OW failure, advice?

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OP
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MyEarHurts

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ALL you had was 3 hours in the pool in TOTAL before you went to the openwater? Just 1 pool session of 3 hours ONLY and then you went to openwater? Am I understanding this right or am I missing something here?

I do around 25 - 28 hours in confined water/pool over 9 sessions (on average but based on performance not just numbers) with usually 4 students before I take the students to openwater (we do 8 dives for openwater over 4 days). We repeat ALL of the skills I taught my students several times during the confined water/pool sessions before they go to openwater. The last session in the confined water/pool is evaluation of ALL skills taught in the confined water to review everything making sure that the student can perform ALL of the skills with high degree of competency. Buoyancy control AND equalization are paramount in training (CW & OW).


The other scuba instructors in Libya do 6 hours in pool only however. They do 3 - 4 dives in openwater and then they certify the students. Classroom time is only 5 hours. They watch videos mostly and do the exam. Hardly any time teaching in class (they don't use books or any eLearning at all). For classroom, I have the students do the NAUI eLearning first and pass all of the online quizzes and final exam with 100% grade and then around 20 hours review and covering the critical chapters (science and physiology Chapter 4 of the NAUI textbook and the deco./dive tables Chapter 5). Student take a challenging written final exam at the end of the classroom work. I also give a 2 hour lecture on dive computer use prior to openwater to prepare the students for dive computers use in openwater (students use dive tables in planning for the openwater dives but also carry dive computers for them to learn how to use entry level DC's.).
Correct. It was a 4 hour class where about 3 hours was actually in the pool working on or talking about skills. That was it before open water. By the time I had a properly fitting mask and correct weight dialed in, the class was almost over. I just managed to do all of the skills, and the only ones I was able to practice were done during the downtime when the instructors were occupied working with other students. I left the class having just achieved nice neutral buoyancy that I felt comfortable with, once.

I'm not blaming my failure to properly equalize on the instructors or the short time, but I do think with less of a rushed feeling, I would have felt more comfortable with slowing everything down to insist that I got things right (although what does a noob know about what is "right"?). Still, I have some responsibility to myself because I'm not new to learning or new to potentially dangerous activities. I definitely failed to do the right thing a couple of times.
 

edhjr

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Worth considering regarding ear squeeze. My doctor prescribed fluticasone nasal spray. Equalizing ear pressure did not work for me until I started taking fluticasone that helped drain upper sinus congestion. It is perfectly safe diving.
 

kmarks

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I'm not blaming my failure to properly equalize on the instructors or the short time, but I do think with less of a rushed feeling, I would have felt more comfortable with slowing everything down to insist that I got things right (although what does a noob know about what is "right"?). Still, I have some responsibility to myself because I'm not new to learning or new to potentially dangerous activities. I definitely failed to do the right thing a couple of times.
If your whole "class" totaled 4 hours, 3 of that being in the pool, there is no way anybody learned enough to be in open water and you can and should absolutely blame your "failure to equalize on the instructors or the short time." I train with an SSI shop, not PADI, but I can't imagine that PADI's standards are that much different than ours. My weekend classes spend a minimum of 10 hours in the pool and 8 hours in the classroom and our weeknight sessions add an extra two hours to each. I am currently doing a weeknight class with a single student and even that slower pace is a struggle for her. Some people can get through the skills faster than others, but there is almost no way I could even demonstrate all of the skills to a class of 8 students in only 3 hours, especially if that 3 hours also includes gear fitting.

After you heal up, if you are near Springfield or Columbia, I can recommend a few much better instructors that you can work with.
 

Edward3c

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@MyEarHurts

Don’t beat yourself up, the failure is with your instructors and operator.

There are a small number of people who can not equalise, and unfortunately diving isn’t for them. You need to see a diving specialist to see if you are one of that small group.

I have a fellow instructor who take nearly 5 minutes to get down to 20m.
 

Eric Sedletzky

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In 1998 there was no time requirement. that ended about a decade before, when they switched to the idea that it was not the amount of time you were training that mattered, it was the amount of learning you demonstrated, however long it took you to learn it.

The requirements in 1998 were fewer than they are now (believe it or not), but the time it took would not be much different. When I started instructing in 2005, the requirements were exactly the same as they were in 1998, and the shop where I worked had classes spend 8 hours in the pool, and we sometimes had trouble getting done in that time. Students who were not quite there at the end of those sessions would need extra time.
Maybe I’m not remembering the time frame correctly of the amount of pool time so it could have been more. It well could have been around 8 hours total or even more, it seemed like we were always in the pool.
 

boulderjohn

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Maybe I’m not remembering the time frame correctly of the amount of pool time so it could have been more. It well could have been around 8 hours total or even more, it seemed like we were always in the pool.
That is the sort of thing that varies dramatically by the specific instructor/shop. There can be reasonable practical reasons for it, too.

My OW training very much short changed us on the pool session, but to some degree they had little choice. They had to schedule time in a resort pool that was 4 feet deep. Since then, I have watched OW classes in a variety of resort areas like mine and wondered how they can do everything well. Pretty much every pool is designed for resort area sunbathers. There is no real deep end. There is no good place to do skills like the hover. The shop where I was certified followed up by leading us on full length OW dives that went a long way toward overcoming the deficit of the pool sessions.

Years later I became an instructor in Colorado, and things were entirely different. Our shop had its own pool, and we took full advantage of the fact that we had few limits on scheduling pool time. Our students got the full treatment on pool time. Then what? Most of them then went off to some tropical resort with a referral and did their OW dives there. The ones who stayed in Colorado for their OW dives mostly did them hanging onto a shallow platform in low visibility water. Some of them went to a dark crater, like a deep indoor pool, in 94° water.

In other words, knowing that our local diving really sucked, we went overboard on the pool sessions. In other areas, it is just the opposite.
 

mac64

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Can you join a dive club or team up with some divers that will give you more time to get things right. The idea that you can learn to dive in a weekend is nonsense for a lot of people. You’re one of them. So was I.
 

jlcnuke

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To clarify, was this a Discover Scuba Diving experience, or was this supposed to be your Open Water Diver course? if the latter, I can't see anyway this was done while meeting PADI standards honestly.
 

TonRin

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For my OW we did 2 days in the pool with 3 x 2hr sessions each day. Only 5 students and it worked really well. We did most tasks (floods, no mask swims etc.) several times each, and at random times he would just call a student out and say 'Show me a mask remove and replace' which we may have learnt 10 mins ago or the day before. It was great and we had to always be ready to do what was asked. We were all friends (including instructor) so it made it a lot easier as there were no 'entitled' people there who thought they knew everything and everyone else was going to slow for them because they paid good money for this course. We all worked well as a team and encouraged each other. Our Padi instructor made sure we were all competent at all skills and had no issues and were comfortable doing the tasks before we could move on to the next task every time.

When we got to our open water dives from the boat, I had problems equalising on the first dive, tried a couple of times but as soon as I felt it start and I couldn't budge it, I just went back up. I think I got to a max of 3m on that dive holding on to a anchor line. After about 3 tries, I gave up and went back to the tender after signalling to the instructor that I had issues and was aborting the dive. I understood that he needed to go with the others who were all already at depth so he couldn't be watching them and me at the same time. Everyone else finished that dive and did their skills. Back on the main boat the instructor gave me a Sudafed tablet and said 'take this'. Next dive, I had to catch up on the skills from the first dive and for every dive for the rest of that day my ears were fine, down to 18m no issues, equalised easily and without any discomfort, never had to force it, if it got a little tight and wouldn't move, I'd just swim up a metre and try again and it would clear no problems. Certainly made diving easier and more enjoyable. Now I carry a box of Sudafed in my dive bag and pop one small tablet first thing when I wake up on dive mornings and it lasts all day, even if I don't feel congested, it seems to just help clear everything up.

From the OP's account of his experience above, it almost sounds like the instructor was just trying to churn out students for the money. Not a good scenario. Hope your better and can get back into the water to finish the course properly and enjoy the experience with the rest of us.

Cheers
Tony
 

kjshank

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I just completed my PADI open water recently. I did the elearning, then pool dives 1 weekend open water certs another. There were less than 4:1 students:instructors. Even then it seemed like a lot of time waiting for others to complete their skills. I passed the time by practicing random air checks w my buddy and working on buoyancy. I too struggled to equalize. I was almost constantly applying pressure as I descended. I could actually hear tiny bubbles going through the Eustachian tube to my left ear as I equalized. I went to the minute clinic a couple days later, they suggested nasal spray (generic Flonase) apparently a little congestion is all it takes to cause equalization issues. Hopefully OP can find some useful info above.
 
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