If after the first couple of years you haven't killed yourself...
Ted Jones - Basic Scuba Diver/Retired Army Civilian Engineer/30 years in the sport
November 29, 2004 at 14:30:57
I agree. There is another aspect to this issue. I have been reading this bulletin board thread with great interest! I see nothing has changed in 20 years! I remember 15 or 20 years ago when PADI first came out with the idea of forcing student divers to pay for two certification courses instead of one in order to increase revenue. There are Basic Scuba Divers and then there are: "BASIC SCUBA DIVERS"! 30 years ago I completed a course of Basic Scuba Diver instruction conducted in Germany by U.S. Army Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) hard-hat divers. They were also certified PADI instructors. They had to be in order to award a PADI "Basic Scuba Diver" certification.
This course took one month of instruction to complete (definitely not a resort type of course), five nights a week two hours each night, conducted in a German enclosed olympic sized pool. We didn't even touch equipment until the second week. The first week was spent on swimming endurance, water rescue techniques, and scuba physics. This eliminated about 4 or 5 people from the class. They didn't want to make the investment. During the 3 weeks remaining the first half hour every meeting was dedicated to swimming proficiency, free style, scissors kick, etc. Then on to equipment training for the remaining time in these meetings; checking out the equipment, donning it, buddy breathing, clearing the mask, two students fully outfitted with scuba equipment and one acting as a rescuer of the other while swimming on the surface for 100 meters, placing all the equipment on the bottom of the pool with a dive instructor waiting on the bottom, jumping in and completely suiting up on the bottom of the pool, etc., etc.
After the confined water training our open water dives were conducted in German lakes and flooded stone quarries. The visibility was less than five feet. In order for diver buddy pairings to stay together (diver candidate and instructor) a rope teather was required. Full wet suits, hood, and gloves were required in these lakes.
I mention this detail of my early training for a reason. You see, my c-card currently reads PADI "Basic Scuba Diver"! In the ensuing years I have pursued my recreational diving all over the world. Off the coast of Spain in the Baleric Islands, off the coast of Greece in the Agean, Porta Villerta in the Sea of Cortez, San Carlos and San Pedro Island in the Sea of Cortez, etc.
I feel that PADI has done me, and others like me, a terrible disservice by attempting to increase it's profit margin by splitting up the training curriculum that was once used for comprehensive "Basic Scuba Diver" training 30 years ago. In those days there was NO OPEN WATER CERTIFICATION course used by them to increase their profits. Everything that is tought today covering two courses (with associated cost for each)was covered in great detail 30 years ago in ONE course with an associated certification of "BASIC SCUBA DIVER".
I still have to live with the "stigma" of a c-card that reads Basic Scuba Diver.
If this was a just world (and we all know that it's not) PADI would "GRANDFATHER" all of us early c-card holders that read "Basic Scuba Diver" in to a new card issue that reads, "Open Water Diver"! For all the good it would do.
The only thing I need form a dive shop now is to get my tanks filled. If I ever run into too much grief doing this I will buy my own compressor and fill my own tanks. In the long run it will be less skin off my hide and cheaper (at $5.00 a fill). I'll bite the bullet every five years for hydro testing.
Like a lot of you have implied in this thread. If after the first couple of years you haven't killed yourself then experience is the best instructor of all (and the most dependable). And with experience you will be a help to your dive buddy rather than a burden. "Know your limitations and don't exceed them"!
So remember the next time you see a diver on a dive boat with a c-card that reads Basic Scuba Diver and appears to be over 50 years old. Don't be too quick to judge him. I'd say "her" also but in 1974 there weren't many females in the sport. He may be one of those divers that holds one of the "other" type of PADI Basic Scuba Diver c-cards. Who knows! He may even be able to clear his mask at 70 feet.