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I currently hold the PADI Open Water certification and would like to go for the Advance Open Water Certification. I'm taking time off from work in mid-December and would like to know if anyone could recommend a decent place to do this certification in the continental US. I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL and I was thinking of spending a week in Crystal River, FL with the manatees in the fresh warm water springs. Has anyone gone through certifications in Crystal River and could recommend a good school? Also is there any springs that you would recommend that I dive while there?
Also I did a search on warm water springs and it turns out that there is warm water springs in Utah that are open year around and the water is about 90 degrees near the bottom. Has anyone done this and know of any decent schools that do the PADI advance open water? It'll be interesting to ski and scuba dive on the same day!
You'd be served well to get a list of instructor's in your area, call them up, interview them and make an informed decision there. Even drive out to thier locations and see what they have going on and how they have "it" together.
smecklenburg once bubbled... I currently hold the PADI Open Water certification and would like to go for the Advance Open Water Certification.
I'm taking time off from work in mid-December and would like to know if anyone could recommend a decent place to do this certification in the continental US. I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Even in mid-December, the water in Ft Lauderdale should be in the upper 70's. There are lots of nice wrecks. The 3rd reef is pretty cool. Why go elsewhere?????
The AOW course is a bunch of introductions to various subjects. You would learn as much, if not more, by simply reading through the PADI AOW book and going diving, preferably with some experienced local buddies. There are lots of good boats going out from Ft. Lauderdale area.
The Rescue course is one where a formal class setting is much more useful.
My recommendation is a do-it-yourself AOW course in Ft. Lauderdale, followed up with a formal Rescue/medic 1st Aid class.
an instructor like I did/do, that required 14 dives over PADI's 5, the AOW/Adventures in Diving, is really just decoration.
I would agree that getting the Adventures in Diving manual, reading it, and diving with experienced divers could be just as useful. You and they can set up UW navigation courses, S&R (be careful), night, deep (over 60' but no more than 130').
Save the money, get more dives, then go for Rescue & EFR. Rescue is of much more value and should be mandatory in my opinion.
While most of you agree that AOW is not much of a course and that you should do the DIY approach, let me give you one main reason for taking it. Up here in NJ, most of the wreck dives are in 70+ feet of water. Typically, most dive charters will not allow you to dive a wreck without either an AOW card or you are in the process of getting it. Therefore, while it's more of an inconvenience, your AOW card is extremely useful. And from what I've seen and heard, your more reputable dive charters will ask to see your cards and possibly your logbook.
bubbleslan once bubbled... I agree with you that the Rescue course should be mandatory, but isn't AOW required before you can enter into the Rescue Diver course with PADI?
I'm pretty sure that the prerequisites have a loophole alon the lines of "AOW or equivalent experience". Any reasonable Rescue class instructor would discuss this with a prospective student and determine easily whether he was ready. For Rescue you need to be comfortable in the water, with things like buoyancy and ascent control pretty much automatic, so you can concentrate on the additional challenges the course presents.
While the Florida Keys operators are particular about cert levels and seeing cards and sometimes even logbooks, my experiences with multiple boats in Pompano Beach, Boynton Beach, and Lantana (all just North of Ft Lauderdale) is that none of them asked to see a card, and most didn't even ask for cert level before dropping me on the 65-90' 3rd reef, or any of the wrecks in roughly the same depth.
Those depth ranges are where nitrox really excels ---- so one more recommendation for Schmecklenburg: get a Nitrox cert as part of whatever courses you do go ahead and take.