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Becoming a diver has long become compartmentalized.

In the Olden Days becoming a diver was one gruelling course with requirements that put the sport out of reach for many people. A while back this was changed and improved to break up the course into three core parts, the sum total of which is now more comprehensive while also being accessible to more people. Here at Neptune's Army we like to refer to these as the Core Courses.

Core Level I

The Open Water Diver course is your first fully qualified diving certification.

In this class you learn the basics. These are the key skills that will allow you to safely dive to depths of up to 60 feet / 20 metres with your buddy and your own dive plan. You will learn the skills that allow you to control your bouyancy, fin and understand how your equipment works to keep you alive in an environment that is naturally incompatible with sustaining human life. After completing the academics and your pool training, you will make four dives in an open water environment under the direct supervision of a PADI Instructor.

Core Level II

The Advanced Open Water Diver course is your ticket to expanding your abilities.

This course is designed to add to your initial experience by adding deeper depth and navigation skills as well as giving you additional experiences in styles of diving you may not have had the chance to try yet. These are called Adventure Dives and you are free to choose from a variety of them. This gives you a taste of what is available to you. This course includes five more open water dives under the direct guidance and supervision of a PADI Instructor and proof of your Advanced Open Water Diver certification is required to dive in some locations.

This course does not make you an Advanced Diver, it provides you with additional skills that will help you work towards being a diver with advanced skills.

Core Level III

The Rescue Diver course is the last of the core courses and divers with the certification can consider themselves having truly achieved something.

This course establishes an awareness of your own diving as well as your buddy's and will help not only react in an emergent situation, but identify risks ahead of time and avoid potential emergencies. The Rescue Diver certification should be considered the goal of anyone who wants to dive on a regular basis. The Rescue Diver course includes in water training and supervision by a PADI Instructor for an additional 12 rescue scenarios as well as suplimental skills and will increase your level of comfort in the water by leaps and bounds.

So Don't Stop at Open Water!

Open Water divers can dive on there own, but there is so much more to learn and improve your skills. Work on being that diver ... the one on the boat that knows exactly what they are doing and is praised by the guide for being prepared for almost anything.

A rigged 40cuft cylinder

Having a redundant air supply is a big step that divers can take to adding a much larger safety margin to their diving, and there are several ways a diver can build this cushion into their dive. One way, would be to dive with two primary cylinders connected via a manifold, called twins or doubles. Another would be the side mount method, forgoing a back cylinder altogether and instead choosing to carry two cylinders, one on each side. Both of these methods offer benefits and with the proper training are a great way to dive, but that is for another day.

Today we are going to discuss slung bottles. I am going to refer to aluminium cylinders today and although there are steel versions available, they are less popular due to their buoyancy characteristics.


First, the terminology, their differences and their uses.

A DSMB – Delayed Surface Marker Buoy is a tool that should be in every diver’s gear bag, and on every diver when they hit the water. A DSMB is a multi-purpose tool that will both give surface tenders a visual reference as to the location of their divers as well as an indication that they have reached the ascent portion of their dives. For divers, they are a means of signaling the start of their ascent, but also as a means of holding their position in the water during safety and decompression stops.


A thumb spool is one of the most diversely useful pieces of equipment a diver can carry. It can be used for multiple applications and is something everyone should carry. It can be used to:

  • Conduct a search
  • Measure a distance
  • Denote a path to an exit or ascent point
  • Launch a DSMB 

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