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Worth pursuing AOW?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Orestis82, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Orestis82

    Orestis82 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Denmark
    I’ve seen that many dive operators will require you to have an AOW card no matter how experienced (or inexperienced) you are, or if you have other specialties etc.

    I enquired my local SSI shop and they said they don’t like to do this kind of thing (5 taster dives) and try to push people to full specialties instead, as you learn more. This makes a lot of sense to me, but is it a moot point if you need an AOW card anyway?

    I’d like to do a night dive, dry suit specialty and a deep dive just to have my options open for future dives, but I’m not sure if I should just get an AOW and focus on practice, gear and actual dive trips instead.
  2. Johnoly

    Johnoly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    The problem is NOT the skills of the diver. As an example, I had over 400 dives (many past 130ft) and didn't have my AOW card/cert yet. The ONLY reason I had to get my 'card' was because the dive boat's insurance company mandated that no divers could be placed on the trip's manifest unless proof of that diver's AOW was given.

    It's not always the boat demanding to see an AOW card,,,,it's usually the insurance company that requires it. No Card, No Diving the best stuff. Get the AOW card, it's easy.
    oh2btru, AfterDark, Satrekker and 3 others like this.
  3. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    SSI and SDI both have an Advanced program that is a number of separate specialities. More comprehensive than the “sampler platter” AOW. I did the speciality based SDI Advanced. One specialty a month over a summer two years ago. Wreck, nav, night, deep. Also did Nitrox and Advanced Buoyancy separate. My instructors made nav and wreck a real workout. Glad I did it that way instead of the sampler platter.
    oh2btru, BlueTrin and Johnoly like this.
  4. Erich S

    Erich S Barracuda

    So these days, a boat won’t take you out unless you have an AOW card?
    I thought only certain more advanced deeper dives etc required the card otherwise an OW card was fine.
    oh2btru likes this.
  5. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    At least for PADI, it's only 5 dives over 2 days. Deep and navigation are required, 3 elective. The AOW dives can count toward your full specialty, i.e. 3 more dives for deep rather than 4. You could elect night, and dry suit as 2 of your 3 electives and be part way to your goals. I'm assuming you already have nitrox, if not, get it.

    I did AOW to make it easier to do the deeper wrecks in Key Largo, Spiegel Grove/Duane/Bibb. Before AOW I had to lug around my logbook and show recent deep dive experience. Many operators require AOW for their deeper and/or more advanced dives. I ended up doing 5 specialties in all, as well as rescue. I did no additional training for many years until I did SDI Solo, to make my solo diving much easier with operators who do not know me but recognize certification.

    Best of luck with your training
    oh2btru, myshadeofred and Johnoly like this.
  6. Johnoly

    Johnoly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    It all depends on how the Shop's insurance company policy reads. In Florida, many/most are saying any "Trip Planned for Deeper than 60ft" they can't manifest without AOW. That still allows some wiggle room for a reef dive that is 80ft too the sand but 60ft on top of the reef. But if it's advertised as a certain wreck type of dive where the structure starts at 75ft and goes 120 ft to the sand, then you are gonna need a stupid card to get on that boat.
    So how does the insurance company know that the shop is 'side-stepping' the policy rules since they don't sit at the dock watching?????
    Insurance Audits.....Yep....they'll pull a small sample of the past manifested deep dive trips and back check certifications on line.
  7. Orestis82

    Orestis82 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Denmark
    Thanks for your replies – it seems doing the AOW is a prerequisite for other stuff. I will check with my club and the local centres to get some advice on local instructors etc.

    BTW, is a CMAS** the same as PADI AOW? I've been told by locals that they are super happy they did the CMAS**, they learned a ton of things and got more secure.
    AfterDark likes this.
  8. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    I believe you will get some mixed responses here. The following is from my view/experience only. If you're a vacation diver like me, you basically are going to dive where a dive op takes you. Then there are those very experienced divers that have performed hundreds/thousands of dives and go places specifically to dive looking for those experiences you mentioned. I think much of what you do is and will be governed by where you plan to do most of your diving and what you really want to do in diving.

    I got my AOW almost 3 years ago. Prior to that, a third of my dives were deep dives and I had done several night dives. Had also done several (10) wrecks that I could penetrate. No AOW needed. I have never been specifically asked for an AOW card, but the reason I got it was the fear that I would go somewhere and be asked for it.

    AOW is the cheaper way to go. Even if you didn't do, say, a night dive as one of the 5 "taster dives" the dive op you show your AOW card to has no idea what 5 dives you did, except for the 2 required ones. The specialty course, on the other hand, would most likely make you more knowledgeable/proficient. The dry suit specialty is something you would do separate of AOW.

    I'm going on an Alaska trip next year and entertained the thought of getting a dive or two in for the experience, but at present I'm having a hard time thinking about spending $$ on dry suit certification when I have 3 warm water trips scheduled before Alaska!
    Johnoly likes this.
  9. mcohen1021

    mcohen1021 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Texas
    I’ve only come across one dive op that required AoW (to go below 60') – Sandals (Jamaica). However, I will say many personal life insurance policies ask if you engage in any “risky activities” when you sign up and scuba diving below X feet (IIRC 60’) would either disqualify you for coverage or your kill your existing coverage in the event of a claim.
    AfterDark likes this.
  10. nippurmagnum

    nippurmagnum Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Washington DC metro
    One thing to consider is that some dive operators (e.g. Dressel) will throw in the AOW course for free if you purchase a dive package of more than 5 dives from them. My daughter did the course with Dressel in Playa del Carmen, on a trip in which we were planning to do 10 dives anyway. The additional instruction came in handy for my daughter, and it did not detract from our enjoyment of the dives, which included a night dive, wreck dive, and deep dive.

    Khrissi likes this.

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