What’s the Difference between PADI Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver?

Underwater Navigation

If you did your PADI Opewater with Dive HQ Westhaven. You have probably heard your instructor mention the PADI Advanced Openwater Course  (AOW) Diver course. You may have even thought about enrolling in the course. But are you still wondering how the AOW course differs from the PADI Openwater Course (OWD) course, and what new things you will learn and experience? If so, keep reading.

Dive HQ Westhaven- PADI Open Water Diver course: Learning to dive

What happens in the course?

You learn the fundamental skills needed for diving. During the course, you read, watch videos, take quizzes, and demonstrate mastery of basic scuba diving skills. By the time you have been trained and are certified by one of our experienced Dive Instructors. You will be confident and excited about furthering your New Zealand Diving Experience.

Parts of the course:

The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of 3 main portions: Knowledge Development, Confined Water Dives and Open Water Dives. You can choose one of three ways to complete your Open Water Diver Knowledge Development.

Why take the course?

The underwater world holds some of life’s most incredible experiences. We’ve listed 10 Reasons to Become a Scuba Diver, but essentially the OWD course will allow you to become a certified diver.

Dive HQ Westhaven-Advanced Open Water Diver course: Go on dive adventures

What happens in the course?

The AOW Diver course is comprised of five different Adventure Dives. An Adventure Dive concentrates on a particular activity or skill within the realm of scuba – it is the first dive of a Specialty Diver course. There are 26 PADI Adventure Dives to choose from.

While you’re doing your AOW dives, you’ll be accompanied by a PADI Professional. They are there to answer questions and help you fine-tune your technique and learn new skills.

The dives in the AOW Diver course are very different from those in your OWD course. The Adventure Dives are similar to a regular dive, except that you focus on a particular diving specialty. The Deep Adventure Dive of the course involves diving deeper, between 18-30 metres / 60-130 feet. During the Underwater Navigation Adventure Dive you practise navigation skills underwater while diving.

Parts of the course:

Of the five training dives you complete, the Deep Adventure Dive and Underwater Navigation Adventure Dive are both mandatory. As for the other three dives, you get to choose what interests you the most. Students in the AOW Diver course have very little classroom time and no written exams.

Why take the course with Dive HQ Westhaven?

You’ll gain more experience diving while under the supervision of one of our experienced instructors. It’s an opportunity to try a sampling of different specialties to see what interests you the most. Many of our AOW course run along side an organised trip. We get you out into the Ocean at Poor Knights, HMNZ Canterbury, Rainbow Warrior, or one of many other great New Zealand dive sites.


Now that you know the difference, are you ready to advance your diving skills? Contact us or drop us an email to talk about taking your Advanced Open Water Course.

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