Advanced Open Water Diver Course – New ways to enjoy scuba diving
In the Open Water Course you learned how to be a safe diver, you mastered skills to help yourself in case of problems and of course you also learned a lot about diving theory. Now it is time to explore the fun parts of diving.
You can take the Advanced Open Water Diver Course for so many reasons:
- To further your dive training
- increase your navigation skills
- go deeper
- go diving at night
- learn some new skills
- be a more confident diver
- explore new places
- meet new people
- have a lot of fun
- do some more dives with an instructor
For me personally it was because I wanted to go on a Liveaboard trip to the Similan islands and for that I had to be an Advanced Open Water diver.
What are the prerequisites?
You need to be at least certified as a (Junior) Open Water diver and as with all diving courses you should be healthy. You will have to fill in a medical questionnaire.
PDF Download link: PADI ConEd AdminDoc (ENG/1.01)
What exactly is the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course?
The PADI Advanced Open Water Course consists of 5 adventure dives. The Underwater Navigation dive and the Deep adventure dive are mandatory for the certification. The other 3 dives you can choose yourself, depending on your interests and where you do the course. Usually the course takes 2 days to complete. This course is much more about diving and exploring different specialty’s then the Open Water Course. You will have much less theory, no quizzes or exam and no skills in the pool. Just read the chapter in the adventures in diving manual about the adventure dive and answer some short knowledge review questions. You will review them with your Instructor during the course.
The dives you do are adventure dives, it can be seen as an introduction to Specialty courses. They are usually the first dives of a Specialty course and can count towards your Specialty certification. Lets say you did the Wreck adventure dive and now you want to learn how to penetrate a wreck. You would have to sign up for the Wreck Specialty course to learn how to safely enter and exit a wreck. But instead of 4 dives you just need to do 3 to get certified for the specialty. Once you can proof at least 50 logged dives, are certified as PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver and you are certified in 5 Specialty’s or TecRec courses you can get the Master Scuba Diver Certification. This is the highest recreational diver rating in the PADI System.
What are the different dives and what will I learn during my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course?
Let me introduce a few of the possible dives, depending on your location or interests you can choose different ones. On all the dives you have to make sure you maintain neutral buoyancy and avoid negative effects on aquatic organisms:
On the Deep adventure dive you go to a maximum of 30m or 21m if you are younger than 15 years. Under the guidance of a PADI Instructor you will learn about the risks of deep diving and how to minimize them. At depth you will have a look at color changes and compare pressure gauges or computers. There are not many skills on this dive so you have some time to explore the dive site. Be aware of the shorter no decompression limits and check your pressure gauge more often than on shallower dives.
You had a look on compass navigation on your Open Water Course already but now its time to further your training. You will learn how you can make your dive plan more efficient by having good navigation skills, how to use natural navigation, how to measure distances underwater and do some more compass exercises on the dive. In the end you have a whole dive just to train navigation so that after this course when you go diving with your buddy you are less likely to get lost 🙂
This is my favourite dive, it is a really special feeling being underwater at night with darkness around you and just the light of the torch. I love night diving because you focus on what you shine at with your torch like this you can spot a lot of small or well camouflaged creatures. As well, with the light of the torch everything looks more colourful. There are some small things you have to master on this dive. You will have a look at how to communicate at night, how to read your gauge, computer and compass. You will also have to do a reciprocal navigation exercise. There is a lot of time to get used to being underwater at night and explore the dive site. After the dive you can watch the moon and the stars in the sky whilst swimming back to the boat. It is a truly amazing experience all together!
It is probably one of the more important ones, depending on how many dives you already have and how good your buoyancy is. On this dive you will have time to practise and play around with your buoyancy. You will do a buoyancy check before and after the dive to make sure you are properly weighted. During the dive you will practice hovering in different positions, learn efficient kicking techniques and swim around a dive site without touching the bottom. Depending on where you do the course you might play different games underwater to practice. The main thing to remember on this dive is that you have to control your breathing to control your buoyancy.
During the Naturalist dive you will have to find different vertebrates, invertebrates and plants underwater and name them. I like this dive because unlike the fish id dive it does not just focus on fish and fish families. You will as well have a look on different animals and plants underwater. It is nice to learn the names of the things you can find underwater and maybe learn a little bit more about them in the process.
On this dive you will look at different fish underwater try to name them and put them in the correct fish family. This dive is nice because you learn a little bit more about what you are looking at underwater. If you don’t know a fish you can try and describe it on a underwater slate and search it in a fish book after the dive.
To be able to do the Wreck dive you obviously need a dive site with a wreck. On the dive you look at possible hazards, point them out to your instructor and you have to navigate the wreck. You are not allowed to enter the wreck! If you would like to learn how to safely penetrate a wreck you just need to sign up for the wreck speciality course.
There are other dives like, Drift diving, Sidemount, Search and Recovery, Ice diving, Enriched Air, Dry Suit, Digital Underwater Imaging and even more. If you want to start studying for your Advanced Open Water Course before you arrive at your dive shop, you can sign up for PADI e-learning and download the manual and other paperwork.