Did your OW course prepare you to dive?

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OP
Cthippo

Cthippo

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I have been that person, too. Maybe not the first to dive it, but the first one I knew to dive it.

In that case, you get as much information as you can and use your best judgment. "Judgment" is a word that, unfortunately, dive agencies are reluctant to use. They prefer black and white rules, and in many cases, those do not work. I argued this at length with PADI in terms of overhead environments, and I am happy to say that after they asked me to suggest wording for using good judgment for assessing overhead environments, they asked me for permission to use my wording for coming course revisions.

I feel like this is the case any time you dive somewhere new. In most cases we are given little more than anecdotes and hand drawn maps of even the most popular dive sites (or paid $10 for a laminated, hand drawn map) and you are off on your own. Nowhere I have seen really teaches risk management as it pertains to diving, but that is what we are talking about here.

What could go wrong, how bad could it be, and how likely is it to go wrong, and what can I do to mitigate that hazard? Given all of the above, is it worth doing? Being proficient at this process is probably more important than another drill in the pool.
 

Searcaigh

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Care to expand on that response?

What if you are the first one to ever dive a particular site, what then?
How do you prepare for a site that no one has ever explored and you are the first?
I have been that person.
Me too

Back in the late 80s early 90s myself and several friends dived many parts of the Saudi Red Sea coast that as far as we were aware had never been dived. We used basic maps, there was no GPS back then, and we just drove up and down the coastline in our 4x4s first to establish a decent campsite with good access to the sea without having to walk too far to the fringing reef.
 

Eric Sedletzky

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Me too

Back in the late 80s early 90s myself and several friends dived many parts of the Saudi Red Sea coast that as far as we were aware had never been dived. We used basic maps, there was no GPS back then, and we just drove up and down the coastline in our 4x4s first to establish a decent campsite with good access to the sea without having to walk too far to the fringing reef.
Back in the early 2000’s I assembled a team of divers to do an expedition to explore the Delgada Submarine Canyon up in Humboldt County in Northern California. It is the most remote section of coastline in the state.
The only information I had about the canyon was an old USGS survey map of offshore California which was pretty crude at best. I did my research and planned this trip for months. When everything finally fell into place and the plan was actually realized, all the logistics happened, the boat got launched and we arrived to the site after a voyage up the coast, we began to physically map the bottom typography of the location with my GPS and my sonar. After a good hour of going back and forth in a transect pattern and clicking waypoints while another guy wrote down the corresponding depths, we had a pretty good map and idea of what the trench looked like and where to drop the pick for a look-see.
It was about as gnarly as anyone’s imagination could conjure up. The trench dropped right offshore to 300’ (close enough that it could have been a shore dive), and not much further it fell to well over 600’. The surrounding sea floor was a combo of gravel and mud which gradually sloped on each side of the trench. There was a distinct ledge or wall right around the start of the trench like someone had taken a giant ice cream scooper and dug out a big scoop of earth starting right from shore. There was no indication that there was any sort of U/W canyon right there by looking at the shoreline.
In all honesty, we truly believe we were the very first people to ever explore that site on scuba.
It was quite an experience that I will never forget.
 

NYCrecdiver

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I am curious about people's perception of their own skills and readiness to dive when they finished their open water course.

At the end of the class did you feel like you had the knowledge, skills and abilities to safely complete a dive with a equally skilled buddy? For this question, lets say you were going to basically repeat your last training dive, but with an equally skilled buddy instead of an instructor. Did you feel like you needed a Dive master or similar person with advanced training in order to get in the water? What would have made a difference in this perception for you (i.e. more or different skills, more training time in the water, just more dives, etc?).

Do you feel that with your current knowledge, skills and abilities you could conduct a dive equivalent to your training dives with an equally skilled buddy?

I am curious about people's perception of their own skills and readiness to dive when they finished their open water course.

At the end of the class did you feel like you had the knowledge, skills and abilities to safely complete a dive with a equally skilled buddy? For this question, lets say you were going to basically repeat your last training dive, but with an equally skilled buddy instead of an instructor. Did you feel like you needed a Dive master or similar person with advanced training in order to get in the water? What would have made a difference in this perception for you (i.e. more or different skills, more training time in the water, just more dives, etc?).

Do you feel that with your current knowledge, skills and abilities you could conduct a dive equivalent to your training dives with an equally skilled buddy?
Yes, my OW certification prepared me to dive. In warm waters, excellent visibility, no currents, no equipment troubles, no physiological troubles, no buddy troubles and accompanied by a guide or dive master. Let's be real; we know nothing much and can do nothing much immediately after getting OW certified.
I personally started to feel OK about my skills after getting my Rescue Diver certification and having done 60 dives. And even then so, I still know only very little.
 

rx7diver

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Yes, my OW certification prepared me to dive. In warm waters, excellent visibility, no currents, no equipment troubles, no physiological troubles, no buddy troubles and accompanied by a guide or dive master. Let's be real; we know nothing much and can do nothing much immediately after getting OW certified. ...
I am so grateful/thankful that my open water certification training was not this inadequate.

rx7diver
 

Antonios

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Definitely not. At the time of my PADI OW certification, (about 15 years ago) I lacked not only the skills, but also the very knowledge of the concepts of buoyancy, trim, situational awareness, gas planning and dive planning. It took me a very long hiatus, a recent re-activation course and 20+ dives (7-8 of them with a dedicated instructor, and the rest following a dive master) to acquire just a semblance of a neutrally buoyant diver with a mediocre trim. I just start to grasp how long is the road to become a truly able diver, not just a cattle in the diving, follow-the-leader, herd.
 
OP
Cthippo

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I am so grateful/thankful that my open water certification training was not this inadequate.

rx7diver
To be fair, there are limitations on what any course can do. If you take a class in warm clear water it is hard to train people on working in a drysuit in low visibility. My OW was in Puget sound in the spring and shore dives, so, no, it didn't prepare me for urchin safety, diving around corals, or boat diving.

That said, I feel like it did an adequate job of preparing me for likely emergencies and the conditions encountered in this area. In my mind that is a reasonable expectation from a OW course.
 

Eric Sedletzky

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I’m afraid at this point in my life that if I did dive warm clear water I’d probably freak out and have a panic attack. All I know is being wrapped in 7mm rubber with a thick hood, gloves, booties, and a big weightbelt in ice cold water and 10’ visibility in green water. I wouldn’t know how to handle a dive in paradise.
I would have to take a resort course.
 

NYCrecdiver

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Definitely not. At the time of my PADI OW certification, (about 15 years ago) I lacked not only the skills, but also the very knowledge of the concepts of buoyancy, trim, situational awareness, gas planning and dive planning. It took me a very long hiatus, a recent re-activation course and 20+ dives (7-8 of them with a dedicated instructor, and the rest following a dive master) to acquire just a semblance of a neutrally buoyant diver with a mediocre trim. I just start to grasp how long is the road to become a truly able diver, not just a cattle in the diving, follow-the-leader, herd.
This.
 

undrwater

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Back in the early 2000’s I assembled a team of divers to do an expedition to explore the Delgada Submarine Canyon up in Humboldt County in Northern California. It is the most remote section of coastline in the state.
The only information I had about the canyon was an old USGS survey map of offshore California which was pretty crude at best. I did my research and planned this trip for months. When everything finally fell into place and the plan was actually realized, all the logistics happened, the boat got launched and we arrived to the site after a voyage up the coast, we began to physically map the bottom typography of the location with my GPS and my sonar. After a good hour of going back and forth in a transect pattern and clicking waypoints while another guy wrote down the corresponding depths, we had a pretty good map and idea of what the trench looked like and where to drop the pick for a look-see.
It was about as gnarly as anyone’s imagination could conjure up. The trench dropped right offshore to 300’ (close enough that it could have been a shore dive), and not much further it fell to well over 600’. The surrounding sea floor was a combo of gravel and mud which gradually sloped on each side of the trench. There was a distinct ledge or wall right around the start of the trench like someone had taken a giant ice cream scooper and dug out a big scoop of earth starting right from shore. There was no indication that there was any sort of U/W canyon right there by looking at the shoreline.
In all honesty, we truly believe we were the very first people to ever explore that site on scuba.
It was quite an experience that I will never forget.
Do you have a report of this dive written down somewhere? You've got me curious!
I’m afraid at this point in my life that if I did dive warm clear water I’d probably freak out and have a panic attack. All I know is being wrapped in 7mm rubber with a thick hood, gloves, booties, and a big weightbelt in ice cold water and 10’ visibility in green water. I wouldn’t know how to handle a dive in paradise.
I would have to take a resort course.
It happened to me in Hawaii. Wearing a shorty, in warm water felt completely unnatural, and I felt an almost panic at first. It resolved quickly enough, but it was weird.
 
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