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September 01, 2006

NAUI and PADI, and the next steps

Well, the world looks better today. My steel 95 tank is full, and I had a couple of great meetings that shed light on what happened with my dive shop alma mater. My C-Card should finally arrive next week or so, and I'll be helping out with web work in setting up a local diver's group.

The owner of my new dive shop also alerted me to a trip they'll be making in a couple of weeks. San Diego. I could be doing my advanced open water diving and Nitrox courses both at once, and he even hinted at wreck diving. The Yukon is in about 120 feet of water and supposedly a total blast. To be honest, I don't think I am anywhere near ready to wreck-dive at 120 feet. Heck, give me a nice, friendly 40 foot lake for half a dozen dives first. So why am I actually considering it? I'm really not, but the thought of a real dive trip in the very near future, and getting a couple more courses under my belt is nice.

Having completed the PADI Open Water Diver course, I am now working through the NAUI Scuba Diver course materials. The PADI and NAUI packages are quite similar. Both include a detailed, instruction book for self-study, both include video DVDs to complement the book, both include their respective dive tables, both include a student folder and medical questionnaire to be filled out, and both have other assorted odds and ends and stickers and offers and such. The NAUI package also contains two audio CDs.

Judging by what I have seen and heard, there is a philosophical difference between PADI's and NAUI's approaches to teaching scuba. Both teach the same basics and necessities, but PADI's is very consumer-oriented and friendly whereas NAUI goes into more technical explanations and details. Each instruction book is about 230 pages or so and covers all the basics, but the accompanying DVDs differ.

PADI's DVD repeats every word in the instruction book verbatum and simply illustrates what is in the book with actual footage. It tries to add a sense of humor that sometimes works and sometimes falls flat.

NAUI's video comes on two DVDs and also closely follows the instruction book, although not quite as verbatum as PADI's. One annoying quality here is that there are no breaks at all between topics in a chapter. The footage very quickly moves from one topic to the next without any discernible break. The screen shows a book and a write icon at times, indicating that you should consult the book or take notes.

The most confusing aspect I have encountered so far is the different dive tables PADI and NAUI use. They, of course, have the same purpose, that of letting you figure out how long you can stay at a certain depth, and how that will affect subsequent dives. The problem is that the tables and terminology are just different enough to thoroughly confuse you if you're used to the other agency's approach. It's a bit like driving a car with the steering wheel on the other side, or with the brake and clutch pedals switched. You know what they do and what you're supposed to do, but it sure doesn't come natural. No big deal, but it would make sense for all to use the same tables and terminology.

So far, the course materials look more similar than I expected based on Carol's very thorough and technical course outlines and PowerPoint presentations.

Posted by conradb212 at September 1, 2006 05:16 PM