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I’ve earned an Open Water, now what?

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By: Jessica Brown

Congratulations! You just earned your Open Water Scuba Diver Certification, but now what do you do with it? Well to answer your question in the vaguest way possible… you can do almost anything! Was that not the answer that you looking for? Okay, I will elaborate more.

 LOCAL

  • Improve your skills
  • Increase your confidence
  • Understand your gear
  • Become a better buddy

Now that you are Open Water certified, you can take a buddy and go out to your local lake, quarry, beach, etc. Going to your local dive spot will allow you to hone in those skills so you can eventually master them and feel like a pro. Feeling more confident in the water will allow you to explore a little bit more and see things that you’ve never noticed before. You can chat with your local dive shop and see what places they recommend. Sometimes, they will do guided dives if you want to have a professional with you at a new site. Your local shop can also help you select the proper gear for your area.

While practicing your skills, you will start to understand your gear. What does that mean? You can explore your dive computer (some have some pretty neat settings), get your weight down (not your body weight silly!), etc. Getting to know your gear allows you to be more confident in the water as well. Becoming really familiar with all of these skills allows you to become a better buddy too. You will begin to know what you are comfortable doing and what you would like to go see in a dive. Then you can communicate that with your buddy. Dives become easier to plan.

TRAVEL

  • Doesn’t have to be far
  • Learn new skills
  • Discover marine life
  • Explore new waters
  • Meet new people

Tired of the same old place? Well, it’s time to venture out!

This can be a new place that’s just down the road or this could be a destination dive spot (lucky you!). Going to new places also allows you to expand on your skills. If you were certified in a lake, you can go to the ocean and feel current or the waves. Let’s flip that around. If you were ocean certified and go to a lake, you may be taken back by the lack of movement of the water. Also, different areas have different marine life that you can see.

Getting out to a variety of places also allows you to meet new people and let me say, divers, are an interesting group. The diving world is tight-knit. You might run into the same people at a couple of different places. You can check with your local dive shop to see if they do group trips. Most of the time, it’s cheaper to go with a group, and a professional is there to help assist you in your experience…

EDUCATION

  • SDI (Scuba Diving International)
  • TDI (Technical Diving International)
  • ERDI (Emergency Response International)
  • PFI (Performance Freediving International)
  • FRTI (First Response Training International)
  • Expanding skills

Do you feel like you’ve mastered your open water skills?

Well, now you have the power to try new things! There are so many classes offered by SDI, TDI, ERDI, PFI, and First Response Training that you can expand on. Wait, what are all of those letters that I just mentioned? Well, you know of SDI, but let me briefly tell you about the others.

TDI tackles more advanced diving such as overhead diving, rebreathers, open circuit, or service. ERDI is a Public Safety Diving (PSD) agency that trains police, fire, and other public safety organizations in search and rescue techniques that apply to almost any submerged environment. PFI offers multifaceted educational Freediving and Breath-Hold Survival courses targeted at snorkelers, freedivers, spearfishers, surfers, special operations teams, and rescue teams. First Response Training International provides CPR, First Aid, and Layperson Rescue Training for caregivers, personal trainers, construction workers, and anyone else who potentially may need these life-saving skills.

Many divers take the open water course and think they can dive anywhere. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that is not the case. Some of the places that you would like to dive might be deeper than what you are currently certified. If that’s the case, check out our Deep Diver Course. When doing a deeper dive, you may want to look into Computer Nitrox Diver Course and the possible benefits that nitrox offers a diver. The Night and Limited Visibility Diver Course is also a really good course to take. Why dive at night? The marine life that you see every dive will act differently at night. Different marine life comes out at night (search: marine life at night, some of the creatures are trippy looking). When diving at night or in limited visibility, it would be good to also take the course paired with the Underwater Navigation Course, that way you can always find what you are looking for and find your way back. Underwater Navigation is also helpful in clear water during a bright sunny day. After taking all of those specialty courses (or others) and going out to master your new skills, you will eventually be able to qualify as an Advanced Diver. These courses not only add to your knowledge and understanding of diving, but also build upon your open water certification.

Several courses (even those not connected with scuba diving) expand on the topics covered in the open water course and can make certain things click into place. Having a larger skill base also allow you more freedom in diving and more confidence as well. You will be able to travel to more places and see more with just a few more certifications, but don’t let that stop you from getting as many as you want. Take as many classes as your heart desires! You might find your niche in diving. Ask your local dive shop what classes they offer. Sometimes you might have to travel to take a class, but luckily, many of the classes can begin online and cut down on your travel time.

An Open Water Scuba Diver Certification just opens the first door of many. Go explore your underwater world! Every day is an adventure. You can explore your world in whatever way you would like, as long as you hold that certification and take the proper precautions. You are your only limit.


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

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Diving redefined at TDEX Bangkok 2024: NovoScuba and Siam Diving Enterprises join forces to bring diving education to the next level

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TDEX

NovoScuba, a ground-breaking diving agency based in the UK, is preparing for the global debut of its innovative subscription-based training platform that is set to redefine the way diving education is provided. The much-anticipated launch will take place at TDEX Bangkok 2024, marking a significant milestone in NovoScuba’s journey to reshape industry standards.

As part of an important initiative, NovoScuba is pleased to announce a partnership with Siam
Diving Enterprises (SDE) and their renowned Ocean Store. SDE, as one of Thailand’s leading
suppliers of diving, freediving and snorkelling equipment, brings a wealth of expertise and
resources to this collaboration, furthering NovoScuba’s mission to elevate the diving experience for enthusiasts worldwide.

tdex

NovoScuba aims to revolutionise the way dive shop owners, dive professionals and dive
enthusiasts engage with diving, making it more accessible and profitable for the entire diving
industry.

tdex“NovoScuba is not just another certification agency; it’s a transformative force built on
innovation and accessibility,” said Mark Spiers, founder and CEO of NovoScuba. “Our
partnership with Siam Diving Enterprises reflects our commitment to redefining diving education and empowering the diving industry at all levels.”

Siam Diving Enterprises, known for its extensive range of premium diving equipment from leading brands, will host NovoScuba at stand A74 during TDEX. This strategic collaboration offers divers a unique opportunity to experience first-hand NovoScuba’s groundbreaking approach to diving education.

NovoScuba’s platform offers state-of-the-art training programmes, including recreational and professional diving courses, designed to meet international standards and ISO certifications.
With a subscription-based model, digital learning materials available in 13 languages and
multi-platform accessibility, NovoScuba ensures that diving education is within reach for
everyone.

“We are inviting all dive enthusiasts, professionals and shop owners to join us on this
revolutionary journey,” added Mark Spiers. “Together we can redefine diving as we know it and
make a positive impact on the planet.”

tdex

Visit Siam Diving Enterprises and NovoScuba at stand A74 during TDEX Bangkok 2024 to
explore the future of diving education and discover the latest innovations in diving equipment.

About NovoScuba: NovoScuba is a pioneering dive training agency committed to making
diving inclusive, accessible, and enjoyable for everyone. With a focus on innovation and
positive impact, NovoScuba offers state-of-the-art training programs, digital learning
materials, and a subscription-based platform designed to redefine the diving industry
worldwide. To learn more about NovoScuba’s innovations, go to www.novoscuba.com.

About Siam Diving Enterprises (SDE): Siam Diving Enterprises (SDE) is one of the
largest suppliers of scuba diving, freediving, and snorkelling equipment in Thailand. With
warehouses in Bangkok and a team of industry experts, SDE offers a comprehensive range
of premium products and exceptional customer service to diving enthusiasts across the
country. To learn more about SDE go to Ocean Store Thailand website.

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Wrecks’ Curse – The World of Wreck Diving

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wreck diving

By Pablo Mir

We all enjoy those unexpected encounters that come with wreck diving, no matter how small, during our open water scuba dives. Exploring those nearly vanished remains of a ship scattered across the ocean floor is frequently the climax of the otherwise regular dive.

What is Wreck Diving?

Wreck diving involves exploring underwater shipwrecks while scuba diving. Sometimes, the wreck we encounter is more than just the remnants of a small and forgotten old vessel. Or perhaps we didn’t deliberately choose it, but the charter we boarded had that destination planned that day. The Benwood, less than 14 meters or 45 feet deep, in the clear waters of the National Marine Sanctuary in Key Largo, Florida, or the Copenhagen of Fort Lauderdale, also Florida, are good examples. Divers, many beginners who haven’t even devoted half a second to thinking about wreck diving, enjoy exploring their remains and the fauna that inhabit them. In some way, and at different levels, we all seem to potentially be wreck divers, even without a higher and explicit intention.

First Encounters: The Unplanned Dive into Wreck Exploration

But the trek is long and has many branches. Wrecks present themselves in vast possibilities, from shallow and clear waters to deep and dark ones. The Ancient Mariner, Captain Dan, U352, Great Isaac, Grecian, Lady Luck, Hyde, Aeolus, Hydro Atlantic, RBJ & CC, Algol, U869, and the Andrea Doria -the Grand Dame of the Sea- are some of the names that resonate among thousands in the minds of many wreck divers on the East Coast of the USA. For many of us, getting ready to traverse that path of increasing challenges, increasingly demanding environments, and more astonishing, transcendent dives is a life goal in terms of recreation.

A Diverse World: The Spectrum of Wreck Diving Experiences

Now, it is well known that the label of wreck diving is not only applied to shipwrecks. It is common to extend it to any artificial structure or piece of it that can be explored during our dives. For example, Texas Tower #4, an Air Force radar station off the coast of New Jersey, toppled in 1961 by a storm, is frequently visited by numerous local technical divers and visitors who want to test their skills in those demanding waters. Similar structures of different natures and purposes exist in many other places, with the most different levels of certification and experience requirements we can imagine.

Is Wreck Diving Dangerous?

Wreck diving is not inherently dangerous, but proper training is required. Describing with words the feeling of wonder and the adventure involved in wreck diving is not easy. In the same way that regular open water diving is the entry point to another world, a unique, fascinating world, wreck diving is also an entry point to one of the additional levels of enjoyment and fascination the world of recreational diving poses. Wreck diving, we live the adventures others just dream or fear. We are there, explorers of a distant land. Often, we witness the remains of real human tragedies; other times, we are visitors to the most wonderful amusement park we can imagine.

Learning Curve: The Path from Novice to Experienced Wreck Diver

Sometimes, watching groups of recreational divers exploring a wreck might seem like witnessing a scene from a pirate movie. Two or three divers here, two or three more there, ascending and descending along its sides, from bow to stern, sticking their heads in to look inside compartments and passages. In some cases, entering and exiting the bridge or any space allows penetration in areas with abundant natural light and generous access points. Their expressions and body language make it easy to notice that they are having a great time. There is no doubt they are enjoying it, and it will be an experience they will vividly remember.

If they are a group traveling together, an instructor or divemaster may be there to ensure everything goes well. The passion for exploration, for discovery, and that thirst for adventures we all have within us can sometimes hinder us in making our best decisions. Therefore, to become actual wreck divers, we must not only desire to do so but also have the will to learn and gain experience, slowly and safely, in everything this specialty implies. While it is true that exploring the exterior of a wreck may seem like something that doesn’t require specific training, the reality is that it does. Fishing lines, sharp surfaces, parts that can easily come off, suddenly disappearing visibility, disorientation, etc., are dangers we must have learned about, developed strategies to avoid, and implemented procedures to solve with the proper tools.

And so it will be; many will traverse the paths of wreck diving by starting with proper training. Sometimes, the first step is part of the regular advanced diver certification many divers take; other times, it is going straight for a wreck diving specialty. They will learn and start practicing, gaining experience and ease in their procedures. They will fall more and more in love with those twisted iron environments and proudly display the rust stains on their diving suits as if they were scars from a well-fought battle.

Deepening the Dive: Advanced Wreck Exploration Techniques

But the journey continues. Sooner or later, some will want more than just hovering around the wrecks. Crossing well-lit passages with the exit in sight will no longer be enough for them. What they recently may have told themselves they wouldn’t do will begin to intrigue them, and they will want to continue training “just in case.” They will want to start moving away from those open corridors and see with their own eyes what lies beyond. They will no longer see wrecks as enemies to overwhelm in large groups but as a mystery to unravel slowly, passage by passage, room by room. They will split into small groups. They pursue a specific goal, have a specific plan, and seek to minimize unexpected situations, and this is more controllable and achievable when done by two or three rather than four or five.

They will keep learning, venture through narrow passages, dodge cables and pieces of metal hanging from what is now the ceiling, and proceed cautiously to avoid stirring up sediments. They will use different methods to establish positions at crossroads, place strobe lights, carry multiple penetration reels, and carry substantial knives, the kind they used to laugh at not long ago, thinking they were unnecessary exaggerations.

The Wreck Diver’s Journey: A Path of Endless Discovery

Over time, they will penetrate deeper and deeper into larger, darker, gloomier, more frightening wreck structures, simply because they can. They will descend to greater depths because that’s where they are in better condition and farther away from the boarding hordes.

They will transition from Air to Nitrox, later return to Air, and later delve into the world of Trimix. They will start planning and executing dives with decompression stops, as otherwise, their bottom times will be insufficient for their intentions. From one decompression gas cylinder, they will move to two, and in some cases, three or more. Those who can afford it will buy rebreathers; those who can’t will stick to open circuit, carrying multiple large cylinders.

The Eternal Call of the Deep

But genuine amazement will hit them hard on the day they, thinking carefully about all the steps they have taken and accounting for the time and effort dedicated, conclude without a shadow of a doubt that it was worth it. It will be too late for them; they will have fallen victim to this curse of shipwrecks that has trapped so many. There will be no escape for them; from now on, they will be wreck divers without cure or remedy. They will be condemned to spend the rest of their vacations and days off among twisted irons at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and oceans. Cheers buddies! And a warm welcome to all those newcomers to recreational diving who, unknowingly, may be destined to wander among old wood and rusted metal, seeking to put out that thirst for real-life adventures.

To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

Main Image: William Drumm/International Training

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