Pool work done!
You've finished your confined water 5 pool dives, fantastic, and now you are wondering whats next? You are 2/3rds of the way to being Padi Open Water diver and all your hard work is about to pay off!
When you complete your pool work, your instructor will have you fill out a log book with all of the information about the skills you did in the pool. This is your referal form.
What's a referal?
If you plan on doing your dives with a different instructor or shop, this is proof you completed the pool work. Many people opt to do the pool portion at home and the ocean portion elsewhere. It saves vacation time and for many, oceans conditions are much warmer elsewhere. PADI shops will accept your referal gladly, the same applies to most scuba training agencies. Non PADI agencies may have you do a skills assessment in the pool and issue a written test. This is normal for any student switching agencies. Do your ocean dives as soon as you can, preferably within a few weeks. If you wait a month or 2 instructors will have you do a pool refresher. If you wait longer than that you may be required to redo the 5 pool dives for an extra fee.
If diving with a different dive shop, the cost of your open water dives, also known as checkout dives is separate unless noted at the time you signed up for your PADI course.
What will I do during my checkout dives?
Instructors have a saying, "We don't teach on the beach." This isn't really true but your checkout dives are to show you have mastered the skills you learned in the pool. If you need assistance an instructor will help because we want you to succeed.
You will do 4 checkout dives over 2 days or more with the last dive being a mini dive. You will also be introduced to 2 new skills (see, we do teach on the beach), compass use and surface marker deployment.
Is it harder in the ocean?
Many are intimidated by the vastness of the ocean but I am here to tell you, skills are easier there. "How can that be?" you might ask? First off you have way more space then in the pool and a big second is you will be deeper. Training at 25 to 45 feet makes buoyancy at lot easier. Adding a bit of air to your bcd is less likely to cause a dramatic change in depth. Still use small increments tlike you were trained in the pool. (Yup, that was a legal disclaimer)
"But what about CESA????" Believe it or not, CESA, the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent is easier in the ocean. Your instructor will use a line to control your ascent speed. As you ascend, air in your lungs will expand giving you that much wanted extra air.
What if I can't finish all my checkout dives?
In the unlikely event you can't finish all of your checkout dives, as long as you complete open water dives 1 and 2 (usually day 1) and Snorkel to Regulator Exchange, Cramp Release, Inflatable Signal Tube/DSMB Deployment and Emergency Weight Drop (if you didn't do it in the pool) you can be certified as a Scuba diver. How is that different than an Open Water Diver? As a Padi Scuba diver your depth is limited to 40 feet and you can only dive with a Dive professional. Other agencies may have the same requirements. The great part is you can always come back and do dives 3 and 4 to complete your Open Water Diver training and be able to dive with a certified buddy from any training agency.
Yay I'm certified!
You finished your course and you are now a PADI Open Water diver, the adventure is just beginning. Dive as much as you can and find out what type of diving you like to do. Maybe you love shallow reefs, ship wrecks, swim throughs or fish watching. Warm water or cold water, 20 feet or 120 feet, there are tons of Padi courses that will help you find your way