Is it worth doing an advanced diving course?

Is it worth doing the Advanced Open Water Diver course?
These questions are often asked by students. Those who have just completed their open water course and by several hundred divers who visit our dive center.

Also, some people mistakenly think that the advanced course is for those who are already advanced.

Certification card – Advanced Open Water Diver
Certification card – Advanced Open Water Diver

There are two things that are important to make clear from the beginning:

  1. diving is an endless adventure and
  2. there is always something new to learn.

Today we will talk about the second step on the path of the recreational diver: The Advanced Open Water course.
Below is an explanation as to why this course is worth doing. And also if it is a good idea to take it right after finishing the Open Water Diver course.

Let us start!

Advanced Open Water Diver Course

Is it worth taking a PADI Advanced course?

Very often, when people make their first dives during the Open Water course, fall deeply in love with this activity. So, the desire to learn grows immediately.

This is why they want to enroll as soon as possible in the Advanced Open Water Diver course.

It is a fact that with each dive you will begin to feel safer at the bottom of the ocean.

You quickly get used to the new environment. You will feel very happy with everything you are learning and you will remember the exercises done during the Open Water Diver course in a very natural way.

Next you may feel the desire to expand your skills and discover what it feels like to go a little deeper, become interested in shipwrecks and wonder what it would be like to dive at night. You may also want to find a way to stay longer at the bottom of the sea.

advanced diving course - sunken ship
Divers with higher Certification than Open Water Diver exploring sunken ship

It is when you feel these desires that you should consider taking the next step towards the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.

Why should I become an advanced diver?

One of the most important reasons to become a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver is the change in the depth limit that you can reach since this will be 30 meters.

advanced diving course 2 diver navigation
Divers use underwater communication through hand signals

Although it is important to remember that the limit of recreational diving is 40 meters deep.

We are talking about the fact that you will have the capacity to reach practically twice the depth than with your Open Water Diver certification, which, as you will remember, was 18 meters deep.
Being at a greater depth will excite you. The experience, sensations and emotions will be ones you have never experienced before.

You will be able to observe changes in the color of things, the pressure around you and the organisms that live there.

What is the Advanced Diving course?

Of course the advanced diving course does not focus only on depth but on a group of different skills that will be obtained equally.

The advanced course consists of 5 theory chapters accompanied by a dive in most cases.
These chapters are called adventures and each one of the dives serves to put into practice what has been learned in theory.

advanced diving course

What is learned in the Advanced Diver course?

During this course you will be able to put into practice the skills previously learned but at a greater depth.

  • You will better understand what nitrogen narcosis is and how to act when it occurs.
  • You will experience changes in pressure as you will be at a depth of 30 meters and you will see how this affects the objects around you.
  • You will understand why it is a good idea to use a dive light even during the day.
  • You will learn how to properly use a diving compass and you will noticeably improve your buoyancy.

What are the requirements for the PADI AOWD course?

The first requirement is the most obvious: Have an Open Water Diver PADI qualification or similar.

Another requirement is to meet the minimum age. At the age of 12 you can obtain the PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver certification and the depth limit will be 21 meters. At 15 years old, the limit will be extended to a depth of 30 meters.

On the other hand, you must be in good physical and mental condition to face this challenge with complete safety.

What is the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course like?

As mentioned before, during the Advanced Open Water Diver course, 5 dives are made. This must be done on a minimum of two different days as the maximum number of training dives allowed is three per day.

advanced diving course

According to the course standards, it is mandatory that you take a Navigation Dive and a Deep Dive. You will be able to choose the other three adventures from the following list:

– Digital underwater photography
– Ecological Diving
– Fish identification
– Night dive
– Search and recovery
– Underwater naturalist
– Underwater Navigation

At Costa Rica Dive and Surf we do maximum buoyancy dives, fish identification and search and recovery as part of our advanced course.

Deep Dive

The deep dive is a required component of the advanced diving course.

advanced diving course - deep dive
Deep diving – Diver reaches a depth of 30 meters

As mentioned before, after completing this course the depth limit will be increased to 30 m. Despite this being the limit, this does not mean that it must be reached during training, since it is only necessary to exceed 18 meters in depth.
During this dive, the instructor will take with him or her different red objects so that you can compare the color difference between what we see on the surface and how they are seen at the bottom of the sea.

Nitrogen Narcosis

During this course, some simple exercises will be carried out on the surface. This will then be repeated at a depth greater than 18 meters.

Nitrogenous narcosis or drunkenness of the deep
Nitrogenous narcosis or drunkenness of the deep

In this way you can experience how your brain reacts in a slightly different way due to a higher presence of nitrogen in your system.

Although the name might sound complicated, this is not dangerous at all.

It is something that divers in most cases only experience mildly and manifests itself rather with a feeling of joy and extreme confidence.

Of course, at the same time it must be taken seriously. This feeling ends as soon as the diver begins the ascent to the surface and generally lasts no more than a few minutes.

That is why it is good for divers to get acquainted with the feeling in a safe environment so that it does not cause you insecurity in the future.

Underwater Navigation

During the underwater navigation the student will learn different techniques that will help him or her to orient themselves and enjoy the diving more.

advanced diving course - navigation
Underwater Navigation – Diver using his compass to get his bearings

You will understand the best way to use a compass underwater and this will allow you to plan your dives in the best way.

For example, it will allow you to go from one point to another and then return to the starting point. Obviously, the navigation is important in order to develop the skills of the advanced course the search and recovery.

It might interested you: How to use a compass to navigate underwater

Can I take the advanced diving course right after finishing the open water diver?

It is entirely possible to take the advanced diving course after completing the Open Water Diver course.

This is possible as all requirements are met.

Although, as the name indicates, the course is Advanced. It is available to all certified divers who meet the requirements.

However, if you decide to enjoy your Open Water Diver license for a longer time, it is also acceptable. And there is no rush since each person must learn at the moment they feel ready and prepared.

PADI Advanced Diver Course: Conclusions

The PADI Advanced Diver course is the next step in recreational diving education after the basic Open Water Diver.

In it you will learn a lot of knowledge and develop skills that will allow you to enjoy other aspects of diving that were previously unattainable.

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