Meet new scuba divers, maintain a virtual dive log, participate in our forum, share underwater photos, research dive sites and more. Members login here.

Open Water Diver Course - Structure and Timeline
Greg - 4/11/2014 11:54 AM
Category: Training
Replies: 4

What is the timeline and structure of your Open Water Diver Course?

Here is what I did when I taught the PADI Open Water Diver class. Students would purchase the book and rdp manual. I would mail their books to them along with a copy of the video. At home, they would complete all the knowledge reviews and watch the video. I would schedule the "class" portion of the course for a Friday evening (starting around 4pm). The students would bring their books, completed knowledge reviews, return the borrowed video to me...and come prepared to take the quizzes and final exam that night. Most students would finish the quizzes and exam by 9pm. At this point, I had about a 98% pass rate.

On Saturday morning, we would arrange to meet at a pool that was convenient for the students. I’ve used pools at the YMCA, student’s home pools (as long as the pool was big/deep enough), dive center pools, hotel pools (with approval), etc. We would practice in the pool from about 8am until around 2pm. While in the pool, I would usually have students do the 10 minute "survival float". At this point, I had about a 85% pass rate...those that failed to adequately perform certain tasks, I did not let them continue.

On Saturday afternoon, we would head to a local dive site (usually the Blue Lagoon, Twin Lakes or 288 Lake in Texas). We would conduct dives 1 and 2 from about 3:30pm until 7pm. At this point, I had about an 80% pass rate.

Then on Sunday, we would meet around 9am and conduct dives 3 and 4, along with the land compass practice and the 300 meter swim. We would finish around 6pm on Sunday. I would always invite the students to participate in upcoming classes as well (to continue to practice their skills). Those that passed Saturday’s dives didn’t have a problem with the skills and tasks required on Sunday. So my overall pass rate is 80%.

Every student I trained loved the format of the course. They appreciated the flexibility. If a student didn’t "pass" the course, I allowed them to take the course again sometime in the future, at a slightly reduced rate. The biggest challenge for most people that didn’t pass were the mask drills (partial flood, full flood, etc.).
Eric_R - 4/11/2014 6:11 PM
My sons recently became certified under NAUI. I was certified in 1987 and not much has changed. 7 week class meeting one day a week for 4 hours. You would study the work book before each nights class and then go over it for one to two hours depending then have water work after that. On the last night you take the exam. If you fail you get another chance. After passing exam open water dives are scheduled so you do 4 dives. My local dive shop will do custom or private certification schedule if you pay extra. Also since they have classes going at several different locations all at a different week in progress you can miss a night and easily make it up at one of the other locations.
Sonnylynnvick75 - 4/14/2014 5:05 AM
I was certified by SSI, we bought our book and video, went home and completed the chapter reviews. We had our first class at 6pm on Friday where we reviewed then did the swim and float and snorkeling until 10 pm. Saturday we did our final exam st 9am then to the pool for skills training until 5pm. Sunday we had skills/pool training form 10am-3pm. Then, we had our open water dives a few weeks later doing 2 dives on Saturday (2 instead of 3 because of bad weather) and 3 on Sunday.
dalehall - 4/16/2014 6:38 AM
Our LDS just went from PADI to SDI.. They have the e-learning prior to coming ot the shop. The shop has a pool onsite, so the confined portion is one weekend. Full day Saturday and half day Sunday. Normally, the following weekend is the trip to O/W. 2 dives on Saturday, 2 dives on Sunday, and if there is enough time, your first "official" dive as an O/W diver is after that. So, after the e-learning, timeline is 2 full weekends, back to back.
Back when they were PADI, there was classroom for the first half of Saturday and Sunday would be a full day. Everything else was the same.
dontdiveenuf - 4/30/2014 11:19 AM
My NASDS (anyone remember them?) course, back in ’74, was very similar to what Progrower described, but there was only one shop in the area so we had to really be on the ball to attend classes. I liked having part classroom/part pool every evening - besides the theory, we’d talk about what we’d be practicing that same evening and it wasn’t overwhelming at all. I think it was about 6 weeks long, followed by shore entry for Dives 1 and 2, then up to us to schedule our last two dives from a boat within a month or two - that part was pretty flexible.

I’m still getting use to this new-fangled eLearning method - used it for AOW (although my original course gave me the equivalent of AOW knowledge and experience, and more), Rescue, and Dry Suit certs.