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If you were to design your own OW course, how would it go?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Eric Sedletzky, Feb 12, 2018.

Do you feel about your Open Water training? (Up to 2 choices)

  1. Just fine, wouldn’t change a thing.

  2. OK, but there were a few things that could have been better.

  3. Not that great, but I learned barely enough to keep diving and continue to learn more.

  4. Was a complete disaster and I wasn’t comfortable diving because of the lack of training.

  5. ^^ Had to retake OW with a different instructor/agency.

    0 vote(s)
  6. My instructor was dangerous and shouldn't be teaching.

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Silty Sam

    Silty Sam ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great State O'Maine
    Additional dives
    TMHeimer likes this.
  2. Mr Carcharodon

    Mr Carcharodon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    Overall the commercial agencies do what the market demands which is to provide low cost classes that are barely sufficient. The students don't know the classes are marginal going in. But most of them are not going to stay around long enough to care.
  3. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Actually, it's great practice to hover very shallow. I often do this at the end of dive 3 feet from the surface. If you can do it there, you're getting pretty good. Watch out for the Alligators in Morrison. They're apparently pretty small, but someone stole the beware sign between 2007 & 8.

    Pete, I know I kind of disagree with you (and many others) about the on knees thing. While I do agree it is much better to start them off neutral, I don't think it's wasteful to spend extra time on some of the skills, neutral or kneeling. It's an old topic now, but I think if you are very comfortable in water before starting OW, you will have little trouble doing the appropriate skills neutrally after learning on the bottom. I can't recall it being much of a transition for me personally.

    Silty Sam, I liked your idea of additional dives (of course, more cost). What would you do on those dives? I very much liked the idea PADI added with the last checkout dive being the "mini dive" where students plan and do the whole thing themselves (with supervision). Are you suggesting more of that? Of course, the mini dive wasn't ADDED, so I guess all the skills had to be done in the first 3 dives to free up the 4th one to just dive. One instructor did the mini dive in the pool--not sure how that fit with standards as it was new at the time.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  4. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    That's the point. Learn where it's tough and you'll never have to skin that cat again. No need for Peak Performance Buoyancy if they are taught right from the beginning.
    Kneeling never makes sense.
    All you're doing is setting people up for failure when you do this. Throwing hovering into the mix while adding the stress of the first OW dives and you have a distracted student trying not to die.

    I've taught in 6 ft pools. Even when there's a 12 ft section available, most of the hovering is done shallow. If you can do it there, you can do it anywhere.
    NorCalDM likes this.
  5. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    I don’t recall much of my OW class, other than a trip to see manatees and searching for a toolbox in a lake. After don'ing my gear at the lake, I leaned back against a log to rest my eyes. I woke to the instructor calling from behind me, out in the middle of the cove with the other student. So I rolled up, checked my gear, buddy checked myself, and walked into the lake. The instructor must have felt I was reasonably squared away to have left me sleeping ashore. Or they buddy checked me while I slept:eek:.

    On the neutral issue, my first recent boat dive was after years of no diving and two shore buoyancy check dives. The guides, at Molokini Hawaii, told folks to go down to the bottom and wait. When I got down, everyone was kneeling in a circle. That seemed silly, so I just floated near by, after motioning the circle to move forward to get one of them off of the anchor chain. I think both speak to the product of some instruction. This was the second group in, and the first group out.

    I like the idea of starting them swimming on scuba on the surface to do basic mask/reg drills then moving lower with control of trim and buoyancy. But I have no experience with it.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  6. icechip

    icechip Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northport, Maine
    I too first got certified back in '79 (through YMCA) and then decided to re-cert with PADI in 2011. The attitude then seemed to be to take more time and get it right rather than get it fast...and the instructors had no compunction about holding up your certification if you did not measure up. My course was six weeks. The first couple sessions in the pool were just water and swimming skills. Instructor would dump a bunch of golfballs in the deep end and we would swim in from the shallow end and collect as many as we could on one breath of air. Didn't touch any gear until the third session or so, including mask fins and snorkel. We also had classroom seat time to learn and discuss all the "Laws" as well as dive tables and such. It was all interactive with the instructor, no videos or stuff like that. Also no octos or computers just SPGs and horse collar BCs. I thought one of the best tasks we had to do was jump in the deep end with all your gear in your arms and then put it on. Made one feel more comfortable getting your air going, finding your mouthpiece, keeping track of your gear, etc all before you donned and cleared your mask.

    I guess I would like to see the phasing out of the "get-them-in-and-get-them-out" mentality towards quick or quicker certification. Is a four to six week more extensive/intensive course really a deal breaker in today's scuba market? I don't know.
    Jim Lapenta likes this.
  7. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle
    For all that is good and Holy, please everyone stop teaching on the knees. PPB shouldn't be necessary, one reason why a little extra time in OW and sufficient pool time are helpful. Cheap, fast, good: choose two.
    SeaHorse81 and The Chairman like this.
  8. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    Even more, the never knees vanguard argue it is overall faster, if both are tested to the standard. As students spend more of their pool time learning, instead of not learning while they kneel waiting their turn. Assuming you're not comparing to passing students that get checked off for managing a hover once, and did all other skills planted on the bottom.

    Assuming some values of the students staying roughly in the area while not planted on the bottom, and a shallow pool so low to no AGE risk.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  9. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    Only because it is true. Only because it is true.
  10. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I taught on the knees for years and then gradually moved to neutrally buoyant instruction, and I will assert that it is faster for several reasons.
    • While students are doing their initial skills (and all other skills), they are simultaneously practicing buoyancy. When you get to the later buoyancy skills, they knock them off quickly. Doing those buoyancy skills with students who had previously been solely on the knees was the most time-consuming part of the class by far.
    • The biggest shock to most people is that the initial skills go faster, primarily because the students are horizontal. Regulator recovery is a snap--you almost can't lose it.
    • Those skills are also more realistic--more like they will happen in real diving, so they are better at it when later asked to do it while diving. Let's take mask clearing as an example. We tell students they need to tip their heads back when they clear the mask. Why? The reason is so that the face becomes vertical and the bottom of the mask skirt, where the water will exit, is the lowest point. If they are on their knees, the face is already vertical, so tipping the head back is counterproductive.
    • Students on the knees frequently feel awkward as they are constantly fighting to keep from tipping over.
    • In order for students to be firmly and comfortably on the knees, they must be overweighted--significantly so. This makes buoyancy control more difficult for them.

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