If, like me, you have been an instructor for a while and have been thinking about some ideas that might lead to improvements in the PADI Open Water Course then you’ll be pleased to know that as of July 14th 2014 some very interesting changes will be implemented. Details of new standards can be found as always in the Undersea Journal and I shall be writing a blog to highlight amendments to changes in PADI courses every quarter.
After 2 years of culminating analytical information the following improvements have been made:
Loose tank strap: Many times a tank has strayed from the strap of a new BCD or ill adjusted buckle, now everyone will know how to deal with this situation and when to recognize this.
Emergency weight drop: Students will practice dropping weights and quick release systems in order to experience the feeling of instant positive buoyancy.
Air Management: Students will have to give the correct estimate of air quantity within 20 bars.
Confined Mini Dive: In the pool students will simulate real diving procedures as buddy teams and respond to problems practiced in the skill set.
Proper Tank Lifting Techniques: learning how to safely carry the tanks when not in the water.
Audible Signal: The instructor will make a noise to gain attention and the students will have to respond to it.
A safety stop is now required on Dive 4, but we practice this on every dive
Trim weights: Simple check if weights are balanced.
SMB use: Finally! students will learn how to launch a buoy, which should be an important skill for anyone wishing to dive in currents or in big waves.
In addition there is a shift from some of the staged dive skills to dive flexible. This can free up Dive 4 to be dived as any normal certified ‘fun dive’ if the student hasn’t got time to dive after the course.
The Open Water course is linked with DSD programs and the Scuba Diver and these changes impact slightly. The Scuba Diver for example now doesn’t have to include Tired Diver Tow. And the DSD course has to be conducted separately: no credit is given for the dive as OW dive number 1 because now in the Open Water Course dive number 1 has to incorporate partial mask clearing and Reg Recovery.
There is all new PADI materials including video’s with new footage, which I can assume means no more pink lycra jump suits and 80’s swim suits 🙂
Looking forward to DEMA where we will attend a PADI update so we can start teaching according the new standards as soon as we get back!