NASDS' Ocean Diver Program
Add Fun and Excitement to
Your Open Water Training
by Ty Sawyer
All certifications are created equal. Right? Well, no. The National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (NASDS) has developed a curriculum that expands a divers' knowledge beyond the standard requirements for open water certification. Called the Ocean Diver Program, it gives divers in training a real sense of the variety, fun and excitement that keeps many of us diving even after years of travel and thousands of dives.
Developed by a Dallas divemaster named Britt Ross, the program allows divers in training to gain valuable experience and knowledge of such diverse activities as underwater photography, fish identification, computer diving and boat diving. There is even an optional shark diving element for those in search of a visceral experience. Besides infusing the thrill of diving into novices, the Ocean Diver Program sends forth divers who are more prepared for a broader range of experiences. They are also more apt to be careful observers of the marine environment and have a greater level of comfort; and thus safety and enjoyment; than new divers coming out of a more conventional certification program.
The Ocean Diver Program
Underwater Photography: At one time or another we all want to share the underwater world we enjoy with others. Underwater photography allows us to do this as well as being a visual memory of our adventures. NASDS recommends the simple to use Sea & Sea camera systems, but any will do. Valuable hands-on time is spent with the camera of choice both topside and U/W.
Reef Fish Identification: Learning to carefully observe the underwater realm is a skill that will bring the reef to life almost as if by magic. And, as new divers will discover and experienced divers know, it is a skill that is continually honed; perfection is almost always a fin or two away. This course, based on the superlative Paul Humann fish I.D. books, increases diver awareness underwater and can do wonders for capturing, in photographs, the more elusive creatures.
Computer Diving: Yes, you learn the tables, suffer through hand calculations of no decompression time, repetitive groups, etc., and along comes a computer to do all the thinking for you. While the knowledge of table use is essential (what if your computer zonks out!), computers can quickly and more accurately keep track of multi-level diving and repetitive dives than divers. Computers also free you to observe the fishlife and take those award winning photographs.
Boat Diving: This segment puts all the skills a diver learns for open water diving to practical use. And, there is a definite etiquette to diving from a boat, of which everyone should be aware.
As you can see, the Ocean Diver Program introduces new divers to more than just the mechanics of breathing U/W. It introduces them to all the great toys and exciting activities, giving them an opportunity to utilize new skills and maximize their enjoyment.
For information on this innovative program, contact NASDS at 1012 S. Yates, Memphis, Tennessee 38119; phone (901) 767-7265, (800) 735-3438 or fax (901) 767-2798.