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My daughter and I recently got certified at a resort in Cozumel. Since getting back and talking to a couple of local LDS' I've noticed when I mention this, some folks kind of roll their eyes or make a passing comment about the quality and/or content of the instruction. This has got me wondering if our PADI OW course was sufficient or not. I was hoping I could get feedback from board members on this subject. Here is what we did for our certification:
3-4 hours of classroom on theory before the water (by the pool)
3 hours in the pool on various days
1 hour of classroom on theory before our first non-pool dive
4 beach dives in 25 foot water lasting about 45 minutes each
Read a book called "Let's Go Dive" (I think that was the name)
From that book, we did all the quizes and chapter reviews
2 more hours of classroom on various things, mostly on the RDP tables
Closed Book Final Exam
Does this sound like a standard PADI OW course? Or did we do less than what stateside classes consist of. Do we need more training than this before we start diving? Thanks in advance.
Since getting back and talking to a couple of local LDS' I've noticed when I mention this, some folks kind of roll their eyes or make a passing comment about the quality and/or content of the instruction. .
They're just jealous because while you were in Cozumel they were diving some quarry. Your course description sounds like a normal PADI OW course (which a lot of people think is insuffient) and that's what today's industry standards are.
I did the same thing in Jamaica. Personally I am glad I got my cert on a coral reef instead of a pool and lake.
They may have misunderstand "Resort Certification" to mean the quicky cert to take you on the teaser dive to get you interested. Thats not really certified.
You are fine with that cert. With scuba diving you will always want to keep learning. If you are only going to dive once or twice a year on vacations try to take a refresher course before your trips or better yet take classes towards your Advanced Open water cert before your trips.
It's not exactly per the spirit of the book, the first two OW dives are supposed to be "up to 40 ft" and the second two "up to 60 ft". I did my OW in Thailand and my instructor took me down to the prescribed depth, and we generally worked our way up a bit before surfacing.
The reason for the "eye rolling" (besides jealousy) is that diving in cold water has some extra issues over diving in warm water, particularly the issue of keeping neutral buoyancy. You will be wearing a thick wetsuit which will be quite buoyant on the surface, so you will have to increase your weights. However the wetsuit compresses as you go deeper, so you have to compensate much more (air in BC) compared to warm water-no wetsuit. You also likely will feel a lot more confined (wetsuit and thick gloves), get colder, and dive in areas with a lot less visibility.
I'd suggest you do your first couple dives here either with someone who has more experience in cold water, or hook up with someone on a LDS trip, or even hire a DM guide for a day. I think if the two of you just head out to the beach, or go on an open boat trip, that you will not get the extra attention that would be helpful.
I guess it's typical now. My class (1990) had about 10 hours class and 10 hours pool over 3 weeks. I didn't think it was too long. But you are the one that has to determine if you're trained well enough. As long as you're aware, asking questions and learning I think you're fine. The real problem comes when someone takes a quick _and_ low quality class and has no idea (or doesn't care) that they may have missed some things.
It is true that many places put more stock in a cold water class over a warm water one, definitely the cold water ops but some warm water ops too. I think they tend to immediately cut you more slack.
Thanks for the info. That makes me feel a bit better. What range of temp is cold water? We are going to be diving in Texas during the warmer months and in places like Cozumel the rest of the time.
It isn't the water that is the issue, it is the wetsuit thickness that makes the difference. Here in So. Cal. the water is in the 58-62 degrees now and we wear a 7 mm wetsuit. In 80 degree water you wear a shorty 3 mm wetsuit. Extrapolate inbetween. Anything in the mid-low 50s and below- time to take the dry suit class.