advanced adventure diver

SDI Advanced Adventure – What Does it Qualify Me to Do?

by Jon Kieren:

One of the most common questions we get here at SDI is, “What dives can I do with my Advanced Adventure certification?”  This is a great question, and one that we would like to clarify.  We will explain what the SDI Advanced Adventure course is, who it is beneficial for, and what it qualifies you to do.

“Advanced Open Water”
The industry standard “Advanced Open Water” certification is seen as the qualifying rating for many dive operators to take divers on more advanced dives.  But if you look at the minimum requirements for those certifications, it could be a diver with only 9 dives, all under the direct supervision of an instructor.  SDI does not consider this diver to truly be “advanced” (see Advanced Certified or #AdvancedDiver).  However, there are many benefits to this type of training, which is where the SDI Advanced Adventure course comes in.

Advanced Adventure course
Following along the same lines as the industry standard “Advanced Open Water” course, SDI Advanced Adventure exposes you to the first dive of 5 specialty courses.  With 2 required core dives, navigation and deep, you then get to choose 3 elective dives from a wide variety of activities; you get a broad range of introductory experience in these specialties.  From there, it’s up to you to take the experience in the Advanced Adventure course and determine what facets of diving interest you the most so you can begin to focus your continued training and diving activities on those areas.

Any beginner diver can benefit greatly from the experience gained in the SDI Advanced Adventure course.  However, it’s really those that need some guidance to determine what continued training path is really right for them that get the most from it.  If you know you want to photograph deep wrecks, or maybe would prefer to focus your attention on marine life identification and conservation, you may choose to bypass the Advanced Adventure certification and dive directly into the areas you are most interested in.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and the Advanced Adventure certification is not a requirement to pursue these areas of training.  It’s the divers who don’t know where they want to focus their attention that will really get the most out of the program.

So what do you “get”
So what do you “get” out of the Advanced Adventure course other than a better idea about where you want to focus attention?  Well, it does offer an opportunity to fine tune basic skills and broaden your range of experience a bit.  The maximum training depth for the deep dive is 30 metres / 100 feet (21 metres / 70 feet for junior Advanced Adventure students); so after completion of the Advanced Adventure course, you can extend your depth limits a bit (as long as conditions are similar to those of training) to the maximum depth you achieved on your Advanced Adventure Deep Dive.  You can also credit the dives from the Advanced Adventure course towards the specialties you choose.  For example, the SDI Deep Diver certification requires you complete 2 Deep Diver training dives.  But if you have already completed the Advanced Adventure Course, you have already completed one of these training dives, leaving one more dive to complete your certification.

So if you are looking to broaden your range of diving skills and knowledge, but don’t know exactly where to start, the SDI Advanced Adventure course is a great option for you!

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1 reply
  1. Richard Taylor
    Richard Taylor says:

    Great clarification…thank you!
    I have always thought that the Adv Adventure Course is an excellent stepping stone for all OW Scuba Divers…and has obvious benefits as well. Sadly so many old school operators hark back to the “good old days” when they remember fondly, often through rose coloured glasses, that doing an Advanced Course required more experience and higher skills. But most forget that the original name for the Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver Course was in fact Advanced Diver and did involve a lot more. Over time it evolved to the AOW course the industry knows today…and we in SDI call Advanced Adventure…and that is a marvelous second step for OW divers to gain some more, but still limited, experience. But the old school should not fret….that “good old” course is not gone…we in fact have one that delivers probably a better diver…our Advanced Diver certification (4 specialties and 25 dives). All that the industry needs to do is recognise the differences…and not set expectations beyond someone’s experience & training level!!


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