Submerged in a completely different world – a world where ‘exotic’ doesn’t begin to describe what’s in front of your eyes, that’s AQ scuba…

Through crystal blue waters with incredible visibility, you’ll come face-to-face with spectacular marine life like hawksbill turtles, queen angelfish and schools of mirror-like silver sides.

ActionQuest has been teaching scuba longer than any other teen summer camp and we have one of the highest ratios of continuing education of any scuba diving school worldwide. That means that if you are joining AQ for one of our high adventure teen scuba camps, we can guarantee you an incredibly diverse and, above all, fantastically fun program!

We are affiliated with PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and PADI is the world’s leader in scuba training education. We have been rated as a 5 Star Gold Palm Facility, the highest rating that PADI awards.

This is based on our experience, safety standards and commitment to continuing education.

Scuba diving is fun and easy to learn!

PADI courses include both academic knowledge development and in water practical training and all are performance-based rather than time-based.

This means that if you are having difficulty with any particular skill, our instructors work one-on-one with you until the skill is mastered.

Just like our sailing certifications, with PADI there is a clear progression in scuba certifications from the Introductory Open Water Course all the way through to Professional Divemaster Certification.

Our team of Instructors can teach them all, yet the certification levels that you’ll earn will depend on the previous experience you have as well as the adventure that you choose.

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Based on your experience, we teach these courses…

PADI Open Water Diver

If you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons, experience unparalleled adventure and see the world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. Get your scuba diving certification with the PADI Open Water Diver course – the world’s most popular and widely recognized scuba course. Millions of people have learned to scuba dive and gone on to discover the wonders of the aquatic world through this course.

To enroll in a PADI Open Water Diver course or Junior Open Water Diver course, you need adequate swimming skills and need to be in good physical health. No prior experience with scuba diving is required.

PADI Advanced Open Water

Exploration. Excitement. Experiences. That’s what the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course is all about. You don’t have to be “advanced” to take it – it’s designed to advance your diving, so you can start right after earning your PADI Open Water Diver certification. The course helps build confidence and expand your scuba skills through different Adventure Dives. You try out different specialties while gaining experience under the supervision of your PADI Instructor. You log dives and develop capabilities as you find new ways to have fun scuba diving.

PADI Rescue Diver

Scuba divers describe the PADI Rescue Diver course as the most challenging, yet most rewarding course they’ve ever taken. Why? Because you learn to prevent and manage problems in the water, and become more confident in your skills as a diver, knowing that you can help others if needed. During the course, you learn to become a better buddy by practicing problem solving skills until they become second nature. Plus, the course is just fun – it’s serious, but still allows for lots of laughter in between the focused learning.

PADI Divemaster

Love scuba diving? Want to share it with others on a whole new level? Take the PADI Divemaster course and do what you love to do as a career. Scuba divers look up to divemasters because they are leaders who mentor and motivate others. As a divemaster, you not only get to dive a lot, but also experience the joy of seeing others have as much fun diving as you do.

The PADI Divemaster course is your first level of professional training. Working closely with a PADI Instructor, you’ll fine-tune your dive skills, like perfecting the effortless hover, and refine your rescue skills so you anticipate and easily solve common problems. You’ll gain dive knowledge, management and supervision abilities so you become a role model to divers everywhere.

We also teach these specialties…

Underwater Naturalist

Take the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course and you’ll see new things, even on the most familiar scuba diving sites. Why? Because when you know more about symbioses, underwater ecology, and aquatic plant and animal habitats, you notice behaviors and see creatures you may have previously missed. Learn more about the local ecosystem and take a closer look on your next scuba diving adventure.

What you learn

Through class discussions and on two scuba dives, you’ll learn:

  • Key differences between the terrestrial and aquatic worlds.
  • Major aquatic life groupings, interactions and information that dispels myths.
  • Responsible interactions with aquatic life.

Coral Reef Conservation

Everyone likes to scuba dive or snorkel in warm, clear water on a vibrant coral reef, yet many people know little about what they’re seeing or the importance of reef ecosystems. The AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course helps you appreciate the complexity of these habitats and teaches you how you can help conserve these vital systems.

What you learn

Through classroom discussions, you learn:

  • How coral reefs function and the complex nature of life on a reef.
  • Why coral reefs are so important.
    Why many coral reefs are in serious trouble.
  • What you can do to prevent further decline.
  • How Project AWARE unites divers and water enthusiasts to make a difference.

Boat Diver

Much of the world’s best scuba diving is accessible only by boat. Whether you’ve never made a boat dive or you’ve logged dozens, the PADI Boat Diver Specialty course will benefit you because boats in various parts of the world do things differently. Scuba diving from a boat is fun and relatively easy because you usually descend directly onto your dive site.

What you learn

The PADI Boat Diver course will expand your knowledge about boats from small inflatables to large liveaboards. You’ll gain experience scuba diving by completing two dives from a boat in your local area and learn:

  • Boat terminology.
  • Boat diving procedures and etiquette, including how to enter and exit, and where to stow your gear.
  • Boating safety, including how to locate safety equipment.

Night Diver

The thought of dipping below the surface at night seems mysterious, yet so alluring. Although you’ve been scuba diving at a site many times before, at night you drop into a whole new world and watch it come to life under the glow of your dive light. The scene changes as day creatures retire and nocturnal organisms emerge. If you’ve wondered what happens underwater after the sun goes down, sign up for the PADI Night Diver Specialty course.

What you learn

Scuba diving at night teaches you to focus on what you can see in your light’s beam, on controlling your buoyancy by feel, on staying with your buddy and on paying attention to details you may overlook during the day. During three night dives, you’ll practice:

  • Light handling and communication techniques.
  • Entering, exiting and navigating in the dark.
  • Identifying how plants and animals differ or change behavior at night.

Emergency First Response & CPR

Take a step toward emergency preparedness and meet PADI Rescue Diver prerequisites with Emergency First Response. As one of the foremost international CPR and first aid training companies, Emergency First Response gives you the confidence to respond to medical emergencies – not just in the diving world, but in your every day world with your family, friends, and neighbors too.

Focused on training the lay rescuer, the Emergency First Response approach to training builds confidence in lay rescuers and increases their willingness to respond when faced with a medical emergency by teaching them the skills they need in a non-stressful learning environment. Participants are also given as much practice as necessary to master and retain these skills.

What you learn
  • Scene Assessment
  • Barrier Use
  • Primary Assessment
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Serious Bleeding Management
  • Shock Management
  • Spinal Injury Management
  • Conscious and Unconscious Choking Management

Research Diver

This PADI course is a “distinctive” specialty, meaning that it’s only available through AQ! It is designed to teach our Marine Bio students the basic techniques and methods used to conduct underwater research in many branches of science. In the classroom you’ll learn all about the scientific method, as well as the guidelines and basic procedures used while research diving. In the water, we’ll use transect lines and quadrats as well as other measuring and observation techniques. Everything will culminate in the preparation and collection of data for your own research project.

Equipment Specialist

Don’t miss a dive due to minor issues with your scuba diving equipment. Whether it’s a missing o-ring, wetsuit tear or a broken fin strap, the PADI Equipment Specialist course teaches you to manage basic repairs and adjustments. You’ll also learn more about how your gear works, making you more comfortable with it and better prepared to take care of your investment.

What you learn

You’ll learn about routine care and maintenance procedures as well as scuba equipment storage recommendations. Your instructor will show you how to overcome some common equipment problems and offer equipment configuration suggestions. You may even get to jump into the water to try new or unfamiliar equipment.

Wreck Diver

Whether purpose-sunk as an artificial reef for scuba divers, or lost as the result of an accident, wrecks are fascinating windows to the past. Ships, airplanes and even cars are intriguing to explore and usually teem with aquatic life. Each wreck dive offers a chance for discovery, potentially unlocking a mystery or spying something others have missed. The PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course is popular because it offers rewarding adventures while observing responsible wreck diving practices.

What you learn

There are many different types of wrecks, some of which are protected by laws that guard their historical and cultural significance. Your training starts by reviewing guidelines for researching and respecting wrecks. During four dives you’ll learn:

  • Safety considerations for navigating and exploring wrecks.
  • Surveying and mapping a wreck.
    Using penetration lines and reels to guide exploration.
  • Techniques to avoid kicking up silt or disturbing the wreck and its inhabitants.

Fish ID

“What was that fish?” is a common question heard after a dive. If you want to be the scuba diver with the answers, instead of the one asking the questions, then take the AWARE – Fish Identification Specialty course. You’ll enjoy your dives even more when you recognize the creatures that you see and can identify the main fish families and their characteristics.

What you learn

Once you learn to recognize what types of fish you see, you’ll find it easier to reference the exact species after a scuba dive. For example, a butterfly fish in the Caribbean has a similar shape to a butterfly fish in Southeast Asia, but colors and markings may be wildly different. If you know what fish family it belongs to, you can more easily look up the local name or at least be able to intelligently ask the local scuba instructor what you saw.
During two scuba dives, you’ll learn:

  • How to identify characteristics of local fish families and species.
  • Fish survey techniques and strategies.
  • About Project AWARE activities that can help protect aquatic life.

Peak Performance Buoyancy

Excellent buoyancy control is what defines skilled scuba divers. You’ve seen them underwater. They glide effortlessly, use less air and ascend, descend or hover almost as if by thought. They more easily observe aquatic life without disturbing their surroundings. You can achieve this, too. The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course improves the buoyancy skills you learned as a new diver and elevates them to the next level.

What you learn

During two scuba dives, you’ll learn how to:

  • Determine the exact weight you need, so you’re not too light or too heavy.
  • Trim your weight system and scuba gear so you’re perfectly balanced in the water.
  • Streamline to save energy, use air more efficiently and move more smoothly through the water.
  • Hover effortlessly in any position – vertical or horizontal.

Digital Underwater Photographer

Underwater photography is one of the most popular diving specialties, and with so many underwater cameras to choose from, it has become easier and more fun than ever to capture images of your underwater scuba adventures. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course gets you going quickly, whether you use a point-and-shoot camera or a sophisticated dSLR like the pros.

What you learn

Through hands-on training during two scuba dives and guidance from your PADI Professional, you’ll discover:

  • How to choose the right underwater camera system for you.
  • The PADI SEA (Shoot, Examine, Adjust) method for getting great shots quickly.
  • Principles for good composition of underwater images.
  • Practical techniques to take great photos with your digital camera.

Oxygen Provider

Knowing how and when to use emergency oxygen is a great skill to have and means you’re ready to help others should the need arise. Becoming a PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider lets you breathe easy knowing that you can recognize scuba diving illnesses treatable with emergency oxygen, and are prepared to offer aid.

What you learn

You’ll learn about dive injuries, different types of emergency oxygen equipment and safety considerations when using oxygen. Then you’ll practice:

  • Assembling and disassembling emergency oxygen equipment.
  • Deploying a non-rebreather mask and a demand inhalator valve on a breathing diver.
  • Using a pocket mask on a nonbreathing diver.

Project AWARE Specialist

Project AWARE’s philosophy is to mobilize a global force of scuba divers and water enthusiasts who care about protecting the world’s water resources and choose to make a difference – one dive at a time. By earning the Project AWARE Specialist certification, you’ll be aware of the most pressing problems facing vulnerable aquatic environments and know what everyday actions you can take to help protect them.

What you learn

Through classroom discussions, you learn:

  • How Project AWARE unites scuba divers and water enthusiasts to make a difference.
  • About environmental issues in the ocean commons and coastal zones.
  • About fisheries challenges and sustainability problems.
  • What’s happening to coral reefs and reef inhabitants.
  • Your role in protecting aquatic environments.

“Thank you for the endless memories. Every summer I come here I meet the most amazing people, whether they are shipmates or staff. Your programs have inspired me to be the best person I can be and to always try my hardest. I feel so blessed to have been able to experience 3 summers here. I plan to further my scuba education and to hopefully become an instructor someday too. Thank you again for the best summers of my life.”

SOPHIA G. - POTOMAC, MD

“When Alexis came back from ActionQuest, it was clear that she had experienced an incredible transformation. She came back a self-confident leader. She became the VP of her youth group and then applied for early decision to college. I sent Alexis's little brothers Brent and Jared to ActionQuest this last summer. They came back more self-confident, mature and responsible. Brent really began to take charge of his future after his AQ experience. And when he talks about scuba diving, his eyes just light up. He is absolutely a changed person. And Jared made so many friends. As a parent, you can't ask for anything more. You don't think of a summer program as having that kind of impact, but it does.”

DEBBIE P. - NEW YORK, NY

“Thank you for creating this amazing experience called ActionQuest. You helped spark an interest in scuba diving and sailing. My experience here at ActionQuest was unforgettable! I had the opportunity to make so many friends who I will hopefully stay in contact with! I also enjoyed the food we got to eat here.”

SUPRIYA M. - CHELSEA, MI

“Thank you all so much. I found AQ later than I would have liked, but my three sessions from Neptune all the way to Divemaster have absolutely changed my life, be it the diving, the experiences, or the people, I would not be the person I am today without them, and I am rather proud of that person. Thank you.”

NICK V. - WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI

Follow the experience

Watch a 3-part series as our 21-day British Virgin Islands program unfolds