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PADI's Course Rush

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Scuba_Noob, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Scuba_Noob

    Scuba_Noob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Victoria, BC
    So with PADI, a diver can complete his/her Open Water, then Advanced OW, and then Rescue Course back-to-back-to-back, with no dives in between.

    How does everyone feel about this method? I assume there is some controversy.

    With me, I think it's a flawed methodology that creates overconfident divers without proper diving control. By doing all these courses, it makes people think that their skills are advanced more than they actually are. You can have divers with Rescue certification with only 12 dives. It's also a lot of information overload, where divers may forget some skills learned because of lack of time to practice the skills before forgetting. Plus, I think there are a lot of lessons that are learned based purely on experience. For example, with Peak Performance Buoyancy, a lot of it is based upon practice versus a course, yet some people think their buoyancy is perfect just because of that course. I prefer the SSI method that requires a certain number of dives before the advanced course.

    I ran into a very experienced diver that said she used to feel the same way. Now, she approves of the consecutive courses because she feels that the lessons learned within are necessary for all divers to know. I'll reiterate my point of "information overload", where the diver just learned so much but has no opportunity to practice and remember all of it. Although all the lessons are important, there needs to be time to apply the lessons.

    In my case, I did my AOW at around 15 dives (i.e., signed up nearly right after), but I wanted to be decently experienced before I did the Rescue. Now I'm doing the Rescue with nearly 100 dives.
  2. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    We talk about this periodically.

    In the case of PADI OW/AOW, the two are really kind of designed to follow one another, and in our cold water, I think it's actually a great idea to do that. Four OW dives is not really enough for very many people to reach any kind of comfort with independent diving. Five more dives with more or less instructor support leaves the diver a lot more confident and a lot less of a risk, IMO. And people won't come out of the course thinking they're "advanced" divers, if the instructor makes it clear that that is not the case.

    As far as Rescue goes, there are very few actual diving skills involved in that class. It's more about mindset and avoiding accidents, and how to think about dealing with stress situations in the water. I think it ideally should follow at least a bit of diving experience (and possibly exposure to one or more stressful events, so that the class is more real) but you don't need a lot of diving skill to do the Rescue class, and the information might be useful earlier.

    People won't come out of a Peak Performance Buoyancy class thinking they're buoyancy gurus, if the challenges that are set in the class are enough to show them they aren't. It really comes down to how the instructor teaches the class.
  3. decidedlyodd

    decidedlyodd DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seattle
    My impression is that it's a consequence of PADI catering to the typical vacation diver. A lot of divers out there go on a 1-3 week vacation and want to be able to do one or more courses in a constrained period of time. It doesn't seem to be focused on what produces the most competent divers, but rather what brings in the students. Moreover, the more I dive locally and on vacation, the more I've really begun to notice how different an activity diving is and how different divers are based on location and conditions. The pacific northwest is quite different from a midwestern quarry is quite different from a tropical Caribbean reef dive. The common case is the warm water vacation diver and the system is by and large most geared towards that crowd and that type of diving.
  4. Ste Wart

    Ste Wart Master Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: England
    Actually it's less.

    You can start Rescue with only 7 dives; as you only need to be Adventure Diver (incl Navigation dive). Add that to the mere 2 scenarios in the course, technically you could have a diver with only 9 physical dives (you can sign off the 5 training sessions as dives).

    Is this wrong? Difficult to say. TSandM has pointed out that Rescue is a really a surface course, so how good a diver do you need to be? You could be a weak diver with a strong ability in a surface crisis, compared to an experienced old-timer who falls to pieces when something goes wrong. Really the rescue is about mentality not dive skills. If you do not have a cool head when things are going wrong you will never be any use in a Rescue situation.
  5. Pullmyfinger

    Pullmyfinger PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Guam.
    I used to be kind of a PADI basher....but I now keep this target market in mind when forming or expressing opinions about PADI courses.

    In response to the original question.....it's probably best to have some diving experience first, before taking a rescue class.

  6. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    I don't see a problem with it - several other agencies include the same skill-sets within their entry-level programs. PADI just offer a modular system.

    AOW is an advancement of the OW course. It isn't 'advanced' scuba diving, it is 'advanced' open-water (level) diving. There's world of difference between those.

    As TS&M said, the OW course is woefully short (a product of modular course provision). Adding 5x AOW dives, to create a single, 'seamless' entry-level training course structure allows far greater progression of core skills. Basically, it can be a 9x dive Open Water, with plenty more time to practice, refine and ingrain the core foundational skills. There's nothing 'advanced' about AOW - it's just a chance to apply OW skills within a more realistic diving context (the dives have a purpose). Where new skills are added, they are arguably stuff every diver should know anyway.. hence 'OW level'.

    Obviously, some instructors don't provide it that way. To a greater, or lesser, degree they just teach the minimum provisions stipulated for the course. Read the manual, do some knowledge reviews... attempt some pointless dives and complete some pointless (out of a developmental context) skills. In contrast, a motivated 'results-orientated' instructor can really use the AOW as an opportunity to mentor you to a very capable level.

    AOW & Depth. Some divers get far too caught up in the concept of depth 'qualification'. AOW doesn't provide greater depth... there's no 'license' for that.. nor does the cert-card state any depth restriction/recommendation. The depth progression aspect is probably why so many divers are under the illusion that AOW is 'advanced'. The fact is that any qualified diver is 'allowed' to go to 30m. PADI merely recommend that 18m is a prudent personal limit until the new diver gains further training and experience. Anyone who thinks that a single AOW 'Deep Dive' constitutes sufficient 'training and experience' for deeper diving is wishful thinking. There are a lot of other factors that need to be considered when setting personal depth limits - many of them personal to the diver...and many specific to the location and conditions (including specific equipment that may be needed for those conditions).

    Rescue Diver. Adding rescue... well, I don't think any diver should be without rescue/self-rescue capability. No reason to withhold that until the diver becomes more 'experienced'. As others have correctly stated - the course is mostly surface orientated... mindset is the critical development factor. Again, many other agencies include the same rescue skills within entry-level courses.

    Core Developmental Specialties. There are other courses that'd serve a new diver well if loaded early in the development phase. Training like Navigation, PPB and Multi-Level really just allow greater refinement of core OW skills. If you need, or want, that extra practice and refinement, do them as early as possible. It helps prevent bad habits forming, that subsequently have to be undone.

    Equipment/Activity Specific Specialties. I do think there are many courses that should be deferred until the diver gains more experience. Those courses tend to create a much greater level of task loading - which means that core skills should be well ingrained and instinctive before progression to more complex skills. Courses such as Digital Underwater Photography is a good example. Others might include DPV, Videography, etc. Drysuit should fall into this bracket - but it may demanded earlier because of local diving conditions.

    Environment Specific Specialties. There are also courses that, ideally, demand greater experience. Core skills should be in place before this training happens. This is because the diving specialty exposes the diver to greater risk and/or requires reliable core skills to ensure safety. Wreck, Deep, Cavern and Ice Diver courses fall into this category.
    spc751, MX727, TonyErnst13 and 4 others like this.
  7. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    A lot of it also falls into the mindset of the instructor teaching OW/AOW, he/she can add in some basic rescue input to emphasize the safety part of diving.

    BSAC offers (or did back in the 80s) rescue scenarios within the sport diver programme if I remember correctly.

    Choosing the instructor that will teach you the correct skills from the beginning is important. Personally I was lucky as my PADI instructor was passionate about diving, and most of his students returned to do more courses with him after OW.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  8. Nitro91

    Nitro91 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    I did my AOW after about 30 dives and to be honest I didn't really learn anything lol. Naturalist- id fish and plants? Already pretty good with that. Peak performance, well my buoyancy was already pretty good but I guess it was some help. And compass nav, the compass work in the course was a joke, almost like the ow one, just head in one direction and count fin cycles, go around in a square with 90 degree turns. Deep and wreck were just fun.

    I was hoping I was going to learn stuff like special fin kicks such as frog kick, back kick etc
  9. kierentec

    kierentec Captain

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs, FL; Tulum, Mexico
    going straight to AOW after OW is the preferred route, IMO. you get to spend time with an instructor honing basic practical skills that go beyond clearing your mask and reg. before you pick up bad habits. I never allowed students to do fish ID or naturalist, I always pushed PPB, night and wreck for the electives. if you want to do a night dive but have never done one before, your DM basically has to do the adventure dive with you, and it's very frustrating, especially for the other divers in the group. same goes with wreck, and deep, and who likes diving with someone that is crawling along the reef? definitely not your DM, and they will end up teaching you PPB anyways if they care at all about their dive sites. again, very frustrating.
    as for SSI, you may need a min number of dives for advanced, but they allow you to do specialties straight out of OW, and from the way i understand it, they allow you to count each dive for up to 4 different specialties! you can have a diver with less than ten dives with 4 specialties. that never sat well with me...

    I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=17.784920,-64.759382
  10. Bigd2722

    Bigd2722 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Winter Park, fl
    I think Devon Diver has it right. I have a friend who is a natural fish in the water. He went from OW to AOW in 9 dives but diving is not a top priority for him. It took me 100 or so dives to reach the same degree of comfort in the water as he had from the start. I have other friends with 1,000 + dives. Terry and I were able to dive the wall in Key Biscayne and they were not because we had AOW certification.

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