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Depth Limits for SSI OW Cert?

Discussion in 'SSI: Scuba Schools International' started by SULLIVAN2049, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I'm sorry, but I can't see any connection between what I wrote and your conclusions. I took my AOW immediately after my OW class, and I'm glad I did. It gave me the extra knowledge and training that was helpful to me as I increased my depth experiences. If I had just started going deeper without any training, how would that have benefited me?
  2. SC_Hoaty

    SC_Hoaty Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: SC
    I was thinking more along the lines of progressive dives to the OW recommended depth before getting a card with a deeper recommended depth. I was not advocating exceeding the OW recommended depth without training.

    Just trying to understand if there are agencies that require divers follow DevonDiver's statement:
    I gather from Thal's statements that his students have depth limits more stringently controlled than the rec agencies do for their students/graduates.
  3. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    Here's how we work: Depth Certifications are: 30, 60, 90, 130, 150, 190. Each depth bracket requires 12 dives with an approved buddy (for a minimum bottom time sum). A diver may exceed his or her depth Certification by one step when diving a buddy who is Certified to a deeper depth. In most cases this means that the average diver is making twenty to thirty dives in each bracket prior to applying for a new depth certification.

    In addition, a 60 foot Certification requires taking a rather rigorous written exam composed of decompression theory, decompression problems, decompression planning and gas management issues. Passing on the exam is 100%, no errors. You do not get a pass by "remediation" of wrong answers, you come back another time and retake the entire exam.

    Changes in depth certification requires a recommendation of the Diving Safety Officer a vote of the Diving Control Board (whose members, in the case of deeper certs have likely dove with the candidate) and the signature of the Chairman of the Diving Control Board (he gets what amounts to a veto).
  4. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    Can't argue with that. BSAC used to have a simular (but not as robust) system at Sports Diver level, where students needed to be 'signed off' with (5, I think) dives at increasing depth levels.

    Of course, there is no reason why any individual dive shop/instructor could not run a policy like this. However, it would likely bring them a significant business disadvantage compared to other shops who allowed students more leeway to set their own limits.

    The key solution is to instil students with a responsible mindset- then it doesn't matter which system/agency they use. It doesn't matter whether the novice diver adheres to a formal, agency implemented, 'layered depth' approach that links depths with dives... or whether they choose to adopt a personal progressive development plan.

    I always believe it is best if the student chooses this approach for themselves... that they believe and understand the need for it. Otherwise, despite any regulations, restrictions or recommendations that might be made to them, they will always have the right and opportunity to dive irresponsibly..

    Because AOW is a course, where an instructor supervises students and keeps them safe. To withhold training, after OW, until the student had completed more dives would create a training void at the precise time in their diving development when they were most vulnerable...and most in need of that extra training.

    5 additional supervised dives on AOW...leading to increased depth at the end of the course. It is 'lite', but there is a correlation between increased (supervised) experience and training...with the depth progression from 18m to 30m.

    It could, however, be argued that more training/experience is needed for independant diving at 30m. Either that or the AOW recommended max could be reduced to 25m.

    That said, PADI do emphasis that students should gain experience progressively. They are also repeatedly advised to plan their dives within the limits of their training and experience.

    A problem arises when divers see their c-card as a 'ticket' to dive to a certain depth. "I am AOW, I can dive to 30m". This sort of mentality should be better addressed within the scope of course materials...and guidelines to the teaching instructors.... but it isn't.
  5. blake7

    blake7 DIR Practitioner

    Thal, who is "we" in the above quote?

  6. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    We is generically the Scientific Diving Community or more specifically the Research Diving Safety Programs that I have worked with/under.
  7. Piccola

    Piccola Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Massachusetts
    This is lots of good commentary but we may have drifted from the OP's question regarding certification levels. Interestingly (for OkbyMe) I am in Key Largo Florida diving with Rainbow reef and they did want to see my AOW/Deep Diver C-Card before allowing me passage to Spiegal Grove. I admittedly have also been out with other boats who have not asked but, in my experience, most have wanted to see the divers appropriate skill level via their C-Card. I will also state that actual dive experience, to me, is paramount in accessing your own skills and demonstrating safe diver practices.
  8. ScoobaSam

    ScoobaSam Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Bappelt has it mostly right... Even though this post is dated, I would like to reiterate that the SSI standards dictate a maximum openwater depth of 60 feet. Deep diver certification is required to be certified to deeper depths up to 100 feet. Anything beyond that depth is now considered technical diving... Don't be surprised if the depth limits continue to decrease. When I got certified the Open water limit was 100 feet and the deep limit was 130... I would highly recommend to anyone interested in diving to depths greater than ~80 feet, to take a deep diver course and to progress carefully and deliberatly. There is always the next dive, don't take any chances on this one.
  9. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    I'm not trying to be flippant... this is a genuine question....

    Your posts illustrate that the scientific diving community has an exceptionally high level of diving tuition, with ample time for above-average skill and knowledge development etc

    So how come that all the 'scientists/biologists/researchers' etc that I see on TV documentaries exhibit a very low standard of diving skill? (bad trim, dangling SPGs and Octos, kicking up the reef etc). It's a trend that I've noticed often when watching dive related programmes on Nat Geo and Discovery channel.... :idk:
  10. dpaustex

    dpaustex Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: lost somewhere under the sea....(and central Texas
    As an Instructor up to AOW, I want to throw in a couple of comments.

    A "card" does not a diver make. You can take a class, get a "card" for this or that, but that doesn't necessarily qualify you for a particular dive. Let me explain.

    The original question was OW "depth" and talk of diving the Spiegel Grove.

    Generally, the recommendation is that an OW card has given you adequate training for OW diving to 60 feet. Anything beyond 60 feet is considered "deep" (all you techies, I'm talking recreational diving, by defintion, so don't flame me, 'k?).

    The reason anything over 60 is considered "deep" is that different things generally start happening beyond 60 feet. The incidence of narcosis goes up. Your gas consumption is occuring at a faster rate (psi/min), due to depth. You combine these two, and you can have issues (not will, but can).

    The original post was diving Spiegel Grove (SG). Most of the operators require AOW (which includes a deep certification in most agencies) or 2 logged dives to at least 90 feet in the past year (or similar). But that isn't the whole story.

    First time I tried to dive the SG, we went out and couldn't see the mooring buoy, as the current was so strong, it pushed in underwater. No divers went in the water. Next day, only half of the buoy was out, but they put us in the water, anyway. The current was 3-4 knots, and we had to swim to the next bouy, while the deckhands yelled at us which way to swim, then we had to grab it as we flew past. As we were "wind-socked", we had to make our way down the line in a ripping current. Current lessened at about 70 feet, but still there. So now you're worrying about getting blown off the wreck (which impacts your air consumption). Those few stressors take a toll on your air-supply, especially if you're a newer diver, in a totally new dive environment (current).

    So, you could have your AOW card, or your 2 requisite dives, but those stressors can really suck up your air. Even on that dive, experieced divers blew through a tank in under 10 mins, due the stressor added by the current.

    Folks, there is no hurry to learn this stuff. Add one new thing at a time, learn the experience, enjoy the dive, then come back and add something else. Please don't try and add too many new things at once, as you are adding stressors, which can lead to a bad situation. The ocean isn't going anywhere, and will be there to enjoy.

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