Advanced Open Water Diving

Photo by: DiverTown

What is Advanced Open Water Diving Certification?

Advanced Open Water Diving Certification is a crucial follow-up certification that aspiring divers can attain after completing their Open Water Diver course. This certification allows divers to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to explore deeper depths and participate in various specialized diving activities. The Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD) course is designed to enhance divers’ confidence, comfort, and competence in the underwater environment, enabling them to experience the full potential of scuba diving.

History and Development

The Advanced Open Water Diver certification traces its origins to the early days of recreational scuba diving when pioneers like Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan were still refining the sport. The need for more extensive and specialized training arose as diving technology and techniques evolved, and divers sought to explore deeper and more challenging environments. Today, several internationally recognized training organizations, such as PADI, SSI, and NAUI, offer Advanced Open Water Diver courses tailored to the unique needs and interests of divers worldwide.

Course Structure

The AOWD course typically comprises five Adventure Dives, including a mandatory Deep Dive and Underwater Navigation Dive. The remaining three dives are electives that divers can choose based on their interests and available options at the dive center. Some popular elective options include Wreck Diving, Night Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Search and Recovery, and Underwater Photography.

Deep Dive

This dive focuses on techniques and considerations for diving between 60 and 100 feet (18-30 meters). Divers learn about the physiological effects of increased pressure at depth, managing gas consumption, and safely ascending from deeper dives.

Underwater Navigation Dive

In this dive, divers develop their compass and natural navigation skills, enabling them to accurately estimate distance, direction, and time underwater. These skills are essential for divers to find their way back to their starting point or a pre-determined location.

Elective Dives

Elective Adventure Dives allow divers to explore specific diving activities, environments, or techniques, expanding their skillsets and experiences. Each elective dive focuses on a particular aspect of scuba diving, such as wreck exploration, night diving, or underwater photography, and provides divers with the foundational knowledge and practical skills needed to participate in these activities safely and confidently.

Prerequisites and Requirements

To enroll in an Advanced Open Water Diver course, divers must:

  1. Hold a recognized Open Water Diver certification from an approved training organization.
  2. Be at least 15 years old (12 years old for Junior Advanced Open Water Diver certification).
  3. Be in good physical health and able to pass a medical questionnaire or, if required, obtain a medical clearance from a physician.

Benefits and Opportunities

Advanced Open Water Diver certification offers numerous advantages and opportunities for divers, including:

More profound Dive Limits

AOWD certification allows divers to explore depths of up to 100 feet (30 meters), significantly increasing the range of dive sites and environments available to them.

Improved Skills and Confidence

The AOWD course helps divers refine their skills, boost their confidence, and enhance their overall diving experience.

Specialized Diving Activities

The elective dives allow divers to develop specialized skills and knowledge in areas such as wreck diving, night diving, or underwater photography, opening up new possibilities for exploration and adventure.

Greater Dive Safety

Advanced training in areas such as deep diving, navigation, and buoyancy control helps divers become safer and more self-reliant, reducing the risk of accidents and incidents.

Access to Further Training

AOWD certification is a prerequisite for several advanced and professional-level diving courses, such as Rescue Diver and Divemaster.

Key Takeaways

The Advanced Open Water Diver certification is a vital stepping stone for divers seeking to broaden their horizons and delve deeper into the underwater world. By enhancing their skills, knowledge, and confidence, AOWD-certified divers unlock a wealth of opportunities to experience new environments, engage in specialized diving activities, and continue their personal and professional development within the scuba diving community. With its flexible, modular structure, the AOWD course allows divers to tailor their training to their individual interests and goals, ensuring a truly enriching and rewarding diving journey. Ultimately, the Advanced Open Water Diver certification is an essential investment for any diver looking to maximize their potential and fully immerse themselves in the wonders of the underwater world.