I am going to go Scuba Diving for my first time, and I’m going to the Great Barrier Reef. How much does it cost to get PADI certified? How long does it take? Do I need to buy equipment for training? And while diving in the reef can I wear a wet suit that only goes down to my knees and elbows? Thanks

Around the Chicago area the certification costs:

Pool and Class = $200 to $400 based on weeknight group class or private lessons.

Certification Dives = $200 (group) to $400 (private) plus tips, entrance fee, tank fills, food, etc.

Gear for Class = You’ll need to buy a mask, fins, boots, and snorkle for the class. These can run $300 to $800 (or more) depending on what you want.

The weeknight pool & classroom group class takes 5 weeknights. There is also a Sat/Sun class that takes about 10 hours each day. Private lessons are based on your schedule with the instructor.

For the certification dives, it will be two days. We typically do it on a Saturday and Sunday.

Whether or not you need a wetsuit is completely a personal choice. I use my 3mm fullsuit (with full length arms and legs) in water temperature up to 85F. I will wear a shortie if the temperature is about 85F. If you wear too much of a wetsuit, you can always let water in to help cool off; however, there is no warming up while underwater if you have too little of a wetsuit.