Go Diving or Take More Courses?
One of the most common questions that I hear from recently certified scuba divers is: Now that I know how to dive should I go diving or take more scuba courses? That is a great question and there is no easy answer. Of course if you go diving you acquire experience and that helps make you a more accomplished scuba diver. However, when we do things on our own how do we know we are doing them the correct way? We really do not. In this case it is through trial and error and we learn what works and what does not work.
The Advanced Open Water Course: Day 1:
While I am a firm believer in getting out and doing, I really do see the benefits of scuba continuing education courses. While it has a misleading name, the Advanced Open Water course is not just for advanced scuba divers. It picks up exactly where the Open Water Scuba Course leaves off and adds some very valuable skills for the newer diver. At my dive center, Aquatic Adventures Scuba Academy, a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Center in Northern Virginia, we recommend that the new diver continue as soon as possible with the Advanced Open Water Course. This course includes five dives done over one weekend more then doubling the experience level of the newer diver and goes a long way in adding to their experience and safety.
Peak Performance Buoyancy:
At Aquatic Adventures we always start the Advanced Open Water Course with a Peak Performance Buoyancy dive. During this dive we concentrate on proper fin kicks and body positioning. We also emphasize proper weighting. This makes us much more streamlined and means that we do not have to work as hard during the dive. Consequently, we use less air and our dives last longer.
On land we use maps and GPS units to find our way. While Scuba Diving we use an underwater compass, an important piece of Dive Equipment. Proper use of the underwater compass, not only makes us a better diver, but is a safety issue as well. It means we are less likely to get lost underwater, which could cause problems in returning to the boat or shore safely. The second dive is our Advanced Open Water course is the first Underwater Navigation Dive and deals with both compass navigation and natural navigation as well. I, personally, will not dive without an underwater compass. I consider it an essential piece of dive equipment.
Night Diver Specialty Dive:
The third dive that we offer at Aquatic Adventures Scuba Academy, in our Advanced Open Water Course is the Night Diver Specialty Dive. Diving at night is an incredible experience. Many of our favorite critters, lobsters, morays, shrimp and crabs are all nocturnal creatures. Night Diving allows us the opportunity to see what we might otherwise miss. There are several skills specific to night diving that makes us a better diver and safer as well.
The Advanced Open Water Course: Day 2:
The Deep Dive Specialty Dive:
One of the most anticipated dives of the Advanced Open Water course is the Deep Dive. During this dive we look at the physiological differences in diving deeper then normal. Increased air consumption, shorter allowable dive time, loss of light, loss of color and the possibility of nitrogen narcosis are all characteristics of deep diving. Completing your first deep dive under the supervision of an Instructor insures that you learn properly and lesson the likelihood of any problems. This is a fun dive and offers the participant a lot of good practical experience.
The Optional Dive: Underwater Photography, Multilevel or Computer Diving, Wreck Diving
The fifth and last dive of the Advanced Open Water course is what we call an optional dive. Doing the dive is not optional – it is required, but you get the option of choosing a dive that interests you personally. We have several options available to our students and the most popular are Underwater Photography, Multilevel Diving also known as computer diving, and Wreck Diving. These are the types of dives that very personal to the participant and can lead to years of enjoyment.
Now Get Out and Scuba Dive!
Now that you have completed the PADI Open Water Course and the PADI Advanced Open Water Course it is time to just get out and dive. Put to practice what you have learned. The best divers are the ones with a balance of proper dive training and experience.