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cshel
09-09-2007, 22:02
I was certified OW 2 years ago by a friend of a friend who is a YMCA instructor with 30+ years of diving. My boyfriend completed his certification today by the same lady. Is anyone else out there YMCA certified? She is very good, very safe. She would show us stuff that was required back in the day and that is not required any more.

Her classes seem to run long but I don't have anything to compare them to. My bf had 4 days of lecture and pool classes lasting 6 hours each day and 2 days of checkout dives with 2 dives per day.

I want my AOW and she is willing to teach us both, but in YMCA there is another level before AOW - must have 14 dives... can't remember that name and then the AOW. I don't know what is involved for AOW. Is there a step between OW and AOW in other certs?


I don't want shortcuts, but she tends to get distracted at times and seems to take longer to get the teaching done. I think I might want another instructor who stays more on task. Don't really want a long, drawn out procedure. Any suggestions?

NitroWill
09-09-2007, 22:08
Each agency is different..
You can't really say one agency is better then another, it really all comes down to the instructor..

So if you found a good instructor which sounds like you have - stick with them!

scootermcfly
09-10-2007, 07:53
Yes, I have the YMCA cert with my wife and two teenagers. We all did the course this past spring and have been trying to get some dives in over the summer. We figured we would try for one of the other certs next spring so that we would be able to get acclimated to our equipment and feel comfortable in the water.

I remember reading about the different levels, but can't remember what they are right now. I'll have to look in my book tonight when I get home.

Scooter McFly

cgvmer
09-10-2007, 07:59
http://www.ymcascuba.org/
Open Water Diver
Open Water Diver II
Advanced Open Water Diver
Silver Advanced Diver
Gold Master Diver

wxboy911
09-10-2007, 08:05
I have the YMCA OW cert-got it last spring. I thought the instructor and classes were great and look forward to doing AOW next year. There are some specialty courses I would like to take as well and I plan on using the same instructor as he was an excellent teacher.

DennisW
09-10-2007, 13:46
I am a YMCA diver. And I disagree about the statement that "It's only about the instructor." Some agencies have more stringent requirements than others. Those that have higher standards to receive your OW will certify more competant and safer divers.

CompuDude
09-10-2007, 14:36
I am a YMCA diver. And I disagree about the statement that "It's only about the instructor." Some agencies have more stringent requirements than others. Those that have higher standards to receive your OW will certify more competant and safer divers.

I agree that the FAR longer YMCA course allows for far more thorough instruction than your average course with the bigger agencies.

That said, I do have to disagree with you, and posit that a good instructor is worth more than long class.

A good instructor who is teaching a long course, however, is the best of both worlds. I have found YMCA instructors in general to be very good... on average, far better than your average PADI instructor. (Realize the numbers are not in PADI's favor, here... there are thousands of PADI instructors and probably only a few hundred YMCA instructors, max).

I recently assisted a YMCA class with a fantastic, old-school instructor, Tom Wetzel. I was VERY impressed by the thoroughness of his course compared to PADI courses I have assisted with. Given the relatively large amount of time the YMCA gives, however, since they are not in it for profit, this is not really surprising. They still use a lot of old-school training techniques that PADI dropped many years ago in favor of "streamlining" their courses, and making them "more accessible" (read: they made the classes easier and dropped the tougher skills so they could sell more classes).

All that said, I think perhaps the YMCA classes aren't for everyone. If someone's interest in scuba is tenuous at best, some might find the rigorous nature of the class to be off-putting. (I will be having my wife trained in a PADI course, for instance, because she's not really the type who will like that sort of extra work, and if I want her to be able to enjoy it, it needs to be made to seem as easy as possible.) If you're up to the challenge, however, you can get some outstanding training there.

DennisW
09-11-2007, 08:00
A good course has nothing to do with a long class, however, in order to make a diver competent and safe, there are certain skills that need to be taught in basic OW. A weekend course can't do that, there just isn't enough time. If someone's interest in diving is tenuous at best, maybe they should stay on the boat. Now, before I get flamed on that statement, if a weekend course will get someone interested enough to take the full up course, then go ahead and do it. However, then go take a real course so you can be a safe diver and dive buddy.

Suther2136
09-11-2007, 15:41
I'm also YMCA certed. The classes have a few advantages 1) The YMCA actually requires you to be able to swim a fair distance as part of the cert, we had to swim (no fins, no nothing) 8 laps in our pool which is roughly 1/3 mile. 2) the longer class time, I think, gives you more opportunity to get the basics down and practice basic skills. We also did five open water dives to complete the class. Yes the basic info is the same for PADI and NAUI but I have found that a skill practiced for a longer period of time is a skill better learned.

plot
09-11-2007, 16:56
A good instructor goes along ways, but a certifiying agency that has more stringent standards goes even longer as it will consistently pump out better divers instead of leaving newbies running getting peoples opinions on who is a good isntructor or not.

and if you only have an OW cert, then you have no idea what a good instructor is... anyone that had a good time getting through OW thinks they had an awesome instructor, anyone that struggled thinks they had a crap instructor.

takes experiences with different instructors to realize how good or bad your OW one really was... people often get bad opinions from OW only cert'd people on who their "awesome" instructor was.

sorry to get so far off topic, I just think YMCA is one of the better agencies out there after have reading their standards. (i don't hold any YMCA certs nor have I ever taken a YMCA class)

liuk3
09-14-2007, 16:45
I recently assisted a YMCA class with a fantastic, old-school instructor, Tom Wetzel. I was VERY impressed by the thoroughness of his course compared to PADI courses I have assisted with. Given the relatively large amount of time the YMCA gives, however, since they are not in it for profit, this is not really surprising. They still use a lot of old-school training techniques that PADI dropped many years ago in favor of "streamlining" their courses, and making them "more accessible" (read: they made the classes easier and dropped the tougher skills so they could sell more classes).

All that said, I think perhaps the YMCA classes aren't for everyone. If someone's interest in scuba is tenuous at best, some might find the rigorous nature of the class to be off-putting. (I will be having my wife trained in a PADI course, for instance, because she's not really the type who will like that sort of extra work, and if I want her to be able to enjoy it, it needs to be made to seem as easy as possible.) If you're up to the challenge, however, you can get some outstanding training there.

Tom was my OW instructor. It is hard to say whether his course was thorough because it was YMCA, LA County, PADI or NAUI. His OW standards are stringent enough to be accepted by all four of those agencies. It might also just be rigorous because it was "Tom Wetzel's" course. As most things in life, you get out of it what you put in. You could cheat on the studying or swimming the laps, but you only ended up cheating yourself. My wife took the course with me. And while she cursed me during the length of the course waking up early in the weekend mornings, she is thankful for the instruction as it made her much more comfortable in the water since she is a self-admitted chicken when it comes to doing things. My wife and I got alot out of his class and really enjoyed it. She ended up accomplishing alot of things that she never would have thought she could.

Since this is a thread about YMCA, I think that the thing I do appreciate about them is that they are not affiliated with selling equipment. Rather, it is an athletic agency meant to educate and develop skills. I like the focus of this better as I felt like my OW instructor (Tom) could take the time to train me, rather than being put under the pressure of dive shop economics which might be putting pressure on him to churn students through to sell equipment. I'm not saying that all shops are churning students through, but you can't argue that their economic incentive is to put students through so that they will purchase dive equipment. In the absence of dive shop economics, I think that the instructors can truly focus on teaching students and taking the time to do so.

somewhereinla
09-14-2007, 17:34
Each agency is different..
You can't really say one agency is better then another, it really all comes down to the instructor..

So if you found a good instructor which sounds like you have - stick with them!

I am really sorry, but I do disagree with you , some agency curriculums are better than other. Of course the instructor is important, that goes without saying but the curriculum and the requirements are equally important. YMCA is definitly a better agency in this regard, and I have yet to meet a bad YMCA instructor.

DennisW
09-15-2007, 08:57
It's nice that some people actually understand. Unfortunately, I've seen way too many divers that are certified that should still be in the pool working on their skills.

This from a SCUBA Instructor on SB:

“'It’s the Instructor not the Agency, is a saying promulgated by the inadequate to cover their shortcomings." - Thalassamania

CompuDude
09-16-2007, 18:12
It's nice that some people actually understand. Unfortunately, I've seen way too many divers that are certified that should still be in the pool working on their skills.

This from a SCUBA Instructor on SB:

ď'Itís the Instructor not the Agency, is a saying promulgated by the inadequate to cover their shortcomings." - Thalassamania

I read when Thal posted that, but I disagree with his phrasing. I agree there are shortcomings in most of the agencies, but a really talented instructor can overcome that. In inadequacy lies with the agencies and/or the instructors. It's possible to get bad instruction from a bad agency and bad instruction from a good agency, but you're not likely to get bad instruction from a really good instructor, whether the agency itself is good or not.

DennisW
09-17-2007, 08:02
Unfortunately, some agencies will not allow their instructors to teach beyond their "requirements" for a particular certification. Those agencies can be very strict on this rule. This kind of agency will negate the competancy of a good instructor. I happen to believe their "requirements" are not adequate to safely certify an open water diver. My opinion, I know. I guess many would call me a dinosaur, so be it. I've seen too many new divers that scare the bejeezus out of me.

CompuDude
09-17-2007, 10:44
Unfortunately, some agencies will not allow their instructors to teach beyond their "requirements" for a particular certification. Those agencies can be very strict on this rule. This kind of agency will negate the competancy of a good instructor. I happen to believe their "requirements" are not adequate to safely certify an open water diver. My opinion, I know. I guess many would call me a dinosaur, so be it. I've seen too many new divers that scare the bejeezus out of me.

In that case, a really good instructor would either NOT work for that agency or teach beyond standards in spite of the rules against it. I still put the onus on the instructor, while freely acknowledging that there are agencies out there that make things tougher than others to provide truly great instruction.

somewhereinla
09-17-2007, 14:15
I do agree with DennisW, I too have seen too many divers that are inexperienced and overconfident. Certification agencies like PADI are in it to make a profit. If an instructor decide that they should require their students to make 6 dives instead of the 4 that are required for the Padi OW, they are not being profitable and probably won't keep their job very long. On the other hand, "not for profit" agencies such as YMCA or NAUI seems to be more willing to give a little bit extra.
I also do understand that not everybody want to be a great diver, a lot of people just want to "check it out" while in vacation at a tropical resort. They might dive a couple of time a year, and don't want an OW course to take their entire vacation time. They want something fast, and Padi OW fits in just right and probably is enought as long as they do resort dives with a DM guiding them threw the dive. The problem is if they want to pursue it once their vacation is over and think that their OW is enough to do so...

scubasamurai
09-17-2007, 14:22
from my instructor who is padi and naui ( at one time ) , she stated ymca was one of the first and she considers them the better choice because of their lenghty training. so go for it, especially if you like the instructor. more training never hurt anyone, but can save your behind

Suther2136
09-17-2007, 20:45
I stated my case on YMCA certs above so I won't revisit that. I am a newbie but I still think I can tell a good instructor from a bad one. My OW cert inst. was thorough, but was also willing to admit when he didn't know something, look it up and cover it in a future class. I think the "always willing to learn" goes for instr too. He spent a lot of time with us (as the YMCA requires) but invited the weaker members of the class to additional OW dives to raise their comfort. When you find one hang with him/her, when you don't keep looking, your life can hang in the balance. But then you knew that.

liuk3
09-18-2007, 22:40
In that case, a really good instructor would either NOT work for that agency or teach beyond standards in spite of the rules against it.

Well said, I believe. In particular the latter part.

cshel
09-24-2007, 20:34
I really appreciate all your input. Thank you. When we sign in at the quarries and we put down YMCA I feel funny because we are usually the only one's. You know, the red-headed step-child thing... I do feel very comfortable in the water and my dive buddy did good Saturday on his first two official dives. He was over weight the first dive, much more relaxed on the second. I've gone down with other dive instructors and gotten very good comments afterwards so I must not be a danger to those around me. Our instructor is very good at what she does, I'm just not sure she is the best at sharing that knowledge, she does seem to get lost sometimes and shares stuff we don't need to know to pass the qualifications. I'm not saying that too much is bad... just time consuming.