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View Full Version : Any advantage to getting my AOW?



boates
02-27-2008, 06:19
I've logged 400+ dives(10 yrs), throughout N.S. Canada(burrrrrr), and the Caribbean, 3 specialties.
I've never run into not being able to participate in dives at advanced sites, but could it happen...whadda'ya think.

emcbride81
02-27-2008, 08:48
Me and my buddy have been denied twice in the last year because of not having our AOW. We wanted to dive the Spiegel Grove and the U-Boat in North Carolina, but got shot down.

Now, since then we have called other dive shops and they have said if you have at least 2-4 dives to 80ft or below in the last 6 months they will allow you to dive the Grove without AOW, but that wasn't an option with the op we took.

maggs_the
02-27-2008, 10:09
i dont know that the Flower Gardens (MV Spree and Fling) require your AOW cert but they do suggest it...

but for my own personal opinion, the advantage of getting your AOW is the training and learning itself. i got mine mostly because when i got into this, i wanted to learn and do as much as i could .. more more more.. but i stopped short of rescue diver and have no plans to be a dive master because that stuff looks more like work than fun.

RoyN
02-27-2008, 10:24
I got it in addition to getting nitrox otherwise, AOW is a good class to take. It shouldn't be THAT fun, but it have lots of information in it. At least mine was rather more work then fun because my AOW teacher was an underwater naturalist so we pretty much spent our time going around and finding creatures.

in_cavediver
02-27-2008, 11:24
AOW has differring levels of usefulness. A newer diver will find lots of value. An expierenced diver will be determined by what 'expierence' dives they do.

Case in point, I did AOW right after OW. My wife has yet to do it. She instead did nitrox, cavern, cave, Adv. Nitrox/Deep (IANTD) and tec nitrox. I saw value - she likely wouldn't.

Damselfish
02-27-2008, 11:54
Hard to say for sure but with 400 dives it seems doubtful you'd get a lot out of AOW other than the handy card, but it certainly won't hurt you. I suppose one advantage is you need AOW to take PADI Rescue which is a good idea, though of course you could take Rescue from an agency like NAUI that doesn't require AOW. (I dove for 15 years before I got around to Rescue and it was still well worthwhile.) I don't know if it's possible to take Rescue and get an instructor/PADI to accept experience in place of AOW, maybe not but if it were that would be a good option.

For a new diver I tend to suggest picking elective dives that focus on "fundamental" skills, but for someone experienced who just needs to get the card maybe you could take it someplace with some different electives that would be interesting to you, something you haven't done.

As far as being prevented from doing some dive someplace, there's no way to predict that, depends where you go. You could make a point of always verifying in advance that an operator you are thinking of diving with will accept a logbook/experience in place of an AOW card. (That's probably not foolproof, I can imagine someone telling you one thing then when you get someplace a different person has a different idea.)

CompuDude
02-27-2008, 12:27
It's worth doing it sometime when you have a chance, simply because it eliminates any possibility of being denied a dive because you DON'T have the card.

Silly, but it could happen. Find a good instructor and you could even learn a thing or two.

cummings66
02-27-2008, 12:33
I have dove places that without the AOW card I wouldn't have been able to dive there, so for me it was worth it.

As to whether the class was worth it or not is debatable.

Athena2c
02-27-2008, 22:21
I liked the class a lot and found it helpful to have an instructor helping me with the "how" of my diving and skills after I had a few dives under my belt. I don't know how much you would get out of it, but like has been said, it can't hurt, and with the right instructor, I'm sure you could still be taught a thing or two :smiley2:

rye_a
02-27-2008, 22:22
I just see it as a stepping stone to rescue.

texdiveguy
02-27-2008, 22:34
I've logged 400+ dives(10 yrs), throughout N.S. Canada(burrrrrr), and the Caribbean, 3 specialties.
I've never run into not being able to participate in dives at advanced sites, but could it happen...whadda'ya think.


I would go ahead and take the course....should be a piece of cake to you at your level of experience anyways, then you will have the card and no real worry.

Now just try and talk me into going and taking a Solo Diver class to get the card so I might not get barred from a handful of location in the USA--LOL....!

emcbride81
02-27-2008, 22:36
Me and my buddy decided to get it in Mexico, we figured that we were going to be getting in 5-6 dives anyway, why not go ahead and get the certification. We had already done the bookwork when we got there, so the only two things we had to do were tie a rope in a knot at 90 feet and swim in a square. After that it was enjoying the wrecks, taking pictures, and drifting along with the current...what we would have done anyway!

Crimediver
02-28-2008, 09:25
It used to be you could dive without a c-card. I dove 12 years w/o one. Then I got an OW card just to get on boats and get air fills when I traveled. Now if you don't have an advanced card you get hassled if you want to do a deeper dive with some operations. Might as well get it if you are diving at the mercy of others. You will learn some stuff you may not have known. I learned some things, so I say go for it. I have dozens of c-cards now, but the only one I show is my advanced card when I am vacationing so I don't get hooked up with a newbie diver to take care of.

mwhities
02-28-2008, 10:10
Why would one need an AOW card if one carries a Adv Nitrox/Deco/Cavern/Cave card? (Not trying to hi-jack the thread, just curious if anyone has looked at it that way.)

emcbride81
02-28-2008, 10:26
Why would one need an AOW card if one carries a Adv Nitrox/Deco/Cavern/Cave card? (Not trying to hi-jack the thread, just curious if anyone has looked at it that way.)


As stated earlier, some people will not except anything else. I also think that you may run into places that will not even know what that is. In another thread someone mentioned that at the far reaches of the planet some organizations other than PADI/NAUI have never been heard of.

SkuaSeptember
02-28-2008, 10:34
Why would one need an AOW card if one carries a Adv Nitrox/Deco/Cavern/Cave card? (Not trying to hi-jack the thread, just curious if anyone has looked at it that way.)
The combination of specialties that you list would show evidence of experience in deep diving and navigation so my guess is that a reasonable person would accept this but someone needing to "check the box" for an insurance company's purposes might not.

To the OP: After 10 years it's time for a new picture:smiley2:

in_cavediver
02-28-2008, 11:13
Why would one need an AOW card if one carries a Adv Nitrox/Deco/Cavern/Cave card? (Not trying to hi-jack the thread, just curious if anyone has looked at it that way.)

That's actually a running joke with my wife and I. We figured once we did Advanced Trimix and CCR's, then and only then would we be ready for the rigors of AOW.

As it is now, my wife would want doubles and a deco gas for the 'deep' dive to a 100' and have the attitude 'What do you mean we can't stay for 40 minutes!'

So far - no troubles at all with dive ops. Of course, we seek out the smaller ops and avoid cattle boats etc.

cummings66
02-28-2008, 11:44
I'd love to see the expression on their faces, 40 minutes...

texdiveguy
02-28-2008, 12:00
I only carry one c-card with me on board charters or to commercial dive sites,,,I do have others in my log book folder available for showing but never have yet run into any issues.

mark44883
02-28-2008, 12:14
i think i may take the class

in_cavediver
02-28-2008, 17:07
I'd love to see the expression on their faces, 40 minutes...

Well, it was that or the 'What the big deal with 100' - I've done deco deeper than that'

I doubt she ever does AOW.

Jellybeandiver
02-28-2008, 17:17
Some of the resorts in vacation locations and some of the boats in the Keys won't allow you to do night dives without AOW

cummings66
02-28-2008, 18:17
I only carry one c-card with me on board charters or to commercial dive sites

What card do you carry?

texdiveguy
02-28-2008, 18:31
I only carry one c-card with me on board charters or to commercial dive sites

What card do you carry?

A Credit card!!!



PLUS........


I just carry my Advanced Trimix card.

emcbride81
02-28-2008, 23:49
I only carry one c-card with me on board charters or to commercial dive sites

What card do you carry?

A Credit card!!!


You would think that would be the only card most ops care about!!! :smiley36:

Scubastud16
03-02-2008, 14:26
Honestly, I'm putting it off. The only reason I would do it would be to get on the S.G./Duane, and I won't do that for a while (no buddies that want to dive it with me).

I'll take cavern first (this summer?). It's much more suited to my diving style (FL springs).

mitchy
03-02-2008, 15:43
I'm going to do the AOW just for the sake of not being rejected for a dive somewhere away from home. My local charter doesn't have any problems with me diving below 60', but you never know elsewhere.

pyre24
03-02-2008, 16:13
Im taking mine next monday. im looking forward to the dive for it also.

ianr33
03-02-2008, 16:20
I can not see an experienced diver getting much out of AOW,other than a piece of plastic.

Advanced nitrox would be the way to go to expand skills and experience but will cost more in training and extra gear.

Buoyant1
03-02-2008, 19:11
Just get it over with...I went round and round with a person that works for an OP down in NC and she said that no boats would take me out without having advanced! I had a bunch of deep and ocean dives, but the fact remained that I did not have the card...in fact they would readily take someone with 9 dives (4 OW and 5 AOW) to the U-352, than someone with any type of real experience...A lot of the Keys OPs will consider experience, or make you dive with a DM, but not all...I just sucked it up and did it last summer. (then turned around and took a good wreck course in the Keys in the fall)

Just do it, it will save you the hassles! ...400 dives? you're more than qualified for any of those dives, there should be a statuate that gives people that actually DIVE the consideration to skip over it.

emcbride81
03-02-2008, 20:19
Just do it, it will save you the hassles! ...400 dives? you're more than qualified for any of those dives, there should be a statuate that gives people that actually DIVE the consideration to skip over it.


I agree that a lot of experience is more important than a plastic card, however the one thing that card can do that the log can't, is prove at least some experience...at least as far as any civil court would say. Anyone can spend $50 on a log book and refill pages and make it look like they have 300 dives in all kinds of environments, when all they have is 5 dives and an OW cert. A log is a honor code system of record keeping that doesn't necessarily prove anything. That card is backed by an agency that sets standards of training.

Of course you could always make a fake card...

ianr33
03-02-2008, 21:23
Of course you could always make a fake card...

Or just find the right instructor and buy a card.

Yes it does happen.

A card really does not prove anything either.

emcbride81
03-02-2008, 23:01
Of course you could always make a fake card...

Or just find the right instructor and buy a card.

Yes it does happen.

A card really does not prove anything either.

I am sure that it does, the dollar can get you many things. Ultimately there is no fool proof way to validate experience with diving, but it boils down to an issue of legal liability. If you got hurt diving with a fake cert. the dive shop would not be held liable. It is not a standard industry procedure to validate certification cards through the agency before diving, and unless either they had knowledge it was fake or the card was poorly produced, they would have no reason to question its validity.

It would probably fall under the same guidelines as a fake driver's license. If someone under 21 with a fake id is caught buying or drinking by an ABC agent, the establishment is not liable for penalty unless the id is obviously fake somehow.

I guess the big thing with the cert. card is a CYA thing for the op. Honestly, in this day and age, I cannot blame them for it.

in_cavediver
03-03-2008, 11:27
Of course you could always make a fake card...

Or just find the right instructor and buy a card.

Yes it does happen.

A card really does not prove anything either.

I am sure that it does, the dollar can get you many things. Ultimately there is no fool proof way to validate experience with diving, but it boils down to an issue of legal liability. If you got hurt diving with a fake cert. the dive shop would not be held liable. It is not a standard industry procedure to validate certification cards through the agency before diving, and unless either they had knowledge it was fake or the card was poorly produced, they would have no reason to question its validity.

It would probably fall under the same guidelines as a fake driver's license. If someone under 21 with a fake id is caught buying or drinking by an ABC agent, the establishment is not liable for penalty unless the id is obviously fake somehow.

I guess the big thing with the cert. card is a CYA thing for the op. Honestly, in this day and age, I cannot blame them for it.

One very interesting thing people forget is the 60' limit is for training. Its merely suggested for new OW divers with the limit formally set, at least according to my PADI OW book, at 130'.

The fact is a certified diver should know thier limits and an operator who insists on hand-holding them is incurring more liability by 'taking care of them' and 'limiting dives'.

I personally subscribe to the notion that the dive boat is the bus - transport only. It may be a 'special' bus with extra diving specific first aid stuff but a bus nonetheless. If I need diving assitance, I can hire a DM/Instructor/Guide.

boates
03-20-2008, 06:16
interesting opinions, and many good points one and all! I guess I was put off the idea, 'cause I saw so many getting ow 1 week, then straight into aow the next week, so I saw it just as a money grab. (easy on the flames) :smiley9:

Guess I should drop the dough, though,,,,,,maybe!:smiley2:

cummings66
03-20-2008, 12:21
The thing about the cards is that if you want to advance as a diver into some arenas you have to collect cards. Some agencies might let you skip certain things by experience, but it's more instructor related than agency.

For example, I know 2 guys moving into the technical area. One has to take deep diving and the other doesn't. Both have similar amounts of deep dives and what it boiled down to is different instructors. The phrase was something like card or it's equivalent.

So one instructor took that to mean the equivalent was a card by another agency, not experience and the other took it to mean experience. That's the issue you face.

IMO if you can get rescue without AOW then skip it. Once you have rescue the others won't even care you skipped AOW.

doczerothree
03-20-2008, 12:46
You get to learn more stuff! And as you have found, NOT participate or dive places you'ld really like too!