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Posted by Ken Kurtis on July 25, 2005 at 15:26:33:

In Reply to: Learning how to dive doesn't require ocean??? posted by on July 25, 2005 at 10:29:22:

First of all, note that two of the three places mentioned ARE ocean training. (" . . . the open-water certification is usually done in Mexico, Southern California or Lake Pleasant.")

Don't confuse "open-water" with "ocean". They're not the same.

For instance, divers get trained every year in the Great Lakes. They also get certified every year in quarries. Dutch Springs in Pennsylvania is certainly a notable example. In fact, when I got certified it was in Gum Springs Quarry in Virginia (outside of Richmond) and that's also where I started teaching.

That didn't mean we didn't go to the ocean (trips to the Bahamas, Florida, etc.) but the initial training simply wasn't ocean-based.

Standards of all agencies require you to teach to "local conditions." In many places in the US, that is NOT an ocean environment. Does that mean the training is sub-standard? Not at all. Does that mean those divers are ready to jump in the ocean? Not necessarily. But it also shouldn't be too tough a transition.

But by the same token, don't lose sight of the fact that just because you were trained in the ocean, that doesn't mean you'll know how to handle a spring (fast water flow), a fresh-water lake (different weighting characteristics), or other non-ocean environments.

Don't fall into the trap of associating "unocean" with "unqualified."

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA



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