SSI Definition of Open Water

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Ltstanfo

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I'm a Fish!
Hello,

I'm hoping an instructor or someone from SSI headquarters can provide the following answer...

What is SSI's definition of "Open Water"? Is it strictly diving in the ocean (ie salt water diving only) or do inland quarries / lakes of a certain size plus depth count as well? Can someone please refer me to an SSI policy or manual where this is defined?

Thank you,
Ltstanfo
 

JMcD

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I first should ask you why you are asking.... is there a particular concern you have? If so, I'm sure you can discuss with your local SSI Dealer.

In regards to your question: In the USA training standards (Includes Canada), the definition of "Open Water" in SSI's standards is:

15. Definition Open Water: Open water is any body of water other than a swimming pool. Open water sites are to be realistic of local diving conditions.

So - certainly inland quarries and lakes are acceptable (otherwise I'd be travelling a loooong way to certify students :D ) Having said this, it is always recognized that training in one environment does not necessarily suggest that you are competent in another and students are coached to ensure they take the time to get a safe orientation to differing conditions. As an example we often have students who have certified somewhere in warm salt water with 100' vis take a cold water orientation to get used to the bulk of a 7mil wetsuit, hood, buoyancy swing casued by the gear, heavy weights required, lower vis., temperatures... etc.

Also please recognize that this definition is not complete out of context. Each specific course may have specific dive requirements that may have a bearing on what locations may be considered appropriate. It is ultimately up to an instructor to be comfortable that the location used provides an appropriate and reasonable representation of local conditions.

e.g. Open Water requirements further outline:
7. Number of Dives: All four open water scuba training dives must be conducted at depths between 15 and 60 feet (5 and 18 meters). ............ etc etc...........

All students even after certification should be advised only to dive within depth limits they are taught in during class.



Hope this helps..... If there is a particular purpose to your inquiry it would be helpful if you would outline it.
 
OP
Ltstanfo

Ltstanfo

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Huntsville AL
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JMcD,

Thank you very much for the response. To answer your question...

My sister has finally decided to "take the plunge" and learn to SCUBA dive (Open Water). In the area where she lives, the only dive shop is an SSI affiliate. Because of her day job, it was not possible for her to follow the original course plan and do her final checkout dives at Panama City Beach. When she inquired about her situation I suggested she look into alternatives such as lake diving, quarry diving, etc.. but she was informed by her primary instructor that if it wasn't an ocean dive, it wasn't really open water. I read that comment as an effort to get more $$ from my sister but that is my opinion.

Long story short, after she completed her "confined water" dives (at a local lake.. which is open water) she obtained a referral letter and finished her training with another shop, even thought she had to drive a few hours to do so.

I regard the matter as closed but I do thank you for the response. I figured SSI's standards were what you wrote.

Regards,
Ltstanfo
 

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