“My course is done, what do I do next?” This is a question I am asked all of them time and the answer is dependent on a number of things. Where are you in your diving? In other words, are you a new diver, someone with a little diving experience or someone with years of experience? This is the first step in finding a pathway into your diving future. Another question to ask yourself is what do I really want to do? Do I want to enjoy the fish or dive deep into wrecks?
If you remember from your Open Water class, there are four things that help make you a safe comfortable diver. We called this the Diver Diamond. The four parts of the diamond are proper knowledge, skills, equipment and experience. Every level of diving requires a balance of these four things. So let’s look at some possible pathways.
New Open Water Diver
You have completed your open water program and if you took it from Oceanic Ventures, your program probably included a Computer Diving Specialty and a Nitrox specialty. These two specialties along with twelve dives qualify you as a Specialty Diver.
To help you progress in your diving, enrolling in one of our Specialty Diver Weekends will let you continue to work on your buoyancy and diving skills with one of our diving professionals and will give you more knowledge of diving. This program includes the following specialties:
- Search & Relocation
- Night & Limited Visibility Diving
You may also want to enroll in a Deep Diver specialty which you can complete on a trip. Completing this weekend will qualify you for your Advanced Open Water card (along with 24 logged dives). We offer this the second week/weekend of the month.
Again, this program is designed to help you develop additional skills and knowledge to make diving more fun and to let you gain a little more experience underwater. And let’s not forget, it is a fun weekend! The water stays relatively warm in Houston through November so it is great to do in the fall. While we continue to offer the programs during the winter months, you will have to add a Dry Suit Specialty to your Course selection.
Advanced Open Water Diver
Ok, you have some specialties and some diving under your belt so, where do you go from here? My recommendation is to enroll in a Stress & Rescue class. This program will help you build more confidence in your diving abilities and to recognize problems before the dive begins. One of our clients even commented that it “was worth the price of admission.”
Another factor is that with fifty logged dives, four specialties and Stress & Rescue you will be qualified for your Master Diver card!
Other Diving Interests
You may also be thinking about getting involved in more specialized diving areas like wreck or cave diving, Extended Range diving (staying down longer or going a little deeper) or going all out for Technical Diving. Each of these programs has a progression of courses that build on your advanced open water knowledge and skills. We offer these courses throughout the year so if you are interested, contact me and I will help you get enrolled in the proper set of courses. A good place to start this program is to enroll in a recreational side-mount program/advanced buoyancy class. It is the first step down the extended range path.
Other programs like photography can be done by divers at all levels. The main diving skill for photography is buoyancy – it is bad form to kill the coral around your subject. There are various levels of equipment which enable you to capture those memories and it depends on how technical you want to be (i.e. point-n-shoot vs housed SLR) and how much you want to invest. We can help you evaluate your wants and desires.
Some people want to get more involved in working with certified divers or new divers. Like technical diving, there is a progression of courses leading from Dive Guide to Dive Master to Specialty Instructor to Assistant Instructor to Open Water Instructor all the way up to an Instructor Trainer.
No matter where you are in your diving skills and education there are programs to help take you to the next level. The important thing is to keep diving and keep learning in order to maintain and improve your skills. If I can help in anyway, please leave me a comment or drop me a line.