London might not be on the sea, but it is only 50 miles from coastal destinations such as Brighton, making it a major centre for scuba diving schools. If you are in London and interested in dive training, the city offers several schools from two major scuba-diving instruction organisations and numerous possible training combinations. Furthermore, the diving opportunities around London provide the kind of challenging conditions ideal for confirming what you will learn in the classroom.
Assess your scuba-diving needs and use them to choose among the various certification options that are available. If you are merely learning to dive in London and will do most of your diving elsewhere, then the Professional Association of Diving Instructor's (PADI's) Open Water (OW) course is most appropriate. However, if you will do a substantial amount of diving in the United Kingdom, you may prefer the more demanding course of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), designed for cold and murky local conditions. Some schools offer only PADI course, others only BSAC, and some both.
Visit your local swimming pool and conduct a basic fitness check. All scuba certification programs demand a swimming and fitness check. PADI's standards are swimming 200 yards and treading water for 10 minutes.
Accelerate or modify your course schedule based on your needs. PADI offers an e-learning course for its classroom work, so if you choose a dive school that accepts this program you can skip straight to your training dives. Some London dive schools also allow a scuba student to perform his or her final qualifying dives through a dive operator in popular travel destinations like Malta or the Red Sea. In that case, only the classroom work and training dives need to be carried out in London.
Shore up your basic diving skills by going on some scuba-diving trips in the United Kingdom. PADI's OW or BSAC's Ocean Diver certificate means you completed basic training, but not yet a truly competent diver. If you solidify your training in Britain's cold, murky seas, you will be ready for diving in more favourable places such as Thailand or the Caribbean. Many London dive shops organise their own trips. Or, you can venture to the coast independently.