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Kebab The Cat

PADI Openwater course taken in the uk

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I thought Id document the process of getting the PADI open water diver certificate through a scuba shop in the uk, mostly to aid my own learning process, and perhaps someone may find it useful in reaching a decision as to whether they will follow the same course.

Ill start off with a brief bit about me. <edited because who basically needs to know..?> Im pretty familiar with regulators, tanks, harnesses, pressure gauges, and lots of the technical looking equipment that goes with it.

So, the PADI open water certificate qualifies you to dive in a buddy pair, in waters up to 18 metres deep, in an environment similar to or easier than those in which you qualified. This makes qualifying in the UK quite a good option, because rarely will you want to dive anywhere in the world colder or more unpleasant than UK waters.

Session 1:
We meet up at the dive shop / school at 7pm on a Tuesday in August. One guy from the group goes to the pool instead, another hasnt got his PADI pack that we were all given on signing up. Some have no spare clothes. I guess the shop could have done a clearer job of telling us what to bring with us and where to be. What we really needed was swim shorts and a spare t-shirt

Theres a fair bit of faffing around as the guy at the pool drives up to the shop, and we all chat a bit. The group has a couple of teenage kids, four thirty-something guys, and a woman whos a bit older. Everyone seems pleasant.

Dave, our instructor, then kicks off with the basic components of SCUBA kit, how it all goes together, some common principles for all over the world the way weight belts always undo, where the second regulator is always kept, that kind of thing.

Then we watch a delightful PowerPoint presentation skillfully cobbled together by PADI. It talked about the various safety issues, such as lung overexpansion (if you hold your breath and move from deep to shallow water, your lungs can burst very nasty) so the golden rule of diving Never hold your breath. Always have a small stream of bubbles coming out of your mouth.

Then were on to the dive briefing an important part of any dive. Out in the real world, the dive leader would talk about the currents, the sights, the times we would spend at what depths, wildlife to be wary of, all that sort of thing. In this instance Dave talks about the skills hes going to teach us in the pool, the first basic skills of diving. These included defogging a mask, clearing a mask of water, clearing a regulator -if it got knocked out of your mouth, youd want to put it back in and get the water out of it before you start trying to breathe again. Other skills such as finding your regulator if it was knocked out of your mouth and you couldnt see it, equalizing the pressure in your ears and mask, and adjusting your buoyancy with the low pressure inflator hose of your Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)

We then transferred down to the pool, got changed and into the pool. The sets (tank, regulators, BCD, submersible pressure gauge (SPG) were ready and waiting for us. They wont be next week, well be putting them together ourselves by then.

All of these skills were then demonstrated and we repeated them, whilst kneeling in the shallow end of the pool, the water just over out heads, until Dave was satisfied we had them.

Then we had a bit of a swim round the pool, including going down to the deep end and playing with some torpedo type toys that you can throw underwater.

That was the end of the session, and Im looking forward to the next one.

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Updated 03-12-08 at 14:39 by Kebab The Cat

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