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Thoughts on Advanced Open Water / Advanced Adventure

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba' started by CAPTAIN SINBAD, Jan 25, 2021.


    CAPTAIN SINBAD Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodbridge VA
    I was looking at the course breakdown of different agencies. Why do we have AOW or the sample platter type courses? None of the specialties are covered in detail as full specialties and the result is a diver who is diving deeper depths 60 - 100ft with not much more than OW plus some compass reading etc.

    PSAI has a deep diver course instead of AOW and that has technical diving level gas planning, buoyancy etc. UTD and GUE have Rec 2 which are attempting to create a diver who will be "advanced" than their Open water not just in plastic card but also in theory and skills.

    Is there a reason why most of the agencies have AOW type courses? Would the consumer not be better served if they went from OW to Deep? Purely from consumer's perspective it does not add much value and from a shop or agency perspective, it tends to kill the market for specialties because when customers get used to diving those depths 60 - 100 after their guided dive experience from their instructor, the plastic card is good for those depths. Why get more training?

    I'd love to hear peoples thoughts on this, both who have taken the Deep Specialty and those who teach it.
  2. dewdropsonrosa

    dewdropsonrosa ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago, IL
    Since I'm still early, I'd like to point out that not all mainstream agencies have "sampler platter" AOW like PADI. For example, SSI requires the completion of four full specialty programs and a minimum of 24-lifetime dives.

    I did the AOW program with an SSI shop in Wisconsin. Although you could choose anything the shop offered, they typically bundled (1) Deep, (2) Night/Limited Viz, (3) Navigation, and (4) Stress & Rescue together. This grouping covered the skills necessary to be a safe and competent diver in just about any recreational setting in Wisconsin/was typically overkill for Caribbean vacation divers.

    My inclination is that it makes sense not to require Deep certification, because some people will never need it or do it. On the other hand, anyone who is going to do deep dives should have additional training and practice.
  3. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    Ooooo.......ooooo......I can answer......

    For some “big” agencies AOW is not focused on making an “advanced” diver so much as an “experienced” diver.

    The course is broken down into easily marketed sections that can be down while on vacation, multiple vacations or at once.

    As you know, each dive of the adventure diver (card) or advanced (card) gives you “credit” to the full specialty. When 5 specialties are complete (plus other requirements) you can earn the Master Scuba diver cert (other agencies have similar programs). This is really the goal.....lots of courses= experience = an advanced diver.

    The 3 letter agencies are more focused on making a competent and skilled diver. So the courses associated with the advanced path are more skill related, ie nitrox, helium, depth, drysuit, etc.

    The deep Specialty for me is a very serious course, due to its inherent dangers, narcosis and local conditions (cold and dark). It mirrors a intro to tech course with added depth but skills and advanced knowledge are expanded on.
  4. shurite7

    shurite7 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: In transit
    In order to understand this it will help to know the history behind the development of the advanced course by LA County and subsequent studies regarding the course. There are some on this board who have posted several times on this topic. This is not a new topic and has been discussed at length in other posts. I am beginning to think the real question pertains to nomenclature rather than the course itself.

    CAPTAIN SINBAD Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodbridge VA
    SSI's version of Advanced Open Water would be the SSI Advanced Adventurer diver.

    Advanced Adventurer

    This program allows you to experience five different open water dives from five SSI Specialty programs without requiring you to complete the entire Specialty.
  6. evandroairton

    evandroairton Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Ribeirão Preto - Brazil
    In fact, for most agencies it's mostly keeping a path to sell c cards!
    An old instructor once told me some 20 some years ago:"open water is in fact to teach the student how not to kill himself with the equipment, aowd is about showing how tô dive "
    I am pretty sure that a lot has changed, and my instructor trainers always told me to give focus on fundamentals, but being realistic about an owd student being an anxious subject within an alien enviroment, so he probably will be far from perfection during the course
    Aowd could be a nice tool to show new ways of diving, fine tunning skills and present new possibilities and discussions looking ahead further training
    But it's a shame that some agencies if not most is only interested in selling c cards, and, the worst part of it: with the blessing of many instructors worldwide
  7. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I see the value in PADI's AOW in that at least NAV and Deep dives are required. Usually (I think) the other 3 most take have some value--such as Night, Wreck, PPB, S & R. I don't think those that don't add to diver improvement or safety or both should be options (fish ID, for example).
    I do think the Deep dive should be way deeper than the 63 feet I did, for obvious reasons.

    I agree with decompression in that it is more about getting experience (with an instructor) rather than making you "advanced".
    It is of course good to get you onto boats that do deep dives, and is just something to do if you have the money to spend.
  8. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    IMO it is a bit shady how SSI hides their PADI AOW equivalent course. It isn't on any of their progression charts and it takes a couple menus of digging to find on their website.
    evandroairton likes this.
  9. EFX

    EFX ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Central Florida
    I noticed in your avatar you have between 200 and 499 dives. I have the same range of dives. I took the deep specialty as well as others. You say that the AOW courses do not add much value. How do you know what value they might or might not get out of the class? Do you realize that there are a lot of what I call "vacation" divers who don't dive as a hobby, but dive as just a pastime. What I mean by that is they don't attribute any more importance to a dive than going to see a movie (as in the pre-covid days). Why should they invest in a full specialty when they may not like it? That is just the niche PADI fills with their AOW classes. Making the classes introductory gives people a taste for the specialty. I know a couple who are PADI OW divers and have said that they will not go on a dive unless a DM leads it. They say: "We paid good money so the DM can watch out ("babysit") for us." That's the mentality of vacation divers. They are not going to waste their money on improving skills because the value/cost ratio is not there.
    ginti, jonhall, Esprise Me and 2 others like this.
  10. happy-diver

    happy-diver Skindiver Just feelin it

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Same ocean as you!
    if any of this padi stuff keeps people interested with something to attain
    and gets them involved with others building confidence for a few bucks
    then that's what it does

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