What next after the Open Water Course? Part 1

In Blog by Grahame Massicks0 Comments

What is the best thing to do next after completing your Open Water Course?

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After you have just finished your PADI Open Water Diver course many divers ask the question “What should I do next?” You have proudly stapled your Temporary Certification Card into your shiny new Log Book, with your four open water dives documented and signed by your instructor, but what is the next step that is best for your new hoby?

<img src="padi-open-water-certification-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Open Water certification, Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

My Open Water certification card

When I was at that stage I had already fallen in love with diving and the aquatic world. I was in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada for two weeks. I knew I wanted to visit some of the ancient splendours of that country and see a bit more of Egypt while I was there. But I also knew that I wanted to dive some more during my holiday.

So I booked an extra day of diving, rented a camera, and went out on the boat for the day. I did my first drift dive and was lucky enough to have my instructor as my guide, so no problems there. The photos were a disaster, but that is a story for another blog!

Although I thought I had done well on the course, and my instructor thought so too, I didn’t feel especially comfortable and confident. I would guess that a lot of ‘newbies’ feel that way too. The only way to get over that feeling is to get more experience, to firmly fix the skills and knowledge learnt in the Open Water Course, and so become more confident.

The very best way of doing that is to go on and complete the Advanced Open Water course as soon as you can. A cynic might reply to that along the lines of “Well, he would say that wouldn’t he – he’s an instructor!” And he would be correct. To continue as an instructor I have to sell courses! But that does not make the first sentence of this paragraph untrue!

Advanced Course Info

So allow me to explain.

<img src="padi-open-water-certification-tioman-island-malaysia.jpg" alt="PADI Open Water certification, Tioman Island, Malaysia" />

The perfect hover!

The Open Water course is all about getting the student to dive. The Advanced course is all about getting the student to do something while he or she is diving. That might be diving at night with a torch, diving with a camera, or navigating around a wreck. But by successfully completing a task, with the help and under the supervision of an instructor, the student naturally gains confidence!

Apart from the useful and interesting things learnt on the Advanced course, the thing I notice about my Advanced students is the boost to confidence. It alters and improves the way they feel about diving. And that is why I sincerely promote the Open and Advanced courses package.

 

Open and Advanced Course Package

 

One little known aspect of the course is that it does not have to completed ‘in one go’. In other words you can do each of the five dives at different times in different location if you want to. In fact the same applies to ALL PADI courses! This makes for an incredibly convenient and flexible system for you the diver.

While I readily concede that it is an effective learning experience, I cannot recommend this method. I feel that there is a learning momentum, a consecutive acquisition and application of skills, which means the very best way to go is to complete the courses in one go.

Another ‘plus’ for students is that the Advanced course is much less ‘academic’ than the Open Water course. There are knowledge revues, briefings and de-briefings of course, but the heart of the course is to get the divers diving! And there is no final exam!

However your options for continuing your diver training are not confined to the Advanced Open Water Course.  There are lots of Specialty courses that you are qualified to participate in. These courses cater for specific interest and range from two open water dives to four.  As an Open Water Diver I can teach you the Peak Performance Buoyancy course, the Enriched Air Diver course, Navigation Diver, and I can offer a choice of THREE underwater photography courses – I would recommend my distinctive Digital Photography Diver. Click on the links to find out the details.

I always recommend to my Open Water students that if they really enjoy diving and want to develop their new sport that they should have a medium term goal to get up to Rescue Diver, plus take a couple of specialty courses that interest or challenge them. By the end of that they will have had roughly two weeks of training, and that is a very different thing to just a three or four day Open Water Course.

Rescue and EFR Course Info

 

As I mentioned from my own experience, you can also do more fun dives, experiment with bits of underwater equipment and when interest and cash allow you can invest in buying your own equipment. But I will be writing more about those two subjects in the near future! Have fun!

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