Scuba divers

PADI Open Water vs Advanced Open Water Diving

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors is referred to as PADI. It’s a recreational diving membership and diver training organisation. And any PADI scuba diving credentials obtained are recognised and accepted worldwide.

Two types of diving that will be explained in this article are PADI Open Water Diving (OWD) and PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) – and the differences in the courses. See PADI Open Water vs Advanced Open Water diving here…

PADI Open Water Dive Course

The PADI Open Water Dive Course consists of three main sections:

  • Knowledge development
  • Confined water dives
  • Open water dives

You need to be over the age of 15 and medically fit to dive. During the course, you’ll be taught basic diving skills through course work and demonstrations. An e-learning option is now available so that you can do all your theory work online – which takes around eight to 10 hours to complete.

Initial training will be carried out in a swimming pool before moving on to open water. You need to be able to demonstrate a minimum fitness level and basic swimming skills such as swimming without stopping for at least 100 metres, and float and tread water for 10 minutes.

You’ll be taught the basic principles in theory followed by practice in the pool. You’ll learn how to:

  • Set up your scuba gear
  • Clear your scuba mask from water
  • Get in and out of the water
  • Communicate and navigate underwater
  • Dive in shallow confined water
  • Dive in open water

You’ll also be taught buoyancy control principles and safety procedures. An Open Water scuba diving course generally takes around three to four days to complete, but an intensive course can be completed in two days – with theory online courses completed beforehand.

The PADI open water depth is up to 18 metres. Open Water courses typically include the equipment rental you need – but if you want to buy your own basic gear for extra practice you’ll need:

  • Mask and snorkel
  • Fins or boots
  • Wetsuit
  • Dive computer
  • Regulator
  • Buoyancy control device

PADI Advanced Open Water Dive Course

The PADI Advanced Open Water course builds on the skills learned during the Open Water course. It’s designed to make you feel safe, comfortable, and more confident in the water. Leaning to navigate, drift dive off a boat, and diving with a full-face mask will also be accomplished.

You must be aged 15 and medically fit to dive. And you must have a PADI or other training organisation Open Water Diver qualification. Other knowledge and abilities you learn also include:

  • Practical aspects of deep diving
  • Physiological effects of deep scuba diving
  • Navigation using time, visual landmarks, and kick-cycles
  • Use of underwater compass, dive computer, and Recreational Dive Planner

This course consists of five different dives – each one emphasising a particular skill or activity focusing on an individual diving speciality. You’ll need to complete two PADI advanced open water requirements – an Underwater Navigation Adventure Dive and a Deep Adventure Dive – other dives include wreck diving, night diving, and search and rescue.

Choosing your additional dives will be dependant on the course environment and where you’ll be diving in the future.

PADI advanced open water depth is up to 30 metres. You’ll learn how to make contingency plans for this advanced open water depth which lets you get to know different underwater species. You’ll also be taught how to use a compass and orientate yourself underwater – finding your way back to your initial dropping-off point.

During the mandatory Deep Adventure Dive, you’ll learn how to deal with the effects of increased air consumption, decreased stop times, declining buoyancy, and nitrogen narcosis. You’ll also learn about pressure and colour changes at depth – completing tasks and exercises that indicate to your instructor how you’re reacting.

The compulsory Underwater Navigation Dive prioritises in bringing you back to the boat or shore. Compass navigation skills that have been practised onshore will be refined under the water using kick cycles, visual landmarks and time.

All the basic scuba gear and equipment you need – including an underwater compass – will be provided by your dive instructor. And other speciality gear will also be offered if you choose to participate in the underwater digital photography for example.

Advanced open water certification can be completed in two to three days with up to three dives carried out in just one day. Usually, this consists of two dives during the day and a night dive – if you choose the night dive as one of your options.

Learn to Dive in Tulum

Why not get your Open Water certification with Koox where you’ll be introduced to scuba diving in a fun and completely safe way? Koox Dive Masters will teach you basic scuba skills that are practised off calm beaches in cenotes and crystal-clear sea waters. Your first open water dives will allow you to explore a wonderful underwater world of exquisite corals and an abundance of marine life.