Lou, definitely consider the PADI Rescue Diver course or equivalent...
Marvin S - Instructor/Dive Center Staff
July 23, 2005 at 10:31:48
Good question Lou. The one course I would highly recommend for entry-level divers is the PADI Rescue Diver course or equivalent from another agency such as NAUI, SSI, YMCA or BSAC. If it were up to me, I would require all entry-level divers to set aside four weekends (or eight days) to become a properly trained and certified diver. The first two weekends would be Open Water, the third weekend would be Advanced (the demanding version) and the fourth and final weekend would be Rescue Diver.
Since the marketing guys at PADI also dumbed down the Advanced course, it varies widely from instructor to instructor. It can be demanding both in the water and on the academic side. It can also be five guided fun dives that give you some experience under supervision but not much else.
The wake-up call is Rescue Diver. That course definitely gets you out of the "gosh, diving is fun" mode and forces you to seriously contemplate the inherent risks of diving, the fact that people die every day scuba diving (usually in a few seconds) and what you can do to enhance your personal safety as well as other divers you may be diving with. At the end of the day, it's your neck so you want to do everything you can to protect it in an environment to which primates are ill-adapted, clumsy and downright ugly in their silly and technologically primitive scuba diving life support costumes.
Safe, eco-friendly diving to you and your wife Lou!