Diving courses

Calamari provides full diving training: from your first 1* (open water) certificate to becoming a scuba diving instructor. All diving certificates are issued by the Dutch Underwater sports Federation (Nederlandse Onderwatersport Bond, NOB) which is a national organisation under the World Underwater Federation (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, CMAS). The diving certificates are internationally recognised.

If you start diving, you will first be trained as a 1* diver. You will get theory classes at the Willem-Alexander Sport Center before every pool session. The pool sessions - so-called "buddytraining" - will take place in winter and will train your basic diving skills you will later need in the open water.  When you have finished the theory, buddytraining, and have followed our CPR-training, you are ready for open water diving training! Your first open water dives will be together with a diving instructor. Calamari has multiple instructors available to guide you during open water dives. 

A board member is responsible for coordinating all diving training and can be contacted to obtain information concerning the courses via the contact page. Are you looking for information on the planning of courses or do you want to register for any (training)activity? Take a look at the course calendar, visible in the membermenu after logging in to your profile. 

Training booklets

Every diving course has its own training booklet. In these booklets you find all skills and modules you need to obtain your certificate. It is used by the instructors to follow your progress: when you finish a skill/module you will receive a stamp from the instructor. If you have collected all necessary stamps in your booklet, the instructor will request your certificate at the NOB.

Open Water Training

Calamari organises training days in Tynaarlo, a fresh water lake near Groningen especially suitable for starting divers. New skills are always trained under supervision of an instructor. General diving experience may also be gained under supervision of a 3* diver (dive master).

The diving weekends in Zeeland (southern coastal province of the Netherlands) are very suitable for training 2* divers (advanced divers). In Zeeland you can do night, tidal, and deep dives. Again, these new skills may only be practised under supervision of an instructor, and dives for general experience may be supervised by a 3* diver. The final dive for finishing a module may be supervised by a 3* diver. However, the instructor has the final responsibility for signing of the skill/module.

As a 3* diver in training, you can do your deep dive in Zeeland or Friesland. The training days in Tynaarlo are perfect moments to practise your coordinating skills.

Check our agenda for an overview of all training days and weekends, and to sign up for them.

Pool sessions (for all divers)

For both new certificate-less members and for more experienced divers, the swimming pool plays an important part. New members will get taught their diving skills and are able to practise these in the swimming pool. For the more experienced divers, lessons will be organised to improve your skills, like a rescue exercise, an exercise with nets and a trimclinic. And you can always improve your stamina or your swimming technique with fins by joining the underwater hockey training or the swimming/snorkel training.

Our training hours are as follows in the Willem-Alexander Sports complex:

Mondays (stamina, snorkling and compressed air): 20:30h -22:00h
Thursdays (stamina & Under water hockey): 18:00h -19:15h

Practising diving skills

Would you like to practise independently after the buddy training? You can! First of all you'll have to make sure you have your own gear and you want to bring a buddy. Just like with the swimming lessons, a supervisor must be present: Calamari will make sure that there will be a supervisor present during all of our lessons. Before practising, inform the supervisor of your plans. Don't have a certificate yet? In that case, make sure there's either a 3*-diver or an instructor present in the swimming pool and inform them about your plans. You can find a playlist on Youtube with the diving skills. You can also find the entire list (except taking off and putting on the diving set under water) on the yellow Calamari signing card.

1* diver (open water)

As a 1* diver you'll be trained to be able to dive independently with at least an equally certificated diver, up to a depth of 20 meters. You shall dive under equal or lighter conditions than in which you were trained and you shall always remain within the decompression limits. You shall not dive in tidal waters. The NOB chose to make a medical examination of fitness mandatory to be able to practice scuba diving. While training for the 1* diving certificate, a personal medical certificate and indemnity will suffice until the first dive in outdoor water.

The course for 1* diver consists of a part theory, a part practice in the swimming pool and a part practice in outside water. The theory section is an important part of the NOB 1* diver training. You'll learn a number of things regarding diving gear and safety, for example. All of these instructions can be bound in the 1* course book, which everyone gets. Before the swimming pool training courses, a number of theory lessons will be given by our instructors. You're expected to be present during all of these lessons. At the end of the lessons, there will be an exam to test the theory. You'll be sent a schedule of all the lessons by e-mail, if you have any questions or comments, you can contact the training and education commissioner.

The practical part of the training will start in the swimming pool ('indoor water'), where you will learn the basic techniques of diving with compressed air. Just as the regular training, the compressed air training will take place in the swimming pool. You'll learn to use the equipment and you'll learn the basic techniques of scuba diving. The compressed air training will be taught via the buddy system. Every pair of buddies will be guided by a buddy trainer. Once you've concluded all the modules of the compressed air training, you can start with the outdoor water training.

To be able to obtain your 1* certificate, a minimum of 5 training dives are required (depending on your own pace); this means that you can obtain your first certificate halfway through May already, if you started in the swimming pool in October! Some 1* trainees will need more than 5 training dives however. The amount of dives needed differs per person, so one should not worry at all if you need more than 5. In addition to the previous, you'll need a valid medical examination of fitness to qualify for a 1* diving certificate.

For more information regarding what 1* divers can do and the contents of the courses, refer to the NOB website (dutch).

2* diver (advanced open water)

At G.B.D. Calamari, we also offer the possibility to train further and become a 2* diver. As a recreational or sports diver there are many possibilities to enjoy your hobby. You could dive in tidal water, admire certain species after sunset which are in hiding during the day, explore life under water or even gain more knowledge in assisting your diving buddy during unexpected situations. During this course, you'll broaden your horizon. During the 2* diving training, you'll gain experience in planning and safely executing a dive in various circumstances. Moreover, we'll spend time on the most common diving disorders: how can you recognise them and how should you react upon them? As a 2* diver, you'll dive within the decompression limits. Just as the 1* diving training, the 2* diving training consists of parts theory and parts practice. Before you can start this training however, you'll need a certain amount of dives as experience. Because of this, it is recommended to keep track of all your dives in a diving log. Mandatory parts of the 2* diving training are rescue, night diving, navigation, diving in tidal water and biological knowledge. In addition to these mandatory parts, there are a number of optional specialisation like ice diving, dry suit diving, wreckage diving, deep diving and nitrox. Just as with the 1* certificate, a valid medical examination of fitness is required, plus you'll need to have followed a reanimation course. A minimum amount of 20 dives are needed before your 2* diving certificate can be requested. Dives made during previous training also count, as well as dives you make in the context of the 2* training.

For more information regarding what 2* divers can do and the contents of the courses, refer to the NOB website (dutch).

3* diver (dive master)

In addition to the 1* and 2* training, you can also follow a training to become a 3* diver (dive master). Becoming a 3* diver could be the first step to a professional diving career. As a 3* diver, you can guide inexperienced divers by giving buddy training, for example. The 3* training is a deeper delve into diving: during this training you'll dot the i's and cross the t's and you'll learn more on the background behind the information you've been taught so far. You'll be trained as an 'accompanying diver'. You'll learn to respond and how to act during a diving accident as part of the rescue speciality. You'll also learn how to train and guide divers in training by practising diving techniques. And finally you'll be offered recent insights in the theories around decompression sickness. Just as a 1* and 2* diver, the 3* diver dives within the decompression limits. Before you can request a 3* certificate, a minimum of 60 dives are required. Dives made during previous training also count, as well as dives you make in the context of the 3* training.

As a 3* diver, you'll learn a lot regarding decompression. When finished, you'll know the details of the effects of repetition dives, 'jojoing' (repeatedly diving to depth and rising to sea level), not drinking enough water et cetera. With this knowledge, you'll be able to increase the safety of your own dives even further. In case you happen to dive outside of the decompression limits unexpectantly, you'll have sufficient knowledge and skill to safely make it back to the surface. If, as a 3* diver, you want to do planned decompression dives, you'll be thoroughly prepared in the Decompression diving speciality. With this speciality, you'll actually be making those decompression dives; you'll practice with a decompression buoy and doing air consumption calculations. And the latter is certainly no unnecessary luxury: every year it becomes apparent from the diving accident registration that it's essential to be able to properly make air consumption calculations. Many diving accidents - mainly decompression cases - are caused by a shortage in air! Because you can make all the calculations you want regarding when, where and how long you'll have to make your decompression stops, but if you run out of air, you'll have to go back to the surface!

As a 3* diver, you'll have many options; one of the things you'll learn is the guiding of other divers. You can both guide certificated divers during a club dive, but you can also practice divers in training for their next certificate. When you're guiding a diver in training as a 3* diver, the following rules apply:
- you don't teach them new skills (only a diving instructor is allowed to do this);
- you only practice skills in outdoor water that are already covered by the 2* diver in training with an instructor;
- all exercises you practice are done in consultation with a diving instructor / head coach;
- you're not allowed to practice outdoor water skill with divers in training for the 1* certificate.
Divers who not yet have a certificate, always have to be guided by a diving instructor. Important: There is one exception to the last rule. A 3* diver is allowed to accompany a 1* diver in training in outdoor water during a recreational 'fun dive'. Or, in other words, simply swim around under water for fun and gaining experience. This exception does not apply to the very first outdoor water dive, but only from the second outdoor water dive and onward.

At the end of your 3* training, a minimum of 60 dives must have been logged. In addition to that, to be able to request a 3* certificate, you'll need to have a valid medical examination of fitness and you need to have finished a reanimation course and the rescue speciality.

For more information regarding what 3* divers can do and the contents of the courses, refer to the NOB website (dutch).

Diving instructor training

Once you've obtained your 3* certificate, you'll be given a tak within the training and education of G.B.D. Calamari as an accompanying diver and as an organiser of dives. After the 3* certificate, you can choose to continue training to become an instructor. Calamari has a subsidy arrangement with the ACLO, to make sure the costs of the instructors training for the student remains affordable. After becoming
a 1* instructor (lessons in theory and in the swimming pool) you can choose to continue and become a 2* instructor (lessons in theory, swimming pool and outdoor water). You can find an overview of the instructor courses here. When there's enough interest, we'll organise an instructors training in the north of the country. Keep an eye on the website of the NOB or contact the board of calamari or the head office of the NOB. There is a subsidy arrangement with the club and the ACLO, to keep the participation costs for the student affordable.


Do you want to qualify for the 4*-license? Or do you just want to give some more depth to your underwater-career? Consider doing a specialisation! All specialisations will be organised on request and will only happen if there are sufficient participents. So mobilise as many members as you can if you want to do a specialisation. See www.onderwatersport.org for a list of all abvailable specialisations.

Some of the specialisations we organize frequently are:

Rescue diving (entrance level: 1*/open water diver + resuscitation course)
Diving is a safe sport: in comparison to other sports, the amount of accidents is only minimal. Despite this, something may Always go wrong during a dive: small accidents may happen, but also scenario in which an entire rescue operation is required may occur. Do you want to learn how to recognise and prevent a diving accident/incident and what part you yourself could play in a rescue operation? Then consider taking part in this educational and fun specialisation! The specialisation starts with a theory lesson with additionally practical lessons in the swimming pool. The specialisation is concluded with a fun practical day in Tynaarlo. To take part in this specialisation it is obligatory to have followed a resuscitation course. Participation in all parts of this specialisation entitles you to the specialisation liscence of Rescuing.

Nitrox (Entrance level: 1* / open water diver)
There are many diving spots at which you would like to spend an extended amount of time under water. For example because of the special fish species that lives there, or there is a huge wreck you would like to explore extensively. But it could also be you simply want to enjoy being under water for a longer period. Can you find yourself in this feeling? Then consider doing the basic Nitrox specialty, with which you can learn to dive with nitrox mixtures EAN32 and EAN36. Diving with an increased percentage of oxygen – and consequently a lower nitrogen percentage – allows you to be under water for an extended amount of time! Even though the air compressor of Calamari is not able to fill your bottle with a nitrox mixture, many dive shops and schools do offer this. De Nitrox course is made up out of 2 theory lessons and can be taken part in with a 1* / open water license.

Under water orientation (Entrance level: 2* / Advanced open water)
Are you having trouble navigating under water? Then save yourself swimming time by not constantly going in the wrong direction. What does the under water world look like exactly? Whish plants and animals can be found at which depths? And in what ways can divers orientate themselves under water? These are important questions in the specialization of under water orientations. The course is made up out of a theory lesson and a practical in a water outside.

Digital under water photography (Entrance level: 1* / open water diver)
Is photophgraphy your passion and do you want to extend this passion to the aquatic environment? Then this is the specialty for you! The course is made up out of a theory lesson, a practical in either the swimming pool or a water outside and is concluded by a final discussion.

Under water biology (Entrance level: 1* / open water for the specialty. Though everyone can participate)
A dive in the Dutch and Belgium waters is a true exploration in an extraordinary world of flora and fauna. This world is explored extensively in the specialization underwater biology. For example the grouping of the plant- and animal kingdom is discussed, but also attention is payed to ways of cohabitation and influences of humans and nature on various organisms and their distribution. The book that belongs to this specialization is a special book of reference for divers with a love for the beautiful aquatic life! Keep an eye on the website or contact the science committee through the contact page for more information.

Resuscitation course

It is mandatory to have done a resuscitation course if you want to dive outside with Calamari and get your license. This course is given annually at the beginning of the diving season, often through the Divers Alert Network (DAN). It is also valid if you have already done a resuscitation course, for example during a first aid course or during your study,

Medical examination

A sport diver is obligated to get medically approved through a medical examination. During this examination you are checked for your breathing and the status of your ears. Without a medical examination you are not allowed to dive during Calamari activities. The costs of an examination differs per physician and varies between €30 and €60. In principle any physician, except for your general practitioner, is allowed to perform such an examination. But if you want good advise, we do recommend going to a specialized physician. Refer to www.duikgeneeskunde.nl for a list of these physicians.. Once a year, a collective examination is organized at MediSub BV. This is also a good place where you can get an examination throughout the rest of the year (www.medisub.nl).

Control of medical examination and resuscitation.

The club is obligated to check for certain safey aspects of its members. Therefore, members are required to upload a snapshot of their proof of medical examination (with on it visibly the name and the date of examination), the date of the most recent resuscitation or BLS-course followed including the instance at which it was followed, and lastly if, and if so when, the member has participated in the “Rescue day”. In exchange, the member is notified when they are required to take a refreshment course and when this is organized by the club.


Diving is often seen as a risky sport and it is indeed a sport with which something can go very wrong. Even though this happens seldom, you do train yourself to be prepared for such situations. Safety is highly valuated within Calamari. You will learn what to do in an emergency situation, and not solely during your training. This will be regularly repeated by our instructors. It only really goes wrong if you do not dive safe, which is why safety is at the top of our list. Still, people sometimes find it scary to be under the surface for the first time. Especially if the water is dark and turbid, which is often the case in the Netherlands. Therefore, it is of utmost importance you do not do anything while diving you feel uncomfortable with. If you don’t feel like diving deep, just tell your buddy. As a buddy, you are required to listen. It is important you feel comfortable and happy under water.

Course meeting

Once a year a course meeting is organized for all members. During this meeting there will be an explanation on the continuation of the 1* / open water dive course, the start of the 2* / advanced open water diver course, how you can become a 3*/ dive master and why a boat license can be handy (and how to get one). Additionally, information is given on safety, the costs of the courses, the diving camps and doing your dive courses during diving camps and swimming pool lessons. Finally, during the meeting the board will make an assessment on the number of people that would like to get a certain license or specialization during  the coming year.