This is your year
What does it mean to become an “Advanced Open Water Diver”? It means a commitment to dive, it means commitment to owning a total diving system and it means taking more classes. All of these things together begin you down the path to becoming an advanced diver.
So many times I hear people say “I need to get my advanced open water card”. I always cringe when I hear this because I know what it means. Most people end up taking a weekend program with a pre canned program where they get a taste of few specialties but don’t really get “ADVANCED TRAINING”. I hear them say “I want to dive a deep wreck” or they are going to a resort that requires the advance open water card so they can do a night dive. I think you should want the advanced open water rating to better yourself and not just because you need it to dive a wreck or do a night dive. If you really want to become and Advance Open Water Diver here are things that will benefit your understanding.
First you have to dive. It does not matter how many classes you have taken if you are sitting at home talking about it or texting your friends we should dive that’s not getting it done. We have to pen dates on the calendar and commit to going diving. Make it a goal to plan in two trips a year and several weekends for local diving. Setting goals not only is fun but it keeps you motivated during those gloomy days. Seeing that ray of hope that your diving vacation is only a few more month away picks anyone up and gives them the strength to keep going. Use your local dive center to help keep you diving. Stores like Buckeye Scuba have local, regional and exotic trips happening all year long every year. We have local events like our annual U/W pumpkin carving contest the first weekend in October to get you out there and dive. We promote weekend camp-outs every month during the summer. Get on the newsletter list if you not already, get connected via Facebook or Twitter and keep up on the local happenings. Stop in you dive center from time to time as there’s nothing better than having a personal report with the guys and gals who live an breath it every day.
Second you NEED your own gear. This is not just a pushy sales gimmick, this is a FACT. If you have your OWN gear it’s cheaper and easier each time you go diving. In my past posts I have said it “people who own their own gear go diving”. People who use the same gear again and again are safer, more comfortable and love diving. If you want to become an “Advanced Open Water Diver” you need to own your own total diving system.
Third you need more training. I don’t care what agency you swear your allegiance to but everyone of them only give you enough information and training to be dangerous to yourself as an open water diver. Dive centers offer you a license to learn and an opportunity to keep learning. You MUST get back out there, take more classes, dive and soak up as much knowledge as you can. Specialty classes are offered to focus you in on a particular area of diving such as wreck diving, deep diving or digital photography. There are 20 or more specialties to choose from within SSI and once you have taken any 4 specialty classes and completed a minimum of 24 logged dives you receive your “Advanced Open Water Diver” rating.
Diving like many other activities is one where you learn from your peers. Educational material is a great resource but the actual hands on diving is where the real learning happens. What happens most of the time when you play golf or tennis with someone who is better than you? You play up to their level and you get better. This is true in scuba diving as well, we mimic other divers and see other ways things are done or find a better way to perform a skill that has been hanging us up.
Are you ready to become an “Advanced Open Water Diver”?