View Full Version : AOW Prerequisites

08-13-2007, 15:53
Is it better to have several dives under your belt before taking AOW? I completed open water certification last summer and haven't been diving since the end of last summer.

08-13-2007, 16:05
Is it better to have several dives under your belt before taking AOW? I completed open water certification last summer and haven't been diving since the end of last summer.

How do you feel about jumping in the water--right now--and doing a dive?

The answer to your question lays in your level of comfort and confidence in your abilities as you perceive them.

I would suggest doing a few dives with a trusted buddy just to knock the cobwebs off prior to taking the class, but that's just my opinion.

08-13-2007, 16:08
You'll get a variety of different answers on this, but I'll give you my two cents. I just completed AOW this past weekend and it was dives #46-51. I was certified back in December -- but didn't really start diving till March.

My goal was to get roughly 40 dives under my belt before AOW so I could gain some level of proficiency with my gear and my buoyancy. Nothing teaches like experience. Having some dives completed I think I got more out of the class. I had specific items I knew I wanted help with or knew I wanted to ask questions about. My concern was that if I went straight from OW to AOW, I'd miss-out on that part.

I'm still learning, but on my first few dives right after OW, I didn't haven't a clue what I didn't know about -- at least now I think I'm a little more likely to know the right question to ask, probably can't answer many of them yet. :)

08-13-2007, 16:25
I have to agree with Tom get a few dives.

08-13-2007, 16:43
I know plenty of people who went straight from OW to AOW, however this did not make them an advanced diver. Nothing would prevent you from taking AOW right after OW. Having said that:

I just took my AOW this past weekend, and had about 15 dives after my OW, and I could have used more experience. Personally, I wouldn't have been comfortable doing AOW right after OW. I really got a lot out of my AOW class. Plus it was a small class, only three of us, and we were all pretty much on the same level, some better at some things than others. I wouldn't have gotten as much ADVANCED instruction, if I had less experience and I would have gotten even more advanced knowledge, with more experience prior to taking the course. But it all depends upon why you're doing advanced. Is it just to see a wreck or so you can take a rescue coarse or is it so you can improve? For me, perfectly neutral buoyancy was the overall theme for AOW. Good buoyancy control is absolutely essential if you want to get the most out of this course, and OW really doesn't teach you how to master buoyancy, only experience does.

08-13-2007, 17:18
Thank you everyone for letting me draw on your experience. When I take the AOW class I want to get as much out of it as possible. I think I"ll get a few more dives under my belt before enrolling.

08-13-2007, 17:36
If u are going to do a deep dive you better hell as make sure you can stop at 15 for 3 min!

08-13-2007, 19:07
I was told by my OW instructor I had to have at least 10 dives to take AOW-YMCA Cert. I would like to take AOW sometime in the Spring or early Summer which gives me some time to get a good grasp on the basics.

08-13-2007, 19:12
I practically went from OW directly into my AOW. I think there may have been 2 weeks between certification and the beginning of my AOW. Nothing wrong with doing it that way for the added experience. You learn a variety of skills that will do you well as you continue to expand your experiences.

08-14-2007, 05:55
A lot of folks recommend doing AOW immediately after OW, but for me it didn't make sense. I thought it was more important to get solid on my basic skills and better buoyancy skills before doing my AOW, thus waited until I had about 25 dives before starting AOW. In our class there were only 3 of us who had similar skills and experience, so our instructor really tailored the class to our needs.

I know someone who talks about taking AOW immediately after OW and having the same problems she had in OW happen...like poor buoyancy control, uncontrolled ascents, poor air consumption, etc. She doesn't feel like she got anything out of AOW because she was so task loaded with stuff inexperienced divers go through in the beginning.

Basically everyone is different, so you have to evaluate where your comfort level and skill levels are and decide when the time is right. If you're using AOW just to have more supervised dives, IMO you're better off hiring a DM or finding an experienced dive buddy and just going diving without extra task loading.

WV Diver
08-14-2007, 06:06
Is it better to have several dives under your belt before taking AOW? I completed open water certification last summer and haven't been diving since the end of last summer.
I think so, although there are no standard number of dives required. Having a few more dives under your weight belt will make you more comfortable and better able to cope with and enjoy the AOW class. You won't be as task loaded and I think you will feel better about what you get from the class as a result.