Written by Michelle Brunton, Manager of PADI Quality Management and Kim Ngan, PADI Quality Management Consultant
Divers have completed their PADI Open Water dives and confined water training. They are now ready for their final training dive. The divers are excited about finishing their course on the final PADI Open Water Dive. The previous day they had completed all their training dives, and had a long night finishing off their knowledge development.
On the boat the instructor tells them the plan for their final dive, and then they all set off. Divers are all in one group of seven students, but they are not entirely sure who their buddy is. They follow each other and the divemaster.
After a while, one diver gets a cramp and stops to relieve it. The rest of the group continues on without noticing. The Divemaster also does not notice. Ten minutes later they realize someone is missing and a search ensues.
If you know the requirements of PADI Open Water Dive #4, you will have picked up several concerns about the way this dive was conducted.
There is a statistic quoted in mountaineering: 80% of the climbing deaths on Mount Everest occur on the descent! Why?
Exhaustion – everyone is just simply tired out.Excitement dip – the emotional state declines after the summit is reached.Planning – good planning goes into the ascent phase, then less planning for the descent.Relaxation – climbers are relaxed and relieved they have reached the top.
It can be the same in diving. After the confined water and open water training, divers are tired. They have achieved a great deal and might be in a euphoric state that is beginning to reduce. The divers and their instructors might relax and reduce the focus on planning.
The Goal of PADI Open Water Dive #4
This final dive is for students to become certified entry-level divers, with reasonable self confidence in their ability to plan and execute dives. Remember that divers are following their dive plan and you are there for support, as necessary. Allow as much independence as possible while maintaining control. You are supervising and assessing diver performance regarding buoyancy control and streamlining, buddy contact and communication, monitoring air supply and general dive conduct.
How Can We Meet These Objectives?
We can meet these objectives by:
While student divers independently plan their dive, they will still be accompanied on the dive by yourself or a certified assistant. Direct supervision is required underwater and on the surface.
Confirm that they have evaluated dive conditions, and have discussed and planned their; entry and exit techniques and locations; what to do if separated from a buddy; course to follow; environmental conservation practices; potential hazards; air pressure turning point; depth and time limits; and planned a safety stop. Make corrections to the dive plan as necessary for logistical purposes, skill performance and safety reasons.
Checking & Reminding
Watch and correct the pre-dive buddy checks as necessary, and keep a close eye on their ascent and descent rates, buoyancy, navigation etc. Remind students to follow their dive plan.
Have your student divers assemble their gear with little to no assistance. Encourage buddy pairs to help each other put on and adjust their equipment using proper lifting techniques.
Refer to your PADI Guide to Teaching for more detail on the best ways to conduct the PADI Open Water Dive #4. Make sure to be just as careful in the supervision and planning for the final dive of any PADI training course, as you were on the initial training and dives.
Get In Touch
The PADI Asia Pacific team wishes you the best in your professional diving activities. Please contact [email protected] if you’re interested to discuss the content in this article further or have a general question for the team.
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