PADI Open Water: What is it?

When I finally decided that, yes, I was in fact going to go travelling (!) my Dad came up with the fantastic idea of doing my Open Water Diver qualification. I could then take it to Thailand and Australia, show the lil’ qualification card and be able to swim off on my own into the depths like The Little Mermaid. Flippin’ your fins you can get far, eh? Somehow, and this may be partly down to my father’s enthusiasm to do something as a family, the four of us decided hey, why don’t we all do this together? That’s my Mum, Dad, 13-going-on-19 year old sister, and me, BTW.

So, just to clarify I’m completing my training with PADI. There are other agency qualifications such as SSI and BSAC, but my local dive school is partnered with PADI. The course titles differ, but most are transferrable qualifications. For example, my Open Water Diver qualification with PADI is the equivalent of the Ocean Diver qualification with BSAC. I think that most Universities use BSAC so being able to transfer my qualifications is going to be great for when I move to Uni.

The course essentially lasts as long as you need it to; until you feel comfortable to complete the open water practical. Some students manage it in a matter of weeks while for others it takes months. For my Dad and I it took us roughly 5 months which, to be honest, I think is about right. I’ve noticed that there is a bit of a misconception about Scuba Diving in that people assume you just pop a cylinder on your back and a mask and you’re good to go… However this is not the case. Even to dive recreationally, there are many practical and theoretical aspects to learn and perfect in order to dive safely. (Mini rant over; I’ll save a big rant for its own post, perhaps.)

If you are interested, you can read up on what the course teaches here. It’s a mixture of practical and theory- and to understand one you really need to know the other. It’s a learning process which definitely cannot be taught in one day! One thing I will say however is that I have learnt A LOT. There’s no theory section to the Advanced Open water course so, to compensate, this course contains lots of theory. It does initially feel like a lot of content to wrap your head around, but it makes the practical lessons much easier to understand. I arrive now and it’s like hell yeah, you’re talking about O-rings and I totally know what that is. Section 5? Completed it mate.

At the time of writing this, I have passed my theory test with a whopping 96% and yep, I did brag about it to all my friends. The only thing left for me is my practical test which is this weekend. The practical exam consists of three open water dives in my case a quarry to show you can perfectly execute all the skills you’ve been taught. I’m massively looking forward to (pardon the pun) finally testing the waters. Wow, someone make sure I never am allowed to make a joke again.

I’m not even sure if this post has been informative to anyone, but if I’m being honest I just really wanted to write something to go alongside the pretty pictures I took of my new mask and snorkel. Fluorescent yellow is the colour of summer 2018, didn’t you know? The mask was about £45 and the snorkel £20, and this is about as cheap as it gets for scuba gear, FYI.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve caught the scuba diving bug. Once back from my travels, I plan on starting my Advanced Open Water qualification (or BSAC equivalent) so watch this space!

See you next time, Soph x

Does anyone else have the bug for scuba diving? Have I tempted you to try it? Let me know in the comments!

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