PADI Open Water Course  

by Pool Builders on 08-23-2008 in Articles

The first thing that often comes to mind at the thought of learning to scuba dive is images of James Bond wearing fins and attacking the villain, or even Jacques Cousteau investigating the newfound creatures surrounding coral reefs world wide.
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) developed rapidly after the war and sport diving arose in tandem. Tanks, regulators and other gear formed the nucleus of an activity that is now practiced anywhere there is more than two feet of water. From the 1960s to the present, buoyancy compensators, wetsuits and dry suits, along with a host of supplemental gear has been developed to allow almost anyone to take part in scuba diving.
Certification isn't required, however it is highly recommended, the 20 hour PADI Open Water course (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) can teach the basics of scuba diving across a few day. The PADI Open Water course will instruct students on how to prepare gear, to breathe properly, descend and ascend safely and avoid common dangers. They will also teach you how to clear your mask, use your regulator properly, life-saving tips and much more. Once you have completed the PADI Open Water Course you are an entry-level scuba diver allowing you to dive in an environment under your instructor's supervision and guidance.
Embarking upon the PADI Open Water Diver Course can lead to a lifetime of great adventures on vacation or around the corner from home. To take part in the PADI Open Water Course you will need to be in good health with no major health problems as well as being comfortable in the water and have basic swimming skills (nothing extreme - 200 meter swim at you leisure and a 10 minute float on the surface (any way up)). Mentally you need a mature attitude and the self-discipline to follow the guide-lines and principles required for safe diving.
The minimum ages for scuba certification is 10 for the Junior Open Water (adult supervised diving), and 15 for the Open Water Diver. These certifications show that you successfully completed the course according to the training standards and requirements established by PADI. Dive centres require a person to be a certified diver or in training before they will rent or fill scuba tanks for you, or let you participate in scuba activities. There is a "Discover Scuba Diving" (DSD) program which allows you to dive one day under the direct supervision of an instructor for the experience without the certification but the diving is extremely limited.
The PADI Open Water course consists of 3 segments: Confined water dives, Knowledge development and Open water dives. Each plays an important role in learning to dive. When you're certified as an Open Water diver you'll be able to dive to 60 feet / 18 meters (40 feet / 12 meters for 10-12 year olds) whenever you're accompanied by a fellow of the same or higher certification level (the other diver must be 18 or older for Junior Open Water divers). You don't have to be accompanied by a Divemaster or Instructor, but can be if you'd prefer. You're also eligible to do the Advanced PADI Open Water Course and many specialties.
The PADI Open Water course is usually taught over 3 to 5 days in dive vacation destinations such as Lanzarote or the red sea (Active Diving: http://www.activediving.co.uk), but can also be taught over weeks or even months if taken as a part-time course. The course content is the same but the daily workload is much greater, although still quite manageable, on the shorter course.
The fun begins in the confined water dives, during which you will apply dive principles, and learn and practice dive procedures and skills. You'll do this either in a swimming pool or in body of water with pool like conditions under your instructor's guidance and supervision. There are 5 confined water dives that correspond with 5 knowledge development sections.
Knowledge development establishes the principles and basic information that all divers need to have fun diving safely. It's divided into 5 bite sized segments that you'll complete primarily on your own time or in the classroom alone by using the PADI Open Water course manual and video to guide you. For each segment your instructor reviews and elaborates on the material, applying what you're learning to your specific needs and the local dive environment. A short quiz at the end of each section in the manual confirms that you have picked up the information that you need from that section.
At the end of the knowledge development section there is a 50 question examination (in leisurely conditions) which covers all of the 5 knowledge review sections and your instructor will go through this with you for "reinforced" learning.
You'll make 4 Open Water Dives. Prior to completing your PADI Open Water course, you'll meet specific learning objectives that you'll read about in the Open Water Divers manual.
The instructors and students you meet will often have useful suggestions and fascinating stories to tell about the exciting places they've dived. Australia's Barrier Reef, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Caymans, Thailand and dozens more sites around the globe have all been explored.

The Open Water certification is a full entry level certification you earn by successfully completing the entire PADI Open Water course. The certification qualifies you to:
* Dive independently (with a certified diving buddy) while applying the knowledge and skills that you learned in this course, within the limits of your dive training and experience......
* Get air fills, rent scuba equipment and other service for scuba diving.
* Plan, conduct and log open water no stop (no decompression) dives when equipped properly and accompanied by a buddy in conditions which you have training and or experience.
* Continue your diver training with a specialty dive in the PADI Advanced Open Water program, and or in PADI specialty course.
To find out more about diving holidays across The Red Sea, Lanzarote and South Africa visit http://www.ActiveDiving.co.uk and quote: ART
Author: Emma Parker (08/08/08)
That's all for now on the PADI Open Water course

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