Hi, in my region Asia, in the dive shops around the islands, what typically happens is if you're a new diver, let them know you're new, and number of dives. They'll usually group the more experienced ones together. You might even partner up with the DM and follow behind him. Usually the less experienced ones are put in front of the others.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?
You might also be partnered up with a buddy while the DM leads the dive of a handful of divers. And if your buddy is more experienced than you, they might choose to stay behind you to watch. Or at least beside you but slightly behind.
But let your DM know your experience, comfort and needs, and they should know what's best for you and the dive from there.