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Rhone Man
October 9th, 2008, 12:20 PM
Quick poll, just for fun, which specialty course are actually worth the money (in your opinion). Multiple selections allowed.

Not counting Rescue Diver/Stress & Rescue as a speciality course for these purposes.

The following dropped off because I didn't have room:
- Peak performance bouyancy / advanced bouyancy
- Multilevel / computer diver
- Waves, tides & currents (SSI only)
- Boat diver

Yes, we know it is all about the instructor, etc., etc., it is only a bit of fun - not an SAT test.

Blackwood
October 9th, 2008, 12:48 PM
Some are regional. Wreck won't help someone who isn't near wrecks. Same can be said for Cavern and Ice. That said, there is value in the mindset that should go along with overhead courses.

Other than that, most of those hardly require coursework (nitrox, solo, and -depending on how it's taught - deep not withstanding), and thus I don't see the courses as being worth paying for, at least at their basic levels. Some instructors offer fairly extensive courses that go beyond what I'd call "specialties" though the share the same names, and they may be well worth it.

OldNSalty
October 9th, 2008, 12:50 PM
What is DPV? and what exactly is an equipment specialist? Also, I assume you mean which ones we think are worth it even if we don't actually have interest in doing the particular activity? i.e. I don't live in a place where ice diving is an option but if I did, yea, I would probably take a course.

Blackwood
October 9th, 2008, 12:55 PM
^^ Diver Propulsion Vehicle, aka 'scooter'

I think an equipment specialist is someone who is taught a little bit about the workings of various pieces of equipment, but not to the level that they would be considered technicians. I don't get it.

Tomeck
October 9th, 2008, 12:57 PM
I think nitrox is only an very useful course.

I know very well ice, deep, wreck and deep, but I don't have these certifications.

Rhone Man
October 9th, 2008, 01:03 PM
Bugger - I should have included "Drysuit" in there.

That's the trouble with diving in the Caribbean all the time - you forget these things (although Blackwood's point on "location" is well taken in this case!).

Randy43068
October 9th, 2008, 01:06 PM
I didn't see: "None of the above" listed. :D

JeffG
October 9th, 2008, 01:12 PM
Wreck
Ice
U/W Photographer
U/W Navigator
DPV
Night
Equipment specialist
Shark diver (SSI only)
Solo diver (SDI only)


Done all of the above without any certification.

Now some of them (Wreck and Ice in particular) I did have a mentor, I just do not have a piece of plastic to show for it.

OldNSalty
October 9th, 2008, 01:14 PM
Thanks Blackwood-and so now I know they are not useful :)

I said Nitrox but only because it is required to show the card in some places in order to get the gas. I suspect that any of them could be self taught really but Tomeck made a practical point of the 'regional factor'-to him diving in ice is probably nothing, to me, the only time I see ice in my water is when I am at a bar so I might be willing to pay for the knowledge before jumping in.

JeffG
October 9th, 2008, 01:18 PM
to him diving in ice is probably nothing, to me, the only time I see ice in my water is when I am at a bar so I might be willing to pay for the knowledge before jumping in.

Ice diving (IMO) is the most dangerous "recreational" scuba diving out there.

Anyone who would just "jump in" is an idiot.

Randy43068
October 9th, 2008, 01:18 PM
Wreck
Ice
U/W Photographer
U/W Navigator
DPV
Night
Equipment specialist
Shark diver (SSI only)
Solo diver (SDI only)


Done all of the above without any certification.

Now some of them (Wreck and Ice in particular) I did have a mentor, I just do not have a piece of plastic to show for it.


will you take the shark diver class with me? I'll need someone to cut so I can swim away. :D

JeffG
October 9th, 2008, 01:19 PM
will you take the shark diver class with me? I'll need someone to cut so I can swim away. :D

I would be honored.

mike_s
October 9th, 2008, 01:29 PM
Quick poll, just for fun, which specialty course are actually worth the money (in your opinion). .


this is a "loaded question".


Why? because any course you take could be "really good" or "really suck" depending on the shop and instructor you take it from.

Kevua
October 9th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Just to make a correction to your poll, SSI I believe has a solo diver cert also. But as far as your poll, I think it would be the ones you are interested in. If you are interested in caves then that one would be worth the money, wrecks so on. As for the ones that I think are the most important, you don't have one of them on the list which is stress/rescue.

Rhone Man
October 9th, 2008, 02:07 PM
Has anyone on the thread done a solo diver course? I thought about doing one only because they say if you dive with young kids you should regard yourself as solo diving as no one is able to assist you. But on the other hand, what do they teach you other than dive within your limits and carry lots of redundancy?

Blackwood
October 9th, 2008, 03:52 PM
I haven't taken one, but I'd talked to an instructor about his solo program (note, this is one fairly meticulous instructor who generally only teaches tech-oriented courses, so take it with a grain of salt).

Equipment-wise it's very much about full redundancy (doubles or stages, etc.). Other than that, he stresses dive planning (particularly from a gas standpoint) and overall awareness. Like many cave courses, during debrief he'll ask questions like "how deep were you at minute 35 of the runtime, and how much gas had you consumed?"

Tomeck
October 9th, 2008, 04:10 PM
Ice diving (IMO) is the most dangerous "recreational" scuba diving out there.

Anyone who would just "jump in" is an idiot.
I am not convinced that ice diving is the most dangerous recreational scuba. Every year, we go to the Alpes for ice diving. I think the wreck penetration is more dangerous, because the wrecks are not stable.

JeffG
October 9th, 2008, 04:48 PM
I am not convinced that ice diving is the most dangerous recreational scuba. Every year, we go to the Alpes for ice diving. I think the wreck penetration is more dangerous, because the wrecks are not stable.

Then we will have to agree to disagree.

Ice diving has all the overhead issues of caves/wrecks, plus has all the equipment issues dealing with extremely cold water.

Not a good mix.

Almost killed me.
Almost got my brother killed.
A dive partner in Ontario died ice diving.

YMMV

Pearldiver07
October 9th, 2008, 04:52 PM
Does it count as "ice diving" when it only involves good scotch with ice cubes in a glass?:D

Cause that's as close to "ice diving" as I expect I'll ever get.

JeffG
October 9th, 2008, 04:56 PM
Does it count as "ice diving" when it only involves good scotch with ice cubes in a glass?:D

Cause that's as close to "ice diving" as I expect I'll ever get.

Sorry no.

LOL..but it is different. A lot of people take the PADI "Dope on a Rope" Ice diving class. They do it once and then never ice dive again, but they do get a new unique dive experience.

Tomeck
October 9th, 2008, 05:01 PM
Then we will have to agree to disagree.

Ice diving has all the overhead issues of caves/wrecks, plus has all the equipment issues dealing with extremely cold water.

Not a good mix.

Almost killed me.
Almost got my brother killed.
A dive partner in Ontario died ice diving.

YMMV
We don't have a problem with cold water, we are very well prepared, because in Switzerland, we dive at 40F during all the year. For ice diving, it is not necessary to dive deep and we stay at 5 or 10 meters, and we don't need nitrox. On the other hand for the wrecks, we must dive deep, and there are more risks with decompression.

rstofer
October 9th, 2008, 07:23 PM
^^ Diver Propulsion Vehicle, aka 'scooter'

I think an equipment specialist is someone who is taught a little bit about the workings of various pieces of equipment, but not to the level that they would be considered technicians. I don't get it.

True! I just finished the PADI version and found it very interesting. The instructor disassembled a couple regulators pointing out variations on the theme as well as how to replace the o-rings, reassemble and adjust them. Clearly only an overview but worth knowing.

For me, the interesting part was wetsuits as I was in the market for one. We talked about the various styles including the 'semi-dry' which I bought shortly after the class. AquaLung SolaFX - pretty nice in a cold water pool. I'll know more at the end of the month when I get over to Monterey.

We also messed around with various computers and had quite a discussion about the HUD display.

Other than the regulator bit, all of the information COULD be obtained through the sales people. But sometimes they aren't thinking about the stuff they don't stock - like the SolaFX.

Is it worth the money? In my view, yes. Other opinions will vary.

Richard

amascuba
October 9th, 2008, 07:35 PM
OW, AOW, Rescue, Nitrox

Anything else is a toss up on your overall goals and the instructor.

If you are motivated to enter cave/technical training, then I would suggest the GUE Fundamentals or similar class. It will give you a good baseline of where the technical training bar is set. It's a great class even if you don't want to continue with GUE training past the fundamentals class.

Insert Catchy name
October 9th, 2008, 08:37 PM
Are they all not worth the money/time?

Dive-aholic
October 10th, 2008, 02:20 AM
It all depends on the instructor and the information presented in the course. If they are just the basic outlines that most agencies present, I'd have to say none of them. If you get an instructor that presents additional valuable information, then they all have potential.

I'd say the ones that have the most potential are the following:

Enriched Air / Nitrox - It's just good information to know, even if you don't dive it much.
Wreck - It could be the beginning of running reels, shooting bags, horizontal orientation, different propulsion techniques.
Deep - It could be where proper gas management planning is learned.
Cavern - Definitely the best class hands down. Lots to learn if taught properly.
Ice - Special circumstances due to the environment. Has lots of potential.
U/W Photographer - Actually, the digital one could be great if a lot of classroom time is spent after the dives learning how to edit the photos.
U/W Navigator - when done in low visibility.
DPV - There are special techniques dealing with DPV failures.
Night - Communication, keeping track of each other, and just the introduction to the dark.

Rhone Man
October 10th, 2008, 07:48 AM
Just throwing in my 5 cents.

I was not surprised to see Nitrox at #1, but a bit surprised to see Deep at #2 - I did PADI Deep and I really didn't feel I learned anything that I didn't know already from my OW course.

I also thought that the Photography course was pretty good (albeit too short), but I suppose because it is less of a "core safety skill" people get less excited about it.

JeffG
October 10th, 2008, 10:03 AM
We don't have a problem with cold water, we are very well prepared, because in Switzerland, we dive at 40F during all the year.

Yea...our local diving...our water temps are in the high 80's :banghead:



For ice diving, it is not necessary to dive deep and we stay at 5 or 10 meters, and we don't need nitrox. On the other hand for the wrecks, we must dive deep, and there are more risks with decompression.

Like I said...agree to disagree. I don't find anything particularly dangerous about decompression diving.

Blackwood
October 10th, 2008, 01:11 PM
Are they all not worth the money/time?

That's entirely up to you.

halemanō
October 10th, 2008, 05:05 PM
It all depends on the instructor and the information presented in the course. If they are just the basic outlines that most agencies present, I'd have to say none of them. If you get an instructor that presents additional valuable information, then they all have potential.

I beg to differ here. I believe it all starts with the student. If the student is motivated to learn a particular specialty, they would research their choice of instructor to find a proper fit, and then they will get out of the class what they put into the class.

With the proper instructor, a properly motivated student will receive a wealth of good information and experience from nearly any specialty.

Some divers would need a good PPB class before a Photography class, but other divers would get enough buoyancy knowledge "just" from the photography class.

Every one is different. Some divers will never benefit from a specialty class, because of their set in stone beliefs that specialty classes are just for merit badge collectors.

Dive-aholic
October 10th, 2008, 11:27 PM
But even a properly motivated student who happens to choose a bad instructor because the instructor was able to play himself off as something different will not learn all that much from the instructor. That student would be better off to learn the information off the 'net.

Supershark
October 11th, 2008, 06:34 AM
I am new to scubaboard, but I have had this question asked of me time and time again. I have worked at both IDC and CDC centers with customers wanting to do something "new". There seems to be a general thought on this thread that this is just a way for dive shop/agencies to make money, and you can do all the specs without getting the card. As a dive professional working in the industry I should say they are all value for money, however as an experienced and I stress the word experienced, I have done various diving activities without academic teaching. This said, I would not strap a re-breather on and jump in, I would not like to do a difficult wreck penetration dive with a buddy who has never used a reel before. I recently had a customer with over 150 dives who freaked out because of diving in current, would the drift spec have helped?
People get out of diving what they put into it. Diving is a serious sport an every person is different. The value of the con-ed courses are there to benefit ALL divers. For any experienced divers questioning this I recommend the IAHD course. You will benefit from what you learn.
Dive safe and have fun.

Supershark

P.S. The most valuable course is Open Water

Jim Lapenta
October 11th, 2008, 08:57 AM
I don't understand why UW nav is not more popular. Don't people want to know where they are going and how to get back! If taught properly instead of just here go out and back or do a square it encompasses many different skills such as buoyancy control, builds buddy/team skills, goes along way to increasing confidence and comfort, and it is cool as hell when you take a group on a 1/2 hour dive in different directions and over different objects and bring them back to with a few yards or less of the start point. First person I dove with who was really good at it impressed the crap out of me. I've since tried on just about every dive to hone this skill. Fortunately I was taught the right way to go about it. That has made a big difference. I see some instructors who would have real difficulty finding their way about on some sights. It's why in writing the new UW Nav specialty for YDI I'm focusing on more than just some basic nav exercises for certification and for instructors as well.

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