You’re off on holidays and you come across a dive shop advertising Learn to dive Openwater courses. You convince yourself to overcome any objections you may have had and enrol in the dive course. Four days later you are on a first name basis with Nemo and a proud Openwater Diver.
We install in our dive instructors that continuing education is important. Not just from a financial point of the dive instructor and for the dive shop but also in order to make better divers. After all the Openwater Course is the entry level course to the underwater world.
But when is it the right time to continue my education? Should I jump straight in and go to my advanced course after my openwater course or should I get some dives under my belt first?
There are a few factors to consider:
Reasons to wait
I’ve just done 4 training dives and never actually just dived with my buddy to explore
Going fun diving either guided or unguided allows some practice and forces me to implement and practice concepts I have learned in my openwater course
I am mentally not ready for more skills underwater and feel that I am going to be overtasked.
Reasons to go for it
An extra five training dives with an instructor will build on my skills and improve my diving
More practice on buoyancy by doing the peak performance buoyancy course is a great
All other training dives will challenge buoyancy skills which are important
Being able to go to deeper depths and explore dive sites beyond the 18 meters you were trained to.
An advanced course in cold water such as off the coast of Canada is going to be physically and mentally more challenging than doing it off a pristine beach in the Caribbean.
In my opinion this just depends on the individual. After all there are some openwater divers who whilst they have fulfilled all the performance requirements of the openwater course are not as competent or maybe comfortable is a better word than others. But I urge everyone not to wait too long. More training is always good and after a few dives of just exploring the underwater world the advanced course can open your eyes to other areas of diving such as photography, fish ID, drift and of course deep and navigation dives.