I cannot over emphasize the importance of continuing education for every diver. Personally, every dive I make is another training opportunity for me. I watch and imitate good dive behaviors that I see, and at the same time I am self critical and re-evaluate myself every time I see another diver who is displaying poor dive behaviors. I consciously try to avoid repeating the bad dive behaviors I sometimes see in others.
Most folks don’t have the opportunities that I have and therefore I highly recommend that they take advanced diving courses from a skilled instructor. If one wants to keep his skills honed and learn new skills I suggest they contact their local dive shop and engage in formal training classes or contact an instructor and see what learning opportunities you can create.
As we lead dive trips it is becoming more and more important for divers to have training beyond the basic open water level. It is now common at quality dive operations that they will not allow divers without advanced training to participate in some dives. Dive operations are realizing the error in accepting some diver’s overconfidence and arrogance, and that at 100 feet it is the wrong place for a diver to discover that they do not have the necessary skills to perform safely. I repeatedly tell my students that no problem gets better at depth! Thus it is my argument that formal training creates a controlled environment for the student to learn how to deal with new situations, and it allows them to safely learn how they will react to new situations.
If possible, one can create great learning experiences by taking advantage of diving with instructors who are generous in their willingness to coach interested students when they are diving together. On some of our dive trips I have geared the entire trip for training. Our annual week in Roatán, Honduras is a great example of this. I always offer PADI Advanced Open Water Diver courses and several advanced specialties, such as Boat Diver, Drift Diver, Deep Diver, Night Diver, etc. It becomes very convenient to acquire the additional training since we are already diving — all we have to do is include the coursework.
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