Open Water Skills

A Summary of the Water Skills taught in the Open Water Course

scuba divers
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The Open Water course teaches all of the basic in water skills that you need to be a safe diver and to dive with a buddy of at least Open Water certification without the supervision of a dive professional. During your Open Water course, you'll practice all of these skills and maybe even a few extras. You should aim to master these skills to a point where you feel that you can carry them out with ease.

  • Equipment Assembly and Disassembly
    Learn how to properly assemble and disassemble your equipment.
  • Pre-Dive Safety Check
    With your buddy, check each others' equipment to ensure that everything is in place and working properly before the dive.
  • Regulator Clearing
    Remove your regulator, put it back in your mouth, and clear it.
  • Regulator Recovery
    Learn two techniques that will help you recover your regulator in the event that it is knocked out of your mouth.
  • Clear a Partially Flooded Mask
    Partially flood your mask and clear it while remaining underwater.
  • Mask Removal & Replacement
    Take the last skill a little further and completely remove your mask, put it back on, and clear it.
  • No Mask Breathing
    This skill is normally done in combination with Mask Removal & Replacement. Learn how to comfortably breathe without your mask on.
  • Alternate Air Source Use
    Simulate being out of air by signaling to your buddy, securing their alternate air source, making contact with each other, and ascending while breathing from their alternate.
  • Free Flowing Regulator
    Simulate a free-flowing regulator. You'll see how easy it is to continue breathing normally from a regulator that won't stop flowing.
  • Air Depletion
    Experience the feeling of running out of air and signal that you're out of air to your instructor.
  • Standard Hand Signals
    Practice all of the standard diving hand signals with your instructor.
  • Disconnect Low-Pressure Inflator
    Simulate a stuck inflator and practice disconnecting your low-pressure inflator.
  • Deep Water Entry
    Enter the water safely using an appropriate deep water entry. The correct entry will depend upon the conditions.
  • Proper Weighting
    Fine tune your weighting to achieve perfect buoyancy on every dive.
  • Snorkel to Regulator Exchange
    Practice exchanging your regulator for your snorkel on the surface.
  • BCD Oral Inflation
    Simulate a broken inflator or low air situation by practicing orally inflating your BCD.
  • Cramp Removal
    Learn how to remove your own cramp and the cramps of your dive buddies.
  • Tired Diver Tow
    Practice different techniques for helping a tired or injured diver on the surface.
  • Weight Removal & Replacement
    Practice removing and replacing your weight system both on the surface and underwater.
  • Scuba Unit Removal & Replacement
    Practice removing and replacing your scuba unit both on the surface and underwater.
  • 5 Point Descent
    Go through the steps for a proper 5 point descent.
  • Fin Pivot
    Learn how to find neutral buoyancy by moving up and down using only the air in your lungs.
  • Hover
    Learn how to finely regulate your buoyancy by remaining perfectly neutral in the water.
  • No Mask Swim
    Practice swimming without a mask. It's not an easy skill but it's important to learn.
  • Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (CESA)
    Simulate an out of air emergency. You can't find your buddy and have no choice but to ascend on only one breath of air. Ascend at a safe rate while constantly exhaling.
  • 5 Point Ascent
    Learn the proper method for ending every dive with these 5 steps.
  • Skin Dive
    You'll learn to properly hyperventilate, make a vertical dive, swim underwater, and clear and breath from your snorkel upon ascent.
  • Navigation
    Learn how to use a compass underwater. You'll set a heading, follow a straight line, turn around, and come back to where you started from using only your compass for guidance. You'll practice this skill both on the surface and underwater.