What is required to become an Advanced Open Water Diver?
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On another scuba discussion board, we are hashing out requirements for "Advanced Open Water" certification.
I'd like to hear what you folks have to contribute on the topic.
I'll start off with my personal experience.
I recently completed both the book and dive requirements for PADI's Advanced Open Water certification. After discussing my experience with both the shop's training director and some other senior instructors, I cannot able to say with confidence that I actually am an advanced diver. I feel like I still have some skills to master and in my opinion, I thought the PADI standards to be a bit too "relaxed".
(btw, I have logged about 25 dives with approx. 10 hours of bottom time, including my o/w training dives)
In fact, the training director pointed out to me that per the current PADI standards, it is actually possible for someone to achieve "Rescue Diver" status in less than 20 dives. And this is something that he (and now I) don't agree with.
In my view, a diver should have the following to be qualified as an advanced diver:
both a certain number of dives and a certain number of bottom time hours
certifications (aka actual cards) in a minimum number of specialties, such as night/low vis, navigation, wreck, peak bouancy, search & recovery, etc.
certain number of fun dives with buddies of various experience levels to practice what you are learning.
And what I listed above is how Scuba Diving International approaches advanced diving. First you become certified in at least 5 specialties (through classroom & several dives) and then after a certain amount of "out of school" diving you are awarded the advanced moniker. And the training director stressed that he would rather have the student make the call if he/she was now an advanced diver once all of this was completed.
A lot of these various certs are good for the industry as well as the diver.They can lead a diver into specialty fields that otherwise they may never consider.As for whether someone is "advanced" or not is subject to interpretation.Ask any G.U.E.,I.A.N.T.D.,or T.D.I. diver ....You must let your own opinion be the one that guides you.I've seen instructors that couldn't stay nuetral or keep from bouncing on the reef.I've also got at least one friend with 3000+ dives on just O/W cert.It is expensive to collect those cards tho,my collection has cost me over $3000 in classes alone.
First, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver program was never intended to make you an "Advanced" diver. Or at least not from a standpoint of the meaning of the word "Advanced". It was intended to provide those seeking further instruction to do so under the direct supervision of an instructor. It merely touches on the topics that you mentioned. By your standards, completing the specialties individually, you'd be a Master Diver after completing 5 and picking up the Rescue and Advanced cards. But I agree with you, all classes should be more involved IMHO. But on the flip side of the coin. Most people who get certified rarely, if ever, dive without the direct supervision of an instructor/DM. To those people, the OW and Advanced course are probably sufficent as they are. It's the hardcore, for lack of a better word, divers like those who frequent this board that desire and seek out truely advanced training. Most of us are smart enough to do just that and most of us are smart enough to know that just because PADI says we're advanced doesn't mean we are.
I haven't taken the Rscue course yet, but plan to next month. I fully expect to come out of it a whole lot better and more prepared diver. At least it can't be any worse than the Advanced course I took. But technically, you could be Rescue certified with 15 dives. I believe it's 4 for OW, 5 for Advanced OW, and 6 for Rescue, but it's been awhile since I looked. At any rate it's less than 20. With 20 dives you could technically enter the DM program! Now that's shocking.
Well said Warhammer - doing your advanced cert with Padi IMHO opens up a few extra avenues to your diving - it does not (and I agree was never intended) to make you an advanced diver. I am an AOW certed diver with 2 specialities towards my MSD cert but in NO WAY would I class myself advanced. I have a lot to learn technically but more than that, I need to gain more independence and competence in the water (i.e. in diving with a buddy rather than under a DM or instructors tuition. A great example is in the use of tables and planning dives. While we are being certed, we KNOW how to do this in theory, but what practice have we actually had? In truth, we tend to still rely on our instructor to plan and execute the dive for us.
I plan to do my Rescue in the next couple of months mainly because I want to buddy up with my wife who is OW qualified and I want to make sure that if she is ever in trouble, I know what to do. Ultimately I would like to progress up the ladder to my professional qualifications but after Rescue I intend to take my foot off the gas and concentrate in logging more dives rather than chasing the next cert.
It used to be called the Advanced Class, but now it’s simply called “Adventure Dives”. What’s the difference? Other than a new textbook, it’s the same class. We found that many new divers would not sign up for the Advanced Class “until after we have made a few more dives for experience”. They felt they might not be up to the task of making “Advanced Dives” until they were better divers! WRONG!
The Advanced class was always set up to provide a continuation of easy dives right after the basic Open Water Diver class. No extra experience was needed. It seems that the name of the class scared away the people it was designed for. PADI has changed all this with a new textbook and a name change to make it easy for new divers to continue their basic dive training. Often, new divers want to continue to make supervised dives with their instructors and that is the goal of the Adventure Dives program. You can make one or more easy dives with an Instructor and gain the skills and confidence you need to go out independently with your buddy. Make the Navigation and Deep dives with your Instructor, then 3 more dives of any listed in the textbook, and you have earned your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification card!
Warhammer,does P.A.D.I. stand for Put Another Dollar In?Seriously though it is probly misleading to have the name Master attached to a cert anyone can buy for an investment of 3-5 days diving.My neighboor saw my garage one day and came over,we talked,he told me he was a "Master Diver" I thought... cool.Then he explained the 50 +5 scenario to me later.I had to bite my lip not laugh.My wife ,who dives only 6 mos a year maybe 50-75 dives a year completes this repeatedly and still considers no diving without supervision or experienced buddies.It is cool tho to see a new diver reach for more and better training.
Thanks for your input on this topic (so far). What you folks have said pretty much reinforces how I view things, especially regarding PADI's Adventure "Teaser" course (give you a taste of the specialties and then let you start on your card collecting quest).
My plans are to persue the SDI advanced courses (see their website) since it is my plan to eventually do some technical things such as wreck, cavern, and 150' deep dives. The SDI advanced courses are the step off toward learning how to accomplish those dives.
I also agree with the person who told about a buddy who has done 3000+ dives on the basic o/w card. One of the senior instructors I spoke with told me that when he goes onto any dive boat, he presents the lowest certification that will allow him to do the dive. And then proceed to gain the trust of the dive master that his skill exceeds that basic certification. This appears to be a good way to behave on your trips (rather than flaunt your c-card collection).
The PADI Advanced Open Water Course was never designed to take an Open Water Diver to an advanved level. What it does do is take someone with little experience and advance them to another level. They hopefully come out of the course a better diver than they initially went in having learnt something from their instructor.
They should hopefully come out of the advanced course a better navigator (as its supposed to be covered in depth) and have an idea of what the Rescue Course can offer, having covered some rescue techniques.In my oppinion its a course that adds confidence to the beginner diver and should be viewed as such.
Should you be able to become a Rescue Diver after 15 dives? and a Divemaster after 50 dives and have the ability to lead a team of divers at this level with so little underwater time? Is everyone out there comfortable being taught by an instructor who has logged only 100 dives?
There is no subsitute for diving and gaining experience. When I go for a dive and especially if I happen to be leading a dive, what level you are at is of no consequnece. Whats important to me is how many dives you have done, and what conditions you have dived in. A OW diver with 600 dives will more likely be a better diver than a Divemaster with 80 dives under his/her belt.
I agree with Warhammer. PADI "Advanced Open Water Diver"?
In my opinion i strongly believe that PADI should not call this course "advanced", it misleads alot of people into thinking that they are "advanced divers". Of course, at this stage (AOW) in a divers education nothing could be further from the truth.