Why continue your training?
Obtaining your Open Water Certification is a great achievement. It does not allow you to dive anytime anywhere. Upon completion, you are certified to dive no deeper then 60 feet, and you should only dive in conditions similar to or better then the ones you were trained in. There are places you can and will go, that will not check your certification level. You may get by for a while, but, why risk it? Look at your Open Water certification like a driver’s permit. It gives you the ability to learn to dive.
Going beyond your open water class to take advance and or specialties, enhances your skills and knowledge, under the supervision of a dive professional. This allows you to be more comfortable diving in different condition, be that at night or inside a wreck. It is all about awareness: of yourself, others and the environment in which you are diving.
Phase 1: Open Water Divers are focused on themselves, developing new skills and learning new information. This is why new divers seem unaware of events that go on around them.
Phase 2: Upon entering the Adventures in Diving, or a specialty course, the diver becomes taskorientated and their awareness broadens. Working with an instructor, the diver gains new dive skills, gains familiarity with new environments and new equipment, such as lights, lift bags, reels, cameras, DPVs, etc.
Phase 3: This is the Rescue level. At a minimum, the diver has logged 20 dives and has gained more confidence with skills, equipment and the environment. This allows them to look outward, at other divers. The diver becomes conscious of things that could lead to problems and is ready to learn how to deal with emergencies.
Phase 4: Referred to as the self-actualization phase. It is training beyond rescue, which leads to the Master Scuba Diver rating. It is the highest non-leadership rating a diver can obtain. Master Scuba Diver is awarded to persons who standout as skilled divers with a firm background in a variety of specialties.
Phase 5: Leadership, when a diver chooses to follow the professional path of training. At this point in a divers career they are ready to be a role model and a leader. Divers who choose to become a professional, widen their focus to supervising other divers and passing on their skills and knowledge.