The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver program launches this September (2016), and while the changes are significant, the essence of the course remains untouched. Think of it as a shiny new car, but one that’s the same model as your old familiar vehicle. Three goals drove the revision.
First, PADI updated the content. Dive equipment and techniques have changed since the release of the last version of the course and content is updated to reflect this. Now, for example, there are references to electronic compasses in navigation and no references to film in digital underwater imaging. Also, the first dive of all standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris™, and Shark Conservation Specialty courses and the PADI Rebreather Diver course credit as Adventure Dives. This means more dive opportunities no matter what or where you’re teaching.
Second, PADI modernized the instructional products. The instructional tools are now as state-of-the-art as the devices student divers access them from. While a paper manual will still be available, the revised program introduces a new, mobile-friendly PADI Advanced Open Water Diver digital product. All new images and video make these instructional products pop.
Third, PADI accelerated development of the thinking skills divers acquire through experience to build confident and conservative divers. There’s a new Thinking Like a Diver section that focuses on principles such as gas management, situational awareness and buddy communication. This encourages divers to think about what they’re doing before, during and after every Adventure Dive in the same way more experienced divers do. Consequently, they better understand how to improve their dives and manage risks.
There’s a lot that didn’t change, too. Philosophically, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course still gives new (and experienced) PADI Open Water Divers the world over continued training and skill development under professional guidance. It’s still focused on introducing specialty diving. The Deep and Underwater Navigation Adventure Dives, plus three other Adventure Dives, are still required for Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and any three Adventure Dives qualify a diver for Adventure Diver.
The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver improves on an already great program, is easy and familiar to teach, and offers even more of the exploration, excitement and experiences that divers look for. Take a look at the third quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal, which has several relevant and detailed articles, and make a point of implementing the new program as soon as the materials are available.