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Completed AOW this weekend

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Malpaso, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Malpaso

    Malpaso Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: MA/CT
    I completed AOW this weekend, and it was as mentally strenuous as it was physically strenuous. Going from OW to AOW is like going from the driving range to the golf course. I needed to put all the skills I'd learned together all at once, and I was pretty beat by the end of the weekend.

    Saturday's lake skills dives were pretty smooth. Water was about 70*F, so no hoods or gloves. That was quite a treat. Unfortunately, there was a lot of recreational activity on the lake and visibility was under 10'.

    Sunday out in the ocean was a different story. To start, the conditions were pretty poor. First dive was in heavy swells and 4' chop. The hardest part was getting from the stern to the anchor line. Once down, the visibility was about 6'. We could feel the wave energy all the way down to about 50'.

    The next area we moved to was much better. We anchored in a cove which was much calmer. We had about 20' viz and the drills were much easier. Lots of marine life, lobsters everywhere and a school of about 1000 squid.

    By the end, I was a lot more comfortable with rough water, deep water, gear and all my skills. Overall, I'm pretty psyched with having done it. Can't wait to get back in.
  2. Scuba_Noob

    Scuba_Noob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Victoria, BC
    Some people recommend AOW right after OW, at least for PADI. My opinion is that there should be at least 5-10 open water dives (with an experienced buddy) after the initial certification to fine tune skills learned in OW, especially buoyancy and dealing with multiple tasks. Some AOW skills are really important and should be learned relatively early in one's dive 'career' (e.g., peak performance, navigation, etc.).

    I only mention this because it seems as if it was a huge jump for you between OW and AOW. Maybe the stress and the jump could have been lessened with a few more dives between courses. Part of the stress could have been from poor visibility and poorer conditions than you were expecting. I'm glad that eventually your comfort grew and that you're completely psyched about diving.

    When I took my AOW class, I believe I had around 12 dives. I still felt pretty comfortable for almost all of the dives, except for a few nerves with the deep dive and the night dive. I didn't feel like it was a huge jump, and most of the dives felt like fun dives. Of course, there are personal differences between people and maybe instructors too.
  3. ffdiver

    ffdiver Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New York
    There souldn't be that big of a gap from class to class. Your OW class should have prepared you well for the AOW class and AOW for subsequent training. If it was that much of a gap then your OW instructors are to blame. AOW is meant as an introduction to many types of diving, skills and special equipment, it shouldn't feel like going from OW to commercial diving.

    I hope you did have at least some fun in your AOW class even though you felt exhausted after. And congrats. Now go dive and use those skills you learned.

  4. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    By the end, I was a lot more comfortable with rough water, deep water, gear and all my skills. Objective met! Congrats.
  5. SnorkelLA

    SnorkelLA DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: The Water
    But... didn't you say you had more dives than your instructor and DM COMBINED when you took it?! ;)

    But seriously OP, it's not like there is anything in the AOW class that is inherently difficult. You only have to know one knot of the S&R, most instructors settle for 75' on the deep dive, and most instructors make the night dives extremely short. And for PPB? All you do is swim through some hoops. The underwater navigation is stupidly simple.

    I don't mean to be mean in any way, but AOW is pretty much a useless certification that IMO should be completely done away with. What would REALLY be post-worthy is if you continued your diving education! :)
  6. jmneill

    jmneill Barracuda

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: North Florida
    The AOW cert is a joke that for some reason unbeknownst to me will get you onto a boat when an OW cert wont. I am doing my AOW "deep" dive this week in a body of water that if I bury my SPG in the sand at the bottom will probably read 65'. Happy day, now I'm "qualified" to do more "advanced" dives. :confused:

    The above said, I'm happy to pay for the AOW just to make sure I get out this week and enjoy some diving. :)
  7. t-mac

    t-mac BKK Divers

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: VA, USA

    I disagree. There certainly other ways to get to the same place, but AOW offers relatively new divers an opportunity to push their envelopes with new experiences under the supervision of an instructor. There is security in this and structure that I think is good for many/most people. The other point is the reality of the OW class is that it is really minimal for most people who rush through it in a large group setting, meeting just the minimum requirements. I view AOW as OW part 2 -- my only quibble with the cert is that it is called "advanced," which I believe inflates what it really is, a basic scuba cert.

    Optimally, we all do our OW with a skilled instructor, take our time and work in small instructor:student ratios, but I imagine that the vast majority of us don't. In this world, I would hope everyone would take AOW, especially when you think that even OW qualifies you to immediately go out on your own unsupervised, something I think the vast majority of OW divers are really not ready to do right after the class. Perhaps AOW doesn't solve this, but it gets people closer to being able to take on the responsibilty that they are ostensibly qualified to take on with the basic course.
    TSandM likes this.
  8. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    I think the real issue is that an OW cert itself, is no more than a "learners permit"....If it was not for the advertising technique of hooking people with the cheapest class possible, OW would include everything in AOW, and alot more.....Which it did back in the 70's :)

    In any event, if you start diving a couple of times a week, buddy with good divers and mimic their behaviors and skills, and log your dives.....this will mean FAR MORE than the AOW class, and several others as well.
    Once a specific boat captain knows what you are capable of from the DM's or guides, if you are good, you will get the opportunity to dive much better sites than the cert alone would set you up for.

    In areas like Palm Beach, where there are some very advanced wilderness dive sites, it is the knowledge of the DM or guides, about your diving skills on past dives on that same boat---the knowledge about your skills will be passed on to the captain....that will allow you to get dropped in the most spectacular and advanced areas.....I am not talking tech..I am talking under 100 foot deep dives, that just are more challenging and more pristine.
    jmneill likes this.
  9. DivemasterDennis

    DivemasterDennis DivemasterDennis ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lakewood, Colorado
    Malpaso, congratulations on your new certification. I commend you for continuing you dive training, and unlike some detractors posting above, think the AOW class is a valuable one for divers at a variety of experience levels. You gave the class the best evaluation possible. It helped you become a better diver, including being comfortable in less than ideal conditions. I hope you maintain your enthusiasm, your desire to expand your skills and competence as a diver, and stay active. SnorkelLA and jmneill apparently did not have the positive experience that you did. That is too bad. Thanks for your post. I like positive people, and divers who are positive and excited about diving and learning to be better divers.
    t-mac likes this.
  10. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: NA
    That is ALL that matters! Good job.

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