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Worth pursuing AOW?

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

  1. Erich S

    Erich S Nassau Grouper

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    It’s kinda a no brainer, why not get it?
     
  2. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
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    You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but it's a bit irresponsible to make such an extreme claim in response to a newish diver asking for useful advice.

    All of my AOW students found many good things in their AOW course. Not only did I always make sure we had a great time diving together, but I also:

    Introduced my students to night diving and deep diving. They learned that neither of these were difficult, but did require some caution and preparation beyond shallow daytime diving.

    Took them to a wreck, which is always fun for new divers.

    Taught them about search and recovery, including tying knots and using a lift bag.

    Put them through navigation exercises, which helped to increase their confidence for later dives when managing their own dives.

    Are these things my students could have learned without the AOW class? Probably. But without the class it likely would have taken them much longer, would have involved more "trial and error" (which is not a good way to learn anything in scuba diving!), and would possibly never happened because new divers do not have the perspective to understand which new experiences are relatively simple (e.g. night diving) and which require intensive training (e.g. cave diving.)
     
  3. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

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    Well you’re obviously a decent instructor who cares about his students. Kudos to you. Many are extremely relaxed about the course standards and I’ve not heard good things as I’ve previously said from instructors that actually teach it and they’re good instructors. If depth is what people are looking for, why don’t they get some independent dives under their belt, then take an entry level basic tech course from a good instructor. I think that would have many more benefits than paying a few hundred euros just for (generally) hold hands type dives.

    I didn’t take it because GUE Tech 1 was a better option for me imo.
     
  4. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
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    Ohhhh... so AOW is the secret to making money teaching scuba!!

    You have to admit, using "money maker" to describe anything related to scuba instruction is pretty amusing.
     
  5. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
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    Thanks... but to be fair to some of those instructors, I'm sure they have to deal with restrictions placed on them by the shop they teach for or other circumstances. I've been very fortunate to be allowed to teach classes with as few students as I wanted (my AOW classes would typically be 2 to 4 students) and to have no interference from shop management on how I run my classes. I'm sure plenty of instructors would do everything they could to improve the scope and quality of their courses if they were given the chance.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  6. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
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    Interesting... I've never used the PPB dive in any of my AOW courses. Other instructors seem to consider it a standard part of AOW, but most of my AOW students were my OW students and I always thought buoyancy should be mastered in the OW class. We typically spent about 12 hours in the pool during OW class, most of it just practicing buoyancy. So there was never a need to use one of the five AOW dives to just practice more buoyancy skills.

    Navigation is much more useful for dives in which you don't have a guide to follow. Some places we dive are "must follow guide", while others (like here in So Cal) are just the opposite. So yes... the usefulness of navigation skills can be considered location-dependent.

    There should have been something useful to take away from the other three dives. If there wasn't, you didn't get a real AOW course. You just got the AOW card.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  7. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
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    Nitrox was mentioned in an earlier post. Before taking the nitrox course make sure you can exceed NDL with the tank you use. If you can't exceed NDL with your tank on air then nitrox is a waste. Nitrox is used to gain more bottom time by increasing the NDL for a given depth and shorten SIs.

    Some older divers believe that by using nitrox and air NDL they will be less prone to DCS. I've used air for 51 years, I am unable to even get close to NDL with any tank I own so for me nitrox is a non-starter. IMO using nitrox and air NDL is a waste of money, others will disagree.

    If you plan on doing multiple dives per day over the course of a week such as a live aboard, nitrox is useful in decreasing nitrogen loading and is often provided free. Under those conditions anyone can benefit from nitrox regardless of NDL. You can always take the course online, it's not complicated. Most of the theory I learned in my OW class 51 years ago, long before nitrox was used by sport divers; O2 toxicity, partial pressures of gases, basic things every diver should know.
     
    Bob DBF likes this.
  8. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
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    Definitely get AOW. It is an arbitrary standard but the ticket will allow you more dive opportunities. Having a nitrox card will also come in handy.
     
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
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    Yes. Also regarding money-- I took 7 specialties way back when--when I had tons of money! I learned quite a lot of stuff doing that, though in my every day diving use very little of it. Same may be said for all the physics in the "old" PADI DM course. And like my music degrees. However, with AOW, you can do OK money-wise if you get at least 2 boat dives--considering what a charter by itself would cost anyway (including tip). If you got all 5 dives from a boat you're probably ahead of the game, plus now you have the card.
     
  10. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
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    Certainly using nitrox with an air NDL reduces risk of DCS for everyone. That is not a "belief". It's a fact. DCS has been proven to be directly related to nitrogen exposure, and nitrox reduces nitrogen exposure (compared to air on the same profile.) Whether or not that is a material benefit depends on the individual diver.

    You seem to be claiming "it's not a benefit for me", based on your extensive experience. But then you make the mistake of essentially claiming that everyone is like you... so it's not a benefit for anyone.

    I know an instructor that teaches even OW students with that philosophy. This instructor is very experienced in terms of years and variety of diving. But he seems completely oblivious to the idea that DCS risk varies with individual... ironically, the idea that no other person is just like him. I've listened to him advise students that his personal profiles, because they work for him, are safe for them also.

    So... I'm going to disagree with you, just for the sake of any newish divers reading this post who might be tempted to take your advice at face value. I'm glad that you have always dived with air and have avoided DCS. But using nitrox to reduce nitrogen exposure (instead of using it to extend NDL), is not a "waste" for everyone. It's actually a valuable strategy for some people. That is, people that are different than you.
     

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