Open Water (OW) Day 1


On Saturday 5/12/12 I assisted one of the instructors with an Open Water class.  Day 1 consists of confined water skills and just basically getting comfortable with the gear. 

I arrived at the shop at 7am and started by packing the gear, as is my job for all of the dives I assist with.  Around 8am the students began arriving.  The instructor did the knowledge review with them while I finished the prep work. 

Saturday the surf was down so we conducted the confined water portion of the class at Three Tables.  The first thing that needs to be done for the class is a swim test.  So while that was being done I set out all the gear that would be needed for everyone.  When they finished their swim test the instructor showed them how to set everything up and then we supervised as everyone practiced. 

Once the gear was set up and they were briefed on what we would be doing in the water we headed down and entered the water.  Everyone got ready and we began to swim out to a sandy spot where we could set down and perform skills in the shallows.  Right off the bat one of the students had a problem keeping her fins on.  I tightened them 2 or 3 times for her and then we realized that we weren’t fixing the problem.  So I headed back to shore with her to get a better look.  Once we exited the water and I took a closer look I realized that I needed to replace a fin strap.  Luckily we carry extras in the van. 

As soon as I returned with her to the instructor he said the other students were finished and asked me to return them to shore while he conducted the skills with the last student.  He told the students that if they had over 2000psi in their tanks they didn’t have to change them.  All of them did, but they began asking if they had air left at the end of the next dive could we do a little exploring.  So, I told them all to go ahead and change tanks since that would give them a better shot at that.  When the instructor returned I informed him of their request and told him that all the tanks had been changed.  He understood their desire and decided that we would “poke around” a bit before we conducted the next set of skills. 

When we headed back to the water for the second dive the instructor led us all out to an area called “the amphitheatre” and the students were able to practice swimming under water and some buoyancy.  One particular student was really good on buoyancy and the instructor and myself both complimented her. 

As a DMC and later as a DM, I have come to realize, that my job is about making sure others have a great dive and that everything runs smoothly  As a DMC I am responsible to bring up the back of the pack.  I get to watch as the students get more comfortable in the water and it’s really neat to see people discover everything that scuba diving has to offer.

After our little trip we practiced full mask floods, no mask breathing, and out of air sharing air.  Then we surfaced and practiced towing another diver, and cramp removal. 

On the way back to the shop I asked the instructor what was left to do and he said basically just paperwork.  So I volunteered to show the students how we wash gear and he agreed that would be great.  I just showed them the order in which we normally wash things and explained the reasons behind it. 

Once we were finished I received my evaluation for the day and left.  I am going to help finish this class up this weekend and I’m looking forward to that.  I can’t wait to see how far they have come.  They had class on Sunday but I didn’t participate since it was mother’s day.

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