View Full Version : Altitude Specialty - Is it worth it??

12-12-2007, 13:56
OK.. I just figured out that both of my check out dives will be at an altitude of 6,000', the LDS charges $175 for the Altitude Specialty. I know that I will have to use the Altitude Table for my checkout dive... In fact I will have to use the Altitude table for all of my Utah dives.

What else do they teach you in the Altitude class that makes it worth paying the extra $$. I will complete the required dives with my checkout dives.

I have AOW at the end of January and I was going to take Altitude as one of the dives, but they will all be altitude.

What else will I learn??

12-12-2007, 14:15
All my local dives are altitude as well. I'm not sure what all the class teaches but when I did my open water, I would think that my instructor would have preached the hazards if there were more then making sure you compensate with the tables or computer. It seems to me that one might just be a money collector for the agency...

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
12-12-2007, 15:22
IMO I believe you are getting ripped off at that price since your checkout dives are at altitude anyway. Even at a lower price it's only worth it in the case where you'd like to get a specialty for use toward one of the higher levels of certifcation (Dive Master, etc.). I have never heard of anyone asking to see an alitutude specialty card.

I believe you'd be better off spending the money on a Nitrox class. That is one card that shops often do ask to see when they don't know you.

12-12-2007, 19:22
Not an altitude diver. I did a lot of altitude dives before there was an actual specialty. That said, I can't give a lot of info on what the course covers.

I can imagine a lot of it is explaining why the sea level charts don't work and the other problems associated with altitude. You know about he altitude charts, so you are on the right track. I agree that being in Utah, you should have intimate knowledge of the altitude charts and how to use them.

I would make your specialty dives something other than altitude.

12-13-2007, 11:14
I just think it's odd that the Altitude specialty isn't included with every OW cert.

I guess there are people who get certified in Utah that will never make an altitude dive after they do their chek out dives..

WV Diver
12-14-2007, 07:06
The price seems high. I have never taken the class but I am well read on most dive subjects and being from an area where all my dives are high altitude I have read and practiced a lot on this subject.

Other things to consider are driving to higher altitudes after diving and giving your body ample time to acclimate to the diving altitude prior to the actual dive. Of course all the other things like being well hydrated, rested, in good shape, etc. all apply here also. Some of this will be covered in your AOW manual.

I think that a person with a solid understanding of the foundations of diving physiology and who builds upon that and understands the physiology of high altitude diving could reasonably conduct their dives safely without the class. There are a lot of folks out there doing it who have never taken the class but they are experienced divers.

Naturally I am in no position to tell you to do it. Especially since you haven't even certified yet. I would say you have a ways to go and would likely benefit, in many different ways, from taking the course.

There are books and articles on the subject that are readily availble if you look around that may help you get ahead of the learning curve.

12-14-2007, 10:46
I'm planningon talking to the Dive Instructor when we start the OW cert and see if he will only charge me for the book, DVD or what ever else I need instead of the full amount and let my checkout dives count towards my Altitude Specialty.

12-19-2007, 16:06
Check out an LDS like the Sierra Dive Center. They offer the Altitude class as basically 2 guided dives and use of the wheel, which is actually multi-level diving, but is necessary when diving at altitude to stay within Deco limits when diving at altitude using tables, especially if you have to cross a mountain pass to get to the dive site. That is the biggest risk in altitude diving IMHO, in that your computer won't recognize that you did that move that adjusts your starting NDL if you don't wait the prescribed period before diving.

They charge the same as the two guided dives including tanks plus the $25 padi card fee.

$175 seems high to me for 2 dives and a PADI card. I did Altitude as part of my AOW, and my LDS charged me $55 for the remainder of the specialty (2nd dive and PADI fee).

12-19-2007, 17:00
I would expect a 2 dive specialty to be around $75.

Since your OW checkout dives are at altitude, you will (or should) be taught anyway what you need to know to dive safely at altitude. Or at least at that altitude.

My *opinion* is that this is not a crucial specialty class and the material can be learned independently. The specialty does not "count" towards Divemaster.

12-19-2007, 17:53
I took the Alt. Spec. 4 years ago for $35.00.....living in an area with the average alt. of 650ft., and the fact that we were headed to a 3200ft. location to dive I felt it worth the $ and I did learn a bit that otherwise I might not have picked up on prior to the trip. Did the 2 required dives on the trip....was new and different at the time.

But I am with ReefHound....its really nothing with a little self study and prep work and correct alt. chart you can not learn on your own....know ones yet to ask to see my Alt. Spec. c-card--lol.

12-21-2007, 21:10
It is kind of funny for me to think about the need to pay for that class. My open water dives were all done at 3200 feet in Mt. Storm! So with zero OW exp. my first 4 dives were altitude with only a brief discussion of the effects before the dive. You could probably learn about it on these forums. I know that it would have been nice to know the symptoms if hypoxia before I went, so that way as I was struggling to breath on my surface swim I could have understood why! :)