So You Are a PADI Open Water Diver, What's Next?!
It is always awesome to see the excitement when any student finishes their open water diver certifcation, they usually emerge from their final dive excitedly talking about eventually becoming a scuba instructor or PADI divemaster. Entering the exciting world of scuba diving has a way of shifting your priorities and leaves you wanting to experience more of what the ocean has to offer! Not to mention the idea of working in a fun scuba center somewhere around the globe appeals to those who love to travel!
Becoming a PADI pro is a great goal to work towards, and can certainly be a rewarding career, or even just a way to expand your scuba diving skill set and become a far more experienced and confident diver. Luckily there are several PADI certification levels that will help you steadily expand your knowledge and are great progress markers on your way to becoming an instructor or divemaster. So now you are an open water diver (OWD) the next course that opens up to you is probably the most practical and fun ways to quickly become a better diver.
The Benefits of PADI Advanced Open Water Certification
The best way to think of the advanced open water course is to compare it to taking the training wheels off when riding a bike. If the OWD course teaches you the basics and helps you get comfortable exploring the underwater world, then the AOWD course teaches you to expand your limits and fine tune the skills you learned.
Much like the open water certification course, you can start with some classroom time at the scuba center or PADI e-learning to cover the new various skills and types of dives you will be taught, as well as some more in depth information about the science behind diving at deeper depths. That brings us to the main benefit of having your advanced open water diver cert, being able to dive deeper! You will be diving up to the recreational max of 40 meters and experiencing the effects of nitrogen narcosis, which is important to be able to recognize. It's an interesting experience to say the least.
Being able to dive deeper opens up so many more dive sites than if you are limited by the shallower depths of simply being an OWD. This means more wrecks and walls to explore, as they are usually found at deeper depths than standard reef dives allow. Thanks to the experience you will get out of 5 more training dives at various depths, you will become a far more confident diver, especially when you take the new skills you will be learning into account.
For the PADI advanced open water course, you will have to pick 3 adventure dives focused on learning new skills such as fish identification, learning about sharks, peak performance buoyancy (we highly recommend this one), underwater photography or even a night dive (not as scary as it seems!). This is in addition to the required deep dive and navigation dive training which will both really help you get a firm grasp on essential scuba diving skills. So you get the benefit of 5 more dives worth of experience and a new PADI Certification level, which means you are well on your way to becoming a pro diver!
Diving on deeper shipwrecks is just one benefit of being an advanced open water diver
So What Are The Next Steps To Becoming A PADI Pro?
At this point we are assuming you are going to crush it when it comes to your advanced level certification, and if you want to take your professional diving career further there are 3 vital certification levels you can jump onto next. The first step is to become a rescue diver and get your emergency first responder training. Many divers have said that the rescue diver course is one of the most satisfying experiences they have undergone in their life, having the skills and ability to save someones life or even your own in emergency situations is critical to advancing your diving career. The PADI rescue diver course can be done in a couple days and while it is short, it can be very intense so get ready for an adventure.
Becoming a divemaster means you can work in scuba centers around the globe, leading groups of recreational divers around the amazing dive sites you call home and explore on a daily basis. Being a divemaster means you will have an extremely in depth knowledge of all aspects of scuba diving, as well as get to interact with other divers that share your passion for the ocean as a job. This is a great way to travel the world and get paid for it! The PADI Divemaster course is open to those divers who have a minimum of 40 logged dives, as well as their rescue diver and EFR ccertification. While this step might seem far off from those who just became open water divers, you can become a divemaster with several months of hard work and diving, which tends to be an exhilarating experience to say the least. Upon completion you will be able to lead groups, assist instructors and even start you instructor course to begin to learn how to teach others to dive! You can find more info on these programs at your local scuba center, dive shops around the globe or at www.PADI.com