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To those considering an OW class...

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by loosebits, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Annemf

    Annemf Guest

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: currently on Cape Cod, heading for SW Florida soon
    Hi, I'm not giving up either, but..
    My class was scheduled to be 4 x 4 hours evenings with classroom at the LDS, then pool afterwards, plus 2 days of 2 dives each in a local pond. A bonus 5th dive in the ocean was included but that was after certification.
    Night one was just class time, no pool, and got out an hour early. Class 2 was cancelled at the last minute by the instructor and no make up was added. Class 3 - about 1 1/2 hour class [includes paperwork and the drive to the pool] followed by 1 1/2 hours in the pool. The pool actually closed at 9 pm when the class was advertised to go until 10. Night 4 - short "refresher" class demanded by students, then the written test. Note: there was a home study book + video. Then we did about another 1 1/2 hour pool session. So we were in the pool a total of 4.5 hours and that included the swim / tread water test that took at least 20 minutes.
    I felt okay after the last pool session. I got 100 on the test and things seemed to be getting easier each time.
    Day one at the Pond was hard work. We were practicing skills - up and down - and in and out of the water. When we tried to swim out on the 2nd dive, everybody had issues - mostly bouyancy - so we had to come back in. Time was up as the dive shop had to open by noon [3hours]. The next day, I had to stop after dive one as I had some ear trouble [turned out it was the 1st sign of a cold].
    I did hang out and later at the dive shop, everybody but me logged FIVE dives and I logged 4. The first dive was the snorkel dive that we never even mentioned until we were told to fill in the parameters in our dive log, which was then signed and stamped.
    I tried to do my last dive Friday evening and it was the worst. There was a lot of pressure to finish what needed to be done before it got dark. We started later than planned due to compressor issues at the LDS. I had too much weight and knew it. I had had 26 lbs the first 2 days and I was crawling on the bottom, and then having a lot of trouble with bouyancy [yo-yo]. I had had a 2 week hiatus waiting for my ears to get better and I had been reading this board a lot. I asked the instructor if I could use 2 lbs less and he said "no", so I didn't. I wish I hadn't even asked. He ended up adding even more weight by unexpectedly pulling my weight pocket. Now I'm at 26 lbs in fresh water with a 7 mm wet suit. I am a 5'5" 130 lb woman. I had to use my hands to keep my face from smashing on the bottom! Bouyancy control was impossible. I tried just adding a small amount of air to the bc and waiting for the effect but the instructor kept signaling me to do 2 puff, then 2 puffs again. I went flying up. We were only told how to vent air through the oral inflator and I couldn't get it done. I was getting more stressed by the minute. After we did an emergency ascent with me breathing his octo, I couldn't orally inflate my bc [weight?] and I had dropped the octo. The instructor said nothing as I kept going under until I finally used the power inflator. By that time I was in full - can't catch my breath panic. The instructor got far away and directed me to swim in on my back. Obviously, I didn't die but I did hyperventilate all the way in.
  2. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Instructor, Scuba

    It's too bad that there are classes being taught like that. There just isn't any reason to have to do all that strugling...which, of course, is happening because you aren't taught much about how to dive before going to open water.

    And now you're certified, still way overweighted and still don't know much about how to dive.
  3. superchoriflai

    superchoriflai Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Phoenix, AZ
    Having just completed my certification, I would like to add a couple of points to this discussion. 1) a good instructor can drive home the critical points thus inspiring a greater desire for learning and, even more importantly, 2) I am responsible for managing my own dive (this from my instructor) and my own education for that matter.

    There are those who will never learn because they choose not to - no matter the quality of the education. In the end, we are each responsible to manage our own dives.
  4. TheRedHead

    TheRedHead Orca Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Dixie
    The problem with your point of view is that you don't know what you don't know. It is only after diving a while it will dawn on you that you probably know diddly squat and you need to get busy and find some quality instruction.
  5. superchoriflai

    superchoriflai Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Phoenix, AZ
    Well, RedHead you are, of course, correct "education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance" (Will Durant); which is precisely the point. There has never been nor will there ever be a class that can cover every contingency no matter how expensive or lengthy the instruction. A diving course is designed to teach basic skills and build confidence. The diver is then responseible to continue to learn.

    If I have understood the postings from the more experienced divers on this site correctly, the idea is to keep your eyes open and pay attention and learn all you can. Then, in the real undersea world observe, think and act accordingly.

    The economics of dive instruction are what they are and most of us will not be in a position to change that despite the best of intentions - that's not an intentionally fatalistic approach, it's just reality. Therefore each individual is left to change what can readily be changed and the vast majority of that is personal change.

    As for my own education - I had an excellent OW instructor and recommend him to everyone. I also recognize that that class was the very beginning of a lifetime of learning, hence, among other things, I am reading threads on SB to learn from others, ask questions, give an occasional opinion and even take the odd bit of abuse.

    Happy diving.:D

    "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchill
  6. perdidochas

    perdidochas Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pensacola
    I'm out of the loop on this, but when I was an Assistant Instructor in the late 1980s, we spent most of a pool session on just that skill (along with practicing other skills). However, we did have 5 3 hr pool sessions.
  7. reel-wild

    reel-wild Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: greenville nc
    i had 6 night classes and 2 days in the pool for skills plus 6 dives in a quarry. to me that was fine as i use to being in the water all my life but i did see other students having problems with the skills plus i told my instructor that i did not believe that just fresh water diving was the same as salt water diving and i thought they need to add a salt water dive as well but over all i thought the class and dives was fine because we did do skills at the quarry for to days at depth but out of 7 students only 3 still dive on a regular bases and thats counts me in on that 3 but this is sport that you go ape about and cant get in the enough of or it just for that vacation or for some that never dive after they get their c card
  8. Tigerman

    Tigerman Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Norway
    As long as you know what you DO know, you also know you dont know anything else. Thats where diving within your training comes into play...
  9. lord.harshil

    lord.harshil Divemaster

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Singapore
    Well, guess what? The course just became even shorter.

    I took mine back in 2007 with SSI and it consisted of 6 hours of classroom theory and 6-7 hours in the pool. It was far from adequate (not to mention my instructor was an idiot and didn't teach me anything about bouyancy skills except for fin pivot, which IMHO is next to useless in open water diving). Having said that, I'm a perfectionist so I kept looking for other ways to improve and being a DM today, I think I improved somewhat.

    I was working in Singapore in a dive centre for 6 months and the course is even shorter now. The shortest one I saw was 3 hours in classroom, 3 hours in the pool and a weekend dive trip consisting of 5 dives up in Malaysia. I've seen students who can't sink, can't equalize, can't stop themselves from either banging into the reef or floating up to the surface, panic when water floods their masks, its almost as if the pool session was useless. In the pool, if you can do the skill ONCE while kneeing in 0.9m of water, you pass and they bring you to the sea. In the sea where you're at least 7m underwater even during the training dives and are swimming and controlling your bouyancy, clearing your mask becomes a lot harder and a lot of students panic and shoot to the surface or bang against the reef, get a few sea urchin spines in them and limp around later.

    The point is, these skills should be fixed in the class and not in the open sea. The only way to do this would be to get ALL and I mean ALL certifying agencies to extend their courses. This would mean a loss of a lot of business and quite frankly PADI seems to want only money (dont get me started) so I highly doubt that they will do this.
  10. bigblue_hi

    bigblue_hi Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
    I agree (wrt original post, have not read all 70+ pages). However there are exceptions.

    I am an open water swimmer (can swim for miles), and have been in around the water swimming/snorkelling/bodysurfing etc since I was probably about 5 - my mother taught me to swim.

    For people that are extremely comfortable and capable in the water - having to spend a lot of time having me demonstrate different kick styles/etc is just a waste of my money/time.

    Bottom line - while I agree that things have been a tad too dumbed down - I do not think the solution is to go back to a 1 month course. Vast majority of so-called "resort divers" will only be doing guided tours by an experienced DM probably looking at reefs in moderate depths (<60ft). It is up to the DM taking them out whether he thinks they are capable/etc.

    And ultimately it is up to individuals to know their own limits/capabilities and take responsibility for their own choices.

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