As a scuba instructor, I often get asked what happens after I am scuba certified? My answer: go diving and then come back for more classes!
Some people get scuba certified just to be certified, and they have no plans for a trip in the near future. That is ok! Scuba certification is something great to have for those unanticipated trips to the ocean.
I became scuba certified when I was 17. At that age, I did not have any scuba diving friends. I enrolled for the advanced scuba diver course immediately after my open water course mostly just so I could keep diving. My fellow student divers and I did get along, but there was a big age gap, and I did not continue diving with them. I joined the local scuba diving club and went to meetings and local dives. The older I became, the more dive friends I had. I have even used scubaboard.com to find buddies, especially when traveling to somewhere that I do not know anybody. This can be hit or miss, but I have only had success.
Join a club
Chances are, wherever you live, there is a scuba diving club in your area. If there is not one, start one! Most clubs get together to talk about diving, share pictures, promote new gear, etc. at a local joint. You may find others in the group that also just became scuba certified, and you can work on your skills together. This helps you get to know other divers in your area. Dive clubs also sponsor local dives at any nearby place. This is a great way to buddy up and go diving!
After you are scuba certified, get in the water as soon as you can. Whether it be in the ocean or a lake, getting in the water without your scuba instructor will only help you grow as a diver and become even more enthusiastic for diving. Where you live might not have the most exciting dive locations. I am in Utah. I get it but read up one of my favorite locations to dive in Utah. However, the more often you scuba dive, the better diver you will become. This quickly becomes advantageous when you’ve honed in your buoyancy and breathing to reduce air consumption so that when you do get to go out on an amazing adventure to some exotic land you will have more bottom time!
Another great way to keep diving after you are scuba certified is to take more classes! While the open water course teaches a variety of things needed to scuba dive safely, there is so much more to learn. Whether you want to go beyond 60 feet, learn about navigation, how to recover a lost item, what it might be like to dive under ice or dive in a wreck, there are specialty classes for just about anything. You will also meet more divers and gain more buddies! Dive buddies are awesome, and the more you have the more potential you have to dive more often.
What are you waiting for? Dive in.