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PADI Open Water woes...

Discussion in 'New to Scuba Diving' started by VintageGt, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. VintageGt

    VintageGt Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm on the cusp of completing my open water having had my first CWD about a 5 weeks ago and I have to say, it hasn't been a great experience.

    The confined water dives have been rushed and muddled with us doing skills in dive 2 we should do in dive 4 then getting to dive 4 and someone realising we've missed half the skills from dive 1 etc. etc.. Getting to dive 4 and realising no one from the previous weeks has completed any paperwork in our course book (we were never told this was required so didn't know until someone asked where our training record was). The result of this was we then had no clue to any degree of detail what we'd done and what we haven't due to having a different instructor every week. Each CW dive supposedly being an hour has been more like 25 minutes on more than one occasion due to the chaos of organising instructors and 'who's doing what' at the last minute when we should already be in the pool.

    Once in the pool, a very swift 'this is what we're going to do' then straight down and do it, quickly. Instructors seem to very quickly forget that we're actually new to this! Sometimes everyone else was at the bottom of the pool before my wife even had her mask on.

    Going out on open water dive 1 to complete 2 dives. The first dive was around 20 minutes, then 5 minutes floating and down again for the second which was more like 10 minutes if we were lucky and then having that signed off as 2 completed dives. Instructor then barely completed any information at all in our log books. We had to ask if they would please include the depth and when we asked about other info from the dive we were told to buy our own computers if we wanted to know that (We do intend to buy computers but we've not even finished OW yet!).

    Dives organised for the next part of the course then plans changed at the last minute (without even telling us) so that the instructor could have a day off after we'd arranged childcare. We then cancel childcare to be told the dive is now back on. We only found out as we happened to phone them about something else otherwise we'd have missed out again and still not been out in open water at all.

    I could go on and on and on.

    It seems to me that once your money is in the bank, they want you rammed through the system as quick as possible and out the other end to get more paying customers in your place. I know its a business but isn't this meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience as well as safety critical training and confidence building instruction?

    Our open water dives so far have been to 7 metres and we understand that your open water qualifies you to 18 metres OR the deepest depth you dived during your course. That means if we dive at the 7 metres we're only qualified to that depth after the course. Not what we wanted but our instructor (one of the many we've had) insists that the course qualifies to 18 metres despite whether you've dived to that depth or not. We're now confused about that too as that opinion seems to vary depending who you ask. I've even emailed PADI to get confirmation of this and have had no response there. If you see the picture I've attached here, it seems to be very clear though the guy who runs our club insists differently?

    Being new to diving its not an inspiring start for us. I love the actual diving and fully intend to progress but my planned AOW is now firmly on the back burner while I reassess my future with PADI and certainly with this club. My wife, who wasn't the most confident in the water to start with, is considering not going any further and writing diving off after the chaos of this course. I know in the real world everything isn't as shiny, perfect and smiley as it is in PADI promotional videos, but surely this isn't the norm is it?

    Apologies for the S.A, just interested if anyone else has had similar experiences?
     

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  2. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    Hi Vintage - that saga is a disgrace. Some people can pick up the skills in CW quickly, most of us have some that require repetition and patience from the instructor. The OW dives are more important to the skills you demonstrate and getting comfortable in the water rather than absolute depth. I've just looked at mine in 2015 that were on the house reef of a centre in Madeira - 9 to 13m and from 38 to 47 minutes. The next trip three months later, I worked up to 16.8m.

    What to do? I think that it is clear that you and your wife have lost confidence in the club and, even if you qualify with them, you won't feel qualified. You can decide whether you want to go through your experiences with the boss, and what you would want to achieve by this. One suggestion that could get you into a better place would be to convert you current course into a referral qualification - this would need a sign-off from the current club for CW and theory (hopefully with a refund of part of the money you have paid!) and then go to another for the OW dives. I did this from scratch for both OW and AOW, CW and theory in UK, OW dives in Madeira - nice clear water, reasonably warm and fantastic visibility.

    I hope that you get through this. It's not uncommon to have problems early on, mask clearing is a classic; I got taken to 28m as an OW diver and was not a happy bunny.:whistling: My solution was to change dive centre and take AOW.
     
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  3. Mako-JD

    Mako-JD Active Member

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    Hi m8. I can honestly say my OW with PADI was great. Sometimes the pool sessions felt a little rushed, I wanted to repeat some things a few more times but wAs reminded that pool sessions had time restrictions.
    When at quarry there was no rush at all and
    we all did our paperwork and logs on SI

    On the other hand my AOW was a clusterfuk anf totally worthless for me. Mabey i waited to long. Had done 28 dives before I took advanced
    Speak to your instructor and make them aware of your concerms
     
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  4. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    Sounds crap to me.
     
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  5. hawk

    hawk Doing It Rong
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    Don't knock the agency - that is crap instruction. Pure and simple.

    I would make one hell of a stink and speak to the centre owner / director. And demand the correct tuition.

    Otherwise, feel free to inform PADI that their standards of training are not being observed by the school.
     
  6. VintageGt

    VintageGt Member

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    Thanks all. I agree with everything said here and certainly won't be doing any further courses with this place.

    I certainly bear no grudges with PADI, I'm sure this is the exception rather than the rule and is down to the club in question but it has made me think more than twice about forking out several more hundred pounds to be rushed, stressed and messed around for more weeks than we already have been. When I proceed with AOW I'll certainly be going elsewhere or going to a local BSAC club and hoping the experience is very different.

    I've looked on the details of the company on companies house website and two of the worst offenders are directors of the company so I'm highly doubtful that any concerns will be listened to and addressed seriously by them.

    I'm going to address these issues with them and see what's suggested and the best way to move forward with this and hopefully get 2 half decent actual dives in before we complete OW.
     
  7. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Active Member
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    Stick with it, wifey too. It will get better (once you finish with that mob).

    I'd be tempted to get the course finished then join a decent BSAC club. Have a look and ask around for recommendations.

    That lot are clearly a complete shower so I'd probably put in a fuck off big complaint to PADI on the back of it, get your other half to complain separately too.
     
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  8. VintageGt

    VintageGt Member

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    Thanks mate, appreciate the words of encouragement. I fully intend to continue, wanted to dive my whole life so I ain't quitting now. Just feel bad for my Mrs after its taken a lot to get her confidence up, especially to go in the sea, and this hasn't been an enjoyable experience for her and despite soon being classed as 'trained' she actually feels anything but trained and its knocked her back a bit.

    We're thinking the same. Just get this course done and dusted and then issue 'feedback'.
     
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  9. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Active Member
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    & then go and dive with a nice outfit that aren't just in it for the cash.

    She could probably do with a few post-qual. pool sessions to hone the basics and get her confidence up.
     
  10. VintageGt

    VintageGt Member

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    Yeah, we've asked if we can attend more pool sessions to practice some skills to get her confidence up which we have been told is ok but we'll have to pay. :thumbdown:
     
  11. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    That's an awful story. Absolutely terrible.

    It really highlights the special skills required for the early introductory courses. But in this case it's the plain ignorance of the instructors ignoring their student's needs. I hope this really is the exception to the normal high standards of tuition generally seen.

    Where are you based? There must be some much better places available to do this course. Definitely have strong words with them and look at getting a refund for this debacle.
     
  12. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    I'd change the probably to definitely and, you too. I've been back in a pool on a number of occasions since qualifying, either to practice new skills or gain confidence when I've had a setback. The most important thing is to find a centre (either BSAC or PADI) where you are comfortable and build up a relationship with them. The forum has got members all round the country - you will likely get recommendations if you say where you are.
     
  13. hawk

    hawk Doing It Rong
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    I think you should politely (at first) explain that you signed up for training to a required standard (i.e. PADI OW) not for x number of pool dives and x number of open water dives. Whatever amount of training is required, they should provide as part of the course fee.

    If not, did you pay by credit card? I'd be giving serious consideration to raising a chargeback on the basis that the product was misrepresented.
     
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  14. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    And get PADI involved. It's their reputation on the line -- and it bloody well should be as they're supposed to enforce their training standards.
     
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  15. Mako-JD

    Mako-JD Active Member

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    Where abouts are you located?
     
  16. StuartM

    StuartM New Member

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    That sounds just like the complete clusterfuck I went through. I did pass and although I successfully demonstrated the required skills I wouldn't say I felt confident about them. I've subsequently joined a BSAC club, started training toward Sport Diver and feel far more positive about the whole thing.
     
  17. hawk

    hawk Doing It Rong
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    Tyneside IIRC
     
  18. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
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    The problem for "new divers" is that they just don't know what instruction should be, and so companies get away with providing sub-standard service. This forum has a wealth of expertise from many different agencies and teaching styles, and I think you are getting a consistent meassage that youa re not being served properly by your current organisation. To be honest, the whole experience sounds downright dangerous.

    My last PADI traing was over ten years ago, but one thing stood out for me: it was repeatedly said to us that each dive HAD to be done separately, so that you went through a full kit set-up for each one, and therefore had fully assembled your equipment at least ten times by the time you had completed the course. If that view is confirmed by a current PADI Instructor (and there are many here on the forum), then you have is a significant breach of standards just there.
    In all other respects, it just sounds crap.

    You should be getting a QA form to complete after you pass, but to be honest, I would seriously consider making a formal complaint to PADI right now.
     
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  19. VintageGt

    VintageGt Member

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  20. VintageGt

    VintageGt Member

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    Thank you all for the responses. Good to know this isn't 'the norm'.

    A few people have asked where we are, we're in Newcastle.
     

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