Open Water Diver (OWD)


Open Water Diver is the first certification level. After fulfilling all the requirements and passing the final exam you are a certified OWD, meaning you are allowed to dive to a maximum depth of 18m when accompanied by a buddy with the same qualification as you or higher. The reason why you won’t be allowed to dive deeper is because a dive profile below 18m is considered a deep dive and for this profile you need to go to the next certification level: Advanced OWD.

These are the requirements to become OWD:Course Overview
As you can see, to become OWD you need to pass 5 theory units, 5 confined water units and 4 open water dives. What does it mean?

Theory UniExamts
To study the theory, you receive the Open Water Diver Manual and DVD. This material contains 5 educational units. At the end of each unit you can find a Knowledge Review with the most important topics that you should remember. You need to complete every single Knowledge Review and correct it with the instructor (the diving centre has to keep the Knowledge Reviews, because they are a proof that their students completed the theory). Afterwards or parallel to this, you have to complete 4 quizzes with ten multiple choice questions each. The quizzes have no influence on passing the final exam they just show if you are to take it. To pass this exam consisting of 50 multiple choice questions you have to get at least 75% of the questions right.

Confined Water SConfined Waterçessions
The Open Water Diver Course contains 25 diving skills that are divided into 5 Confined Water Sessions. During these sessions we simulate situations that can occur during any dive, some of them extreme emergency situations, for example a flooded mask, cramps, or running out of air. You practice to solve them by first watching the instructor perform a skill, then repeating it until you manage to do it properly. The five models can be combined to two dives at the minimum (e.g. CW 1, 2, 3 in one day and CW 4, 5 the next day).

Open Water DivesOpen Water Dive2
Once you successfully performed the skills in confined water, you are ready to repeat some of them in the Open Water Dives. This time the instructor won’t demonstrate the skill, because in the open sea he/she needs to be looking after the safety of the students. This means you have to recognise the hand signal of the skill and then immediately perform it. To become OWD you have to complete 4 Open Water Dives, the first two dives at a maximum depth of 12m and the last two at a maximum depth of 18m. The Open Water Dives also contain underwater excursions or little ‘fun dives’ that allows you to gain some diving experience.

This is the schedule we follow in ‘Abyss Diving School’:OWD schedule

As you can see in the first column, the first day is dedicated to the DSD, about which we already wrote  in a previous post. As we explained, the DSD can be accredited to the SD and OWD course, because the Confined Water Session 1 and Open Water Dive 1 of those courses are already completed. You can learn more about the advantages of Continuous Education in another post, ConEd.

Scuba Diver Course, OWD’s little brother…
This course is for students that don’t have enough time or money to complete the OWD. It contains a little bit more than half of the OWD course: 3 theory units (without exam), 3 Confined Water Sessions and 2 Open Water Dives. Because Open Water Dives 1 and 2 are to a maximum depth of 12m the SD license has a maximum depth of 12m and the SD always has to dive accompanied by a PADI professional (Instructor, Assistance Instructor, or Divemaster). The reason for this is that a SD skipped theory units 4 and 5, in which you learn how to plan a dive, as well as Confined Water Sessions 4 and 5 and Open Water Dive 4. As an SD you are therefore not ready to plan a dive with any buddy and you still need a professional looking after you.

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