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BarbadosSlim93
10-14-2008, 19:57
Hi guys and girls. I am prepping myself to get set with my open water dives and just was wondering: For all of you who have taken open water classes, what is one skill or fact that you know and use now that you wish you would have known when you first took your open water class?

I am curious to hear what you have to say.

drako
10-14-2008, 20:11
I wish I would have known that Scuba/UW photo was ridiculously expensive and that I shouldve studied more to be out of school and working full time to pay for more Scuba stuff :D
As far as skill in my opinion the best skill you can have is being comfortable underwater. Something I was lucky to have (My whole life I have been close/in the water and any chance I would get I would be under via breath holds)

SynCitizen
10-14-2008, 20:18
buoyancy control.

in_cavediver
10-14-2008, 20:47
As for skills not taught - Its easy - gas management. There is a couple good reads here and on the 'other' board about it. Rock bottom is good search term.

For just in general things - its mostly the ability to do a critical self evaluation of yourself. Many divers fall into the mode of overconfidence or ego threat. If you can be honest with yourself - you can make good choices about your dives. There is always somebody who is a better diver than you - period. There also are lots who will be worse divers. There are things you can do and things you shouldn't do (yet at least). It takes a big diver to do a big diver. It takes a bigger diver to admit they can't do that big dive.

Dive-aholic
10-14-2008, 22:15
The one thing I wish I had done different was the way I went about choosing an instructor. I simply chose a shop and got what they gave me. I wish I had gone through the process I went through to choose a cave and technical instructor. The training would have been a lot better.

coral cowgirl
10-15-2008, 00:40
More time on "what to do if" scenerios, and less time on sales pitches for gear.

nikefreekz
10-15-2008, 03:04
more emphasis on good trim and bouyancy control, less coral damage...

monant
10-15-2008, 06:19
better bouyancy control

UCFKnightDiver
10-15-2008, 07:13
I will echo what in cavediver said rock bottom gas management/consumption and also better trim and buoyancy control.

lvshell
10-15-2008, 08:24
+1 on buoyancy control

Skred
10-15-2008, 08:52
First, another vote for buoyancy control.

Second, practice, practice, practice. Don't just learn the skills to be able to demonstrate them to the instructor. Practice them as much as possible until they're automatic. You'll become a much better diver in a shorter period of time and feel more confident in your abilities.

Good luck with your studies.

gthomas
10-15-2008, 09:02
As you can tell a lot of us didn't get to spend a lot of time learning bouyancy control. I don't know that you will either but now you know that its a real issue.

mtnplayva
10-15-2008, 09:09
Another vote for buoyancy control and lots more practice time of the basic skills.

BarbadosSlim93
10-15-2008, 14:07
Thanks for your responses. I will try my best to keep the buoyancy control skill in mind to get very comfortable with. If it is not covered enough in class, is there a certain way I should bring it up to my instructor?

MSilvia
10-15-2008, 16:22
more emphasis on good trim and bouyancy control, less coral damage...
I don't usually dive anywhere near coral, but count me as another vote for buoyancy control. It has a lot of benefits that have nothing at all to do with what you might crash into.

I think the easiest way to raise the issue is to ask about it when it's mentioned in class. See if your instructor would be willing to spend some extra time helping you get it right if it doesn't come naturally (which it probably won't). There's a good chance he'll refer you to a "Peak performance buoyancy specialty certification" but you never know.

in_cavediver
10-15-2008, 16:26
Thanks for your responses. I will try my best to keep the buoyancy control skill in mind to get very comfortable with. If it is not covered enough in class, is there a certain way I should bring it up to my instructor?

I am going to be brutally honest here. There are a LOT of OW instructors who could use a good course in buoyancy control themselves. What makes you think your instructor has that part down pat?

To me - the absolute best way to learn most diving skills is with a mentor. There are exceptions like BOW, Cave, Rescue and the like but a mentor can show you good ways to do things over time, not rushed in a class.

In an OW class, you have pool time and 4 dives to teach skills that take time to master. By dive 4, you *might* start getting more comfortable in the water to where you are really paying attention to you trim or wieghting or ???. Then again - I've seen a lot of divers who still work with the basics of staying alive and can't seem to watch thier SPG to know when to leave as well.

To 'get' buoyancy control - it takes time in the water and some good guidance. There just isn't a shortcut to it.

rumblefish
10-15-2008, 16:54
To sound like a broken record...

Buoyancy control. Buoyancy control is the foundation that many other skills are built upon. What do most advanced classes, whether it be a cave, wreck, or underwater photography emphasize first. Buoyancy control. You want to get better gas management, work on your buoyancy control. Want to protect the reefs and not bump into them, BC. You get the idea. BC is one of the first things seasoned divers will notice about you when you dive.

hooligan
10-15-2008, 18:36
Did anyone mention Buoyancy Control? I think that's an important one. Oh, and try not using your arms to swim... But that will come with good Buoyancy Control. ;)

OTGav
10-16-2008, 22:46
This is another broken record - but - Breath, Think, Act.

There is (virtually) nothing underwater that needs your attention so fast that you can't take a breath and think about what your going to do.

The other thing to remeber is that OW is the start of the begining of your Scuba learning, although you may be told at the end "OK, you can go dive now on your own" don't overstep your experience without being guided by more experienced divers (prefferabley sane ones), and only do what seem comfortable and smart when you think it through.

Maybe you'll never want to get another cert card, but you'll learn loads with each of those first 50 dives.

nikefreekz
10-16-2008, 22:55
more emphasis on good trim and bouyancy control, less coral damage...
I don't usually dive anywhere near coral, but count me as another vote for buoyancy control. It has a lot of benefits that have nothing at all to do with what you might crash into.

I think the easiest way to raise the issue is to ask about it when it's mentioned in class. See if your instructor would be willing to spend some extra time helping you get it right if it doesn't come naturally (which it probably won't). There's a good chance he'll refer you to a "Peak performance buoyancy specialty certification" but you never know.

where i usually dive, there are plenty of divers kicking the life out of the corals and all, not a pretty sight at all

petronius
10-26-2008, 20:42
Before my OW classes, I'd say that I'd never considered the importance of stretching and proper hydration.

Now, I don't start a dive without thinking about what new thing I can learn or practice. Except for buoyancy - that's a waste of time...

(OK, not really - I wish I'd paid more attention to buoyancy from the very beginning.)

sea princess
10-31-2008, 15:03
I have to join on the bandwagon and say buoyancy controll too. I am in the middle of the peak performance bouyancy class and have learned a lot already. I feel more confident and do less kicking up the bottom and swimming with my arms.

sunshine121
11-10-2008, 16:51
I have to give kudos to my instructor for doing a great job teaching us buoyancy control based on the previous posts.

Then I might say I agree with the "learning from a mentor" post. I knew even though I was "certified" I did not feel ready to tackle the ocean on my own without a more experienced person handy. I have great respect for learning from others. Even stories bandied about a boat help.

Largo
11-10-2008, 20:43
'Staying with your buddy' is not as important as looking out for yourself.

If your buddy is ascending or descending too fast, and you're having trouble equalizing. Or if he is going into an area that you feel is not safe; and he won't acknowledge your hand signals...then let him go.

Jack Hammer
11-10-2008, 23:01
Bouyancy control is definately very important. Another thing I highly recommend is learning to not rush. You'll find you'll see more and your dives will last much longer if you learn to relax and move at a steady comfortable pace. Also, take your time making gear decisions. Many new divers buy lots of gear that seems right when you start, then 25 dives later, its stuff you don't ever use and need to replace with something else. Just relax and enjoy your diving.

Jack

2k6rubi
11-11-2008, 08:14
I would have to say the biggest thing is to relax and not get in a hurry. I thought my instructor did a good job working on our buoyancy control, it could always be better, only have around 10 dives in so far. I was out over the weekend and my buddy was in a hurry and he was going through his air very quickly. There is plenty to see and no need to see it all at once.

Ben