Advanced open water course - all you need to know

Advanced Open Water Diver Course – All You Need to Know

If you are wondering whether to do the course or not or simply curious about it, you have come to the right spot, let’s dive into it!

Is it worth getting the Advanced Open Water Diver certification?


Yes. It’s totally worth it, this course will not just unlock deeper dives, wrecks, night diving, and so on, it will boost your confidence and comfort under and above the surface, it will give you a taste of some activities that you might want to pursue later on or maybe discover new ones as every adventure dive that you will be doing on this course will credit you towards the respective specialty course.

About the Advanced Open Water Diver Course

Advanced open water course - students

What is the difference between PADI open water and advanced open water?

During your Open water Course (OW) you focused on learning how to use scuba gear on your own, learned some skills like setting up and checking your equipment, being able to dive and to respond to certain situations, safely plan a dive, communicate with your buddy and enjoy the sport down to a maximum depth of 18m (60ft).
During your Advanced Open water Course (AOW) you will be extending your depth limits to 30m (100ft), use a compass to do some more complex navigation, enhance your photography skills, your knowledge about the reef, the fish, wrecks, you will get into more adventures such as night diving, caverns, and many more exciting things, the possibilities are endless!
But (there’s always a but huh?) … To be able to execute most of these dives safely, you must progress on your buoyancy skills, awareness, and communication. In short, you must become a better diver and to do so you will be doing 5 adventure dives required for certification with an instructor that will refine your dive planning, breathing technique, and your kicking, among other things.

Breakdown of the PADI Advanced Open Water course:

The course consists of 5 different Adventure Dives. Each one has some theory to do before diving (6-8 hours total reading time). After each chapter, there’s a knowledge review that you will go through with your instructor, just as in the Open Water Course, but this time there are no quizzes or exams to complete, so get that wetsuit ready!
You are required to do Deep and Navigation dives, then the other 3 can be any of your choice with more than 25 to do so, it is important to agree with your instructor which ones beforehand as some will not be available due to location or conditions. Some popular ones are: digital underwater imaging, drift, fish ID, night, buoyancy, search and recovery, underwater naturalist, wreck diving, and Nitrox.

  • PADI advanced open water requirements: Open Water Diver / Junior Open Water Diver (or qualifying certification)
  • Depth: Maximum depth is up to 21m (70ft) if you are 12-15 years old, and 30m (100ft) if you are 15 years or older
  • Total time commitment: 2-3 days
  • Minimum age: 12 years or older

For more info you can check: PADI

Which Adventure Dives to Choose?

After the required Deep and Navigation, here in the Mexican Caribbean, we strongly recommend Peak Performance Buoyancy and Enriched Air Nitrox. You can also go with Night diving and Fish ID, Photography and Drift diving and combine reef and cenote diving. Let’s get some details to help you choose:

Deep dive (required):

For this dive, you will be discussing with your instructor the effects of deep diving, what happens to your body as you go deeper? All about gas narcosis, changes in light and how we perceive colors, gas management, and dive planning… as for the water part of this adventure you will be going deeper than 18m (60ft) but no more than 30m (100ft) and will be conducting some tasks to see how much you get affected by narcosis, experiencing and comparing the colors loss as you go deeper with the help of a dive light, and of course, enjoy the beautiful environment that you just unlocked!

Navigation dive (required):

It is important to have a general sense of orientation during your dives, like inland, we feel reassured when we know where we are and where we are heading to in the wild. You will be learning about natural references and compass use(a lot more than just the basic reciprocal heading that you did for your open water course), you will discuss with your instructor how and when we should turn the dive and exit at the right spot or just return to the boat. Are you ready to lead the dive on the way back?

Peak Performance Buoyancy:

Buoyancy control is the most important skill that you have to master as a diver. Would you like to hover motionless next to that feeding turtle without disturbing the environment? swim through that little passage between beautiful formations in the cenotes with the certainty that you will not damage it? Do longer dives due to lower air consumption and peace of mind of doing a perfect safety stop after your dive sound good to you? This dive is, by the feedback from students, one of the most fun and helpful dives that you will get to do with an instructor! For this dive, you will be learning about breathing techniques, weight and body positioning, trim, propulsion, and awareness about yourself and others around you and you will do many fun games in shallow water.

Enriched Air Nitrox

Enriched Air nitrox will help you to extend your bottom time, especially as an Advanced Diver to be, you will learn that around 30m (100ft) your NDL (no-decompression limit) is quite short as compared to 18m (60ft) that you are used to, changing the breathing mix of nitrogen and oxygen on your tank will allow you to stay a bit longer among other benefits like being less tired after a diving day. Imagine yourself enjoying the Bull Shark Dive in Playa del Carmen down to 27m (90ft). If you dive on Nitrox you will gain more than 30% bottom time with them, which is a lot!

Night dive

night dive with crocodiles in a cenote

Learn how to communicate with a dive light ( very useful for cenote diving here near Playa del carmen) and navigate your way at night! Enjoy a completely different underwater world when the sun is gone and realize that is way less scary than you think it is. Watch crabs walking around and maybe some octopus hunting them. If you are a bit nervous about it, for your first night dive, we recommend that you go down with a bit of light remaining so the darkness will get to you progressively and you won’t even notice it! For those who dare we also do the thrilling Night dive with Crocs!

Are you ready for it?

Advanced open water adventure dive - bull sharks

The controversial question among instructors: Some think that you should have a fair amount of dives and some think that you can sign up for it right away after completing your OWC. Here at Ko’ox, we think that there is no black or white. It does make sense to have a little bit of fun diving after your first course to solidify your skills and gain a bit of experience, but also it’s good to do 5 more dives with an instructor to fine-tune your skills unlocking a whole new world of possibilities at the same time. Remember that you don’t have to go down to 30m (100ft) every dive just because you have the license for it, it all comes down to a personal level of comfort. So.. are you ready for it?

What comes after the Advanced Open Water Diver Course?

Now the real fun begins, you have the whole underwater world as your playground: you can follow up some specialties of those dives that you loved so much, like getting Nitrox certified, or even doing another Buoyancy or photography class to keep progressing on those shark shots and by now We believe that you felt in love with scuba diving already so it will make sense that you end up doing your Rescue Course and even your Divemaster! But for these, We do recommend that you have enough experience before signing up for it.

Advanced Open Water Course with Ko`ox Adventures

For us Scuba Diving is not just a profession, it is a way of life, we are a team of passionate cave explorers with a heavy technical background, which translates into a deep focus on safety and quality training. We want to offer you a personalized, fun, and environmentally friendly experience, so you can get the maximum out of your courses and dives with us. Contact us, leave a message on the chat,  if you have any doubt or question that may pop up in your mind, don’t hesitate to ask!



How many dives are needed for advanced open water certification?
Certified open water divers are to do 5 adventure dives: Deep dive and navigation dives are required and you can choose 3 more out of more than 25 options: Night diving, Fish ID, Photography, Drift diving, etc

What is the difference between PADI open water diver and advanced open water diver certification?
PADI open water course focuses on basic scuba diving skills such as the use of dive equipment on your own, communication and navigation underwater, diving in shallow confined water, and in open water up to a maximum depth of 18m (60ft). PADI Advanced Open Water depth is up to a maximum depth of 30m (100ft) and teaches the skills of adventure diving. To do that safely you must progress on your buoyancy skills, awareness, and communication. Upon completion of the advanced open water course, you will be able to try diving with bull sharks, wreck diving, night diving, and exploring greater depths. Here’s more on the difference between open water and advanced open water course.

What depth can an advanced open water diver go to?
The advanced open water depth is up to 30m (100ft).

How long does PADI advanced open water e-learning take?
E-learning will take you up to  6-8 hours.

How long does it take to get certified for PADI advanced open water certification?
You can do the e-learning beforehand, which will take up to 6-8 hours. The 5 adventure dives will be done within 2-3 days.

🚢Last Chance: 11-20.03.2024 ->Malpelo Island 🦈 🌴 Dive in Cenotes & 🐊Croc Dive & 🐢Akumal