One course in the scuba diving educational graph that is less theory and more fun is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Advanced Open Water certification. This course is all about practising the specialised skills that one learns in the Open Water certification course. The course involves some mandatory and optional specialised dives and advancing them to the next level.
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About PADI Advanced open water certification
The PADI Advanced open water certification (AOWD) is all about improving the skills learned in the open water certification. The entire course can be easily done in a span of 2 to 3 days. It helps the divers to gain more knowledge on specialised skills. The divers spend more of the time in the water practising and focusing on learning the skills required. After completing the Advanced open water certification, the divers can dive up to 30 metres.
The eligibility criteria for completing the Advanced open water certification are:
- Have completed the Open water certification.
- Older than 12 years.
- Complete the medical questionnaire and have medical clearance if there are any pre-declared medical issues.
The PADI Advanced open water course is a course that requires divers to complete eLearning interactive modules and 5 specialised practical dives, out of which 2 are mandatory skills and 3 optional skills.
- The eLearning has lessons on 13 concepts involving altitude, navigation, boat, drift, dry suit, buoyancy, night, fish, search and recover and others. This is self learning part of the course and requires 6 to 8 hours. The eLearning login is sent prior to the scheduled practical sessions and one has to complete the eLearning in order to go ahead with the actual dives.
- The skilled dives are with an instructor and they include:
- 2 mandatory dives such as deep dive that takes the diver to 30 metres and navigation dive to improve the navigational skills underwater and
- 3 optional dives can be chosen from a variety of skills, such as peak performance buoyancy, boat dive, drift dive, underwater photography, wreck dive, night dive, fish identification, search and recovery dive, and underwater naturalist.
Skilled practical dives
Out of all the skilled dives mentioned below, the divers are required to complete five skilled divers in order to obtain the Advanced open water certification.
Note: The divers can then take up courses for each of these skills. I did the Peak performance buoyancy course after finishing my advanced open water course.
One of the mandatory skilled dives that need to be completed in the Advanced open water course if the deep dive. The divers are taken deeper than 21 metres so they learn how to manage in deep waters. This dive helps the divers learn the effects that the depth has on the body.
Another mandatory skilled dive one needs to complete is the underwater navigation dive. The divers are taught how to navigate using a compass and the various navigation methods underwater.
Peak Performance buoyancy dive
For a good diver, having the right buoyancy underwater is very important. The peak performance buoyancy dive is an optional skilled dive where the divers are taught different ways to manage buoyancy and be conscious about surroundings and environment. I also did a specific course on PADI peak performance buoyancy.
The boat dive is an optional skilled dive where divers are taught about diving from a boat and how to be safe and manage while diving from a boat. It also gives the exposure on the entry and exit points of the boat.
Note: If you are taking up a course in India, then just skip this skill as part of Advanced open water course as every dive in India is a boat dive and you will learn this skill anyway as part of your other skilled dives.
The drift dive is an optional dive where the divers learn how to manage the drifts or the flow of water in the ocean. It also teaches the divers how to manage the currents of the sea.
Underwater photography dive
The most fun skilled dive is the underwater photography dive. It is an optional dive where the divers can learn how to take pictures of the fishes and things underwater. The divers are taught various settings of the camera and how to post process these pictures after the dive.
Wreck dives are fun as well, where the divers can go near the ship, airplane or any artificial structure wrecks and learn how to be safe and manage near the wrecks. This is an optional dive and the divers are taught how to map and survey a wreck and take safety precautions while navigating near a wreck.
One of the interesting dives in scuba diving is the night dive. The divers can see creatures and marine life that is not visible during the day where there is sunlight. The night dive teaches the divers to manage and dive after sunset, where torches are used to navigate and see things underwater. This is also an optional skilled dive.
Note: The night dive can be scary and daunting for some divers.
Fish identification dive
I absolutely love identifying the fishes I see when I dive. And I learned a lot about identifying those fishes during the fish identification dive. The fish identification dive is an optional dive where divers are taught how to identify a fish by their characteristics and structures.
Search and recovery dive
The Search and recovery dive is another fun dive where divers are made to fetch lost items by using the search and recovery techniques underwater. This is also an optional skilled dive.
The underwater naturalist is an optional dive where divers are taught about the marine ecosystem.
PADI Advanced open water course is really fun and is surely the next level in the professional diving ladder after the open water course. I had a great time learning the specific skills and diving just to get those skills right. I completed my Advanced open water course in Pondicherry with Temple Adventures. The next course to do after the PADI Advanced open water course is the PADI Rescue diver course.
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