This is my favourite course. For those who are not PADI divers this course follows the Advanced Course (which follows the Open Water course) and first aid is a compulsory requirement.
When you start diving you generally focus on yourself only. It’s a time to get to know yourself under water and to establish habits. You’ll keep adjusting your weight, get to know how you react in different settings, learn more about your equipment and how to look after it and get to know your air use. You’ll also develop your buoyancy on each dive you do.
The advanced course is often taken directly after the open water course. This takes your diving one step further with 5 dives, Navigation and Deep being compulsory. We generally start with Peak Performance Buoyancy, continuing to Wreck and Search and Recovery although the students get to choose which dives they would like to undertake.
From here divers will often undertake specialities in Deep or Wreck. The advanced course deep dive will take you down to 30m but the speciality goes to 40m. The Wreck speciality will teach you line laying amongst other things. But the course that I believe should be on every diver’s list is the Rescue.
The Rescue Course is a little different from others in that it explores scenarios and there are different, but equally valid, responses to certain situations. It is physical but it’s an opportunity for you to try different skills and decide what works for you. There are ten skills that divers will learn and two scenarios. The first aid course is enjoyable and useful, especially if you train with someone who can add in the dive specific situations.
Rescue is the time in your dive training that you look beyond your own diving and develop a greater awareness of those around you. Although the skills relate to responding to situations the course also raises potential issues and how to prevent them. I would recommend reading up on DAN’s incident reports to learn from others’ situations.
If you never take another course again (other than a refresher!) then the Rescue Diver should be the last one on your list. At Ocean Diver we run an annual refresher for our former students to come along and refresh their skills in the water. This is free for club members. Whoever you train with – get it on your list of goals for this year!