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What would you do different, if you had PADI OW certification to do all over again?

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by MeraSonnet, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. CamG

    CamG Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Geneva Indiana
    Well that is a loaded question but really I would not change to many things but there are a few.
    Firstly I would have done it earlier in my life possibly even in my teens.
    I would have joined SB and the other forums pre-dive to research a bit more before I took the initial training.

    Other than those I would not nor could I find a better instructor than I had.
    He was not your typical minimum skill requirements and done but rather a mentoring relationship that demanded mastery.
    He was not sadistic or unrealistic but rather a PROFESSIONAL with integrity and a sense of honor who lived by the code.
    I learned about the industry, training, and early on independent research was a must to achieve your goals.
    He taught me to never be happy with just ok but demand mastery out of myself and others.
    Because of his efforts I choose to honor him by trying to be a mentor to others.

    I am not a dive NAZI nor am I an elite group advocate but am a huge supporter of goal oriented team diving.
    In my research of most training resources I have found many truths and tools to use.
    Our paths to being the best divers we can be is different for each but our passion can be quite similar.

  2. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    As stated by many others, the only thing I would change is taking the course MUCH earlier in life. Your post prompts some additional thoughts, on which I will add comment.
    A reasonable idea. Like several other posters, I had dumb luck, I guess. I did my training with a dive shop that a co-worker had used and recommended to me. It happened to be a PADI shop (although I always had a vague impression that a YMCA was the best place to learn scuba, I didn't explore that - or any other - option when I finally took the plunge). The instructor was competent, I enjoyed the Confined Water sessions.
    I did my Open Water dives off the FL (east) coast in December, when locals were wearing hoods and gloves and talking about how cold it was, while my son and I were wearing shorties and enjoying the warm water. :) After doing Confined Water training in a pool in NC, I went online, found a shop (no criteria for selection other than PADI affiliation and a decent website) in Ft. Lauderdale (only because I had a client there and figured I would make it a business trip), and made the arrangements for the OW dives. Again, I probably had dumb luck, but it worked just fine. The water was warm - to me - there was a lot to see under the water, and the instructor seemed the be competent as well. I can't say how I would have fared in a 7mm wetsuit in cold fresh water, only because I didn't do it that way.
    Our OW dives included two shores dives off a Ft. Lauderdale beach, and two boat dives - from a 6+ pack with other divers. I loved it. I am glad I was able to do my first OW dives in the ocean. But, I could afford it (money and time), many others probably don't have that opportunity. I practiced ocean shore entries (which I have only used since then in Bonaire), boat entries (which I use regularly off the NC coast), saw lots of 'stuff', etc.
    What is interesting is that, notwithstanding what you went through as an OW student, you love diving, you are still diving, and still looking forward to diving. That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
    MeraSonnet likes this.
  3. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    21 years since I qualified for recreational diving and would not have changed anything, I had a great instructor
  4. Bill Parker

    Bill Parker Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hurst, TX
    I'd pay the extra money for one on one instruction. The classes I took after OW were mostly one on one and they were a superior experience. OW was a bore because I spent so much time waiting while other students were evaluated.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
    Hawkwood likes this.
  5. fjpatrum

    fjpatrum Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: DC area
    I honestly don't know if I'd do anything differently. My OW course was fairly typical but did cover all the things the SB naysayers complain PADI and "short courses" don't offer other than in-depth rescue skills. I've studied a lot on my own and I'm a SB zealot so I read as much as I can here to fill in even more blanks. The one thing I don't get is to dive as much as I'd like, though it's pretty close to the actual amount of diving I expected to do. For me, if I had one thing to change I'd find good dive buddies/mentors locally and figure out a way to dive more often.
    They call me Tater likes this.
  6. cocoajoe

    cocoajoe Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cape Canaveral Fla
    Paid extra for individual training. As it was, I've learned more from 1) hired DM 2) school of hard knocks 3) Scuba Board
  7. MeraSonnet

    MeraSonnet Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Atlanta
    No, really, it can apply to dive certification of other types. PADI is the predominant one I hear about the most.

    ---------- Post Merged at 09:44 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 09:36 PM ----------

    What is interesting is that, notwithstanding what you went through as an OW student, you love diving, you are still diving, and still looking forward to diving. That which does not kill us makes us stronger.[/QUOTE]

    So very true.
  8. freewillie

    freewillie Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: SoCal Beach Cities
    Personally, certifying in more challenging conditions is better than certifying in easy conditions and finding out on a dive you don't have experience in a more challenging environment.

    Being exposed first to thick bulky wetsuits and cattle boats make you appreciate warm water diving with helpful crews. The opposite is not always true. Going from warm water light weights great viz doesn't prepare you for cold water and low viz. If you then found yourself on a cattle boat in a thick bulky wetsuit you would have a harder time adjusting. If not completely overwhelmed. Look at some of the threads in the accidents and incident sections. They are full of new divers doing just that.

    I was told that the best place to learn scuba was a small local dive shop. They had recently downsized and moved to a smaller location, and it took weeks to track them down. But I was glad I did, my instructor was great. And in thick 7 mm suits with hood, gloves, and booties shore dives with moderate size waves I now feel very confident diving locally. As for vacation, warm water, great viz, 3 mm suit at most. Piece of cake.

    Only thing I would do different is certify earlier.
    MeraSonnet likes this.
  9. Them

    Them Contributor

    I somewhat agree with your premise but take it in a different direction.

    I think people should progress from wherever they are to wherever they want to be in a fairly continuous way. Every experience should be a blend of familiar and new/challenging elements. I'm talking about diving but not only diving. If you want to learn a language, run a marathon, fly an airplane, sing a song, or pretty much anything else, you start as you are and slowly build towards your goal. Jumping ahead of your abilities can leave you injured, frustrated, and can actually keep you from your goals. Never challenging yourself leads to stagnation. Finding that balance can be critical to success.

    I think you should certify in conditions that are challenging to you, but not too challenging. Some local conditions may be too much for some to start. The end goal is the same - competence - but the process may involve more time after certification. Learning doesn't end with certification, shouldn't end at all.
    MeraSonnet likes this.
  10. RTee

    RTee Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ottawa, ON
    Nothing. First got qualified with NAUI through a military establishment in 1978 at the age of 18. The course was much longer and very challenging physically. Not to dvelve too much on the past but I learned using J valve, horsecollar for buoyancy, and a reg assembly consisting of a single second stage with no octo and upon certification I felt very comfortable diving in current, cold and very limited vis local water conditions and doing buddy breathing. I considered I had an excellent instructor and training to the point that after a 12 year break, I did a 50 ft/50 min dive in DR following a 15 min verbal refresher focused on where to clip the extra regulator, console and operations of the BCD which I had never used before and felt just at home. In those days, personal computers (laptop, desktop, etc) were inexistent let alone the Internet. Therefore, your research was initially founded on watching Cousteau on television and/or word of mouth from divers and then attempting to find a dive shop through the yellow pages of the phone book or following the leads given by divers themselves. In my case considering the limited available free time I had at military college and lack of mobility (car) I picked the one that was advertised at the pool and given by a College alumni and ex-military who happened to be a very experienced diver and instructor. For the remainder of my certifications my methodology for finding instructors got much smarter...through word of mouth from very reliable source and pre-diving exposure to these individuals. This is how I chose the instructor for my RD/DM and then met GDI (on this board) who taught me a very thorough Adv EAN/Deco Procs as well Equipment Specialist.

    Having said that, I can also address your question without going back two much in time...Two years ago, I got my son certified OW then Nitrox and AOW. Through work, I met an ex-military acquaintance from 20 years back whose son had just graduated from military college and happened to be a recreational PADI dive instructor and a technical diver. I met the kid and when I told him about my interest in Nitrox, he showed up one day for lunch with books, pen and paper just to get me smarter...he is the one I picked as an instructor for my Nitrox course (and my GF's course as well). I was throughly impressed with his attitude, diving and instructional skills. He was challenging his students (within reason) and teaching well beyond the minimum standards. I also picked him for my son's referral OW certification dives and eventually went back to him for a combined EAN/AOW.

    So I guess I was very lucky to start with an excellent ab-initio instructor and then meeting great folks along the way. The icing on the cake is the fact that besides OW and AOW certification, all my follow-on scuba diving Continued education certifications have all been One on One without paying additional premium and, in some cases, being even cheaper.

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