It’s no secret that I’ve been fascinated with the water ever since I was a small child. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around our time spent out on the water; every weekend throughout the summer my family would take our boat to the nearby lake and play from sun up until sun down. I’ve always felt incredibly comfortable in the water, so much so, that a day at the beach for me really isn’t a day at the beach, its more like a day in the water, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I took a Scuba Diving course back in college and it was hands down my favorite class EVER. Unfortunately, due to unknown circumstances, the class fulfilled my elective requirements for graduation but it did not certify students for actual diving. (Talk about a letdown!)
Anyways, last spring I decided it was time to take the plunge (pun-intended) and finally get my official certification. It was a little frustrating having to pay for the course again, but I was going to accomplish this dream one way or another and a few hundred dollars wasn’t going to stop me.
When I started looking at dive shops here in Salt Lake City the first thing I noticed was that some of the schools were classified as SSI (Scuba Schools International), while others were listed under PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). What’s the deal with the different classifications? Well, the way I understand it, the biggest difference between the two is the basic learning path. Once a diver becomes Open Water Certified there are other specialty courses and certifications the diver can obtain: stress and rescue, deep diving, underwater photography, navigation, and nitrox diving, just to name a few. For SSI, to achieve the status of an Advanced Open Water Diver, one needs to complete four specialty courses and log 24 dives; whereas PADI requirements are slightly different. Regardless of PADI or SSI certification, the bottom line is that your Open Water course will teach you the necessary skills in order to be a comfortable and confident diver.
After a few nights of research (and asking for recommendations from my diving friends), I chose Neptune Divers located in the heart of Salt Lake City. The basic open water course includes six class sessions with pool time, and two full days of open water diving–where you get to log six different open water dives.
During each class we discussed a new diving topic, and after the necessary classroom time, we would move to the pool where we would practice those new skills. SSI follows a Comfort Through Repetition teaching method so you practice each new skill over, and over, and over, and over… and then one more time for good measure. I’m not exaggerating my friends. It got to the point where we could do this stuff in our sleep, and that was precisely the point! They want you completely comfortable with each skill so it becomes second nature when you’re out in the open water. Skills like putting together your dive equipment, clearing water from your mask, retrieving your regulator (that’s the device that allows you to breathe underwater), what to do in certain emergency situations, and much more.
Before I knew it, the six weeks were over and I was turning in my final exam and purchasing all of my dive gear for a weekend of diving. We were headed to the Bonneville SeaBase to get Open Water certified!
Tune in Thursday for a recap of our Open Water Weekend.
Are you scuba certified? Would you want to get certified?