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Top 3 things to do after getting dive certified

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By Viviana Marcy

As a newly certified Open Water diver, figuring out the next step may seem a bit daunting or overwhelming. You just finished your class, which by no means is an easy feat. You learned concepts that are meant to help ease you into a completely new, underwater world. You also learned important skills that are absolutely essential to keeping you safe. Now, here you are, with a new scuba certification. What comes next? In my experience, there are 3 major actions that a newly-certified Open Water Diver should take in order to make the most of their certification and continue this new life below the waves.

1. Dive, Dive, Dive!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but before diving right into another certification, it’s essential to gain more diving experience and with it, comfort underwater. In my case, because of time constraints due to an upcoming internship to study whale sharks, I obtained two certifications in four days. These certifications amounted to an overload of information, and it was hard for me to take it in all at once and in such a short amount of time. Due to this time crunch, I found I missed or forgot bits and pieces of essential information and skills, making diving far more difficult and frustrating than it needed to be. Although I was eventually able to adapt and develop my newly learned scuba skills, I highly recommend spending time in the water before hopping right into the next certification class.

After getting your open water certification, find opportunities to practice and gain more experience in the water. Sign up for some dives with the facility you were certified with or nearby scuba shops. Hone your skills and become a more developed diver. You might make some lifelong friends along the way. Know that even though the Open Water certification is the “beginner cert,” you will still have the opportunity to experience some amazing dives!

2. Further Your Dive Education!

You’ve gotten more comfortable in the water and feel like your skills and experience have prepared you for the next step. You’re prepped and ready to jump right into the next thing. What should you do now? Expand your dive knowledge and move on to the next certification! It’s time to find your local dive shop or dive center and fine-tune your basic skills and learn some new ones!

An extremely helpful resource for mapping out all the possible directions to take your dive training is our SDI Course flowchart. This can be found under TDISDI’s “Courses” drop-down, labeled “View All Scuba Diver Courses.” Maybe you want to take a range of fun specialty courses, such as wreck diving, night diving, or computer nitrox diving. Or maybe you’d prefer to begin the path to becoming a Divemaster or Instructor. You could even explore entirely different diving careers such as becoming a PFI Freediver or a TDI or ERDI diver.

3. Find Your Passion In Diving!

Pursuing your dive education and finding your passion for diving go hand in hand. Once you know you’re ready to begin, you may want to ask yourself, “what am I passionate about in diving?” This is an important consideration when deciding which class to pursue. Since I graduated from college with a degree in Environmental Science, I knew I wanted to fine tune my scuba skills and focus my training on marine ecosystems. In this sense, knowing what you want to do with your dive training can help you narrow down the next step you should take.

But, what if you don’t know exactly what path you want to follow? If you are not quite sure which step you want to take, an all-around great option after achieving your Open Water certification is the SDI Computer Nitrox class. This certification does not require you to complete any additional dives and can be done just by completing an online eLearning class and a short practical with an instructor. In this course, you will learn about the benefits of breathing different gas mixtures and how to safely use nitrox with a dive computer. The biggest take away you’ll get from this course is learning about the benefits of using nitrox and how it can provide you with increased safety margins, reduced post dive fatigue, and extended no-decompression dives.

You may also want to opt for the Advanced Adventure Diver course, which is one of the best certifications to achieve after your Open Water training. This course offers an amazing opportunity to learn more important diving skills and fine tune those you’ve already learned. It also gives you the chance to choose three elective specialty courses to try out (as a side note, I highly recommend the Advanced Buoyancy control elective specialty dive. It is incredibly rewarding and it greatly enhanced the feeling of control I have in the water.) The Advanced Adventure Diver course will also require you to learn more about navigational diving as well as deep diving. One of the biggest benefits to doing this Advanced Adventure course is after you’ve completed this certification, you may have found your passion in one of the elective specialties from you’ve chosen. Additionally, the dives you completed while obtaining your Advanced Adventure certification can count towards the full certification of that specialty!

There are many options and pathways that you can take after completing your Open Water Certification. But don’t let the thrill of obtaining your cert pressure you to jump straight into the next one right away. Hone your skills, get some dives under your belt, and recognize what it is you want to gain out of diving. Apply those desires and take some classes! Based upon your personal passions, you can map out a path that is suited perfectly for you and your growing diving career.


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.

Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Navigation

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Not the most fun of topics we guess, but pretty important for any diver! Now we are sure that there are some of you out there that steer away from the navigation side and are quite happy to follow along at the back. But if you are one of those divers and the reason is because you think that it is ridiculously hard.. we want to give you a few basic tips to help you!

Now using a compass may look scary but actually there is not much to it. First rule to remember… North is North under the water as well as on land… it doesn’t change! So, with that in mind we can use that pretty easily under the water to at least give us a point of reference whilst we are diving, even if you are not leading it. Knowing the direction that you are going and how deep you are is a good reference and will help you to become more confident. Get into the habit of taking a ‘bearing’ – fancy word for direction – on the surface before going under and check the bearing as you are diving.

Knowing which way is left and right – well, when going right, the numbers increase, and when going left, the numbers decrease… easy! Starting off with turning left and right 90 degrees will start to get you into the habit of making turns. Try not to use complicated numbers when you first start off, nobody likes maths at the best of times, let alone trying to add 273 to 32 under the water! Keep it basic.

Last but not least, navigating is not all about using a compass. If you are not a fan of it and want to keep your dives simple, there is nothing wrong with natural navigation. There are some amazing sites around our coastline that are perfect for this – harbour walls, piers, open sea coves, all allow the point of reference to be followed on one side of your body on the way out and the opposite on the way back. You can also check that you are going the right way on your return as the depth will start to decrease. This is a great way to start building your confidence with navigating if you are new to it, and what is even better, lots of marine life love to congress around these rocky areas!

Other aspects to consider to throw into your natural navigation bag are picking some land marks during your dives. If there is something notable that doesn’t move (fish are not highly recommended!) take a note of this and use it as a reference and pick another. On the return journey, you can use these ‘markers’ to find your way back to the starting point. A nice and simple way to find where you are going.

So, give it a go in a nice shallow bay area and see how you get on… practice makes perfect!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… Behind the scenes of a dive centre

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Ah yes, the glamorous dive instructor. Just as you see in the adverts walking around in swimwear coming out of the sea… and as you guys see us, walking into the centre to meet you at 10am and having done two dives, finishing at 2pm and heading home…

Or not. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the job as a dive instructor, more than I could ever tell you. But, it does not come without the negative side as I am sure with any job. 

So first off, let’s get these 10am starts out of our heads. A lot of our dives do meet at 10am, to be honest, that is mainly to give you the time to get to us and avoid the traffic! We are there longggg before this, setting up the boat, making sure everything is working correctly, checking the equipment, paperwork and loading everything up to have a smooth, well planned day when you get here. Oh, and as for the 2pm finish. I wish! Over the summer months you will usually find us here until late at night, if we aren’t out doing late afternoon dives, we will be there cleaning the equipment from the day… filling tanks… and making sure everything is ready for the following day.

Next. What else do you not see us doing on the PADI adverts? Cleaning? The centres aren’t exactly small and take a lot of work for us all to maintain… you know what it is like when you are on holiday and get sand in your shoes and it takes ages to finally get rid of it all? Well times that by 100 and you have an idea! 

But it’s not just about the cleaning and preparation parts of the job. There is also a lot of training. From risk assessment training, to scenario days with the staff, we plan monthly training sessions to make sure everyone is up to date with policies and procedures, any training updates and run emergency scenarios to make sure everyone is safe and prepared. 

Last but not least, the actual courses and guiding that you see us doing. The fun part… and what we all live for. Taking you all into the water whether it is to take your first breaths or to learn how to become an instructor. This is what we do all of the rest of the work for. And, I most definitely would not change this for the world. 

So, all jobs have negatives, and in the grand scheme of things, I can cope with filling some cylinders late at night for a career of exploration and seeing the most amazing sites I could ever wish to see. What are the positives and negatives of your job? If they’re nothing like this… why not become a dive instructor?! 


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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