What really is an "Advanced Open Water" diver?

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MichaelMc

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We are stuck with the name AOW and that it stands for advanced open water. And I think we realize AOW are far from advanced divers.

So to reduce any confusion, we might de-emphasize the advanced bit. Like avoiding saying and bolding Advanced Diver. Instead, we could shift the focus of 'advanced' from the diver to continuing to advancing the skills. And use that shift where ever possible.

Padi's ad copy does not do that.

My point above about having it both ways was that:
- Yes, they say advance skills in their text.
- But they do not give up bolding Advanced Open Water Diver, and helping people think they will then be Advanced Divers. Instead of emphasizing that they have advanced their skills and gotten their advanced open water card.

Note the lack of juxtaposition of 'advanced' and 'diver', but rather just 'advanced' and 'open water'. And increasing the emphasis on advancing skills beyond their initial OW ones.

They may have a ways to go to be a diver who is experienced or advanced, but they will have advanced their skills some more.
 

tursiops

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We are stuck with the name AOW and that it stands for advanced open water. And I think we realize AOW are far from advanced divers.

So to reduce any confusion, we might de-emphasize the advanced bit. Like avoiding saying and bolding Advanced Diver. Instead, we could shift the focus of 'advanced' from the diver to continuing to advancing the skills. And use that shift where ever possible.

Padi's ad copy does not do that.

My point above about having it both ways was that:
- Yes, they say advance skills in their text.
- But they do not give up bolding Advanced Open Water Diver, and helping people think they will then be Advanced Divers. Instead of emphasizing that they have advanced their skills and gotten their advanced open water card.

Note the lack of juxtaposition of 'advanced' and 'diver', but rather just 'advanced' and 'open water'. And increasing the emphasis on advancing skills beyond their initial OW ones.

They may have a ways to go to be a diver who is experienced or advanced, but they will have advanced their skills some more.
You have nailed the point: the course is about an advanced Open Water Diver, bolded because that is the name of the entry certification level.
It is not much of a stretch to name that next certification level Advanced Open Water Diver. The marketing text certainly tries to make it clear that one does not become an advanced diver by taking the course, only that one has advanced their skills along further than OW did. If the card were called Advanced Diver, then that would be a serious problem.
I've taught the course dozens (hundreds?) of times. I do think a single one of those students thought beore -- or espeically after -- the course that five dives was going to make them an advanced diver.
I think a lot of the angst on SB is either made up or just plain confusion from not really reading the material.
 

MichaelMc

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You have missed the point. Bolding is optional. We can choose where we do it.

We can also choose which words we use next to advanced and how often.

As far as them being an Advanced Open Water Diver but not an Advanced Diver, Open Water is their entire world so far. And it is a fairly big world. They are in no way advanced in that world. So claiming that saying they are in fact an Advanced Diver within the OW world is not accurate.
 

TMHeimer

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It is not just PADI, of course.
Let's suppose we find a much better name for this card...say, OW-II as some have suggested. Now what about all those thousands (millions?) of people with AOW cards? Are they suddenly going to be replaced? Or withdrawn?
I'm happy to agree that AOW is not the best possible name for the card, today, when people read nothing and assume everything.
The issue is not what do you call it instead; that is minor.
The issue is how would you even begin to implement such a change, given the enormous installed user base of AOW cards (and the equivalents from other agencies).
Is it worth it?
You may very well be right in that changing the card name may be a huge undertaking. It would also be one of those things nowadays where I would say-- "You mean they can't just recognize the old AOW card as equal to the new _____card by adjusting a little software and pushing a couple of buttons"? We did put a man on the moon 52 years ago.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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Most people know that AOW typically doesn't mean anything. I remember a local boat captain telling me how he rolls his eyes when divers tell him assertively that they are AOW divers.

When people say "open water diver", people often hear "diver". When people hear "advanced open water diver" people often hear "advanced diver" (non divers don't read the fine print). Like it or not, there's a lot of ego stroking in the dive industry. People who argue against my point may not do it, but there are some people who come away with that impression that they are advanced as now they can do those advanced dives beyond 60 feet, as many instructors tell them that. There is some truth to it, as many charters ask for it.

The reality is, it is brilliant marketing.
 

Anish

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What is means to me is ability to go on live aboard trips that require it as a min qualification since a typical LA has dives deeper than 20m and drifts dives and night dives etc. I have dived with "advanced OW" divers who bounce up and down like a yoyo and flail around flapping their arms like a bird so I know it actually doesn't mean crap.
 

Gandalf-ish

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It saddens me to read statements that ow certified divers are not autonomous and must be guided.
The need to be "guided" I see in divers who join in on shop drop in dives. Not confident in their own ability to complete a dive without guidance. Then there are divers like me who jump at any opportunity to get in the water, especially new locations.
How advanced is a diver who goes one course right after the other? Are they diving in one location like a quarry, or multiple sites in actual open water with varying conditions.
I like the route that I took, where I had done 40 dives before my AOW. Mind you, that I did in 2 months.
Is a diver an advanced diver after: 50, 100, 200 dives? I like to think I am now a proficient diver at 210 dives, am I advanced? My 200+ dives in literally one year, does that make me a more advanced diver than someone who has 200 dives, but has been diving for 10yrs? My dive buddy this morning will be a DM who has been diving for 50 yrs. In comparison to him and his experience, I am a total newbie, as I am now in my 2nd yr of diving. I did the SDI Solo this past summer, some divers would say that makes me an advanced diver, but I dive regularly with DMs, instructors with thousands of dives and 20,30,40 years of diving experience. Again, in comparison, I am a newbie.
Mindset of a new diver, will have a big part in how independent they are.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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The need to be "guided" I see in divers who join in on shop drop in dives. Not confident in their own ability to complete a dive without guidance. Then there are divers like me who jump at any opportunity to get in the water, especially new locations.
Bingo. Not all ow divers are poorly trained. Just many of them are. Dive clubs are used as a crutch to try to get divers to continue. While I strongly recommend joining dive clubs (heck I wrote about it in my dive planning doc that can be found in the link to documents in my signature). New divers should be able to evalute new dive sites by themselves, but they are often not given the knowledge to do so.
How advanced is a diver who goes one course right after the other? Are they diving in one location like a quarry, or multiple sites in actual open water with varying conditions.
I like the route that I took, where I had done 40 dives before my AOW. Mind you, that I did in 2 months.
Is a diver an advanced diver after: 50, 100, 200 dives? I like to think I am now a proficient diver at 210 dives, am I advanced? My 200+ dives in literally one year, does that make me a more advanced diver than someone who has 200 dives, but has been diving for 10yrs? My dive buddy this morning will be a DM who has been diving for 50 yrs. In comparison to him and his experience, I am a total newbie, as I am now in my 2nd yr of diving. I did the SDI Solo this past summer, some divers would say that makes me an advanced diver, but I dive regularly with DMs, instructors with thousands of dives and 20,30,40 years of diving experience. Again, in comparison, I am a newbie.
Mindset of a new diver, will have a big part in how independent they are.
I don't think we will reach consensus on what is a good diver. I do strongly reject the premise that it is dive count. One of my former students who had the steepest skills acquisition trajectory I've ever seen (GUE T1 certification after 2 years, 230 dives). I think he is truly an exception. The only person I think who could beat that if she were so inclined, was a then 14 year old competitive synchronized swimmer (Oh God she was a fish, and no FFM would be big enough for her grin).

To me, an advanced diver consists of skills (earning a GUE rec pass is possible with some work), has good situational awareness (a vague criteria), and the ability to handle 4 knot currents.

But that's my stab at a definition. Others may have dramatically different ones. These are merely opinions.
 

Wibble

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Firstly, the "advanced" we're talking about here is NOT the same as the marketing term used by PADI, effectively meaning OW+.

"Advanced" is a combination of things which makes that diver capable. It's not a training course either. It's someone who's core skills are well sorted and who dives effectively. Someone with an adult approach to diving and "thinks" ahead who's not fazed by stuff happening. Their knowledge of kit and procedures is adequate for the task in hand, for example putting up an SMB would be a no-fuss exercise. Their ascents would be in control. One of those people who are always in the right place, not crashing into things and who notices things, such as their kit not being properly stowed.

In other words a diver who exudes competence and someone who's a pleasure to dive with. This is very frequently tied in with someone who practices their skills.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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In other words .... someone who's a pleasure to dive with.
Well that excludes me no matter what my skill level!
 
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