PADI Junior Open Water Courses Singapore and Malaysia
 

Frequently Asked Questions

You may also be interested in our FAQs about diving with children, which you can find here.

What are the minimum age limits for different activities?

  • Discover Scuba Diving: 10 years
  • Open Water Diver: 10 years
  • Bubblemaker: 8 years
  • Seal Team: 8 years
  • Advanced Open Water: 12 years
  • Rescue Diver: 12 years
Orca Scuba Diving FAQs

How old do I have to be to do the Open Water course?

You must be 10 years old when you start the course. 12-14 year olds certify to become PADI Junior Open Water Divers. The PADI Junior Open Water course is identical to the adult course, however the depth limitations are at 12 meters until the diver turns 12 years. Divers 12 year and up can go as deep at 18 meters. There is no need to repeat the Open Water course when you turn 15, you automatically become an PADI Open Water diver at that age.

How long does the Open Water course take?

Depending on which location you chose, the course takes approximately 4 days however, this can be all together (conduct the full course on Rawa Island ) or spread over a longer period (splitting the course between Singapore and Rawa Island).

How long does the theory part of the PADI Open Water course take?

At Orca Scuba we like to offer the theory part of the PADI Open water course through the PADI E-learning. Simply because it is proven to be very user friendly and can be used in the comfort of your home. All you need is a computer, iPad or Android tablet (not compatible with windows tablets yet) The total theory part can be completed in 5-6 hours, continuous learning or at a more relaxed pace, it is entirely up to you. After completion, your Dive instructor will go through the theory once more, to make sure you understood everything. If you prefer to work from a paper manual, no worries, we would be more than happy to offer your own copy at a small additional cost. This manual is also downloadable from the internet.

How far away is Rawa Island from Singapore?

Rawa island is situated near the east coast of Malaysia, off the coast of Mersing. It takes approximately 2-3 hours (traffic depending) to get from Singapore to Mersing, where you take the ferry to Rawa Island. The ferry crossing takes approximately 25 minutes, but can take a little longer in wavy weather.

How can I get to Rawa Island?

There are various ways to get from Singapore to paradise! You can simply drive over the border, arrive at Mersing Rawa jetty and meet the scheduled Rawa Island boat. If you don’t have car (or choose not to drive), you can book a private taxi. A third option is to take the bus. There are various bus companies, who organize bus routes, from Singapore to Mersing. www.busonlineticket.com/singapore/mersing‎

If you drive or take a taxi, the journey is about 2.5 hours. Please note, the traffic can vary wildly, so we recommend travelling early in the morning or, at least, outside busy times. You will also need to allow time for crossing the border into Malaysia (especially over weekends and public holidays). Rawa's office in Mersing is conveniently located next to the ferry dock, but you'll need to allow adequate time to check in. Please ensure you check with us here at Orca Scuba if you are unsure which boat crossing you are booked on to.

Private taxi - Fitran Mohammed

If you wish to hire a private taxi, we have a tried and tested driver,​ ​Fitran​ Mohammed. He is a very nice person, seems to be a safe driver and offers services 24/7:

  • +60 149 141 877 (WhatsApp Now, WeChat, Line or Viber)
  • +65 8162 6961

N.B Rawa Island Resort also have two taxi drivers that they suggest, including an option for larger groups. Please note: if you are crossing the Malaysia border in a larger group by coach or public bus, you will be asked to exit the coach to prese​n​t your passport for immigration.

Private taxi - Mr Michael

Taxi (hired car): 4 seat
Contact person: Mr. Michael
Contact number: +60 197 168 850

Mini van (Bas Persiaran) - 10 seat / 12 seat / 40 seat coach

Contact person : Mr. Billy / Mr. Melvin
Contact number Billy : +60 197 512 266 / +60 167 152 266
Contact number Melvin: +60 127 851 133 / +60 167 731 133
Email : melvin_transport@hotmail.com

Please note that these taxis are 3rd party service providers and are not affiliated with Orca Scuba. With that caveat, please feel free to contact them to obtain more information.

Carpooling

For anyone wanting to explore taxi sharing up to Rawa, please take a look at this Facebook page.

Is accommodation at Rawa Island and transportation to Rawa Island included in our prices?

We are an endorsed booking agent for Rawa Island resort and offer rooms at the same rate as booking directly with the benefits, that if you are already booking diving with us we can arrange and invoice everything together for you and we can ensure that your diving activities are booked on our calendar.

There are various options around the island to cater for families, groups of friends, couples and single travellers. All rooms are equipped with en-suite bathrooms, hot water and air conditioning. Wi-fi, cable television, and tea/coffee making facilities are available at the restaurant and bar.

If you are interested, please tell us the dates you have in mind, how many people, kids/adults per room and we will get back to you with the different room options and rates. You can also have a look at the resort and the beautiful island by clicking here.

For transport to Mersing (where you catch the boat to Rawa) you can either drive, book a transfer yourself, or ask us to arrange it for you. We recently set up this Facebook group to help guests find advice on how to get back and forth to Mersing, including requests for carpooling and taxi sharing.

What do I need to know about a trip to Rawa?

Rawa Island is a small privately owned island. There are no paved roads or vehicles, other than golf carts on the island. You can easily get around by foot. You will have all your meals at Rawa Island Resort, as there are no other restaurants, but these are both good quality and good value. There are numerous water sports for you to have a go at – stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, Hobby Cat sailing, TIWAL sailing, snorkelling etc. You can also do a nice walk up to the view point, and take a jungle trek!

Rawa Island travel tips

  • ​Make sure you arrive at the Mersing port at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled boat departure as you will need to check in to the resort in Mersing
  • For each night's stay, you will get 3 buffet meals each. If you are hungry outside of this, a small tip for you is that they have a snack menu (not their full menu) where you can snack in between. You usually have to ask for this menu at the restaurant, it is usually not advertised
  • Bath towels and linens are provided, but there are no beach towels on the resort. We would recommend bringing your own
  • Don't forget any medical forms
  • Don't forget your passports​ (plus EPs and DPs where applicable). Always check that you have at least six months validity on your passport
  • Please ensure that you check any personal visa requirements to travel to Malaysia

Can you describe the diving in Rawa?

The diving is wonderful! For starters, we have a beautiful hard coral reef - the only reef in the area with 100% coral coverage. This runs the whole length of the west side of the island, where everything is located (the east side consists of sea cliffs). This means you can dive from our dive centre in the far north to the main boat jetty in the far south. What's more, on both ends the reef finishes in spectacular coral gardens, all diveable!

As we are the only dive centre on the island the whole reef is just for our divers! The diving is very easy, with shallow depths that allow for long dives and encourage heavy coral growth. The current is mostly mild, with occasional surges at the tidal peaks, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced divers.

Apart from the coral itself there is a great diversity of wildlife, including an abundance of fish and occasional treats like turtles, sharks and sea snakes. We also like to spend a small portion of the dive time exploring the sandy sea floor where some great macro life and unusual critters can be found: pipefish, nudibranch, bristle worms, cuttlefish, sea potatoes etc. Have a look at our Facebook albums for some photos!

Finally, we have our very own small wreck. It's very close to the island and makes a super 'jetty dive'! The wooden beams of our main jetty resemble the structure of a wreck and act as a sanctuary to a huge variety of marine life, such as flat heads, rays, flounders and big schools of trevally, batfish and silversides.

Do I really need a refresher course?

Depending on experience levels and the amount of elapsed time since each diver's last dive, it may be necessary for some of the group to complete a short refresher course. PADI advises this after 6 months. If you have not been diving for some time, we would strongly recommend completing a refresher before fun diving with us. This will ensure that you remember the most important aspects of diving and will be more comfortable in the water, enabling you to enjoy your dives even more.

The refresher consists of a little bit of theory revision, some skills practice (including buoyancy) and anything you would like to go over. There are 2 options for completing this:

  1. In the swimming pool, here in Singapore; or
  2. On Rawa, where it would be a short skills practice and short dive combined

I can’t swim, can I still do the Open Water course?

To take part in the Open Water course you do need to be a relatively comfortable in the water. There is a 200m continuous swim, and a 10-minute tread-water/float. Both are PADI requirements. When you get signed off as an Open Water diver by your instructor you are being given a lifelong certification to say you and another certified buddy can go off and dive without professional supervision. If you cannot swim you could put yourself, and other divers in danger if you were to have any surface or underwater problems. If you can’t swim, you can do a Discover Scuba Diving course. This is not a certification, but an experience of diving. If you like it and want to carry on, you can take swimming lessons, and do the course when you are proficient at swimming.

How many people do you need to start a class?

We can start with just one student – of course it’s always nicer to learn together, so try and find some friends to join in the fun! We never have a higher ratio than 4 students per instructor.

How long does a PADI certification course take?

The first certification course is called the Open Water Diver course and runs over a total four days. The course can be completed in full at our dive center on Rawa Island.

For customers coming from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur the theory and basic skills training can be conducted before coming to the island at your own pace, through online (eLearning) theory training and with a pool session in your private or at a local pool. At Orca scuba we like to make it as easy as possible for our customers, we fit our schedule to meet your schedule! The last part of the PADI Open Water course are 4 open water dives. These will be completed at a desired time for you, on Rawa Island Malaysia. This can be easily completed in one weekend. However, we suggest to take one extra day, to make the experience more relaxed and allow for weather conditions.

You found your passion for diving during your PADI Open water course? The PADI Advanced Open Water course is the next level in your continuous learning with PADI. This course consists of five dives conducted over two to three days. Two of the five dives (deep and navigation) are mandatory, whereas the remaining three can be chosen from a variety of optional dives such as night dive, naturalist or fish identification, search and recovery, peak performance buoyance, digital underwater photography and many more.

The AOWD course is followed by the Rescue Diver course, which is a strenuous but very rewarding and fun course for every diver who wants to learn more about keeping themselves and their buddies calm and safe in stressful situations. The Rescue Diver course can be completed in three to four days.

Please check out the course section of our website for more information.

What is the maximum group size during Orca Scuba PADI courses and fun dives?

We keep the groups small at a maximum of 4 students per instructor for all courses as well as for fun dives. This is half of the ratio stipulated by PADI. At Orca scuba you get double the attention and guidance from our professional dive instructors, compared to many other PADI dive centers. The only exception we make is when a family / group of friends of 5 would like to learn together in the same group.

What are the starting dates of courses? IS there an Orca scuba schedule?

We do not have a fixed schedule, we rather tailor one around your schedule. We like to make it easy to start your course with us and fit it into your busy life. You can also book some of our courses or Fun dives through our online Booking system, found on our Website.

Do I need any gear before starting a course?

No, we provide all the required gear for your course. We do however recommend for students to at least invest into their own mask and snorkel set. Simply because every face is different and diving with the perfect fit is so much more enjoyable! If you plan on Fun diving with us, you can rent the full gear kit at SGD40 per day per diver. Rental of individual items is also available.

I am a certified diver but have not dived for a long time, can I just come and dive with you?

If you are already certified fantastic! Please bring your certification card and your logbook, so we have proof of your diving experience. If your last dive was a while ago (more than 6 months), depending on the time that has passed and your experience, we would ask you to do a Refresher with us. We will go through some theory basics with you as well as practice the most important skills such as clearing your regulator and mask, the use of the alternate air source etc., before we would go on an easy and relaxed dive along our beautiful house reef

*If you cannot find your certification card anymore or you did not bring it on this holiday, we can always check certifications with PADI and SSI online. Should we not be able to find you in the system no worries, we can still take you out on a nice dive as a Discover Scuba Diver.

Can I still dive with you even if I am not PADI certified?

Yes of course, as long as you bring your certification card and your logbook you can go diving with us even without being a PADI diver.

There are 'agency equivalents' we can check to see how your certification compares to a PADI certification which will help us to determine your limits for the dives. CMAS, NAUI, SSI, SDI, BSAC, etc.

I am an experienced diver, can I rent tanks and dive without Orca Scuba staff on Rawa Island?

We feel responsible for the safety of divers who dive with us on Rawa Island and want to protect the coral reefs around the island. Therefore, we don’t just rent out tanks to fun divers. If you are a dive professional (dive master or instructor), we would take you out on a check dive first to give you an introduction to our reef, to show you entry and exit points, evaluate possible hazards and practice one or two skills, including SMB deployment, after which you are welcome to rent tanks for shore dives to go out with an equally qualified buddy.

What equipment do you use at Orca Scuba?

Our goal is to be widely regarded as South East Asia's top dive centre, so we invest in the latest equipment and rental gear. You can find a full description of our customer equipment on our Dive Equipment page. In summary we use a combination of the following:

  • Seac Sub EGO BCDs from XXXS to XL
  • Tribord 2.5 mm front-zip shorty wetsuits - kid size 8 to adult XXL
  • Mares 'Avanti Quattro' open heel fins
  • Seac Sub 'Pro Propulsion' fins with Seac Sub 5mm booties, ranging from size 36 to 45.
  • Adjustable Seac Sub Sprint open heel fins for kids (no booties required)
  • Scubapro MK2 Evo regulators paired with the Scubapro R095 2nd stages
  • Seac Sub P-Synchros sets
  • All our regulators are fitted with comfort mouth pieces
  • A selection of S64 8-litre, S80 11.1-litre and C 13.2-litre aluminium tanks, filled using a Bauer compressor
  • A mixture of Seac Sub and Scubapro masks and snorkels, all fitted with comfortable mask straps for adults and kids
  • Scubapro Alladin One computers
  • Various torches and compasses
  • High quality self-sealing SMBs, reels, cutting tools and special practice SMBs for courses

What are your typical diving times?

The times for our dives vary slightly depending on the type of dive, boat or shore, the tides and of course the arrival and departure times of our guests. Typically we would meet for activities conducted from shore between 8:30 and 9:00 o`clock in the morning and 13:30 and 14:00 o`clock in the afternoon. The dive times for boat dives are dependent on the number of dives planned that day as well as the distance to the dive sites and daily tides. Depending on demand, we can organize full day trips with three dives as well as half day trips with two dives and trips with single dives.

What are the costs for diving with Orca Scuba?

If you would like a price list for single dives, dive packages and courses, or if you would like us to tailor a package to your needs, please contact us here.

Do you use boats for your dives or do you also go from shore?

Most of our training dives are conducted from shore. We have a beautiful white sandy beach on Rawa that allows us to do the skills for courses such as Open Water, Discover Scuba Dives and Scuba Refreshers going in directly from the beach. We also have some great shallower dive sites around the island that can be reached from shore without problems. For dives further away we use a small catamaran type speedboat that can take up to 12 divers plus Orca Scuba staff to the desired destination.

Can everybody come on a dive with you or are there any limitations e.g. age or medical conditions?

In general, everybody from a certain age on, who is physically and mentally fit and comfortable in the water can go diving with us. We take out kids from as young as five years for “SASYs” (Supplied Air Snorkeling), from eight years on we offer the PADI Bubble Maker programme and once kids turn ten, we can take them on a Discover Scuba Dive or even start a full PADI Open Water Course, which results in a diving certification valid for a life time. After ten, there this no age limit as such.

Upon check-in/pre-booking, every customer will have to complete a diver medical questionnaire which is an individual health check. If all the questions in the questionnaire can be answered with 'NO', no further medical sign off is required to go diving. If any questions have to be answered with 'YES', the sign-off by a qualified physician in mandatory to commence in any diving activities.

As the health and safety of our customers is of utmost importance to us, we strongly recommend reading this medical form. All divers will be asked to sign this before their first dive.

How deep do we go on our dives?

The depth we can reach on a dive depends on the certification level of the diver and their age.

  • PADI Junior Open Water Diver: 12m
  • PADI Open Water Diver: 18m
  • PADI Junior AOW Diver: 21m
  • PADI AOW Diver: 30m
  • PADI Deep specialty certification: The deepest depth allowed within recreational diving is 40m, if the diver has the corresponding deep specialty training. If you decide to go deeper than your 'PADI limit', you have to take into consideration, your dive insurance will not cover you should a dive emergency or accident occur.

How long can we stay under water?

The time we can spend under water is determined by the personal air consumption rate of a diver. Depending on the conditions such as currents, waves or surge and the diving depth, the air consumption rate varies and dives can be anything from 30 minutes to more than one hour. In general, we at Orca Scuba aim for a 60 minute dive or alternately finish our dives when air runs low (50 bar) and safely ascent to the surface.

I am wearing glasses, can I still dive?

Diving is of course possible also for people with limited eye sight. For customers that are comfortable wearing contact lenses, this would be the easiest solution. Unfortunately, we do not have any prescription masks available on the island at the moment, so if wearing contact lenses is not an option, please check beforehand what type of mask and prescription you would need and bring it with you to Rawa Island. There are in fact various brands that offer a certain type of mask with interchangeable lenses depending on the prescription.

If you need any advice or assistance with choosing a mask, please feel free to visit us in our Queensway Scuba store or check with us online at scubastore.sg

Can I dive if I am pregnant?

No you cannot. Simply because the effect of diving (higher pressure under water & plus build up of nitrogen in blood and tissues) has never been tested on an fetus/unborn child. We at Orca Scuba will not take be able to take you out diving with us, if we know you might be or are pregnant.

Do I really need dive insurance?

At Orca Scuba, we are covered by our own business liability insurance for all our scuba activities, as well as activities conducted out of the water (i.e. classroom time). However, it does not cover you for any in-water accidents or injuries. We do insist that all of our customers have their own personal scuba insurance cover, in keeping with or Singapore Tourism Board license agreement. We can offer you this from as little as SGD10 per day, or can offer more comprehensive annual cover for individuals, and families.

Do bigger tanks cost more?

No bigger is not more expensive and neither are our small tanks! At Orca Scuba we offer the right size tank for you at no additional cost. We carry 9, 11 and 13 liter tanks.

Does Orca scuba organise local dive trips from Singapore?

We are a boutique dive company and tailor our dive activities to you. We are constantly adding destinations and packages, so please contact us to find out about our upcoming offerings!

 
If you didn't find the relevant question and answer above, you can find PADI's comprehensive list of FAQs here.

To find out more information...

“Excellent dive instructors with a passion for the environment and actually educating you in all safety aspects.”

“Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. We have already booked to go back.”

“I liked it so much that I ended up extending my stay for another week to get my Advanced Open Water Certificate as well.”

About Orca Scuba

At Orca Scuba, we are passionate about the ocean and everything in it. By introducing people to diving, we 're conserving the oceans one dive at a time.

Conservation

What sets Orca apart from other operators, even to PADI, is our commitment to UN Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

HSEQ

Orca Scuba maintains the highest possible HSEQ standards. We invest in equipment, training and facilities to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.