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Ive decided to try and do a padi AOW course while on holiday this year.  I have a few foreign trips planned and although im merrily following the BSAC route for UK diving to reach sports diver in the club could realistically take over a year to complete.

For that reason and a few others im looking at doing the PADI as well so im not as restricted to depth while on holidays.

Im a bit confused as to what EXACTLY is involved in the course.

Information ive found said 5 dives and 15 hours or so of work - is this classroom theory work that has to be done before the dives ?

The official web site isnt exactly overflowing with specifics.

I understand the 2 core dives and 3 selected dives to make up the 5 but again their web site doesnt provide details of whats required, example the navigation dive doesnt go into detail on what you're expected to do, the deep dive doesnt really specify a depth/purpose etc.

Just wondering if someone can fill me in on the specifics of what exactly is involved in the couse ?

Also, with only about 20 dives (all uk) is it a bit early to be considering the AOW ?
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>I did my AOW in the Red Sea on a day boat diving week out of Hurgarda with Emporer.
The 15 hours of theory is done as you work through the course, nothing too ardious as most of it can be worked through in the breaks between dives and a couple of hours in the evenings.
Navigation consisted of learning how to use a compass,show your competency in navigating a 50 mtre square at depth. Knowing the signs and being aware of the natural elements that can help you in navigation.
Deep dive to approx 30 mtre, appreciate the effects of depth, write your name backwards at surface timed by the instructer, then again at 30 mtre !!!
Nothing to be worried about as I'm sure you will pass after doing 20 uk dives.
The other 3 dives required are of your oww choice from a selection, photograhpy, fish identification and a couple of others I can't remember.
I'm afraid I was warm water 12 dives in Mauritius only before I did mine, very little experience to say the least.
If you plan to do your AOW in the Red Sea I can reccommend Emporer as a first class outfit to dive with.
I hope the above will help,

Safe Diving and always Risk Assess

TOG Diver
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (String @ July 21 2003,04:05)]Ive decided to try and do a padi AOW course while on holiday this year.  I have a few foreign trips planned and although im merrily following the BSAC route for UK diving to reach sports diver in the club could realistically take over a year to complete.

For that reason and a few others im looking at doing the PADI as well so im not as restricted to depth while on holidays.

Im a bit confused as to what EXACTLY is involved in the course.

Information ive found said 5 dives and 15 hours or so of work - is this classroom theory work that has to be done before the dives ?

The official web site isnt exactly overflowing with specifics.

I understand the 2 core dives and 3 selected dives to make up the 5 but again their web site doesnt provide details of whats required, example the navigation dive doesnt go into detail on what you're expected to do, the deep dive doesnt really specify a depth/purpose etc.

Just wondering if someone can fill me in on the specifics of what exactly is involved in the couse ?

Also, with only about 20 dives (all uk) is it a bit early to be considering the AOW ?
String

I can think of no reason that you should not do the AOW course. You will always learn something. I don't know the specifics of the course (I'm BSAC mainly).

Just one word of warning, being an AOW diver is only considered equivalent to Ocean/Club diver as far as BSAC is concerned. Advanced here just means a bit more than OW. You would have to be a rescue diver to be equivalent to Sport Diver.

BSAC acceptance of other grades

Adrian
 

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Definitely worth doing the AOW as it increases your max depth limits which some clubs are quite strict about.  It involves five dives, one of which is a navigation dive and the other a deep dive.  The theory work is made up of knowledge reviews from the PADI theory book and these are quiet straightforward, overviews of the skills you've practised on each dive.
 

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Have you thought of completing the BSAC Sports Diver course whilst on hol?

There are several BSAC schools in the Red Sea who will finish off a course (if you've alreay started) or even run through the whole course.  Check out the BSAC web site for a list of BSAC approved schools.

This will give you up to 35m for any overseas trips and dovetail wel with your UK training.

Cheers,  John
 

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Hi

I agree with John, there is little you will learn from a PADI AOW course. BSAC Sports Diver is far better. (Yeah, flame me, but its true
)

I was diving in the red sea recently with Elena, a newly qualified Ocean Diver. We weren't restricted to depth by anyone and could just follow the guide, but we were sensible and fixed a 25 mtr max, and actually I felt we had a better time because most of the life is around 15 mtrs anyway. It was relaxing and we dived our own plan which meant we were in control, not the dive guide. The only dive where they went deeper was a wreck penetration on the Dunraven but Elena doesn't like tunnels so it didn't affect us anyway. We simply spent more time on top of the wreck which is covered in life.

On the trip there was someone doing AOW and I saw nothing but a few boxes ticked to say they'd done anything. We actually have a holiday DVD and you can see the guy. Its so funny to watch, he was swimming like he was running a marathon, breathing a tank down in 25 minutes. Advanced Diver ? mmm Nope!

You have already done a controlled Bouyant lift on a diver and a tow. You don't do any of that in PADI until rescue diver. I was also told that many people do the AOW immediately after OW just to get the depth thing. Seems a waste of money to me.

I don't know which club you're at but have a word with the DO and they might help you move on a bit quicker as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort required ie turn up for the lectures and get your skills done on club dives. With you're diving experience in the UK you are well equipped for safe diving abroad.

Hope that helps

WL
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]. Advanced Diver ? mmm Nope!
Good job the qualification *isn't* Advanced Diver then, isn't it?

God, people get sooo hung up on a title.  The course is Advanced Open Water....ie it is a progression of the Open Water.  It teaches you navigation, it talks about narcosis fruther and shows you the effects, and it give s you a taste of some other types of diving - you can pick how technical these are.  Do some more work with an instructor n your bouyancy, or maybe do an introduction to photography.

This guy wants to stick with BSAC (and as far as I could make out intends to) but they are too slow to get him the depth rating he would like for holiday dives.  Now he could ask his club to hurry up as you suggest, but presumably he would already have tried this before volunteering to part with and extra couple of hundred squid it would cost to do AOW.

If he does AOW ihe might learn something.  We already have another thread talking about how nice it is to get an education across the cboundaires of agency and everyone contually agrees that it is not the course it is the instructor, so it might not be a bad idea for the purpose he suggests it for.  He can then continue with his sports diver training at the clubs pace without sacrificing dives on holiday.

Lou
 

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Have to agree with Lou. Forget the name – if you compare Websters and OED, you'll find the word "advanced" means different things in the US and UK, anyway – just regard it as a continuation course. You WILL learn new things. 20 dives after OW is quite sufficient – many people do take the AOW directly after OW but I personally think it's beter to do as you have done, i.e. get some dives to max 18 m under your belt first. You can't possibly lose anything (except a hundred pounds or so) by doing the AOW on holiday even though you intend to continue down the BSAC road eventually.
 

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Hi

Yes, and I agree with both of you, don't get hung up on the name. I know more than most how hung up people can get about a certain other three letter acronym.

PADI market, sell, promote the course as an advanced course, thats why advanced is in the title. How people interpret advanced is up to them, and both of you have the experience to know this. String, being a new diver may not know and so I feel should be advised. The perception is there and that maybe what String is buying, not the actual content.

Spending £100 or more and also spending part of his holiday doing a course in which he 'might' learn something and a course with an agency he does not want to continue with seems a waste of time and effort to me.

I find that new members of BSAC clubs tend to 'wait and see' and are very polite about progressing their qualifications and training. He may already be doing this but in my experience if you get more involved in the club and make it known that you would like to progress then usually the club will help. To take a year to do 5 or 6 dives and some lectures is too long IMO and to continue his BSAC sports diver I believe is worth the effort.

Hope that helps

WL
 

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I don't want to harp on about the name but New Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language defines advanced as "developed beyond the ordinary or elementary". That's why advanced is in the name. PADI is an American organisation and according to American usage, it's a perfectly reasonable name. Personally, though, I wish it were called Open Water Stage II so we could avoid this kind of argument. I very much doubt if String, or anyone else, believes taking the AOW course will make him/them an advanced diver in the UK sense.
 

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Which is why he still intends on doing the BSAC sports diver!

Personally, if you are relatively inexperienced then I think that the AOW would be quite a fun way to spend a holiday.  Depending on the options a large proportion of the dives would be more "escorted dives" than lessons.  As an Ocean Diver this is probably advisable anyway and why not get a useful qual at the same time.  No matter what you say about the PADI system, it *is* recognised all over the world, with clear depth guidelines.  if you ever get caught out in the back arse of nowhere, with an outfit that doesn't recognise BSAC quals you can always flash your AOW and get a dive.

I do agree that the preferable route would be to try and advance his BSAC course at a faster speed, but it does seem to be quite usual for these things to take months, rather than weeks and I don't know how long the guy has until his first trip.

Lou
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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OK thanks for the replies, looks like i will go for it then.  Im off to Greece (already booked a long time in advance - before i started diving even) and although ive heard people say the diving isnt that great im sure it'll be different from a murky 2-3m vis in UK waters !
I did have a look but there are no BSAC schools around there which would have been my first choice.

I know its only the same as BSAC ocean diver but that doesnt particulary bother me.  All my UK diving is likely to be with my branch and normally they dont restrict to the 20m depth unless diving with a non instructor, most dives are with an instructor or assistant instructor therefore depth and experience isnt really that limiting.

Example, ive done a fair bit of compass work, been to near 30m, SMB use and so on as part of the normal diving all of which are beyond the ocean diver.

For that reason although it'll take me probably a year to finally get through sport diver im in no rush as there is no real restriction on my diving in the meantime provided im with the branch.

Ocean diver took me approx 10 months to get through but again it wasnt limiting, instead of just doing the required dives immediately it was a case of normal dives with the required drills being done when there was some spare time/vis was bad/poor dive site etc.  If not in a rush i thought that the best way of doing it as it meant i got experience of real diving, got to enjoy dives as well as getting qualified eventuallywithout sacrificing dives purely to doing the core drills.

The AOW part is mainly because i have a few trips abroad planned and im guessing that as ocean diver is only equivalent to the standard OW course id be limited in depth and the dives i can do fairly severely so at least if i can get the AOW under my belt that restriction is lifted slightly.

I didnt realise there was no real classroom element for the AOW course and it is just effectively 5 dives.

Finally, as for when my trip is, i leave in a week.
 

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I enjoyed my AOW course and it pushed me beyond the experience I had already gained  in a safe way becuase I had an instructor with me, but then I did it in the sound of Mull and it was my first experience of diving in the sea in the uk. You can get the book ahead of time and do all the reading and knowledge reviews before your holiday. I thought it was worth doing for me.
jules
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Once you have the A.O.W it is worth to go on and do the Rescue Course, that course more than other gave me confidence and improved my diving. The A.O.W is worthwhile to gain new experience,although the more dives & experience you have the less useful this course becomes.
 

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If money is no object,  then fine, do the AOW. I'm sure even the difference in tables is enough of a variation to broaden your knowledge. But why should It take you a year to got from OD to SD? Is that to do with lack of instructors in your club? When I started diving I enrolled at the old Novice 1 level with the (Uni) club around Sept/Oct, first quarry dive in Jan/Feb and was SD by (IIRC) May/June/July (will have to look it up tonight at home).  
If lack of instructors is the case have a word with your area coach/regional coaching team and see if anyone can help out
Email: [email protected]  More info
if you were local to me I'd help you out myself but I think you're a bit out of my catchment area
Chee-az
Steve
 

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Hi

Have a good holiday String, tell us what you learnt when you get back


Lou, calm down, lifes too short !!

WL
 

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Steve W:

Basically that is the problem, obviously i cant speak for previous years but im under the impression there have been a large increase in new recruits each year putting a fair strain on resources.

For example when i joined the OD lectures were in October along with the exam, by the end of october we'd all passed the theory and completed the pool training.

The first OW dives werent until April of the following year and there is still a problem now in that there arent enough instructor/asst divers available for all the novices to go at the same time (not to mention lack of RIB space) so things get drawn out.

No complaint over the club itself - its doing its absolute best with the ratio its got and the instructors themselves will dive every weekend without fail occasionally up to 5 dives a day to make sure people can get in.  Maybe the last year was a freak year regarding numbers but im suspecting not having already seen a few people asking about joining and being told to come in september.

Assuming the same sort of thing as last year id expect SD lectures to start around about December at the earliest along with the required dry practical and pool session with OW after that hence my comment, maybe not quite a year but long enough.

As i said though, im not in a huge rush to get to SD as its not restricting my UK diving at all currently and im quite content to blunder along getting experience in the meantime.

FWIW the ocean diver minimum is 4/5 dives and although i could have done the required drills in that number i wouldnt have said i was confident and totally happy in the water after that amount of time, i certainly wouldnt have liked to be buddied up to another OD level at that stage.  The difference between 10 and 5 dives was huge regarding confidence and general skills like buoyancy, kitting up/diving off a boat and so on so i can see the sense in not going flat out to certify in the minimum figure possible.
 

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I did my AOW in Turkey not long after completing the OW course.  One of the key benefits was the costs of doing this cf the cost of a five dive package - basically the difference was peanuts.  I also had the advantage of buddying with a very pleasant Dutch girl and we had an Instructor between us.  So all-in-all pretty damn good value and you still get to see all the things you'd normally see on the dives.  And we had a check-out dive thrown in as extra - so essentially 6 dives.

Was it of much use?  Well not really but I enjoyed it all the same.

Cost of the course (6 dives) £100

The dive skills aren't difficult esp if you're doing the SD OW dives.

So, what the hell, go 4 it.

As for the name, I thought PADI had changed this to Adventure diver or something?
 

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AOW is a good course fro the deep dive section. It introduces dive planning into the equasion and makes you think about a few things like kit etc. I would sugest that an AOW course in the Red sea is a bit light for UK conditions as the 30m dive will seem like a walk in the park in 30m viz warm water compaired to the hydro box at stony


That said if you are confident already in the water it will be a licence to dive Livaboards and any advanced non trimix diving almost any where in the world. This is realy handy. BSAC course is much better but dosent have the world wide coudos.

I did Deep, wreck, drift and navigation. If you do the wreck bit on the Thistlegourm or Dunraven it's realy cool. I did my wreck section on the Victory wreck in the Moldives in a 5 knot current. It was dive 11 past ow and still goes down as one of my best dives ever.

Have fun

Mark Chase



Enjoy
 

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Hey, WL, I'm am calm....you want to see me when i really get angry!  

The point I was making is that people were arguing a different argument.  The guy is committed to BSAC, you don't need to lecture him on the "evils" of PADI.  If he is happy to spend a year getting SD in his current club then surely that is a bonus.  As for getting Sports Diver at a BSAC school - as far as I can see that just negates everything that everyone holds up as "good" about BSAC training.  

Anyway, he has made his decision.  Even if he learns almost nothing he should have a fun time, doing some dives under supervision in warm, clear water.  I'd swap that for sitting at my desk!


Lou
 
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