Newly certified - Diving while on vacation

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

MyNameIsTony

Registered
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Location
Canada
# of dives
0 - 24
Hi there, I'm very recently Open water certified with Padi. I've also done ~5 discover dives in the past. While I feel very comfortable diving, I'm a bit concerned about going out for my first dive after being certified when I'm away on vacation in the Caribbean.

How does buddy grouping work, are you just put with another person looking to dive who doesn't have a buddy? Do you swim around following a divemaster if it's an unfamiliar area or do you just do your thing with your buddy? Do divemasters ever offer to allow you to swim with/behind them? Like I said, I feel comfortable diving but I've always had an instructor by my side for the discover dives and OW. For my certification I only went down to ~7 meters but the area I'll be diving in is likely a bit deeper.

Also, I had 26 lbs of weight during my fresh water lake dive with a 7mm wet suit, does that mean I need + ~6 lbs for an ocean dive?

Thanks.
 

FF / EMT

Contributor
Messages
418
Reaction score
412
Location
Michigan
# of dives
200 - 499
Hi there, I'm very recently Open water certified with Padi. I've also done ~5 discover dives in the past. While I feel very comfortable diving, I'm a bit concerned about going out for my first dive after being certified when I'm away on vacation in the Caribbean.

How does buddy grouping work, are you just put with another person looking to dive who doesn't have a buddy?
Depends on the operator, some “instabuddy, other offer a DM, others charge you for a DM
Do you swim around following a divemaster if it's an unfamiliar area or do you just do your thing with your buddy?
See above, but there’s no shame in asking for a
DM to show you the cool stuff on a dive
Do divemasters ever offer to allow you to swim with/behind them?
Ya, you should also tip them, they dive with new people all the time, don’t ever feel ashamed for ding anxious./ see above
Like I said, I feel comfortable diving but I've always had an instructor by my side for the discover dives and OW. For my certification I only went down to ~7 meters but the area I'll be diving in is likely a bit deeper.

Also, I had 26 lbs of weight during my fresh water lake dive, does that mean I need + ~6 lbs for an ocean dive?

Thanks.
Probably not, 26 pound is likey WAY over weight unless you’re vilolet from Willy wonka or @Akimbo in his Orange drysuit…
OW instructors have a duty to help you with propper weighting, and many are too lazy to teach it.
 

SpaceCat

Registered
Divemaster
Messages
27
Reaction score
21
Location
Virginia
# of dives
100 - 199
Generally, they will put you with another person that does not have a buddy, or have you join an already existing buddy pair. For a lot of vacation-style places, yes, there will be a Divemaster to follow, but not always.

My best recommendation to you would be to contact the shop you are planning on diving with and explain your situation. Ask what the procedure is, and assess whether that works for you. Most places, if they don't have a Divemaster or Guide in the water with you, will allow you to "rent" one for a small cost (please remember to tip the DM).

If you are following a Divemaster, make sure YOU are still doing your own dive. If the Divemaster wants to take you somewhere you don't feel ready for, make that known, and don't do it. While they may be a guide, you are still in charge of your own safety.

As far as the weighting, for a normal sized person wearing EXACTLY the same gear as you wore for your OW course, that is approximately correct. However, you will often use less exposure protection (thinner wetsuit) in the Caribbean than in a fresh water lake, which means less weight. It is also entirely possible you were overweighted in your course, as that seems like a lot of weight. I would recommend having that Divemaster assist you with doing a proper weight check to make sure you are set up for those conditions and that gear, without being dangerously overweight.

EDIT to add: Be very honest with your buddy and/or your Divemaster about your experience level. It makes planning to appropriate difficulty levels a lot easier, and will result in a much better and safer experience for everyone.
 

dmaziuk

Contributor
Messages
9,503
Reaction score
6,083
Location
Tanoa
Also, I had 26 lbs of weight during my fresh water lake dive with a 7mm wet suit, does that mean I need + ~6 lbs for an ocean dive?

Are you going to use the 7 mm in the Caribbean?
 
OP
M

MyNameIsTony

Registered
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Location
Canada
# of dives
0 - 24
Okay thank you I understand. And I know while doing the OW dives, 18lbs wasn't enough to decent so they just gave me 2x 4lbs. It was with a 7mm drysuit, hood, boots and gloves as well. I did feel a bit overweighed when adjusting buoyancy but I made it work. And unlikely I'll use a 7mm, every time I've done discover dives in the ocean it was always a pretty thin wet suit, no idea the thickness but definitely not as heavy.

Edit: Not quite as bubbly as Violet, 5' 11" 210lbs
 

SpaceCat

Registered
Divemaster
Messages
27
Reaction score
21
Location
Virginia
# of dives
100 - 199
Okay thank you I understand. And I know while doing the OW dives, 18lbs wasn't enough to decent so they just gave me 2x 4lbs. It was with a 7mm drysuit, hood, boots and gloves as well. I did feel a bit overweighed when adjusting buoyancy but I made it work. And unlikely I'll use a 7mm, every time I've done discover dives in the ocean it was always a pretty thin wet suit, no idea the thickness but definitely not as heavy.
Do you mean 7mm wetsuit, or were you using a drysuit or semi-dry suit? It sounds like they did not do a proper weight check with you, they just eyeballed it.

Unless you are the world's coldest person, you will likely get nowhere NEAR this amount of wetsuit thickness on your vacation dives. You will likely use a 3mm full suit or even a shorty. Some people exist with just their swimsuit or just a dive skin (to protect from the nasties like jellyfish getting you). You will use significantly less weight with this major drop in neoprene. You should absolutely do a weight check before the dives (to get your approximate weight needed) and if you feel motivated, a good weight check at the end when your tank is lower to get a more accurate weight.

Explain to your DM that you normally dive with a 7mm full suit with all the extras, and that you would like to do a weight check with the gear you have today. If they are any sort of decent, they will be more than happy to assist. They may ask that you arrive early to the dives to get you situated without delaying the other people though.
 
OP
M

MyNameIsTony

Registered
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Location
Canada
# of dives
0 - 24
Do you mean 7mm wetsuit, or were you using a drysuit or semi-dry suit?

Unless you are the world's coldest person, you will likely get nowhere NEAR this amount of wetsuit thickness on your vacation dives. You will likely use a 3mm full suit or even a shorty. Some people exist with just their swimsuit or just a dive skin (to protect from the nasties like jellyfish getting you). You will use significantly less weight with this major drop in neoprene. You should absolutely do a weight check before the dives (to get your approximate weight needed) and if you feel motivated, a good weight check at the end when your tank is lower to get a more accurate weight.

Explain to your DM that you normally dive with a 7mm full suit with all the extras, and that you would like to do a weight check with the gear you have today. If they are any sort of decent, they will be more than happy to assist. They may ask that you arrive early to the dives to get you situated without delaying the other people though.
7mm wetsuit (Canada dive). And yes, when I've gone for discover dives, it was always a shorty wet suit. I wish I remembered the weight I was given when I went for the discover dives but the DM's always just seemed to guess it right. 26 lbs was significantly more than when I've gone with the shorty wetsuits. I'll talk to the DM and ask to do a weight check, thanks.

I'll also try to get ahold of the dive shop and figure out their procedure. I don't mind paying a bit extra for a DM just for my first few dives, but also don't really mind diving with an "instabuddy" if that's not an option. And definitely tipping the DM.

Much appreciate the help.
 

SpaceCat

Registered
Divemaster
Messages
27
Reaction score
21
Location
Virginia
# of dives
100 - 199
7mm wetsuit (Canada dive). And yes, when I've gone for discover dives, it was always a shorty wet suit. I wish I remembered the weight I was given when I went for the discover dives but the DM's always just seemed to guess it right. 26 lbs was significantly more than when I've gone with the shorty wetsuits. I'll talk to the DM and ask to do a weight check, thanks.

I'll also try to get ahold of the dive shop and figure out their procedure. I don't mind paying a bit extra for a DM just for my first few dives, but also don't really mind diving with an "instabuddy" if that's not an option. And definitely tipping the DM.

Much appreciate the help.
It is also possible you will use less weight than you did on the Discover Dives anyway. As you get more and more comfortable in the water, you will likely use less weight to a point.

The dive shop should be more than happy to talk to you by phone or email and explain how they do things. To be honest, if they don't have a Divemaster leading the dives anyway, and you are willing to pay the cost of it, hiring a private DM might be a better experience for you than the instabuddy. You will feel more comfortable, they will go at YOUR pace and YOUR comfort level, and they should be familiar with the site and be able to point out some really cool things you may miss out on seeing otherwise.
 
OP
M

MyNameIsTony

Registered
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Location
Canada
# of dives
0 - 24
It is also possible you will use less weight than you did on the Discover Dives anyway. As you get more and more comfortable in the water, you will likely use less weight to a point.

The dive shop should be more than happy to talk to you by phone or email and explain how they do things. To be honest, if they don't have a Divemaster leading the dives anyway, and you are willing to pay the cost of it, hiring a private DM might be a better experience for you than the instabuddy. You will feel more comfortable, they will go at YOUR pace and YOUR comfort level, and they should be familiar with the site and be able to point out some really cool things you may miss out on seeing otherwise.
That's fair. And yeah, it's probably for the best to go with a DM until I get a few dives under my belt. Haven't really had any trouble at all with all my dives but better safe than sorry when going to a new depth.

Thanks :)
 

Chavodel8en

Contributor
Messages
762
Reaction score
551
Location
Oakland, CA
# of dives
100 - 199
Sometimes on vacation dives, the operator can be a bit lax as to ensuring folks are buddied up. In which case, its on you to make sure that you have a designated buddy.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

Top Bottom