Why should I take a PADI specialty course when I already do the activity anyway?
I understand the reasoning – I already take pictures underwater, so why should I take the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course? I’m good at navigation, so why take the PADI Underwater Navigator course? I’ve got 20 dives logged deeper than 18 metres/60 feet – what would I get out of Deep Diver? The answer is: plenty.
1. You know everything????? No one knows everything about anything. No matter how much you already know about an activity, in the relevant PADI specialty course you’re certain to learn new techniques or fine points you’ve missed. Know how to white balance your camera? Cool. Know how to do it underwater without a white card? That could come in handy.
2. Expand your experience. When you train in a new environment, you learn new nuances. You’ve made a dozen dives to 30 metres/100 feet -- in clear tropical water, or murky temperate conditions? They’re not exactly the same. Take a PADI Deep Diver course in the one that’s less familiar to you; you learn about the activity and the environment.
3. Prevent a dangerous mistake. In some activities, an ignorant diver can inadvertently get away with potentially dangerous practices and/or bad habits for several dives without even realizing it. A simple example: a DPV can take you farther from your exit than you could reasonably swim if it conked out. PADI DPV Divers know how to plan for the day your scooter quits on you – because that day is coming. Training reduces the risk of being bitten by something you didn’t even know is a problem – before it chomps on your hind quarters.
4. Your ticket to play. Because of the just-discussed potential risks of some activities, some specialties have a reasonably low risk if you’re trained, but an unacceptable risk if you’re not, so certification’s mandatory (like diving itself, actually). An ethical dive center won’t give you a nitrox fill if you can’t show a PADI Enriched Air Diver certification, and many dry suit manufacturers consider the PADI Dry Suit Diver certification mandatory to use their products.
5. Don’t be selfish. If you have experience in an activity, not only can you learn new things in the course, but you can share what you’ve learned. You probably know things other divers would love to learn. Don’t be cocky or expect to show up the instructor (a good way to be firmly disinvited), but if you’ve been drift diving 20 or 30 times, you probably have some unique tips or techniques that the rest of the class can benefit from.
6. Fun. In the off chance that in a particular specialty course you learn nothing new, you don’t qualify for anything and there’s nothing to share – it’s still fun! It’s diving! It’s getting together with friends and making new ones. How can this be anything but a worthwhile use of your time?
For more information contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort or visit padi.com/elearning.
Plus, check out the Scuba Guru's previous articles - All about PADI Courses Online and Mythbusting the Advanced Open Water Course.