Tips You Should Know
Hi there! I’m Mary, and I have been a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and Master Scuba Diving Trainer for over 10 years. This means I have collected a fair amount of experience in teaching and examining Open Water Diver courses, and I want to share some tips with you. This way, you might find a few pointers to help you successfully completing your license and becoming a certified diver!
The Open Water Diver course consists of 3 major parts: theory, confined water, and open water dives. All parts must be successfully completed in order to obtain the most sought-after dive certification worldwide. Therefore, being great at theory and not so confident in water, or vice versa, is not a good start to your life as a diver.
Too many times I have seen students failing their theory exam, thinking the only one that matters is the practical part, intoxicated by the idea of swimming next to a shark or visiting a shipwreck. Remember, no good diver should ever ignore the basic rules of physics and physiology that your OWD course taught you!
Another important skill to master, definitely underrated, is the care of the equipment. In my experience as a dive guide, I have encountered certified divers that had no idea how to set up their own gear, because their instructor never taught them and they always did it for them. Wow! Learning how to set up and maintain your equipment, including after-dive care, is such an important skill that many diving agencies specify a minimum number of times you are required to perform this skill throughout your course. Would you buy a car, without knowing how to open the trunk or changing a light?
Moving on to the underwater skills, there is one particular exercise that often represents a huge obstacle for dive students: the dreaded mask removal skill! If there is one single skill that I have witnessed pushing students to quit, even those that brilliantly succeeded in all other parts of the course, this is the one. The fear and discomfort given by water in our eyes and nose becomes, for some, unbearable; however, my suggestion is to keep in mind one single concept: why do we learn this skill? Wouldn’t it be worse to find yourself completely unprepared, 18 meters or 60 feet underwater, with a broken, lost or misplaced mask, and not knowing how to react to it? Take it as a survival skill, because that’s what it truly is.
I’d like to conclude this little list of tips focusing on the importance of buoyancy underwater. This is in fact a skill that requires time, practice and focus, not one you’ll likely master in just four or five dives. A good instructor will be able to point out a few specific tips for every student, and the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty is highly recommended at this level: it will give you extra knowledge and confidence under water, which eventually translates in a more enjoyable dive, better air consumption and even improved photographic skills!
Watch this video PADI Open Water Diver Course Skills in 10 Minutes: