You’ve attend Stoney Cove and completed 4 dives, or you’ve just returned from a holiday having finished your referral course…and I hear you now ask ‘What’s next?’
Well, where to start?
Ask yourself why you wanted to be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver – was it to explore the hidden realms of the underwater world, dive with a family member or friend, seek the adrenaline rush of doing an extreme sport or try to actually find Nemo?
For the drivers among you (and no that’s not a spelling mistake – I did mean ‘driver’…of a car), you probably remember the first driving lesson you had. The sudden power you had as you drove along the road, practicing manoeuvres and assessing the conditions gave you the confidence to apply for your driving test. Although not a test, the open water dives of the PADI Open Water Diver course are the culmination of all the pool skill practice you’ve undertaken. Your instructor was confident that you could comfortably complete all the skills in a competent manner and would gain certification.
The question now is; how do I use this? My simple answer – DIVE! You didn’t go through all your driving lessons, theory test and practical assessment to continue using the bus! So no you’ve got your certification card, use your knowledge and have fun diving!
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to continuing your PADI education. The Advanced Open Water Course consists of a deep dive, navigation dive and then 3 more of your choice. These range from speciality areas such as wreck, search & recovery, underwater photography, dry suit and peak performance buoyancy amongst many more. Once you have completed the AOW course, you will be certified to dive to 30m; 12m more than your current OW limit of 18m.
If Advanced Certification isn’t enough for you then why not enrol on the PADI Rescue Diver course and start helping others? Although you learnt self-rescue skills such as cramp removal and out of air emergencies in the Open Water course, you will now build on this knowledge and search for missing divers, deal with a panicked diver and find out what the priorities are for an unconscious casualty on the surface. This is just a sneak peak of what’s included – DiveMania instructors will give you a variety of scenarios to deal with. The Rescue course doesn’t give you the benefit of extra depth like the Deep course, or exploration techniques such as those included on the Wreck course but it does teach you how to prepare for and deal with emergency situations.
If you still aren’t sure of your next step, ask us about the many specialities we offer. This is the time when you enrol on a course specifically about one area of diving. The courses build on what you would do on the Advance course, but include more dives to focus teaching on that area. For example, the PADI Wreck diver course consists of 4 dives. To briefly explain what is included on each one, the first dive is completed to identify the potential hazards of the wreck and the second dive is your time to draw a map of it. The third dive is when you will deploy your reel and practice attaching it to various parts of the wreck and the final dive is when you go in to explore!
As I’ve implied already, there are so many options to choose from regarding your next course. My conclusion; once certified, use your existing skills and DIVE! If you want a little guidance, do the Advanced Open Water course and get an introduction to the various specialities we offer and increase your depth limit from 18 to 30m!
Finally, don't forget to keep those skills refreshed and have the ability to practice on a regular basis then join the club, for just £99 a year this gives you access to our pool sessions which can be up to 3 times a week and many other benefits including 10% off all our courses. For the full list of benefits take a look here.