• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Taking an open water student below 60 ft?

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by Kfay, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Ben_3

    Ben_3 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada
    There still is the OW option given on many days vs the weekends 4 day format. The shorter version seems way more popular and with reasone.
    As for setting the bar higher and riffraffers, I doubt it, they bring money in so...
    Bob DBF likes this.
  2. markmud

    markmud Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives. ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
    Hi Bob,

    This is your money quote: "A reevaluation of their intrest in diving will probably not be good for the diving industry."

    I think most of the agency fan-boys don't understand this dynamic. When people are fed bullsheet, and then realize that, as Shearwater has written in their manual: "You really are risking your life with this activity", they don't seek further training from the agency that lied to them, they dropout.

    When I was trained, I took the buddy system as my ticket to fulfilling my need for redundancy on the ocean. After a few instabuddies, and a wife who is not an exemplary buddy, I concluded that my agency-of-record sold me on their marketing, and not the truth. Smoke and mirrors.

    From that realizatoin on, I took responsibility for my own life. My agency-of-record is not part of my life saving protocols--I judge the techniques I use based on their own merit, and my ability to perform them well.

    BlueTrin, eleniel and Bob DBF like this.
  3. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I took the twice weekly at night for 3 weeks, then the 4 ocean dives "old school" course (2005). All the courses I later assisted on were the 2 weekend type, in latter years with e learning. Though I think the e learning part is great, I would not have wanted to do the 2 weekend course--an awful lot of material/skills to absorb in 2 back to back pool days (despite that it's really not rocket science). For some, the condensed course is fine. If I were an instructor I'd definately prefer it to having to be in the shop/pool for weeks or a month long course (and get the same pay). This is why I only assisted on the condensed courses--logistics and for me a lot of gas mileage.
    To be honest, I think the condensed course is so popular because it is quick, which is what most folks want these days (apparently everyone is so busy with stuff today and old timers like me weren't back in say 1972....)
    Esprise Me wouldn't want the month long course to learn scuba. That is the one I would want (and basically took). But, whatever works.
    Ben_3 likes this.
  4. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Oh yeah, I agree with you fully. Rescue ability is a whole different story. I've always said all the important basic rescue skills should be included in the OW course as they apparently were decades ago. But good instruction vs. poor has nothing to do with rescue skills. Both well-taught and poorly-taught OW graduates have equally no knowledge of these rescue skills.

    OK, I'm not completely correct or covering all bases. If a student was poorly taught an OW skill such as OOA/share air/ascend with buddy, it could end very badly. But a skill from the Rescue course (such as dealing with a panicked diver at the surface or properly towing an unconscious one while maybe removing equipment, etc.) would be something both a well-trained and poorly trained diver would have no idea about.
    KWS likes this.
  5. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    It does depend on what the course content was in that longer course. My OW class is 6-8 weeks once a week with half the session in the classroom and half in the pool. The student ends up with somewhere between 12 and 14 hours in each. In the first session they don't even put a SCUBA unit on. It's all swimming, snorkeling, and breath-hold diving skills. That is also where they learn mask clear, fin techniques, and the fundamentals of buoyancy and trim using proper weighting and lung volume control.
    Some people do get it quickly. Many don't. I want to see at least a dozen mask remove and replacements while swimming and doing other tasks. Along with reg recovery, weight adjustment and remove/replace, etc.
    We do a complete gear remove and replace and exchange in the OW class. There are also rescue skills included. Panicked diver at the surface, non-responsive diver from depth, rescue tow while stripping gear, and supporting a diver at the surface and helping them achieve positive buoyancy.
    All skills are done neutral and horizontal. No kneeling.
    We cover emergency decompression tables using the US Navy air dive tables and I spend one classroom session solely on gas management.
    Since we are in an area where vis can get bad on checkout dives, one pool session is spent on skills with eyes closed or using a blacked-out mask.
    I don't take my OW students on checkouts unless I am 100% certain that if I have a problem, they can safely assist me and end the dive.
    At the end of checkouts before I give them their card there are two questions I need to answer.
    Would I dive with them and be certain they would be a good buddy and be able to help me if I had a problem, and would I allow my kids, wife, girlfriend, or anyone else I care about to dive with them without me or another dive professional present? Knowing they will be ok. Only then will I give them a card.
    If they meet all the standards, do great on checkouts, and then say to me something that makes me think they would not be safe or be a danger to others, they don't get a card and the agency will back me up on this. In fact, it's in the standards that we have to be satisfied they will be a safe diver and good buddy.
    It's called the "loved one principle" and it has seen some of my students have to do additional checkouts because the comfort level in the pool doesn't always transfer to OW with limited vis, cooler temps, and marine life.
    I don't have time limits on my class and people need to meet my standards as well as the agency ones.
    markmud, eleniel and Bob DBF like this.
  6. JackD342

    JackD342 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Highland Park, IL
    And what agency is that?
  7. Bigbella

    Bigbella Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
    Wow, you are the stern taskmaster. I salute you! The only conceivable thing missing from that rigorous course is, perhaps, knife fighting and cutting a guy's hoses, like in Thunderball, coupled, afterwards, with a free ascent . . .
  8. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    In case it wasn't clear, I've changed my tune since then. In fact, it was during my OW course that I started to think 2 weekends wasn't enough. I got most of the skills done (close enough for my instructor to) right the first time and so wasn't asked to repeat them, but I didn't feel all that confident I could do them well enough every time. I've gone back for lots more instruction, which has been great, and I'm not done. I respect and largely agree with people who want to raise standards. But I'm not gonna lie. I didn't come into this a purist, and the attitude I now hold would have scared me away from becoming a diver in the first place. So I don't really know the answer.
    BlueTrin, RayfromTX and tmassey like this.
  9. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    From Jim Lapenta's comment on is where a lot of the source of problems exist. Yes Jim's course is very comprehensive. The problem is that so many do the bare minimum and the public calls them all the same. By public I mean scuba operators. My thing would be that If Jims class was taught they should leave it with a AOW card. At least that card represents the sills learned when measured by todays standards. I am not suggesting everyone go the the level that Jim has but to recognize that it is there and more important others. others are not there.

    When I was int he service Officers had what was called a command card. It was a certification skills listing. of sorts. It listed all the things you had to do to qualify for a commanding officer assignment. When I read about Jim's and so many others classes tehat exceed the agencies MIN requirements The thought of having a similar process comes to mind. To have a list of skills from very start to very finish be the training record. as you finish x amount you get a card. Jims class could cover all agency required OW skills plus skills in higher certifications because he goes beyond in such areas as buoyancy. When it comes time to goto AOW you would take the class that completes the remainder of the required skills for that cert. Every diver in training is different. some can handle more training than others. You do an OW class and after completion you do a deep dive or participate in a navagation course of some sorts then you should get those recorded in your training record. Its one sure way to reocrd experience. then when it comes to taking a nav contest course you just may not have to do the water portion of the class. This also makes your dive book and sigs in it more valuable for use in ongoing training. It also allows one to say take a nauii AOW card and insert it into the system and automatically update your global dive record of completed standards to the min requirements covered in the course per agency min standards. Those like Jim can get in and update aquired skills in to the overall record. You then goto take a class they download your record and see just what you need and how to tailor the class to you or the group. Imagine doing a boat dive that needs a deep cert to do and the operator swipes your card and you get a go or no go. If it comes up no go you then show your deep card as a backup to the missing online data base. Or you get a training card with the record on the card. It might be hard to start but it is doable. Application would be a whole other matter. Imagine you finish a nitrox class. in a week you get a letter in the mail with your new card and a link to go to and use at a dive shop to access your online record and update the record on you training card. Every boat will be able to read the card and know what you level is.
    markmud and Protondecay123 like this.
  10. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    SDI/TDI uses the loved one principle just as NAUI and SEI/PDIC do. I've cleared all the extra things I do with SDI HQ. If a student doesn't want to do the extra stuff, they can go train with someone else. I explain everything that's in the class and what I expect from them before accepting any money. I show them the required material and those things that I add. My learning agreement covers all of this.
    In addition, they have to demonstrate to my satisfaction that they can safely plan, execute, and return from a dive without any professional assistance. Included in those three areas is the ability to assist their buddy if there's a problem. That is actually an RSTC requirement. A fair number of instructors don't even know that this exists in the RSTC Guidelines. This is evident by their telling people not to worry about this or that on a trip because they'll be with a DM or guide. And those who show up with a card and can't set up their own gear without assistance or have a backup plan should the DM or guide take a powder, need to leave the group for some reason, or decide to do something stupid like take them through an overhead environment.
    markmud, KWS and Protondecay123 like this.

Share This Page