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Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri

PADI Advanced Open Water

Did the PADI Open Water give you pleasure?

Do you want to develop your skills further?

Good idea, the PADI Advanced Open Water is what you need. 

Without suprise and after the first level, here is the second one but that, you expected it.


I can hear the anti-PADI folks telling me that ultimately it's a business and the Advanced Open Water brings little, that the content of the course could have been integrated into the Open Water or, on the contrary, it does not go far enough. I'm not here to debate this. If anyone feels like it, please contact PADI directly to discuss their business and education logic.


Jokes aside, yes PADI is a also a business and PADI affiliates, instructors, dive centres and schools must run the show and make money too. So yes maybe the number of levels could be reduced with more compact courses etc. to make it more effective and cheaper. To me, the certifications path is logic and well thought.


So, apart from diving deeper than 18 meters, what will happen to you?


1. A comprehensive course to become a certified diver who can dive deeper than 18 meteres. This can be useful,  especially on certain wreck dives or when you are diving far away from shores. 

2. A relatively simple course. Some theory, physics again, but nothing complex. You will enrich your knowledge with topics such as underwater navigation.

3. A reasonable cost, given that you will only need to complete this certification once and keep it for life, with no annual subscription fees to pay. The price varies depending on the country and the school.

What will you discover?

A. Refresher of the PADI Open Water skills in case you have done it long ago. 

B. Learn how to find your way underwater using a compass and natural landmarks.

C. Work your buoyancy.

D. Introduction to certain specialties: wreck diving, night diving or photography for exemple.

E. More dives: one below 18 meters, one orientation dive, three others to earn your Advanced Open Water.

The course

The PADI Advanced OpenWater will take 2 to 3 days to complete. The first day is primarily focused on education and training. The second and third day will be the actual diving days.


Day 1: It starts in the morning with a welcome coffee. Combined with a refresher of your PADI Open Water. After that, you will start working something important; buoyancy, again and again. Buoyancy, the famous "buoyancy". You will spend a lot of time learning to float properly under water; not to sink, not to rise like a bullet to the surface which could cause an accident. I'll tell you right away, and in general all divers agree, there is no such thing as perfect buoyancy. It's a lifelong training. Even when we dive for fun we work it, unconsciously. Don't worry, over time you will correct your buoyancy naturally, intuitively. 


Second topic, orientation underwater. It is important to find your way when you will be let go alone in the future. Even if you dive with a guide, imagine you lose him, you will be glad to have some knowledge (although, in theory, you will surface). Take out your compass (waterproof of course). First, you will do a dry run onshore. Learn how to use the comass, do a square, come back to your point of departur. In additon, you will learn to find your way around using landmarks or estimate the distance counting the number of kicks or time. 


Day 2: Time for deep diving, more than 18 meters. You will probably hit the 30 meters (the maximum allowed on paper). You won't stay at this depth for long as you will consume a lot of air and there is probably not much to see. This is an interesting part as you will learn more about the physiology of diving and the risks associated with deep diving. You will also realize that the colors are changing - or your perception of them. The deeper you go, the darket it is. You will also do a few funny exercises like counting or answering questions at depth to test wether or not you feel narcosis. 


Day 2 and 3: You will discuss and chose which "adventure" dives you would like to complete. 

  • Wreck diving: plan a wreck dive, draw a map site, be aware of hazards. At this stage you will not learn how to enter wrecks. This would be covered in the speciality course. 

  • Night diving: the title says it all. Take a torch, a backup torch, and go! Become aware of the heightened risks and limitations due to the darkness, e.g. a more difficult navigation. You will realize that you can dive at night. I am personally a fan. You have a good chance to see different animal. Add to it a little feeling of fear due to the darkness all that is missing is the music of "Jaws".

  • Discover underwater photography: try your first shots in the deep blue. Learn to consider the impact of lightning and moving environment. Yes, fish arent models and they will not pause for you. It is fun and not that easy. 


Keep in mind that these dives aim to (1) give you additional experience and (2) introduce you to other aspects of diving. The are not specialties but give you an idea of the topic. You can select the one(s) you like and register for a specialty course after. 

This is the end. Congratulations, one more step in your diving career!

What should you bring?

Basics: As usual, always bring your smile and your good humor! You should also bring your swimsuit, a towel, sunblock depending on the weather. For gents, I generally recommend swimming trunks because it will be easier to put on a wet suit, as opposed to a board shorts. For ladies, I generally recommend a one-piece swimming suit for ease of removal from the wet suit.


Equipment: Add the the equipment that you may have already purchased after your Open Water. Otherwise, everything will be provided to you, no worries.

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