We leave this up to the guardians and the children. Technically, they only have to be 10 years old to get open water certified.
However, we treat this on a case-by-case basis. What we generally ask guardians is “Would you trust your child with your life in an emergency situation?”.
Scuba diving is a ‘buddy’ or pair sport and while emergencies don’t happen often, if they do, it’s up to your buddy to help you. The classes are set up to train you to react to these emergencies so that when they do happen, you can help yourself or your buddy in a calm and safe manner. So, even though the training material and guidelines are created to certify a 10-year old, you have to decide if your 10-year old is mature enough to go through the course.
If you want to talk with our staff about any concerns or questions, let us know! We have seen both sides with staff members certified at young ages that have turned around and taught young children as adults.