Open Water Diver (OWD)
The OWD certification is the first step for folks who have always wanted to SCUBA dive or see what lies beneath the waves of the oceans and lakes. The PADI OWD certification is the world's most popular; millions of people have received their OWD certification to take up SCUBA as a hobby or as the first step toward making diving a career.
There are three (3) major parts of the OWD:
- Knowledge Development (provided in the classroom, or online), which provides the understanding of SCUBA principles necessary to dive safely.
- Confined water dives, which provide the practical application of the classroom knowledge and provide skills and technique training.
- Open water dives, which are used to test and refine dive skills, and provide many folks with their first "real" open water diving experience.
In order to begin the OWD, all students must:
- Be at least ten (10) years of age or older if knowledge development takes place in the classroom (online knowledge development requires students be at least thirteen (13) years of age)
- Complete a short medical questionnaire (some students may have to consult their medical doctor to obtain a signature)
- Be able to swim at least two-hundred (200) yards or meters (there are no requirements in terms of stroke, technique, or time)
- Be able to float in deep water for at least ten (10) minutes (there is no restriction as to technique)
It is recommended that students have their own mask, fins, and snorkel. Deep Blue can provide these items to students for the duration of the OWD at a $50 charge; however, most students find that they prefer masks and fins which meet their personal preference. Deep Blue is an authorized Mares dealer, and a variety of basic and high-performance diving equipment is available for rent and sale, ranging from dive computers to wetsuits.
All students will receive an OWD Crew Pack which contains the OWD instructional materials necessary to study for and complete the OWD. Deep Blue will provide buoyancy control devices (BCDs), air, cylinders, weight belts, weights, and wetsuits for the duration of the OWD. The weekend diving license for Blue Hole (in Santa Rosa, NM) will also be provided.
Class & Dive Schedules
Classroom sessions: The class will meet the Thursday before the classroom and pool session to finalize paper work and answer any questions before starting the course. Then starting on Saturday, the class will meet at the shops classroom for two classroom sessions, which will be scheduled to meet the needs of each class. Class schedules are posted in the Classes section. Both confined and open water dive sessions are posted in the Classes as well as the News & Events section. Classroom sessions are typically completed no later than the Friday before the open water dives.
Confined water dives: There are two confined water dive sessions scheduled at local pools. The scheduled "pool session" will appear on the Classes and News & Events sections. Each listed class provides a link to Google Maps, as well as the session date and time. These sessions are usually on a Saturday and Sunday, although schedules may be adapted to meet student needs. The confined water dives do not have to be "rushed" -- they may be spread out over several weekends, if necessary or desired by the student.
Open water dives: These are usually conducted at Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM. Like the confined water dives, the open water dives are listed in the Classes and News & Events sections with a linked map. The open water dives are conducted over the course of a weekend. Students should expect to stay overnight in Santa Rosa and make arrangements for accommodation. Lunch is not provided, although Deep Blue does bring a barbecue grill, a table, and chairs. Normally, each class meets for dinner after classes on Saturday and Sunday.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to complete my certification in two weeks? No. Although the classes are scheduled on "back-to-back" weekends, we'll work with you to find a schedule that suits your needs.
I'm not comfortable with a given technique or skill, and I'm nervous about the open water dives. Can I do another round of pool sessions first? Absolutely! In the OWD class, you will learn that as a diver, you never do anything you're not comfortable with. Being nervous takes the fun out of diving, and nervous divers are more prone to panic. We prefer you have a second (or third or fourth, for that matter) round of pool sessions to prepare you for the open water dives. When you're ready, you'll let us know.
I'm not good at a certain skill or technique...is one-on-one instruction available? Yes, it is. Private classes are definitely one way to get very detailed and thorough instruction. However, Deep Blue's divemasters take great care to engage students and provide them tips, tricks, and training to master skills and techniques during each part of the Open Water Diver class. Each class typically has four (4) to eight (8) students.
Do I have to buy anything? No, you don't. Everything you need to complete the Open Water Diver class will be provided by Deep Blue. Certain packages may or may not include the rental fee for these items (or the license for Blue Hole), so be sure to ask!
I want to go diving, but don't have anyone to go with...can I "tag along" with a class? Sure! We welcome all of our previous students to "tag along" to a pool session or to open water dive sessions. Our instructors and divemasters love diving, and probably won't hesitate to have an extra dive or two with you once current students are taken care of. Do be certain to speak with the class instructor or divemaster before the session in question, though.
How deep can I dive once I'm certified? Recreational diving guidelines limit divers to a maximum of 132 feet at sea level. Diving at altitude decreases this maximum. While "deep diving" can be fun, it is our experience that the funnest dives are usually at depths shallower than sixty (60) feet. There's often more to be seen at shallower depths. Shallower dives also provide for longer dive times.
Can I wear contact lenses when I dive? Yes. Generally speaking, if you can shower or swim in your lenses, you can wear them without too much trouble while diving.
Does ANYONE look good in a wetsuit? Hey, looks aren't everything! But...no, not really.
It is important students understand that elevation changes between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque can adversely impact student safety. Deep Blue strongly advises students stay the night in Santa Rosa at the end of the first day of diving. Students are advised that they should allow themselves several hours after the end of diving on the second day to out-gas before driving home.