Scuba diving is awesome. As of writing this, I have 55 logged dives in my logbook and I can’t wait to get back in the water to dive some more. It’s really addictive.
If you are not already certified Open Water Diver, check out the following post where I mention 10 reasons why you should start scuba diving!
And if you are already certified, and are thinking about the next step, the Advanced Open Water Certification, then you’re at the right place!
And for those advanced divers, rescue divers or divemasters out there, well keep reading too and please share the reasons why you love scuba diving!
1. It allows you to go deeper
One of the main reasons why divers may feel the need to get their advanced open water certification is to go deeper. Ever been at a dive shop and been told that you can’t do that awesome shipwreck dive because it’s 30 meters deep and you’re only allowed to go down to 18 ? Or that awesome wall that starts at 25 meters and goes down until it’s pitch black? Nope. You can look at it from 18 meters, but can’t go beside it.
It’s not fun to be told that you can’t go to an amazing dive site because it’s too deep for you!
2. It’s easy
Advanced open water sounds scary for some. “But I’m not an experienced diver, I only dive a few times a year”.
Or sounds like a huge task: “But I’m on vacation, I don’t want to study to get that certification, I want to enjoy my dives”.
Let me tell you: the Advanced Open Water Diver Certification is easy. You need to do 5 adventure dives. What are adventure dives? They’re fun dives that have an element of adventure in them, rather than being just regular fun dives. Before those dives, you need to read a few chapters, answer a few questions that are quite easy if you read carefully, and then debrief with your instructor before the dive.
Once below the water, you might do a few exercises that may last 5-10 minutes at most, depending on the size of your group, and then you will be on you way to enjoy the dive. And there’s no way you could fail those exercises.
3. You will learn new skills
The biggest thing I learned while doing my Advanced Open Water Diver Certification is when I did the “Peak Performance Buoyancy” dive.
While scuba diving, it’s really annoying when you’re always struggling with your buoyancy. It makes the dive less fun, it uses your air much more because you keep inflating and deflating your BCD, and it gives you less time to enjoy the dive because you keep having to adjust your buoyancy.
But buoyancy is also the most difficult thing to master while scuba diving, in my opinion.
While reading the chapter on peak performance buoyancy, I learned many tips and tricks that I didn’t know before but that have since changed the way I dive. I am much more at ease underwater now because I know how to control my buoyancy, from having the right amount of weights to using my lungs to go up or down.
That’s the most important thing that I learned, but you might learn something else that will also change the way you dive!
4. You get to choose which dives you would like to do
During the open water certification, you don’t choose anything. You just do what you’re told to do.
But for the advanced open water course, you’re in charge.
There are two mandatory dives: Deep and Navigation. During the deep dive, you learn about the risks of going deeper and about the safety measures to take. During the navigation dive, you learn a few navigation techniques that are useful if you need to lead a dive (I’ve found that since I’m always diving with divemasters, I don’t put those techniques in use, but they’re nevertheless good to know, just in case).
The three other dives are yours to choose. Personally, I chose Peak Performance Buoyancy (as I said above), Nitrox Enriched Air (which basically allows you to stay deeper longer – Note that I am not Nitrox certified, it was just an introductory dive to Nitrox), and Night Diving. Which brings me to the last reason…
5. You can go night diving!
“Night diving? Are you crazy? You really want to dive in the open ocean with nothing more to help you see than a small flashlight? Aren’t you scared you will not see sharks coming?”
There are so many people who say stuff like this when I talk about night diving. But the truth is, you need to try it. It’s awesome.
First of all, you can’t communicate the same way as during the day, so you need to learn new communication techniques. But once that is learned, along with a few safety measures (i.e.: never close the flashlight!), you get to discover another world.
Scuba diving in itself is discovering another world. But scuba diving at night, you see things that you can’t see during the day, or things that you usually don’t see. Bioluminescence is one example (You hide the light source by pressing it on your chest, you turn to the darkness of the ocean and you wave your hand – You will see plankton glowing in the dark – Pretty awesome). You can also see animals that are usually less active during the day. Octopus. Moray Eels out of their holes.
Who can get the Advanced Open Water Diver Certification?
As long as you are certified open water diver, you can start the advanced certification, that means that you can do it right after getting open water certified.
Do I recommend it? No. Some people might disagree with me, but I believe that it’s good to get at least some diving experience outside of a course before doing the advanced certification. By having some experience, you will understand the concepts more easily, and you will be able to grab information that will be more relevant and helpful to you, based or you personal diving experience.
If you do the certification right after the open water training, all the concepts are very new so you might not get the most out of the advanced training. But that is only my opinion.
Are you convinced? Let me know in the comments below what you think about going beyond the open water diver certification!