Tag Archives: Open Water Diver

All Diving Certifications Are Not Created Equal

I always believed that scuba certifications from the various mainline agencies were basically all the same, just depended on which agencies name you wanted on the card. That is, until today.

I just found out that the Master Scuba Diver certification from NAUI is nowhere near the same level of training and experience as the Master Scuba Diver certification from PADI.

To achieve the PADI certification you have to have Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, and 5 specialty diver certifications which take an additional 1 to 4 dives each to complete, and at least 50 logged dives.

For the NAUI Master Scuba Diver certification qualifications I looked it up on the NAUI website. Their course requirements are shown below, copied directly from their website:

“A minimum of eight open water dives is required. A maximum of three dives per day shall be applied toward course requirements. No more than one skin dive may count toward the eight dive minimum.

Required Dives

  • Emergency procedures and rescue
  • Deep/simulated decompression diving
  • Limited visibility or night diving
  • Underwater navigation
  • Search and recovery – light salvage

Elective Dives

  • Skin diving
  • Review of basic scuba skills
  • Environmental study or survey
  • Air consumption (practical application)
  • Boat diving
  • Shore diving
  • Hunting and collecting
  • Special interest

Prerequisites For Entering This Course

  • Age – Minimum is 15 years.
  • Diver Certification – NAUI advanced certification or the equivalent is required. The instructor is to ensure adequate student knowledge and capability before any open water training and shall use skill or other evaluations to do so.
  • Equipment – Students shall furnish and be responsible for the care and maintenance of their own diving equipment. The instructor shall initially assist the student in checking all student gear to insure it is adequate and in proper working order.”

So in other words, if a NAUI Advanced Open Water Diver wants the MSD rating, he can do it in just 3 days time with only 8 more dives? Thats less than ¼ as many total dives when you add up all the various specialty class dives required by PADI.

That is a HUGE difference in diving experience between NAUI and PADI certification requirements for the Master Scuba Diver rating. I thought the PADI MSD rating was quick to get, I should have just gone for the NAUI one, I could have had it months before I earned the PADI one.

This will make me take a good hard look at the qualifications for all of the other “mainline” certification agencies out there before I choose to dive with someone from another agency again. Apparently their Rescue Diver certification only takes one dive to complete instead of three days and multiple dives.

I clearly see that all certifications are definitely NOT the same.

Dive 76

Date: May 19, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 1 of 1

Time In:  08:56  Time Out:  09:24    Time:   :28

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 4

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  1-3′ Surf    Wt:  21lbs

Visibility: 20-30′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  25′    Average Depth: 17′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 2,974    End PSI: 1,665      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 7-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

The surf had come up a little from yesterday, which meant that the visibility would not be the greatest, and ended up being only about 20-30 feet. Since we had already completed 3 of the 4 required Open Water Dives, the students were given the option of making a second dive today as a “fun dive”. Since the visibility had gone down from yesterday, and the surf had come up a little the students chose not to do the additional “fun dive.

For the last dive of the students Open Water Diver course, Open Water Dives we went back to the sandy area at the center of Sharks Cove so that they could perform their required skills. Afterwards we took them on a short tour around the area, again taking them over rocks which made them go into shallower water to see if their buoyancy had improved.

One student still struggled with his buoyancy and used a lot of air because he was constantly inflating and deflating his BCD to compensate for his poor buoyancy. When he was too low he would air his BCD up, making him rise too fast, then he would notice his mistake and dump all the air out making him crash back to the bottom.

After watching this a few times to see if he would grasp the concept of what he was doing incorrectly on his own apparently he was not getting it so when he was on the bottom I signaled for him to add just a little bit of air to his BCD, when he did that he rose just off the bottom so I signaled that it was good, then motioned with my hands to use breath control to rise up a little and to sink a little. He seemed to understand and performed as I showed him, but then when we started the tour once again he was back and forth from about 5 feet to the bottom like a ping-pong ball. Hopefully with more practice it will start to click for him.

iGills Snapshot

Dive 75

Date: May 18, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 3 of 3

Time In:  12:27  Time Out:  13:26    Time:   :59

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 3

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  0-2′ Surf    Wt:  22lbs

Visibility: 30-40′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  27′    Average Depth: 18′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 3,091    End PSI: 1,356      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

For the third dive of the students Open Water Diver course, Open Water Dives we first went to the sandy area at the center of Sharks Cove so that they could perform their required skills, then took a tour of Sharks Cove going over some shallower areas where the rocks from the bottom come up higher. This was done so the students could see how their depth affects their buoyancy and as they come up shallower they have to release more air from their BCD’s to keep from floating up too fast and surfacing accidentially. Again a couple of the students had some buoyancy issues which I assisted them with.

Since we completed dives 1, 2, & 3 of their Open Water Dives today we only have 1 dive left that they have to complete tomorrow. The forecast is that the waves will be a little higher tomorrow, so hopefully this will allow us to get it over with before it gets too bad for them.

iGills Snapshot

Students taking a break between demonstrating skills

Dive 74

Date: May 18, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 2 of 3

Time In:  10:01  Time Out:  10:25    Time:   :24

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 2

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  0-2′ Surf    Wt:  22lbs

Visibility: 30-40′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  21′    Average Depth: 17′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 1,363    End PSI: 737      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

For the second dive of the students Open Water Diver course, Open Water Dives we went to the sandy area at the center of Sharks Cove so that they could perform their required skills.

A couple of the students had some buoyancy issues and other problems which I assisted them with so that it didn’t cause a problem or turn into an emergency situation.

After the students had finished performing their required skills we ascended so that we could take a long surface interval before continuing with their third dive of the day.

iGills Snapshot

“Lookout Below”

Dive 73

Date: May 18, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 1 of 3

Time In:  09:07  Time Out:  09:40    Time:   :33

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 1

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  0-2′ Surf    Wt:  22lbs

Visibility: 30-40′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  30′    Average Depth: 18′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 2,640    End PSI: 1386      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

As part of my Dive Master course I have to assist an instructor (Michelle) with teaching several classes, one of which is the Open Water Diver course that we started back on May 6th. The conditions finally cooperated with us and we got to do the Open Water Dives for this class today.

The visibility wasn’t the best in the world today at Sharks Cove, but it was the only dive spot on the island available because of the high surf caused by the South Swell that is hitting the island this weekend. There were at least 4 classes going on from Island Divers Hawaii, and more classes from at least 4 other dive shops on Oahu all at Sharks Cove today. I have never seen so many divers all at one spot before, very tricky trying to walk up and down the hill from all the foot traffic today.

For the first dive we went to the left side of Sharks Cove where it was shallower and found a nice sandy bottom area for the students to perform their required skills. Since it had been so long since they were in the water performing the skills (May 10), some of them had trouble remembering the skills so we had to work with them a little more to refresh their memory.

Everyone was finally able to complete their required skills so we ascended to take a surface interval before the next dive.

iGills Snapshot

“Follow the Leader”

More Specialties to Come

Professional Association of Diving Instructors

Since getting my PADI Master SCUBA Diver rating I decided to add on some more PADI specialty classes over the next couple weeks:

  • Diver Propulsion Vehicle Specialty
  • Wreck Diver Specialty
  • Night Diving Specialty
  • Underwater Navigation Specialty
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty

This will give me a total of 10 PADI specialties. Eventually I will get all of the specialties that are available in Hawaii, unfortunately a few of the specialties I will have to travel to the mainland to get (ice diver, altitude diver, etc.). If I am going to be an instructor, I need experience in all of the specialties so why not get started on them now.

The first specialty class I will be doing will be the Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) Specialty this Monday afternoon. I already own 2 of the SEA DOO Explorer X DPV’s that I use almost daily while diving so getting that one out of the way seemed like a “no-brainer” to me.

I will be scheduling the Wreck, Night, Navigation & Buoyancy specialty classes around my busy schedule over the next 2 weeks. I am hoping to have all of them finished by the 21st.

Open Water Diver Rating

I decided to become certified in SCUBA diving through PADI and after confined water training and 4 open water dives obtained my Open Water Diver certification today.

It was difficult working through my fears of not being able to breath throughout the course, butI trusted the instructors and set my mind to it that I was going to complete this course and overcome my fears.

I havent quite overcome them yet, but I am not allowing them to control me any longer.

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