PADI Open Water Diver Course - An ideal diving course for beginners

by Hagenz

The PADI Open Water Course is a great way to discover the fascinating world of scuba diving. It’s not only one of the best diving courses for beginners but also great fun.

Scuba diving is a sport that is enjoying increasing popularity. Diving is not only a passion but also an extreme sport. Therefore, to explore the colorful underwater world safely, a thorough diving education is mandatory.

The international diving association PADI  (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) therefore offers beginners the Open Water Diver Course, in short OWD Course. In this course diving students will learn all the basic practical skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to dive safely in open water.

Requirements for participation in the Open Water Diver Course

To join an OWD Course, no prior knowledge of diving is required. A sound physical health and a certain level of fitness are required. Furthermore, all participants must prove that they can swim.

Participants must be at least 15 years old to complete the OWD Course. For children who are 10 years or older, PADI offers the Junior Open Water Diver Course.

The PADI OWD Course Structure

The PADI Open Water course has a modular structure. That is what makes this diving course for beginners so flexible - the theoretical and practical modules can be completed separately.

The OWC Course consists of five theory sessions, five dives in a pool or confined water and four open water dives.

The theoretical part of the ODW Course

During the theory lessons, the students will acquire important and interesting knowledge about the underwater world, diving equipment, the planning of dives, underwater navigation, the prevention and detection of problems and the most important diving signs.

The theory part also includes topics concerning diving physics, biology and health issues. Of course the instructor will also explain all the exercises that the students will have to master in the practical part.

To make the lessons more varied, the theoretical knowledge is conveyed using videos, the PADI Open Water Manual and through lectures from a qualified PADI instructor.

The practical part of the ODW Course

In the practical part the students have to apply the skills they've learned during the theory lessons. The exercises are initially demonstrated in a pool or in confined water by the instructor and then have to be repeated by each student individually.

The practical exercises include among others:

  • Assembling the scuba gear
  • Descent and ascent
  • Regulator recovery and clearing
  • Mask clearing
  • Different emergency ascents
  • Buoyancy skills

When all students have completed the practical exercises to the satisfaction of the instructor, some of these exercises are repeated in the open water during the four training dives.

Certification - The PADI Open Water Diver Certificate

After the students successfully mastered all modules of the OWD Course, they still have to pass a final written exam. Only then they can be certified by their instructor and will receive their PADI certification card. This PADI certification is valid for a lifetime and allows the novice divers to dive to a depth of 18 meters, in all open waters worldwide.

About the authors

The Hagenz are Angelica and Daniel Hagen.

Angelica is a certified translator for Italian, German and English with more than 16 years of professional experience.

Daniel is a trained chef and hotel manager; 15 years he toured the world as a branch manager and diving instructor.

Updated: 03/26/2012, Hagenz
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Hagenz on 08/19/2011

Hey Ralpapajan! Now, what "old age" are we talking about here? My oldest student was 67 - but virtually there is no age limit; just ask your doctor for a diving check up. Anyhow, you gave me a great idea for my next topic. Thanks and have a great day!

Ralpapajan on 08/19/2011

Always wanted to learn to dive ut never got around to it. Do you have any advice for older people?

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