Shall I do the Advanced Course straight after my Open Water Certification?

By: Sandy Graham, PADI Staff Instructor

By the end of your PADI Open Water Course you are certified to dive with another certified buddy to a maximum depth of 18m. The likelihood that 2 students with just 4 dives each would feel confident to go and dive together independently without a guide is very slim! However by the end of the Advanced Course, they should be feeling a lot more positive about the idea. Being able to dive independently with a buddy is one of the main selling points of the Open Water Course so that is something we should be aiming towards. Doing the Advanced Course will get you thinking like a diver.

Certified Open Water Divers Group Pic

What does the Advanced course involve? Do I have to go down to 30m?

The course is made up of 5 training dives, the Deep (30m limit) and Navigation dives are compulsory and the other 3 dives can be chosen from a list of options. Some of the options include:

    Our most popular selections are the PPB, Night, and Wreck. The order we do these dives can also be very helpful. We usually begin with a couple of shallow dives, which may include the PPB and Navigation. This is great for people who may be worried they aren’t ready to go to 30m so soon after getting certified. In the early stages of learning to dive the rate of improvement is very high, so with these 2 shallow dives before the deeper dives much more confidence can be gained. What must also be acknowledged is that the 30m limit is not a target. A deep dive is classed as anything deeper than 18m. One of the benefits of going deeper is to see a greater variety of marine species, often including species you wouldn’t see when snorkeling.
    Sidemount CD Oli during IDC

    I´m tired of Open Water theory, I just want to fun dive…

    It´s a valid point! The theory for the Open Water course is a lot to handle, so much to learn in such a short space of time. You´ll be pleased to know there is much less theory involved in the Advanced. There are no videos to watch and no exams! The advanced theory is flexible and can be done at any time during the course. It usually begins with a section called thinking like a diver. 

    This is focused around 4 central dive skills that help to keep yourself safe, and have more enjoyable dives. Beyond this, each of the 5 dives have a short knowledge review associated with them. This just builds a little further on the theory covered in the Open Water course, looking at more specific techniques used in certain dives. For example how to communicate with torches on a night dive, or how to avoid hazards common to wreck diving.

    Building on what you´ve already learned…

    A real plus side of continuing straight into the Advanced Course is that you can continue with the momentum of learning generated on the Open Water Course. Buoyancy control in particular is a skill that requires a lot of ´feel´and finesse. In order to improve it requires a conscious effort to practice, which may not happen during a fun dive without the presence of an instructor. There may also be a chance to dive in more challenging conditions, with more waves or current. Again, facing these conditions for the first time with an instructor will give you more chance of learning the appropriate techniques to make sure you still stay safe and enjoy your dive. Buoyancy control is particularly important during the descents and ascents. In the open water course you start with control descents, most often holding on to a mooring line. By dive 4 you introduce a free descent for the first time, a challenging task for any new diver. Repetition is key to mastery, with another 5 dives on the Advanced Course the descents and ascents should start to feel somewhat routine, all under the watchful eye of your instructor. 

    To summarize and answer the question: Shall I do the Advanced Course straight after my Open Water Course? 


    Sorry for the vague response, what I would suggest is that you enjoyed the Open Water Course and you plan to dive again in the future you should do more training. You must learn to walk before you can run! Or if the Advanced does seem like too much too soon, then the Peak Performance Buoyancy speciality would be my suggestion. After which, the Advanced should be much  more achievable. Cementing in what is learned of the Open Water and extending your limits will ultimately make you feel safer and help you to enjoy diving more, which ultimately will bring you back to diving in the future!

    © Crystal Dive Koh Tao