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I teach classes at my house in Woodinville, where I have set up my diving room to be an intimate classroom for up to 4 students and where there is a heated outdoor pool.
As a PADI Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor (IDCSI), I am certified to teach all of the PADI recreational diving classes. All diving certifications have limits attached to them, and the limits are designed to promote safety and good diving practices. As a PADI Tec Instructor, I am certified to teach the PADI Tec Basics Specialty, PADI Tecreational Diver Specialty and Tec 40 Technical Classes
The basic entry level class is the "Scuba Diver" course which is often taught as the first part of the "Open Water Diver." The primary purpose of the Scuba Diver certification is to safely and easily teach people the basics of Scuba Diving so that they can begin to enjoy the fascination of diving. The most important limit for the Scuba Diver certification is that the diver must dive with a Professional -- that means a Dive Master, Assistant Instructor or an Instructor. This may be the way to go for the younger student or for someone who really isn't sure about scuba diving -- or for someone who just found out they are leaving "next week" for the Tropics!
The next certification level, and the first of the "independent diver" levels, is "Open Water Diver." This class takes the training you get as a Scuba Diver and provides little bit more and shows you how to be an independent diver -- that is, one who can plan and execute dives with just you and your buddy. This does NOT mean you shouldn't attempt to dive with those who are more experienced -- you should because that is one of the best ways to really learn how to dive. But the Open Water Diver means you are now certified to dive, with your buddy, under better, same or similar circumstances as you were trained.
After becoming an Open Water Diver, the next step on the training ladder is to become an "Advanced Open Water Diver." As with the Open Water Diver, the Advanced Class may be broken into two parts but more often just done as one class. The first part of the total class is "Adventure Diver" and the second part is Advanced Open Water Diver. The difference? Well, the Adventure Diver has a choice of 3 "Adventure Dives" and the Advanced Open Water Diver has those 3 dives plus an Underwater Navigation experience dive as well as a Deep Dive experience dive. Each of the dives you do may count as the first dive in that particular "Dive Specialty."
The last PADI Recreational class is Rescue which is highly recommended for anyone who wants to be an active recreational diver. While called "Rescue" most instructors believe it is improperly named -- since the class is really about how to stay OUT of trouble while diving.
In addition to these classes, the PADI system has series of "specialties" which are short classes which work on specific diving skills and issues. These specialties require extra training and experience on the part of the instructor and I believe I should only teach them when I have something extra to offer. While there are approximately 20 such specialty classes, I only teach a few of them -- but I will help you find the right instructor if you want to take a specialty I do not teach.
There are two specialties that every serious Recreational Diver should take. The first is Peak Performance Buoyancy (PPB): This is the class that helps the new diver fine tune her trim (her horizontal position in the water) and her buoyancy control (being able to maintain a specific depth while in the water). Trim is very important, especially here in Puget Sound, because trim significantly effects the effort needed to move through the water (the less effort, the more efficient you are) and how much silt and "stuff" you might stir up in the water. (Remember, Puget Sound dive sites are often silty and stirring stuff up significantly limits the visibility.) Buoyancy control is also extremely important because you need to be able to maintain your depth to keep from "corking" (going to the surface when you don't want to) or to keep you off the bottom.
The second specialty is a non-diving specialty, learning how to use Enhanced Air Nitrox, which is air that has a higher percentage of Oxygen than the normal 20.9% -- which means you absorb less Nitrogen in every breath you take while diving compared to Air. Everyone who is, like me, of a "more advanced age" may find a benefit by using Nitrox. People who often do more than one dive a day may find a benefit by using Nitrox. And people who are going on a diving vacation and will be doing multiple dives over multiple days will almost always find a benefit by using Nitrox. In addition to the physical benefits of Nitrox, in my Nitrox class you will also be introduced to some of the basics of Air Supply Management (which is not a class but a topic).
The other Specialties I teach are designed to appeal to all Recreational Divers but may not appeal to each one. Like any "buffet" there are some selections that are more intriguing to each person than others.
In no particular order, I teach:
Deep Diving -- In the Advanced Open Water class you will get certified to dive to 100 feet but in this class, you will learn more about the effects of diving deep in addition to being "good to go" to the maximum Recreational Diving Depth of 130 feet. You will also learn more about the intricacies of planning deep dives and how this specialty ties into what you learn in the Nitrox class.
Boat Diving -- While some people think it is as "easy as falling off a boat" I will give you tips I have learned from my experiences of diving from many different types of boats (from small rigid inflatables to large charter boats both in the tropics and in Puget Sound) under many different conditions.
Drift Diving -- Do you want to dive without swimming? Then doing a Drift Dive is the way to go -- and with my experiences in drift diving in Puget Sound, Cozumel, Indonesia and the South Pacific, you'll learn how to make it the safe experience it should be.
Dry Suit Diving -- IF you are going to be a Puget Sound diver, you will end up diving dry. I will help you get the most out of your dry suit.
Night Diving -- "Every Dive in Puget Sound Is a Night Dive" especially from November through March. Night Diving is when many different critters come out and every serious Recreational Diver needs to comfortable diving in the dark. I will bring my Puget Sound night diving experience, as well as my Cave diving experience (talk about being dark!) to the class and teach you proper Night Diving technique, including how to best use your light as both a signaling device and a "buddiness" device.
Multi-Level Diving -- In their Open Water Class, most people are taught "the tables" which is a good way to begin to understand "nitrogen loading" which is the basis for understanding decompression theory. HOWEVER, very few people actually dive the way the tables assume you dive -- the "square profile." Most recreational diving is "multi-level" diving -- you go down to a maximum depth and then work your way back to the surface, looking at the pretty fishies while you do it. I will help you learn to plan your dive the way you actually dive in addition to learning more about gas management.
Underwater Navigation -- It should be obvious that every diver needs to be able to find their way home and that is what you'll learn in the Underwater Navigation specialty. Even though you did some compass work in your Open Water Class, most people need more time and help to really begin to be able to do more than the simplest of navigation tasks.
Diver Propulsion Vehicle -- Diving with a DPV, also known as a scooter, is FUN, no if's, and's or but's. While DPV's have a real purpose in some diving, for example, if there is current when diving on a wreck, using a DPV can be a real safety device to make sure you get back to your boat, more often than not, they are just plain fun to use. I have two Dive Xtras Sierra Scooters that are designed to tow a diver at a speed of up to 2.5 knots for 45 minutes (that compares to a swimming speed of 0.5 knots!) and would love to share the fun of scooting with you.
Wreck Diving -- Wrecks have a special place in the diving world and need to be treated with both respect and awe. Because wrecks are often just "out there" they are places for life to congregate and are fascinating habitats. Of course wrecks can also be fascinating because of their structure and the lure of seeing what is in there -- and is that lure which needs to be treated with the utmost respect. As with Caves, going inside a wreck should NOT be done without special training in "the overhead environment."