Learning basic diving skills
Beginning the Adventure
In order to become an internationally recognised scuba diver,
a person must attend and pass an Open Water Diver course from a reputable
training agency such as one of the following:
With this certification card, a new diver can then participate
in 'open water' rated dives to a depth of 18 metres.
It is human nature and good
common sense to feel a little apprehensive about entering this alien underwater
world. Only training and experience will overcome this.
is good business practice for dive shops to encourage their recent Open Water
students to participate in pleasure dives where their instructors can keep an
eye on them. A new diver can learn a great deal by watching a good instructor in
the boat and under water.
need an experience base to consolidate and apply new learning.
In other words, you have to practice the basics until they become a
Then you can move forward and learn new skills.
Mythical Advanced Diver
It is common practice in the industry to package four or five
specialty courses, and present them as an “Advanced Open Water Diver”
course. It makes a lot of
sense to do this because there are economies of scale for the dive shop
and convenience for the diver.
This course can be a very efficient way of significantly upgrading a
diver’s skills, and creating a long-term customer. However, there does not
appear to be a generally accepted industry standard for "Advanced
Diver". This can be verified by reviewing the training agencies' web sites.
Although some shore dives can be rewarding, for the most part
the best dive sites are only accessible from a boat. If you think through the steps in a typical boat dive, there are many little skills
involved: dive planning, buddy procedure, entry, controlled descent,
instrument checks, dive computer use, navigation, dealing with current, returning to the anchor,
controlled ascent, safety stops, retrieval, exit, safety log, stowing
gear, refilling tanks. Consequently, an advanced
should reinforce the basic open water
skills and cover the additional skills and safety procedures that are
needed for enjoyable boat diving.
Preparing for Adventure
advanced diving techniques course is only the beginning of the learning
experience. All keen divers
should complete Stress and Rescue, Senior First Aid, Nitrox and other
specialties that suit their interests.
For example, the SS Yongala
lies off Townsville at 30 metres. The
SS President Coolidge in Vanuatu goes much deeper.
There are several accessible WWII wrecks in the Solomon
Islands. Truk Lagoon has a broad range of wreck diving.
Wreck and Deep Diver courses are sensible pre-requisites for these
trips. Deep Diver courses
cover recreational diving from 30 to 40 metres and, in particular, gas
consumption at depth. Nitrox
courses cover the use of oxygen enriched air which provides an additional
these advanced training courses are reported in the
section of this website. The author attended and later sat in on these
courses again for the purposes of writing about them. The author is an
experienced recreational diver, not a professional diving instructor. Consequently the articles focus on 'what we did' rather than 'how to do it'.
They also provide an example of the quality and level of training that a new
diver should be looking for.