So we’ve discussed questions you may have pertaining to your Open Water Certification.
Next, we talked about what’s next, Advanced Diver and Master Diver. In that discussion, we learned that it takes X number of specialty courses completed to move to the next level of diving. So, what are specialty classes? Good question.
A specialty class is a type of diving that you take a class in for specific dive training.
Because of the specialization, you get more comfortable diving in different environments from drift waters and deep waters of the ocean to going through a wreck and more. The more comfortable you get in the water, the better diver you become. Interesting how that works, right? It’s like practice for diving. They say practice makes perfect.
With specialty classes come some regulations from age to the number of required dives to previous courses taken, etc. Since we’re on the topic, let’s discuss the Specialty Classes in a little more depth.
SDI Specialty Classes
Your SDI certification allows you to get SCUBA certified at the age of 10 with parental consent. 2 weeks ago when we were talking about Advanced diver, it mentioned that four specialty courses, 25 logged dives, and that for a junior the classes had to be allowed by age. Because of that, let’s break down the specialty classes by age group.
71 percent of the world is covered in water. To get to some of those places require a short (or long) boat ride. This course covers types of vessels that you dive off of, how to enter and exit a boat, boating etiquette, as well as how to board and much more.
This is a handy course to have under your repertoire of courses for attending that group trip to Cozumel, Curaçao, and beyond. There are 2 required dives for this class.
Nitrox is a type of diving gas that has benefits for new and experienced divers. You will learn about the nitrox mixtures from 22 to 40% oxygen.
This course requires no dives. It is all classroom. You will, however, learn how to set your dive computer for the percent oxygen levels that you will be breathing on a given tank of Nitrox air.
The ocean is deep. While this course keeps you in the deep range of a recreational diver at 60 feet – 130 feet, at that point the ocean is your depth. This certification allows you to see beautiful walls, shipwrecks, critters, and more. This course gives you the training necessary to plan and execute dives beyond the depth range of the SDI Open Water SCUBA diver course.
Remember, the world is 70% water. This allows you to dive to greater depths while giving you the safety and knowledge that go along with a deeper dive.
This course allows a diver to travel over a large area without expending much energy. Riding a drift current allows you to dive longer on the same amount of air. You put that neutral buoyancy to work and drift along with the current. You also learn about the various types of drift currents you may experience while diving including tides, currents, waves, and surge.
Learning to drift dive, you are able to figure out where you are comfortable to get that long dive like everyone else. You may also learn to dive like Mike (10 feet above to conserve air for that longer dive) or get behind coral to allow the rest of the group to catch up (or pee possibly… don’t ask). You also learn about the different types of current and what happens should you experience these currents.
The purpose of this course is to acquaint the open water diver with procedures, techniques, and potential hazards associated with diving at night or in limited visibility. You learn about navigation, buddy diving, communications, flashlights, and more. This diving also allows you to see nightlife in diving that is not seen during daylight hours with a regular open water diving certification.
There are things seen during a night dive that are never seen during the daylight hours. Some of the underwater life comes out only at night or feed only at night. Some of the experiences of diving underwater require a little limited visibility to get to the destination.
This course is designed to give students a greater understanding and experience on how to properly navigate underwater using both natural and compass navigation.
There are many wonders underwater to be seen that have been discovered before. This class gives you the experience to be able to use both natural and man-made landmarks as well as compasses to find these treasures again.
The SDI Underwater Photographer Diver Course is designed to introduce divers to the equipment, techniques, and procedures necessary to take underwater photographs. It allows the student to experience and discuss many areas of interest to the underwater photographer.
Part of exploring the underwater world is being able to take photos of the things you saw home with you in more than your memory. This is a great way to help convince your friends and family to become certified along with you. It entices people. One thing that comes with photography underwater is adding more gear to your dive. This class gives you the knowledge and the comfort level to maneuver underwater with extra gear.
Wreck Diver – No Penetration
There are two types of Wreck Diving. No penetration meaning that you just stay on the outside of the wreck, but do not enter. Penetration where you actually go in and through the wreck. At 10*, you are limited to no penetration with parental consent until you are 15 years of age. The SDI Wreck Diver Course will discuss the equipment and techniques commonly employed while wreck diving. This course as a non-penetration requires 2 dives.
With all the vessels that have either sunk of causes or been placed in certain areas of bodies of water, this class allows the diver to check out the wreck. Maximum safety when diving on or through a wreck is the number one goal. This course teaches you the requirements for diving on a wreck.
Specialty Classes for 10 years of age and beyond.
As you can see, there are a lot of courses that are offered to Certified Open Water students who are 10* years of age with parental consent. If you are interested in pursuing some specialty courses, come see us. We will help set you up for classes that best benefit your needs.
There are other courses that have a different age requirement. In another post, we’ll discuss those.
10* is the youngest age to be able to get certified and dive through SDI. From the age of 10-17 requires parental consent for all SCUBA related classes.