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Advanced Open Water Training: SDI or PADI
cahostetler - 3/01/2017 7:34 PM
Category: Training
Replies: 21

I am interested in furthering my scuba diving training. I did my Open Water Certification with an SDI shop but am considering changing to PADI for my AOW certification and training. I know SDI requires 4 specialty courses and 25 logged dives and PADI requires 5 specialty courses and only 5 logged dives. That isn’t really a consideration for me. I am really just interested in knowing which courses and corresponding learning materials are the better quality/comprehensive. I would appreciate hearing your feedback.
Eric_R - 3/02/2017 12:49 PM
I agree with DiverfromBaskingRidge, The instructor is a huge asset in your development. They can give you insight to things that only experience can provide. I see a few agency’s offer a 4 week course to go from a Open water to a master. The card will look great but the level of master is still what your abilities and experiences are. Dive dive dive!
DiverfromBaskingRidge - 3/03/2017 2:23 PM
Lol - so what you said about "if your comfortable with a particular instructor that’s what matters to you." Should not matter? :-)
BillParker - 3/03/2017 6:55 PM
Highly unlikely you’ll ever need more than OW. If you want to learn read the books and JUST DO IT. You don’t need the extra certs they are scams.
Scott_R - 3/03/2017 8:48 PM
From BillParker: Highly unlikely you’ll ever need more than OW.

I thought the same thing after OW, then after advanced, then after rescue. By the time I earned divemaster I realized there was so much more to learn.

Additional certs aren’t scams. They are a way to expand your diving experience and often introduce you to new aspects of diving you didn’t know existed.
ELLOCODIABLO - 3/03/2017 9:05 PM
From BillParker: Highly unlikely you’ll ever need more than OW. If you want to learn read the books and JUST DO IT. You don’t need the extra certs they are scams.

Yep.Trimix.Wreck Penetration.Cave.Decompression procedures. Rebreather. ....all scams just read the books and give it a whirl.. what’s the worst that can happen
halfjacket - 3/03/2017 9:46 PM
I don’t think Bill was meaning that Trimix, wreck diving and Cave diving classes are scams. Sounds like "advanced diver" or "master Diver" is what he meant. I agree that you don’t need to be called an advanced diver or master diver. Has never helped me one bit. If you want to be a Trimix diver, go learn form the shop to be a TriMix diver. If you want to become rebreath certified, then go take rebreather. But "advanced diver", yea that’s a scam.
Scott_R - 3/03/2017 9:56 PM
Like others have said, the instructor is important. It is an incredibly difficult task to evaluate this without taking classes from both of them. One consideration might be finding out what specialties each instructor is authorized to teach and find out who has more that match your interests. This may be something to consider even between instructors from the same agency.
Some agencies give instructors a lot of freedom to do their own thing and this can be a good thing if you have a great instructor or a bad thing if you have a not so great instructor. I don’t know where SDI falls in this regard but I can tell you PADI has a fairly regimented program. That means all instructors need to generally follow the same program and teach the same material to the same standard. That standard has recently been increased to teaching skills neutrally buoyant rather than kneeling on the bottom. PADI standards translate into a fairly consistent result as opposed to wide variation you can find when instructors are given more freedom. It is obviously a pretty good system because for the 19th consecutive year, PADI has been awarded the prestigious TAUCHEN Award for Best Diver Training Organization.

I can’t speak to the prerequisites for SDI but AOW for PADI is intended to follow OW and gives divers a lot of choice in the type of diving they want to do. PADI is super flexible on AOW. You choose 5 specialties of your choice to try out. If you run out of time or maybe you only have interest in 3 areas, you can stop at 3 dives and earn the adventure diver cert. You can go back any time and finish up. Some people will say this doesn’t make you what they consider an "advanced" diver. You will be advanced past open water and that is the point. PADI allows you to baby step your way through OW & AOW if you want or need to.

AOW is not a scam. It gets you additional diving experience under the supervision of an instructor. It gives you exposure to different types of diving you did not experience in your open water course and introduces task loading.

I am not saying SDI is bad and I swear I didn’t drink the PADI kool-aid. I just know the PADI program and I think it is tough to beat.
ELLOCODIABLO - 3/03/2017 9:59 PM
Reread his post cuz that certainly how i read it. I certainly wouldnt advise a newer diver to just wing it . agree most certs are scams. The training agencys had to come up with a way to stay in biz.
halfjacket - 3/03/2017 10:02 PM
No sir, I would never tell any diver to just wing it. Bad advise. I guess I read his post differently than you.
ELLOCODIABLO - 3/03/2017 10:06 PM
if you check into it most advanced dive classes (tech,cave,ect)require AOW to advance. Dove caves for years before I got certed. The card certainly gets access to sites. Its all a $$$$$ scam. Pay to play
ELLOCODIABLO - 3/03/2017 10:10 PM
While i had some great precave and post cave mentors i wouldnt go tryin rebreather or trimix without an instructor there to guide me.
ELLOCODIABLO - 4/02/2017 12:49 AM
What responsibility does a buddy actually have legally? The boat captain and crew i can see but i as a buddy am not forcing you into the water. Dont know how everyone else feels but i have the mentality that im diving solo with a buddy. I dont expect rescue. We practice and train at the end of most dives and short of catastrophic gas loss or major health issue theres no reason i shouldn’t be able to save my own butt. Not that i wont assist. Have on several occasions. I dont agree with the buddy system. Theres no rescue like self rescue. Theres actually 2 good threads on CDF that talk about buddy edicate and a recent fatality were the buddy is being blamed.. ...after they did 3 230 ft dives shooting video. ... ....ill stack 2 deep decos in a day but not 3. ..thats kinda crazy ....would gross negligence really matter at that point?
ELLOCODIABLO - 4/02/2017 8:43 PM
Even better look up school sink lawsuit or the wes skiles lawsuit.
bsharp117 - 9/12/2017 9:51 AM
It doesn’t matter, its up to you and you level of diving. Like some else stated, speak with the instructor’s and past students. Unfortunately the dive industry has become "lets certify in advance courses without extensive training". Would you turn down several hundred dollars if you owned a business. The dive shops are NO different. Become proficient in the diving you plan on doing the most of. Experience is the best "C" card in my opinion.