View Full Version : Underwater navigation course

02-08-2008, 18:48
I'm thinking of doing an underwater navigation course in a couple of weeks so I won't be quite so lost underwater. Has anyone taken this? Is it useful?

I can read a compass fine, but I'm not good at estimating distance or swimming straight.

02-08-2008, 19:01
I'd say that if you're not good at estimating distance or following a straight course, the UW Nav. course would be of great benefit.
Topics covered should be estimating distance by time, air consumption, kick cycles and arm spans. Also, you will work on compass navigation and natural navigation as well as a combination of the two. you will then run a number of different patterns using various methods and hopefully under varied conditions.

02-08-2008, 20:50
Sounds like a good course. Do they cover how to compensate for swimming through cross currents and maintaining course?

02-08-2008, 20:54
That's the first specialty I'm planning on taking.

Around here, the viz is never that great, so you won't see which way back to the beach / boat without surfacing.

So. Compass it is. Unless you WANT to be at the mercy of your buddy.

02-08-2008, 21:04
Sounds like a good course. Do they cover how to compensate for swimming through cross currents and maintaining course?
They certainly should. Think along the line of waypoints.

02-09-2008, 00:44
Awesome, that sounds like just what I need. I'll try to take the next one.

02-09-2008, 14:35
It's worth the effort to learn and it could someday save your life.

02-09-2008, 18:49
I'm going to be taking it as part of the PADI Advanced Open water certification in a month or so on vacation. I figure would most likely not pay $150+ for it alone, but as part of an entire certification it works out to be a lot less. I'm not too exited about it (exited about boat, deep, and photo), but it will still expand my skills and ad to my experience. That I can't complain about. I say go for it!

02-12-2008, 04:51
The AOW underwater navigation thing is just one dive. It's not terrible or anything, but the diving around here is sort of medium visibility swimming from one rock formation to another and it just hasn't been enough for me. The course will add two more dives and some bookwork as well and sounds like it might cover exactly what I need.

Unfortunately, the one I was going to take this month has been cancelled, so I will have to wait until April.

02-12-2008, 09:47
I took it as part of my AOW, and I found it to be one of the most useful, and challenging courses I have taken. I always carry a compass now. In fact I was recently on a drift dive and got separated from the group. If I didn't have a compass, and the knowledge of how to use it, I am not sure if I would have been able to find the boat.

02-12-2008, 14:20
See if they can include teaching you to use the Underwater Sextant (also called the Scuba Sextant) as part of your navigation training. PADI makes one, I believe it's to be covered in the nav course. Some places now skip it.

02-12-2008, 17:39
i think i'll be doing a navigation dive as part of my AOW, pretty excited!

02-12-2008, 19:27
i think i'll be doing a navigation dive as part of my AOW, pretty excited!

Yep, there is a required nav adventure dive for AOW...in my opinion it is the most important adventure dive you could take. I am strongly considering finishing the specialty for the experience...plus my log has a few more slots open for c-cards! :)

02-21-2008, 12:33
Ill be taking mine in a couple months. But there is a nav dive required for my AOW class.

02-22-2008, 22:24
I finished my PADI AOW on a 4 day boat dive at the Channel Islands. I would have to say that navigation was probably the most useful. Some things that have really helped me:
Navigation - I can get back to shore swimming underneath the kelp near where I entered and do not have to surface outside of the kelp line with a stringer of bleeding fish to spot my entry point and adjust my compass. I also prefer to swim close to shore on the bottom with a stringer of fish rather than surfacing in 40-60' of water and kicking in on the surface.
Night - I like fishing at night especially Halibut. Knowing limits and safety. Being sure of how to get back to the shore entry point.
Drift- very important with the currents and tides. It could make for a very hard swim or pull, and having to assist weaker divers.
Deep - I like going to 80-85' feet where the big fish are, but I am a near shore diver. Where I go the deepest I would get in my kayak or inflatable is 65', if I am lucky. 45-50' or so swimming from shore, if I am lucky.
Peak Performance Buoyancy - I just do it now and don't think about it.

08-22-2008, 11:57
It's a great course.

After you take it, make sure you use your compass on every dive to stay sharp for when you really need to get to a certain point.

I recently dove with a friend, who was, as he stated, "really good at using the compass", so I sat back and watched him navigate. I gently reminded him several times of adjusting for the current, but kind of sat back and smiled as we missed out exit point by 100 yards...

Using the compass is easy, applying drift correction and speed variations is the biggest piece. If you are an aware diver, you'll always get clues to when you're being pushed off course, slowed, or sped up, and it doesn't take long before you subconsciously start to apply those environmental conditions to your track.