Newly certified - Diving while on vacation

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vemura

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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.
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.

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.
 

FishWatcher747

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Tony, you really have asked the question that is at the heart of continuing scuba after certification. Welcome to the adventure!

Apparently, like me you have no natural buddy like a spouse or good friend. So how do you safely gain more experience? Well you can take more courses like AOW and Rescue at some point.

But what else? Well if you can get to warm water Caribbean diving you can seek out an operator that puts a guide in the water with you. Some operators do and some don't. Seek out the ones that do. Most guides are very helpful and want you to be a better diver and are very open to questions as you progress in your scuba journey. Use the surface interval between dives or the boat ride back after the last dive to engage with the guide and the other more experienced divers on the boat. Each dive can be a learning experience even if you are not taking a formal course.

Don't forget to thank your guide and tip them.
 

rongoodman

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I find that liveaboards work well for the single diver. You'll meet everybody on board by dinnertime on your arrival day and they usually have a DM in the water you can follow around if you don't find somebody you want to buddy up with.
 

kyle191

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Others have said it...But I will say it again. The best thing you can do for your safety and the safety of others you are diving with: BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR LACK OF EXPERIENCE!!!!!!

No one will judge you because you are new to the sport. In fact people will be thrilled that you are trying SCUBA. It also helps because many divers will keep an eye on new divers just in case something happens underwater.

Also, feel free to ask for help, tips, or pointers from people on the dive with you. Most divers are happy to share their experience...especially when it comes to safety.

Also don't go anywhere or any depth you feel uncomfortable. It is your dive and you alone are responsible for your safety.

Have fun! Try and relax! And don't hesitate to have a little laugh at yourself if you make a small mistake. Everyone does those every once in a while.

26 lbs is waaaaay too much weighting for a warm water dive. Tell your DM and he has seen enough new divers to help with weight. Also ask him to stick close for a little while in case you have to give or get weight. Or even better...ask for a quick check out dive as a solo person with a DM. Sometimes they do these for free. Even if they charge, it is worth it to get your gear and bouyency squared away before you are about to jump in with other people.

Best of luck and have fun!
 
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