By Oliver Cox

Learning to dive is undoubtedly one of the best things I have ever done. It gives you an unparalleled sense of freedom that a non-scuba divers likely won’t achieve. You’ll see up close what those who merely float above miss. From Iceland’s world-famous Silfra dive site to diving the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, the world is certainly yours for the picking once you have your qualification.

So you may be thinking, “This sounds interesting, where do I start?”…This is where the Open Water Course comes in; this is the very first course you take if you want to submerge yourself in the world of scuba.

The Open Water Course provides you with the skills you need to dive confidently. You will learn 24 skills during your training, including assembly and disassembly of your equipment, removing and replacing your mask underwater, and simulating ‘out of air’ emergencies to name a few. These skills are normally performed in a confined environment; I learned all of my skills in Rosia Bay, though I know of people who did their training in a pool – it all depends on your local Dive Centre’s facilities. You will go through the skills with your instructor until they (and you!) are completely happy that you are ready to start the Open Water section of your training.

In the Open Water section of your training you apply concepts learned in your knowledge development and training through your confined skills which you have shown mastery on. You and your instructor will then go to a dive site suitable for your skill level, and experience the open water.

“It gives you an unparalleled sense of freedom.”

After a couple of dives, and once your instructor is happy that you have completed everything to a comfortable and confident level, you can finally call yourself a successfully qualified Open Water Diver! Your qualification will give you a depth limit of 18 Metres/60 feet with a diving buddy.

You are then qualified to dive wherever in the world you like (given your depth limits of course). Time to go and enjoy yourself!

Writing this article has brought back fond memories of when I did my Open Water Course – nearly two years ago now! Now as a qualified Rescue Diver, I still have the same enthusiasm as when I started, if not more, as I have continued to learn and discover as I have developed as a diver.

For all new divers, enjoy the sport safely, and spread the diving bug!

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