PADI New / Revised Open Water Divers Course Part 3

Let’s look at what has changed to the Confined Water section of the new / revised Open Water Diver Course. Obviously there are new skills introduced as well as there are enhancement of existing skills, also there are some shifting around of skills. Most interestingly PADI has introduce a divers skill practice / dive planning slate to the student divers. Yes, your student divers are going to carry a slate with them while they learn how to dive. Pencil is not included in the crew pack though so may be is time to stock up some pencils for your student divers to use or better yet stock up some slate and pencil packages and sell your student divers a set of those. On the skill practice slate, your student divers can check a happy face or so to speak a not too sure face on each of the skill you introduced to them. This will indicate to you what extra practice is required for any particular skill. These practice can be done with the supervision of you or your certified assistant. These practice are recommended to be done during the last confined water dive, the mini dive session. We will get into the mini dive a little later.
As for new skills, the first one is air management skill. Your student divers need to know their air pressure within 20 bar/300 psi. You or your certified assistant will ask your student divers’ air pressure. Your student divers without checking their gauge, they have to report their air pressure to you within the 20 bar/300 psi margin. Then you will verify your student divers’ pressure gauge. This skill will help your student divers building a habit of monitoring their own air pressure frequently. These have to be done not just in confined water, but also in open water dives.
Second new skill is Re-securing a loose cylinder band. This is a dive flexible skill and you have an option to do it at the surface or under water or both. Buddy assistance is permitted when this skill is performed. I believe this skill is a very realistic skill and in most case, we have been doing it in the legacy program anyway.
Third new skill is checking and adjusting trim. We will help the student divers to adjust the right amount of weight needed as well as help them to place and distribute their weight: weight belt, weight integrated pouch, trim weight pocket or ankle weight etc.
Forth new skill is proper lifting technique. Obviously this will be done before getting in the water during the donning equipment period. You will emphasize to student divers when lifting scuba equipment, they must bend at knee to lift.
Fifth skill is Emergency Weight Drop at surface. Please don’t get confused with Buoyancy Swimming Accent. This skill is to be done at the surface. Your student divers don’t need to drop all their weight but enough to gain positive at surface. They don’t necessary to drop both weight pouches if they are wearing weight integrated BC. It is a dive flexible skill and also you have an option to have your student divers to perform this skill either in confined water or open water depending on your logistic. If you worry about damaging the pool bottom while dropping weight, you may want to consider having a certified assistant to catch the weight below or place a mat or basket at the bottom of the pool. There is some suggestions in the PADI Guide to Teaching.
The followings are some enhanced skills:
Good Surface Habit – student divers to have mask on all the time, either regulator or snorkel in the mouth while at surface and be positive buoyant at surface;
Staying within Reach of Buddy;
Descend and Ascend using buoyant control – simulate environmentally sensitive bottom and instruct student divers not to touch the bottom while either descending or ascending;
Relax diaphragm rather than Hyperventilating while doing skin diving skill.
Shifted Skills:
Disconnect LP hose is now a dive flexible skill and can be perform in any confined water dive except for those Scuba Divers, they have to master this skill before certification;
Weight Remove and Replace is also now dive flexible skill. In fact you have an option to split this skill in weight replace and weight remove and perform in different time or different dive. For example, you may ask your student diver to wear their weight at surface too deep to stand when you start the dive, and ask your student divers to remove their weight before they exit by the end of the dive.
All of the above mentioned skills are performance requirement and please make sure every one master the skills before move on.
Last to mentioned is the mini dive. This is the time your student diver to use the other side of their slate: dive planning slate. This mini dive plan should really be very short and brief. It is to give your student divers a taste of planning their own dive. This will sure make the open water dive a lot smoother. Your student divers will team up in a buddy of maximum 3 and plan and execute their dive. They will have to plan their entry and exit, their return air pressure, but since this is confined water, you might want to assign their return air pressure. They will also plan for any emergency procedures such as buddy separation, out of air etc. This is also a great time to have your student divers to catch up with some of the skill practices. For those “not too sure” skill, this will be the perfect time to review and more practice. They may either work with you or your certified assistant. Also this will be a perfect time for your student divers to practice safety stop since this is a performance requirement in open water dive.
That will be it for Confined Water. We will further discuss Open Water in the next few days, most likely after I come back from Cayman :) . See ya ;)


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