SSI Logo - pinkReef Encounter is a leading SSI dive training facility, offering Dive courses from entry level Open Water Diver, Advanced Adventure Diver, Rescue Diver, right up to dive professional levels.

Reef Encounter has all classroom facilities onboard the boat, making it the ideal choice for learning to scuba dive while enjoying every minute of your Great Barrier Reef holiday. We believe there is no better place in the world to learn to dive! All locations that Reef Encounter visits have calm, clear areas that are perfect for scuba dive training.

Food, accommodation, scuba equipment hire and all tuition are included in your trip and provided onboard M.V. Reef Encounter – Our premier choice dive boat! Optional extras are wetsuits and dive torches if you require them, which are available for hire onboard. Prescription lens masks are also available for hire.

Our beautiful planet is covered by around 70% water
if you’re not exploring it, you’re missing out!

An SSI dive qualification is internationally recognised and can be used anywhere around the world. For more information about SSI dive courses and about the difference between SSI and PADI, see the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section.

For further information about other Reef Encounter Speciality Dive Courses on offer, or becoming an SSI Dive Master or SSI Dive Control Specialist, email us at or call us on +61 7 4051 5777.

We believe there is no better place to learn to scuba dive than on the Great Barrier Reef, and no better way than with the Top Deck Club Personal Open Water Dive Course!  All locations that Reef Encounter visits have clear, confined, calm and shallow lagoon areas that are perfect for scuba dive training. We believe that completing your entire scuba diving course in the ocean – as opposed to the first half in a swimming pool – produces more confident and experienced divers by the end of our training program.

Reef Encounter is a leading SSI Training Vessel. Our experienced Instructors guarantee you receive the very best dive education. Reef Encounter prides itself on it’s high training and safety standards. All training is done from Reef Encounter, cutting out the need to travel to classroom and pool facilities.

Meet friendly turtle 'Gus'Can you imagine being along on your first scuba class and seeing a turtle lazily swim alongside? It could happen!

Why should I choose to complete my Personal Open Water Course as part of the Top Deck Club? There are lots of reasons to be a Top Deck Club guest onboard Reef Encounter! To see the full list of benefits, see Top Deck Club. Read on to learn why there is simply no better way to learn to scuba dive…

A Top Deck Open water Course has loads of wonderful benefits on top of a standard Open Water Course…

Private Tuition Firstly, you are guaranteed private tuition. If you book a Top Deck Club Open Water Course then the crew member assigned as your personal valet will also be your Scuba Instructor, so their whole job onboard the boat is to look after you! This means they do not need to schedule your classes around other passenger’s needs – you are their one and only priority! So whether you’re travelling on your own, as a couple or as a family, there will be a personal Scuba Instructor for every step of your training, looking after all your onboard and in-water needs. Note: one crew member is assigned to each booking party.

Learn at your own pace and enjoy your reef holiday
It’s an un-rushed experience. Reef Encounter has five water sessions a day and one night dive. Working together with your personal Scuba Instructor you can choose which times of day you want to schedule your dives and when you want to relax and just enjoy being at the Great Barrier Reef! Fancy a sleep in? No problem! Want to complete a night dive just for fun instead of having to attend a theory class? You can!*

Additional Certified Dives
After you have completed the required number of training dives for certification, any additional dives that you do will be fun dives as a certified diver. This is a great opportunity to practice your new skills, gain experience and just have some great fun! We are passionate about scuba diving and we guarantee that upon completion of your course, you will be too. Depending on when you choose to complete your eight training dives, this may leave you as many as four certified dives at the end of your trip (3 daytime and 1 night).

How long does it take?
A Top Deck Club Open Water Dive Course takes four days, three nights to complete.

How many scuba dives are training dives?
A minimum of 8 training dives are required for Open Water Certification. You may complete a maximum of 3 training dives per day and a total of 4 scuba dives per day.

How many scuba dives are included?
All scuba dives that you wish to complete during your stay are included in the trip cost, with the exception of any night dives you participate in prior to certification, which will be extra. If you have completed all course requirements by the last night of your stay, the night dive as a Certified Diver is included in the trip cost. Because of the extra time our crew dedicates to a private Top Deck Open Water Course, you may choose to do all the dives available to you or you may choose not to, it’s up to you!

Why isn’t there also a 3 Day Top Deck option like there is with the Standard Open Water Courses?
On a standard Open Water Course the times of the classes are fixed as the Scuba Instructor has to organize them alongside other courses they are teaching and their additional duties. On a standard Open Water Course theory classes are usually scheduled after the evening meal. This is impractical for the Top Deck guest as they receive a deluxe three course meal each night of their stay. We pride our Top Deck Club service on the fact that it is set at the guests own pace and always feels relaxed. Instead of being onboard solely to concentrate on getting your scuba diving license, Top Deck passengers can enjoy every aspect of being on the Great Barrier Reef and plan their holiday the way they like.

What is an Open Water Course?
An Open Water Course is the first official step in scuba diving training, where you will learn all the fundamentals to help you become a confident scuba diver. No prior scuba experience is necessary and upon successful completion of the course you will receive an Open Water Diver license; which is a lifelong, internationally recognized scuba diving rating and can be used anywhere around the globe.

Do I need to do anything prior to starting the course?
Yes. Before your open water course you must attain a diving medical certificate and we recommend that you complete a free online training class. Read on for details on each…

Online Training

If you wish to do your Open Water Course onboard Reef Encounter then we ask that you complete the free online training class before your trip. On average it takes around two hours to complete, but you can do it in parts so you do not need to do it all in one sitting. Online training is extremely beneficial as it enhances learning, gives you a good understanding of what you would like to practice more with your Scuba Instructor and cuts down the time you are required to spend in theory classes.

To register for the free SSI online training class, follow the link For additional information on how to complete the training online, please email us at or call us on +61 7 4051 5777 and we will be happy to send you an attachment with some helpful advice.

Compulsory Dive Medical

Before beginning any Open Water Course in Australia you are required to get a medical certificate that states you are fit to scuba dive. Your dive medical can be attained from any registered physician either within or outside of Australia, but must be conducted in accordance with Australian Medical Standard AS4005-1 and state this clearly on the certificate. For a copy of the Australian Medical Standard AS4005-1 that you can take to your doctor, click here Australian Medical Standard AS4005-1 or for any assistance in acquiring your dive medical, please email us at or call the friendly Reef Encounter office on +61 7 4051 5777. If your medical certificate does not state that it conforms to AS4005-1, it is likely that you will have to acquire another medical certification in Australia that is compliant.