After Tyler and I both got certified together last September in the Open Water Padi course, Tyler decided to get us both the Advanced Open Water Course at a Dive Shop in Laguna Beach for Christmas. We decided to wait until the water and weather cleared up a bit before scheduling our dives so we just started last weekend. I had been diving once since we completed the course, a amazing dive in the Bahamas (you can read about it here) and was pretty excited to get back in the water. While diving in Southern California is a bit more work than other places (full wetsuit, hood, booties, gloves ugh) we had a great time getting reintroduced to the scuba world. I now definitely do not regret signing up for the next step and here is 5 reasons why I think the Advanced Open Water Course is absolutely worth it for new divers.
1. Skills Refresh.
It is always nice to get a refresher on all the skills you learned during the introductory open water course. If you don’t use it you loose it and I was definitely already a bit rusty on the buddy safety check steps. Although you are expected to know how to set up your gear and tank when you arrive for the course, advanced classes help you tie up any loose ends you may have slightly forgotten since the last time you dove.
2. You Actually Get to See Stuff on Your Dive
In my 4 open water dives in the beginner courses we went to the bottom and went over our skills. We really didn’t have much time to actually swim the reef and see much. These courses you definitely learn new skills but you also have more time to actually observe the marine life. Also, diving with your instructor, who knows the dive site well, will give you a chance to follow a expert who can point things out that you would miss on your own. It also gave me a chance to really relax and get comfortable underwater again knowing a instructor was present and in a small group of divers.
3. You Learn New Skills (Duhhhh)
I now know how to use my compass well and have some navigation skills I definitely did not have with my beginning dives. Also, you have a chance to really fine tune your buoyancy as well as try new things that you necessarily wouldn’t want to try without a expert present (for me that would be a night dive). All of this leads to greater confidence and comfort in the water.
4. It Forces You to Dive
I know this sounds strange to say but it’s true. It is way too easy to get certified and put the books away and not dive for a year (or years) until you go on vacation. Then so much time has passed you definitely forgot some important diving knowledge and may even have to do a skills refresh to feel comfortable again. Padi recommends you do a skills refresh if you haven’t been diving for more than 6 months.. and I agree. Because you may feel like you could remember everything but it’s what happens when something goes wrong that you really need to pull out your knowledge and not panic (something as simple as your mask leaking 40 feet down can freak you out if you don’t remember what to do). Also, scheduling a dive with a instructor forces you to show up, unless you really want to pay that cancel fee. Usually when I go and didn’t initially feel like it I always end up having a good time.
5. You Meet More People
You get to meet and dive with people with your same interest of scuba, and already with a common bond of learning something new that day. They are usually the same skill level and live close to you (unless you are doing the class on vacation, but you get where I am going with this). You might have the opportunity to meet some scuba friends for life who knows.
For more information on the Padi Course, click HERE