquisition conditions
Scuba license 12m 1 day (* Advance study required) Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 yen 15 years of age or older.
OWD 18m About 2-4 days About 50,000-100,000 yen 15 years of age or older.
AOW 30m Minimum 2 days ~ About 50,000-100,000 yen OWD or above / equivalent other group C card holder
RED nothing special Minimum 2 days ~ About 50,000 yen ~ AOW Completed, Emergency First Response (EFR) Program Completed
DM nothing special 1 week~ About 150,000 circle~ 18 years old and over, completed AOW / MSD, Attend EFR primary and secondary care training, experience over 40 dives

* The above is a rough guide. Please contact the shop for detailed conditions.

Open Water Diver (OWD)

Acquired Open Water Diver (OWD) OWD is a popular license that many people are challenging

The license for the most beginner level C card is "Open Water Diver" (commonly known as OWD). It can be obtained through 3 steps: department, pool training, and marine training. The number of days is from 1 day for the department and 3 days for the training and practical training. If you do not study in advance, it will take at least 4 days to get it. The fee is 50,000 to 100,000 yen.

取得すれば,ダイビングに必要な知識を持っているとみなされ,ダイビングショプでの器材のレンタルor購入ができるようになります。また,Water depth18mまでの潜水が可能になります。

Advanced Open Water Diver (AOW)

Obtained Advanced Open Water Diver (AOW) AOW seems to have more spots to dive

After acquiring OWD, the next step is Advanced Open Water Diver (AOW). There are two types of PADI: "Adventure Diver" or "Advanced Open Water Diver". The Adventure Diver Course is available for children over 10 years old and the Advanced Open Water Diver Course is for children over 12 years old.

You can get an Adventure Diver certification in a minimum of 1 day, and an Advanced Open Water Diver in a minimum of 2 days. Prices start at JPY 40,000 for adventure divers and JPY 50,000 for advanced open water divers.

If you obtain a license for Advanced Open Water Diver, you will be allowed to dive to a depth of 30m, and you will have a lot more options for diving.

Rescue Diver (RED)

Rescue diver (RED) acquisition If you get RED, you can dive with confidence

If you want to improve your diving skills after getting AOW, why not try to get a rescue diver (RED) license?

Those who have obtained a PADI Adventure Diver or higher C card and have completed the Emergency First Response (EFR) program to learn how to rescue in an emergency on a daily basis are eligible to take this course.

The course will take more than two days to learn how to rescue injured divers and how to search underwater. The fee is around 50,000 yen.

Once obtained, it is a meaningful license that not only allows you to enjoy diving yourself, but also protects the safety of others.

Master Scuba Diver (MSD)

The best amateur license is Master Scuba Diver (MSD). Acquisition is subject to RED license and 50+ dive experience. There is no course for acquisition here, and you can be certified by applying to PADI with an application fee of about 12,000 yen.

If you acquire it, it will be a proof that you have acquired various ways to enjoy diving and the ability to prevent and deal with troubles, and you will be able to dive even in advanced spots around the world.

Dive Master (DM)

Dive master (DM) acquisition Full-scale license acquisition Longmen

The license that can be said to be the gateway to those who aim to become professional divers is the Dive Master (DM). It is a highly difficult license that requires professional-level knowledge and skills.

You must be at least 18 years old with an AOW or MSD license, have at least 40 dive experiences, and attend EFR primary and secondary care training. The course lasts about a week and costs around 150,000 yen. If you get it, you can also play an active role as a leader position in diving.

Assistant Instructor (AI) / Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)

Scuba Obtain Diving Certification

Those who want to become an instructor must first obtain an assistant instructor (AI) license. Once obtained, you will be able to assist the instructor.

The conditions are that you have a PADI dive master license (from open water divers to rescue divers are also required), you are 18 years old or older, and the number of dive experiences listed in the log is 60 or more. Yes, it is necessary to take a course to acquire AI.

If you get the next step, Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) and pass the exam, you will be able to work as a full-fledged instructor (OWSI will be described later).

AI courses start at a minimum of 3 days, OWSI courses start at a minimum of 4 days, and you can take both in a continuous 7-day course. AI and OWSI charges are about 100,000 yen each. If you take both, it will cost about 200,000 yen.


Recommended diving license for beginners

Scuba license

Scuba license type

It takes at least 3 or 4 days to complete the entire course of the department, pool training, and marine training and try to obtain a C card. For some full-time workers, it can be difficult to create a cohesive time. It is also true that there is a need to enjoy diving more easily without aiming for a C card.

The scuba license is recommended for those who want to learn the basics and do a simple dive. is.

Like the C card, this is also a private qualification issued by organizations such as PADI and NAUI. 15 years old and over (10 years old and over for junior scuba divers) can be obtained.


In the course, you will learn the basic knowledge of the first half of the open water course. Upon completion, you will be able to dive to a depth of 12 meters under the guidance of an instructor. In addition, depending on the group, you can receive services such as purchasing diving equipment and tank rental.

Get a scuba license to enjoy scuba, and once you get used to it, get an open water license. Some organizations consider scuba licenses to be part of the Open Water Diver course and can easily step up.

For example, at PADI, after obtaining a scuba license, you can take two sessions each of "knowledge development" and "pool (limited water area) dive" and "ocean training (open water dive)" to become an open water diver. You can get a license.


NAUI, on the other hand, also has a scuba diver license. The "NAUI Scuba Diver License" course usually includes limited water areas (skill practice where you can reach your feet), marine training (open water), and subject training in three days. You can also make the department a DVD study at home and take it in two days with only limited water and marine training.

If you get a license, you can dive to a depth of 18m, so it can be said that it is a license equivalent to PADI's OWD. It is also a feature that a C card will be issued once it is certified. Like OWD, you will be able to enjoy diving with buddies in the oceans around the world.

After obtaining the NAUI Scuba Diver license, "NAUI Advanced Scuba Diver Course" It seems good to try. If you get a license, you can dive to a depth of 30m. In addition to the water depth, the range of diving such as night diving will expand.

Depending on the NAUI school, you may take the advanced scuba diver course after taking the scuba diver course.

Mr. Nakamura of "Miyakojima Diving Aquatic Adventure" in Miyakojima, Okinawa, which actually holds "NAUI Scuba Diver Course" and "NAUI Advanced Scuba Diver Course",

"Even if you want to get a license, there are quite a few people who do not get it and participate in experience diving every time despite their skills. However, once you get a license, you can dive more freely and happily. As far as Miyakojima is concerned, the range and places where you can dive such as caves and sunken ships will expand. You will be able to enjoy a world completely different from experience diving, so it is highly recommended to obtain a license. "

And talk about the benefits of obtaining these licenses.

"At resorts like Miyakojima, there are people who want to dive after getting a license and also enjoy sightseeing. If you want to enjoy everything on a limited itinerary, please take the department from home by online training. You can save time. After that, you can get a license in a short period of time by completing training such as marine training in the field. "

Mr. Nakamura. By making the department home study, you can devote that time to diving and sightseeing in the field. Only Miyakojima can enjoy the beautiful sea. If you are thinking of getting a license, why not consider getting one at a resort?

A plan that allows you to obtain an introductory license for NAUI, a long-established organization, on Miyakojima is also popular. Usually available in 3 days. If you study in advance on the DVD, you can get it in 2 days. It is also recommended for those who do not have time to go sightseeing in Miyakojima.

    NAUI Scuba Diver License Acquisition Recommended Plan

Spots to dive with PADI scuba license

Get a scuba Obtain Diving Certification

Recommended diving spots for those who have obtained a scuba license are in Shizuoka Prefecture. Izu or Amami Oshima there is. All of them are popular spots where you can experience various marine ecology at a depth of 10 meters or less.

Among Izu, Futo has calm waves and is easy for beginners to dive, and you can meet various kinds of marine life such as shrimp and anemone. other than this, In Izu Kawana or Shimoda There are many diving spots for beginners such as .. You can also visit from Tokyo on a day trip and enjoy a weekend dive.

Colorful tropical fish, coral, etc. Amami Oshima if you want to see the tropical sea creatures .. White sand glitters at the bottom of the shallow sea, and you can enjoy the sea of the southern island that is not in Honshu. If you are lucky, you may encounter sea turtles.

Open water diver

Get an Open Water Diver Getting licenses

OWD license that allows you to dive to a depth of 18m. Recommended diving spots after acquisition Ogasawara Islands in Tokyo or Izu in Shizuoka , Remote island of Okinawa (Yaeyama Islands, Iriomote Island, Miyako Island) and so on.

Consists of Chichijima, Hahajima, and more than 30 other uninhabited islands The Ogasawara Islands are a popular diving spot near Tokyo. In Ogasawara, which is called the "Galapagos of the Orient," a unique ecosystem extends to the sea. You can also encounter various creatures such as sea turtles, as well as large fish such as dogtooth tuna and dolphins, as well as Yuzen, a fish endemic to Japan.

Hachijojima is known for its high transparency of the sea. There are plenty of diving spots. It is attractive to meet a wide variety of fish, from small creatures to large migratory fish. There are many diving spots with a maximum depth of 20m.

Among Okinawa, Iriomote Island is known for its spectacular views of the sea, such as coral reefs and schools of tropical fish. There are many points for OWD holders with a depth of 5-18m.

I want to have more fun! Diving license aimed at instructor

Get a scuba Obtain Diving Certification

After acquiring OWD, if you enjoy diving in various seas and want to make diving a lifelong hobby and spread the wonders of diving to other people, consider acquiring an instructor qualification. ??

Instructor qualification Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) And so on. After gradually obtaining intermediate and advanced qualifications from OWD, those who have experienced a certain number of dives will be eligible to take the examination.

In the case of the most major organization, PADI, after obtaining the first license OWD, after obtaining all qualifications from intermediate advanced open water diver (AOW) to assistant instructor (AI), participation in the course is permitted. I will.

Participation in the course is subject to more than 60 dive experiences, including difficult dives such as night diving, deep diving and underwater navigation.

You can then take the Instructor Exam (IE) after attending the OWSI qualification course.

As with OWD, the courses for qualification are open in shops and schools, and the number of days and prices vary slightly depending on the shop. The schedule is about 4 days and the price is about 100,000 yen. The cost of the exam (IE) that you can take after the course is 103,400 yen. (* As of May 2020)

If you get it, you can work as an office worker on weekdays and work as a diving instructor as a side job on holidays. Making an instructor your main business is no longer a dream.

Diving where you can meet the beautiful scenery of the sea. How about getting an OWD license and taking the first step to enjoy diving?

Frequently Asked Questions about Diving Licenses

Q Differences in licenses and types required for scuba diving

A ダイビングのlicenseは国家資格ではなく,ダイビングスクールなど民間の指導団体が認定する資格is.正式名称は「Cカード」。Cはcertification(認定)の略で,Cカード講習を修了すれば,ダイビングに必要な知識orスキルを習得したことの証となり,器材のレンタルor購入ができるようになります。一番初級レベルのCカードlicenseが「オープンウォーターダイバー(通称OWD)」で,それ以降ダイビングスキルによってランク分けがされ,種類によって潜れるWater depthor,ダイビングlicenseを発行している民間団体によってもダイビングポイントに差がある場合があります。

Q How to choose a diving school shop and recommended areas for obtaining a license

A There are about 40 private organizations around the world that issue diving licenses. PADI, which accounts for 60% of the world market share, NAUI, which is considered to be the oldest leadership organization in the world, and SSI, which emphasizes the development of experienced divers, are famous, but they are organizations. The concept of diving and the content of the course will differ slightly depending on the type. If you want to dive in various spots in Japan or overseas, it is recommended to get a C card from a major organization. Izu is famous in the Kanto region and Wakayama is famous in the Kanto region as an area with many diving shops, but Okinawa is the most popular area where you can participate regardless of the season.

Q What is the type, cost and duration of PADI diving licenses, and what is the target age?

A There are four main types of C card licenses for PADI, a representative organization, and the most beginner "Open Water Diver (commonly known as OWD)" dives to a depth of 18 m through three steps: department, pool training, and marine training. Will be possible. At least 4 days are required for acquisition without prior study, and the market price is 50,000 to 100,000 yen. The next step, "Advanced Open Water Diver (AOW)," which allows diving to a depth of 30 m and expands diving options, is an adventure diver course that can be taken from 10 years old and an advanced open water diver that can be taken from 12 years old and over. There is a course, and you can get it from 40,000 yen in a minimum of 1-2 days. In addition, a meaningful license "Rescue Diver (RED)" to learn how to rescue in an emergency and a certified license "Master Scuba Diver (MSD)" applied by the highest amateurs are available.

Q Recommended diving license for beginners and course content

A 最短で基本を学び,簡単な潜水から始めたい方におすすめなのが「Scuba license」。Cカードと同様にPADIorNAUIから発行されている民間資格で,15 years of age or older.(ジュニアは10歳以上)から取得でき,修了するとそれぞれインストラクターの引率の下Water depth12m-18mまでのダイビングが可能になります。ダイビング器材の購入orレンタルも利用でき,Cカードのオープンウォーターダイバーへのステップアップが容易になるのも特徴is.スクールによっては事前学習をオンラインで行うことで最短1日で取得ができ,気軽に臨めるLicense acquisitionis.

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  • Okinawa
  • Okinawa (remote island)
  • Miyakojima (Irabu Island, Shimoji Island, Kurima Island, Ikema Island)
  • Snorkeling
  • Experience diving (beginner OK)
  • Obtaining a diving license

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