OW failure, advice?

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Rukkian

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1 pool session of about 3 hours in the water before OW
8:3 student/instructor

Yeah I think after the first problem would have been the time to stop, but the instructor didn't seem to think it was a big deal. At the very least, I think I should have been taken to a spot where I could practice going down to like 8-10 ft. I wanted to ask if I could do this, but I felt pressure to keep up with the group and didn't speak up.

The instructor controlled the descent rate, but with my lack of buoyancy control I was up and down a bit, and not steady & smooth. Again I wanted more practice with this. I told the instructors I was having trouble controlling my buoyancy, and they didn't make any suggestions.

I did not effectively equalize, and like I said my perception was that I was going down slowly enough (as in, relative to everyone else I was matching their descent rate). My perception could easily be wrong though, and maybe I have to go down slower than most.

Thanks for the advice all. I was already thinking that I should spend the extra money on private or smaller classes, and I will definitely have to sort things out with the ENT.

1x 3 hour pool session is ridiculous to me. Our local padi shop had 3 times and had 8 hours set aside for each one, but we only did 4-5 hours each, and had plenty of extra time. This was also with a 3:2 student to pro (1 instructor, 1 dm). There may be people that are comfortable with 3 total hours, but that would be rare imo.
 

Subcooled

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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

Five hours of pool sessions is plenty to teach one to control a drysuit adequately!
A wetsuit+bcd would require less ... one hour? Two?

25 - 28 hours in confined water/pool over 9 sessions is a HUGE amount. What do you tech these people? Buoyancy control to the nearest 10cm of depth? Three ways of reversing? Seven ways of swimming forward? The dolphin kick? Free diving for 30--35m?

Your instruction sounds like the CMAS of old.
Nothing wrong with it, just less income.
 

Eric Sedletzky

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Five hours of pool sessions is plenty to teach one to control a drysuit adequately!
A wetsuit+bcd would require less ... one hour? Two?

25 - 28 hours in confined water/pool over 9 sessions is a HUGE amount. What do you tech these people? Buoyancy control to the nearest 10cm of depth? Three ways of reversing? Seven ways of swimming forward? The dolphin kick? Free diving for 30--35m?

Your instruction sounds like the CMAS of old.
Nothing wrong with it, just less income.
A lot of people aren’t naturals when it comes to diving. I’ll bet that number is somewhere around 80%. A lot of people are naturals at swimming on the surface, but get them underwater and it changes. Scuba allows people to breathe underwater which is totally unnatural to humans and goes against natural impulses. People need time to relax and train their brains to do things like breathe with no mask on, clearing masks, air shares, basic mental control skills. Buoyancy is the easy one once they understand breathing, weighting, and how to use their BC, that is a mechanical skill not a mental skill.
You have to realize many or most of these people have never been under water in their lives except for maybe breath holding and swimming across the pool bottom when they were kids.
3 hours is not enough for most people, and training needs to be tailored and designed for most people, not just the naturally gifted water gods.
 

boulderjohn

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I agree that 3 hours is nearly not enough, especially in a class where some of that time is spent watching other people perform skills. (I tried to minimize that by after the first session by having an assistant watch people swim around while they were not actively performing a skill for me to evaluate.)

On the other hand, I cannot imagine ever needing 28 hours for even the most challenging student. I bet I could teach a non-swimmer to swim and then do scuba in that amount of time.
 

TMHeimer

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A lot of people aren’t naturals when it comes to diving. I’ll bet that number is somewhere around 80%. A lot of people are naturals at swimming on the surface, but get them underwater and it changes. Scuba allows people to breathe underwater which is totally unnatural to humans and goes against natural impulses. People need time to relax and train their brains to do things like breathe with no mask on, clearing masks, air shares, basic mental control skills. Buoyancy is the easy one once they understand breathing, weighting, and how to use their BC, that is a mechanical skill not a mental skill.
You have to realize many or most of these people have never been under water in their lives except for maybe breath holding and swimming across the pool bottom when they were kids.
3 hours is not enough for most people, and training needs to be tailored and designed for most people, not just the naturally gifted water gods.
You make a lot of good points here. Only thing I may add is I'm not sure about the numbers (80%, etc.). I think if a person can swim -- with a proper stroke, my old pet peeve-- they are more likely to be comfortable underwater and may have done some snorkeling (diving down say 10-12 feet to the bottom). I think the folks that have spent a lot of time doing water activities find diving way more natural than those who haven't. I think those who haven't, should get more water experience before signing up for scuba. I've put forth that point of view on many occasions here.
But, I'm maybe splitting hairs on the numbers thing.
 

divinh

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When I did my OW in Koh Tao, after classroom work, we did pool the next morning, then lunch, then open water dive 1. It felt fast to me and I didn't know any better. I thought it was standard.

After finishing dive 4, I realized that OW is just an introduction/exposure to skills and no way a certification of skills mastered, as was my idea of what certifications are. I didn't jump to AOW next. I did fun dives to get better, more comfortable. I did my AOW on another trip.
 

Scraps

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@MyEarHurts,

To give you some context for why so many instructors here are incredulous that your class of eight students spent a total of three hours in the pool, it may help to explain a few things that are supposed to happen in a pool session and how long it takes to teach eight people to do them right.

Waterskills Assessment: Each diver is required to do a 10-minute survival swim/float and either a 200-yard continuous swim or a 300-yard swim with mask/fin snorkel. With a bit of a rest between the two events, that's a minimum of 30 minutes.

Gear assembly. The standards require OW students to assemble and disassemble their gear five times before they finish their pool work. How quickly can eight people get out of the water, doff their gear, break down their gear, swap tanks as needed, re-assemble their gear with progressively less help, get their gear get back on, and get back in the water? Ten minutes would be an amazingly efficient pit stop. That's assuming nobody needs to go to the bathroom, eat a sandwich, warm up, or check messages. Add two minutes per transition for the required pre-dive safety check on all five dives. That's a minimum of 60 minutes just for gear assembly.

So between the waterskills assessment and gear assembly, half of the three hours would have been used up before anyone got underwater.

Hover (30 seconds) Oral inflate/hover (60 seconds): The performance requirement calls for students to hover without kicking or sculling. In confined water dive 3, students have to do it for thirty seconds without kicking or sculling. In dive 4, they have to orally inflate to become neutral, then hover for 60 seconds. OW students almost never perform either of these skills successfully on the first attempt. Either they rise or sink, or else they work their arms and legs before reaching the required time. These skill pretty much require full attention by the instructor on one student at a time to re-start the timer every time they lose buoyancy or use their arms or legs. To run eight students through these two skills would require at least 30 minutes.

That leaves just one hour to learn mask skills, regulator skills, regulator snorkel exhanges, scuba kit removal and replacement at surface, scuba kit removal and replacement underwater, weight checks, no-mask swim, descents or ascents, air depletion exercises, simulated horizontal CESA, emergency weight removal, disconnecting and reconnecting the LP hose to the power inflator, a bunch of other skills, and oh yeah, learning to dive, practicing not coming into contact with the bottom, and so forth. All of these skills have performance requirements, and students have to perform them well enough for the instructor to believe they can do them consistently well--that takes additional reps.

I don't see any way that session could have been completed for that many students in the time you say without either skipping skills entirely or not making students fulfill the performance requirements.

I generally allot five hours for the pool work in a private or semi-private class--but the clock is never the boss. We work on every skill until both the student and I agree it rates a smiley face. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes it takes a lot longer.

You stated somewhere in your comments that you thought you successfully performed the skills. You may have done them as well as the other students were doing them, but I am skeptical that you received the training you should have--and that's not counting the way your injury was handled.

When you get a clean bill of health from the doctor, I recommend you get a referral to have another instructor somewhere else finish your training properly.

Best wishes,
 

divinh

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@MyEarHurts,

To give you some context for why so many instructors here are incredulous that your class of eight students spent a total of three hours in the pool, it may help to explain a few things that are supposed to happen in a pool session and how long it takes to teach eight people to do them right.

Waterskills Assessment: Each diver is required to do a 10-minute survival swim/float and either a 200-yard continuous swim or a 300-yard swim with mask/fin snorkel. With a bit of a rest between the two events, that's a minimum of 30 minutes.

Gear assembly. The standards require OW students to assemble and disassemble their gear five times before they finish their pool work. How quickly can eight people get out of the water, doff their gear, break down their gear, swap tanks as needed, re-assemble their gear with progressively less help, get their gear get back on, and get back in the water? Ten minutes would be an amazingly efficient pit stop. That's assuming nobody needs to go to the bathroom, eat a sandwich, warm up, or check messages. Add two minutes per transition for the required pre-dive safety check on all five dives. That's a minimum of 60 minutes just for gear assembly.

So between the waterskills assessment and gear assembly, half of the three hours would have been used up before anyone got underwater.

Hover (30 seconds) Oral inflate/hover (60 seconds): The performance requirement calls for students to hover without kicking or sculling. In confined water dive 3, students have to do it for thirty seconds without kicking or sculling. In dive 4, they have to orally inflate to become neutral, then hover for 60 seconds. OW students almost never perform either of these skills successfully on the first attempt. Either they rise or sink, or else they work their arms and legs before reaching the required time. These skill pretty much require full attention by the instructor on one student at a time to re-start the timer every time they lose buoyancy or use their arms or legs. To run eight students through these two skills would require at least 30 minutes.

That leaves just one hour to learn mask skills, regulator skills, regulator snorkel exhanges, scuba kit removal and replacement at surface, scuba kit removal and replacement underwater, weight checks, no-mask swim, descents or ascents, air depletion exercises, simulated horizontal CESA, emergency weight removal, disconnecting and reconnecting the LP hose to the power inflator, a bunch of other skills, and oh yeah, learning to dive, practicing not coming into contact with the bottom, and so forth. All of these skills have performance requirements, and students have to perform them well enough for the instructor to believe they can do them consistently well--that takes additional reps.

I don't see any way that session could have been completed for that many students in the time you say without either skipping skills entirely or not making students fulfill the performance requirements.

I generally allot five hours for the pool work in a private or semi-private class--but the clock is never the boss. We work on every skill until both the student and I agree it rates a smiley face. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes it takes a lot longer.

You stated somewhere in your comments that you thought you successfully performed the skills. You may have done them as well as the other students were doing them, but I am skeptical that you received the training you should have--and that's not counting the way your injury was handled.

When you get a clean bill of health from the doctor, I recommend you get a referral to have another instructor somewhere else finish your training properly.

Best wishes,

How does the calculus change with 8 students and 3 instructors?
 

Eric Sedletzky

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You make a lot of good points here. Only thing I may add is I'm not sure about the numbers (80%, etc.). I think if a person can swim -- with a proper stroke, my old pet peeve-- they are more likely to be comfortable underwater and may have done some snorkeling (diving down say 10-12 feet to the bottom). I think the folks that have spent a lot of time doing water activities find diving way more natural than those who haven't. I think those who haven't, should get more water experience before signing up for scuba. I've put forth that point of view on many occasions here.
But, I'm maybe splitting hairs on the numbers thing.
As I remember, about eight out of every ten students on average had never done much of anything underwater, including freediving, snorkelling, or doing apnea pool swims underwater either laps or goofing off diving to the the deep end like kids do. However, many were already regular swimmers and had good swimming skills. This did not equate to comfort under the water on scuba for some reason.
I am not the best swimmer by any means but I managed well enough to pass OW. I had no problem with the tread or hands out of the water tread. But I am super comfortable underwater and breath hold apnea swimming or freediving, always have been. As a child I hated to swim (I sucked at it) and was behind other kids. I didn’t learn how to properly swim until high school, but I always loved to breath hold freedive and do pool deep end dives because I was comfortable doing it and I was good at it.
My sister is a great swimmer, she can do miles and miles doing the crawl no problem, but she is terrified to go below. I can’t explain it. Another gal I know was a competitive swimmer and still belongs to swimming leagues in Socal. Her husband tried to get her to scuba dive but there was no way. She hated it and was prone to panic that she couldn’t control.
So not all great swimmers make good divers and vice versa.
 

Jafo19D

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@MyEarHurts,

To give you some context for why so many instructors here are incredulous that your class of eight students spent a total of three hours in the pool, it may help to explain a few things that are supposed to happen in a pool session and how long it takes to teach eight people to do them right.

Waterskills Assessment: Each diver is required to do a 10-minute survival swim/float and either a 200-yard continuous swim or a 300-yard swim with mask/fin snorkel. With a bit of a rest between the two events, that's a minimum of 30 minutes.

Gear assembly. The standards require OW students to assemble and disassemble their gear five times before they finish their pool work. How quickly can eight people get out of the water, doff their gear, break down their gear, swap tanks as needed, re-assemble their gear with progressively less help, get their gear get back on, and get back in the water? Ten minutes would be an amazingly efficient pit stop. That's assuming nobody needs to go to the bathroom, eat a sandwich, warm up, or check messages. Add two minutes per transition for the required pre-dive safety check on all five dives. That's a minimum of 60 minutes just for gear assembly.

So between the waterskills assessment and gear assembly, half of the three hours would have been used up before anyone got underwater.

Hover (30 seconds) Oral inflate/hover (60 seconds): The performance requirement calls for students to hover without kicking or sculling. In confined water dive 3, students have to do it for thirty seconds without kicking or sculling. In dive 4, they have to orally inflate to become neutral, then hover for 60 seconds. OW students almost never perform either of these skills successfully on the first attempt. Either they rise or sink, or else they work their arms and legs before reaching the required time. These skill pretty much require full attention by the instructor on one student at a time to re-start the timer every time they lose buoyancy or use their arms or legs. To run eight students through these two skills would require at least 30 minutes.

That leaves just one hour to learn mask skills, regulator skills, regulator snorkel exhanges, scuba kit removal and replacement at surface, scuba kit removal and replacement underwater, weight checks, no-mask swim, descents or ascents, air depletion exercises, simulated horizontal CESA, emergency weight removal, disconnecting and reconnecting the LP hose to the power inflator, a bunch of other skills, and oh yeah, learning to dive, practicing not coming into contact with the bottom, and so forth. All of these skills have performance requirements, and students have to perform them well enough for the instructor to believe they can do them consistently well--that takes additional reps.

I don't see any way that session could have been completed for that many students in the time you say without either skipping skills entirely or not making students fulfill the performance requirements.

I generally allot five hours for the pool work in a private or semi-private class--but the clock is never the boss. We work on every skill until both the student and I agree it rates a smiley face. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes it takes a lot longer.

You stated somewhere in your comments that you thought you successfully performed the skills. You may have done them as well as the other students were doing them, but I am skeptical that you received the training you should have--and that's not counting the way your injury was handled.

When you get a clean bill of health from the doctor, I recommend you get a referral to have another instructor somewhere else finish your training properly.

Best wishes,

Earlier this year I was diving off a boat that had a couple of guys doing some of the assessments for OW and I couldn’t remember doing some like the swim test. But then again my OW was BS and fast.

I contacted the DC in advance and just showed up one evening. The owner asked how far along I was in the materials and I asked what materials. I guess someone had goofed and not sent us the books or e-learning links. So he sat us in front of the TV and made us watch a bunch of videos and assigned us a few chapters.

Came back the next morning to take a quiz and after the quiz suited up and got on the boat, no pool sessions; everything was in the ocean. Two more days of this and I was certified which looking back now seems crazy but at the same time I think that no pool time made me more confident.

I still consider myself a new diver but now I feel like I know what I don’t know and much of that due to reading y’all’s posts.
 
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