The PADI Junior Open Water course is our most popular diver training programs and is a ticket to a lifetime of adventure. Here at Dive Rutland we are running a dedicated Junior Open Water course during 2022 for students aged 10 - 14
Why dedicated, well it is nice for our youngsters to work within their peer groups, not only learning diving skills but teamwork and potentially gaining lifelong friends.
What does the course involve?
It is exactly the same course that those over 15 take, the only difference is depending on the age of the qualifying diver there will be various diving restrictions put into place until they reach 15 years old
The student will read the PADI Open Water Diver manual and watch the Open Water DVD's completing the five knowledge reviews. Working with an instructor 'in class' to review the knowledge reviews and complete a quiz or e-learning. This will give the student the basic principles and essential knowledge needed for safe and enjoyable diving.
Confined Water Training
During the confined water (pool) training the student will apply the dive principles learned and practice dive procedures and skills using Oakham School Pool, Kilburn Road, Oakham
Confined water training dates are:-
26th February 2022
26th March 2022
23rd April 2022
21st May 2022
25th June 2022
All sessions need to be attended.
Open Water Training
Complete the four open water dives at Capernwray (Jackdaw Quarry, Capernwray Rd, Carnforth LA6 1AD) an inland water site during Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July 2022
Number of Places: 4
We have a number of packages for our Open Water course but we would recommend that the package chosen for our Junior open water course is our standard package at £725.00
But if you already have a suitable mask and snorkel then the basic package is available for you to choose.
All of our packages include
Maybe easier to say the course prices does not include the cost of travel, open water training site and accommodation.
There is always a social aspect to our Junior Open Water training weekend as our Dive Rutland club members will come along to for some fun diving and everyone is welcome to attend... more details on that will be released nearer the time.
May 2021. After 15 months in lockdown we’re finally permitted to (carefully!) resume human contact in small groups indoors. Almost a year after deciding “I might want to have a crack at this diving lark,” I arrived in the dive centre; swimmies in one hand, nine months’ worth of excitement and apprehension in the other.
As it turns out, I could have left the apprehension at home. We had a short batch of introductions, both to the instructors (shout out to Tracey and Nathan!) and to my new buddy, Oscar (top lad!) then straight on to building our equipment ready to head into the pool. No time for nerves to build up as we got kitted up and descended below the surface. That first session was taken up with learning how to control our buoyancy, including getting correctly weighted so we could perform skills floating in mid water instead of kneeling on the bottom, clearing water out of our masks (not goggles!), and the thing I was dreading the most, taking out the regulator, dropping it, and having to recover it. Needn’t have worried though, the recovery part didn’t take long, and neither did the rest of the dive! It felt like about ten minutes in the pool, though it had been over an hour of various skills and just getting used to swimming with fins (not flippers!) on your feet and a big metal weight on your back!
The following four weeks were spent in the pool each Saturday evening, adding new skills and developing existing ones (partial mask clearing to full mask clearing to mask removal and replacement up to swimming without a mask, for example) all the while practicing maintaining our buoyancy, lots of finning around the pool, and working on our buddy skills (so we didn’t swim off in different directions…) Each session finished with a debrief, so we could highlight anything we struggled with, ask any questions that we couldn’t underwater (because communication is another skill that needs working on, unless you happen to be fluent in sign language before you start!), and discuss what was coming up in the next session. The pool sessions concluded with a drysuit orientation, which added another layer of complexity on top of everything else we had learnt, but once we had masteredgrasped what to do in some potential emergency situations, we were ready to take our new found skills out into the chilly (compared to the pool…) waters of Stoney Cove.
Well, now that was another kettle of fish entirely (fish pun not intended… honestly). “Vis” is not something you need to consider in a pool, but in June / July in Stoney, the visibility (or more accurately, lack thereof,) can make life a little tricky! For us however (Oscar and I), the combination of practicing buddy skills and attentive instructors meant we were never at risk of getting lost or separated, and each dive (5 in total, over two consecutive Sundays) was more enjoyable than the last. Initially that early apprehension tried to creep back in, but as we methodically went through everything we had trained for, it rapidly dissipated as each challenge was overcome and we became more and more comfortable in the depths of the quarry. Speaking of the “depths” there’s quite a lot in there to see – it’s not just a boring old gravel pit! There’s a Vickers Viscount cockpit and a Westland Wessex helicopter for the aircraft afficionados, an Elizabethan merchant ship wreck for the history buffs, and a submarine! (ok, it’s not a real submarine, but it looks cool!) All inhabited by plenty of fish to spot, and the occasional white clawed crayfish. A pike even came and casually swam through our little group while we were demonstrated our hovering skills – she clearly didn’t care about my excited waving though!
So, that was 5 qualifying dives complete (4 for Open Water, 1 for Drysuit Specialisation), and we were both signed off and ready to start our adventures as independent divers! For me that was signing straight up to the next trip Dive Rutland was offering (a weekend diving out of Porthkerris on Cornwall), before realising that the UK doesn’t have much in the way of shallow diving (besides shore dives) so if I wanted to get some boat diving in I would need to step it up a notch and get my Advanced Open Water course under my belt too.
That wasn’t a problem though, having already snuck a Nitrox course in, I only needed three dives for my AOW, which I could complete in one day back at Stoney, and luckily there was time to slot it in before Porthkerris, so got that booked straight in too! Fast forward a few weeks and I’m back at Stoney, meeting a new buddy for today, Rae, and ready to get these slightly more challenging dives undertaken. First was the deep dive, where we got a touch disoriented (trixy visibility again), but ultimately succeeded in our objectives. Then came the wreck dive, diving the Stanegarth (1910 tug boat) was super cool, and a school of baby perch on the way back were pretty cute. Finally the navigation dive was very difficult in the poor visibility, but at only 5 meters depth there was plenty of time to relax and get it right – Bridget and Greg were very patient!
Now, ten dives in, I’m feeling ready to start the next adventure, heading out into the North Sea this weekend if the weather holds, or the English Channel a week later if not!
Then, who knows?
Wish me luck!
Written By Ben Green
Here in the UK all Dive Centres and Dive professionals must work under the Training Frameworks of their chosen training agencies as well as the Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety – Diving at Work Regulations 1997, approved Code of Practise and Guidance. This document covers both the instruction and guiding of people diving for recreational purposes where at least one person taking part is at work, for example as an instructor
This regulation applies to all recreational diving projects within the 12-mile limit of territorial waters adjacent to Great Britain.
It applies to us here at Dive Rutland and is fully embedded into EVERYTHING we do.
Health and Safety Definition of Surface Support
Where Surface Support is concerned, The Health and Safety Executive say that when a dive professional is working in open water and in the water, that the minimum training dive team should be three, consisting of Surface Support, The Instructor and a Certified Assistant.
The definition of Surface Support is A person who does not have to be diver but should be familiar with the Dive plan and the arrangements for obtaining assistance in the event of an emergency
This person should be present throughout the time that an instructional team is in the water and ready and able to raise the alarm, if required OR assist with managing any dive incident.
Dive Rutland, Surface Support
Just one more GREAT reason you should learn and train with us here at Dive Rutland, your safety and comfort is important to us
A stable platform is the most important skill in diving at any level and in any piece of dive equipment. It is probably the skill that takes the longest to learn, in the early days of learning to dive the most frustrating, particularly, if in a Drysuit. It is a skill that we relearn the most often.
Every time we change our equipment configuration, or the diving environment, or the skills we are learning and mastering, in fact, sometimes buoyancy control just needs a little fine-tuning, but when you change a lot of things, it can take a lot of time to perfect.
So, whether you are still getting it right for the first time or fine tuning your skills you should PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE
Compensating for poor buoyancy by wafting your arms or hands around, kicking your legs, constantly swimming to stay buoyant doesn’t hide that you are not in control, it just wastes air, takes effort and remember diving should be relaxing!
So practice and be brave. Keep trying to be still or moving slowly while controlling your position in the water. Make a mess of it, who cares, you are at least trying to do something about it and practise makes perfect after all.
So how to improve buoyancy, remember back to your open water dives, where you had to hover for a period of time, or if you did your Drysuit speciality you had to hover, while you were probably looking at some object. This is a visual reference, pick a spot, look at it and concentrate on not moving, trying to stay level with that spot
Then become less reliant on that reference and start to feel neutral / natural buoyancy. Take your eyes of the spot and continue to try and maintain position. Use your ears as a guide, they give you lots of clues, but more than that you can feel the water buoying you up and when you breath in and out you will feel the gentle rise and fall, once truly cracked there will be no movement at all!
Complete a Peak Performance Course - it does not matter if you have done one before! or have a Boost 121 session with a diving professional
Then is the time to practise with other pieces of equipment, such as a DSMB
Now importantly do not forget about balance. If your kit is well setup and your buoyancy is good, you should be able to move fairly easily even if in bulky technical kit.
Good buoyancy control allows you to pivot on your balance point, which is generally somewhere around your midpoint. This balance allows you to dive in a flat / skydiving position, but easily allow you to adjust your position if entering caves or caverns (subject to be qualified to do so).
Make adjustments slowly and methodically. So, if you do need to adjust your kit, make a note of what you are doing and what effect it has in the water. Don’t forget it can take a little time to relax into a new kit configuration and what felt difficult on the first dive may improve with time. Take baby steps. Add new equipment a little at a time.
IF you are changing to twins for the first time, it’s easier if the rest of your kit (Drysuit, baselayer etc.) is the same as normal and also if the environment you are diving in is familiar.
A new suit, new cylinder configuration plus DSMB’s, Reels, torches etc. maybe one step to far and always learn new skills with qualified professionals.
I remember the first time on my twinset, it was not a comfortable experience and until 2019 was one that I only did when I truly had to, but then I found an instructor and a buddy who wanted to learn more about the technical world and we spent time working together to resolve the issues, practising (as well as changing equipment!). but in the end we had a great week diving Scapa Flow, it was comfortable diving.
It just shows you need to keep practising and finding the RIGHT instructor is also part of the package and we are still on our technical journey - watch our social media.
As with buoyancy you need to practice and not just by swimming around. Practise skills, drills and using your new equipment until it is easy. Usually the skills you like the least are the ones you need to practise the most.
Take it slowly at first. The first step when doing a new skill, or a skill in new kit, is to think through and plan each step. Visualise what it is you are going to do.
Once underwater, TAKE YOUR TIME when practising new skills and work with your instructor to achieve if doing for the very first time. Check / correct your buoyancy and depth between each step. Once you have done it a few times you will find that you move much easier and the skill completion will be much quicker.
New equipment or new combinations of equipment can take time to master. Auxiliary equipment such as an DSMB you will not necessarily use on every dive, so always when possible take time to practise.
When you imagine yourself, diving do you imagine clearing your mask whilst kneeling on the bottom, or taking a photograph of a beautiful coral reef whilst lying on the coral reef? I doubt it, you imagine yourself swimming effortlessly whilst observing the beautiful environment you are in.
From your first pool session with you will notice we are different. You will start by diving, swimming underwater in the pool in your SCUBA equipment. After all this is what you signed up to learn. You didn’t sign up to spend 10 hours kneeling at the bottom of a swimming pool learning skill after skill.
Don’t get me wrong, you will have to complete the skills required for certification, but you will accomplish these whilst actually diving.
Confined Water Dives
For each skill you will talk to your Instructor about what you will be learning, how you are going to accomplish it and how you will let them know you are happy with that skill. Once you descend into the pool your Instructor will demonstrate the skill for you and then ask you to repeat the skill, whilst swimming. After you complete the skill a few times and you are confident you will move on to the next one. We should warn you, there is a lot of happy acknowledgement, the Dive Rutland dance and laughter in these sessions.
Open Water Dives
When you are diving in one of our open water sites you may notice that we use our blob (surface marker buoy with a line attached to something solid at the bottom) for you to use during your descents and early ascents. Once you have descended and you are comfortable you begin your dive, you will swim around exploring the underwater world and your Instructor will ask you to complete the required skills, whilst swimming throughout the dive. At no point in your training will you be asked to kneel on the bottom, this is all practice for when you go out and dive on the wonderful coral reefs of the world, the UK included.
For you to be the best diver you can be
So, why do we teach how we teach? It’s because of you our students, we want you to have the best Instruction, with the most modern teaching techniques out there so you can be the best divers you can be. It may take a little longer, but the end result is well worth the additional effort. It takes time to make a good diver
A recent publication of a new book called close calls by Stratis Kas has left me pondering about the subject of close calls and how all of us as divers no matter how much experience we have can all still have dangerous experiences from participation in the sport. After all, technically speaking humans should not be underwater. We rely on equipment to support us to achieve this and without this or on the chance that a piece of this equipment fails then problems arise which can ultimately lead to serious consequences if not addressed correctly and quickly. Although not as major as some of the close calls published in this book I thought I would share one of my own that I have experienced, what I learnt as a result of it and how moving forward I can prevent it from happening again.
What made this all the more terrifying for me and perhaps why it sticks with is, at the time that this close call happened I was on only my second dive after receiving my PADI open water certification when I was diving at Stoney cove with my younger brother as part of the Dive Rutland Club. It started off as a regular recreational dive along the 6metre shelf at Stoney, taking in the sights of the Nautilus and the cockpit whilst taking some photos on a Go Pro camera. As we hit our turn point for our dive we decided to start heading back towards the exit via Nessie. Whilst we were taking a look at Nessie and taking some pictures with a go pro, whichever way I moved to position myself caused my Octopus to start free flowing uncontrollably underwater. At the time this came as a bit of a shock and I could not seem to stop it from free flowing no matter what I tried to do. I was conscious that my air was depleting rapidly and I would have to do something to address the situation or get to the surface. This obviously panicked me slightly and along with the free flow, the rush of air started to stir silt and began to make visibility obscured.
After the initial panic for a few seconds, my training kicked in and I signalled my buddy to assist. I took hold of their octopus and began air sharing immediately as my own air was depleting rapidly. At this point I reached back to my pillar valve and turned off my cylinder to stop the continuous stream of air from pouring from my octopus. I attempted to turn it back on again to see if this would solve the problem but it did not and it continued to free flow. We then signalled to call the dive and return to the surface. This was completed whilst air sharing and on reaching the surface, instinctively I reached for my low-pressure inflator to add air to my BCD. Luckily my training again kicked in and I hadn’t got rid of my buddie’s octopus and was still breathing from it. I began to sink as I realised I had no air to do this due to having isolated my cylinder. I began finning to keep afloat and used my buddy as an aid and added air manually to my BCD. The whole incident probably only lasted about 2-3 minutes from the time of my octopus going into free flow to reaching the surface. During the ordeal my buddy lost his Go-Pro camera when he came to my aid. In the heat of the moment he dropped the camera he was holding to assist with passing me his octopus.
Although relatively new to the diving world at this time when this occurred it did not phase me too much as my training kicked in pretty much automatically. After an elaborate debrief with my buddy and the Dive Rutland instructors who were also on site that day which was a major benefit and one major reason I advocate joining a diving club that supports its members, I changed my regulators and cylinder and got back in for another dive. Thankfully this one was incident free and we got to see several large pike, unfortunately the only downside was we lost the camera and couldn’t get any photos.
I learnt a few different things from this and all have stayed with me to this day. Firstly I learnt that the training I had received was brilliant as in a time of panic and stress it just automatically kicked in. It was second nature to me to just air share and attempt to fix the problem. I was surprisingly calm considering how new to diving I was and the fact that I was on my own with my buddy who had also only just completed his open water course. We both had the confidence and calmness to deal with the situation almost effortlessly. I also learnt the importance of maintaining good buddy contact throughout the dive. Something which is stressed during Open water training and for good reason. By maintaining good buddy contact we were able to deal with the situation quickly and effectively even when our visibility was obscured to almost zero. Knowing where my buddy was made dealing with the situation much easier.
Finally moving forward, I have taken up a couple of practices to try and prevent this issue from arising again during a dive. I now before getting into the water make sure that my octopus sensitivity is turned down to a lower setting to try and prevent the flow of the water over the purge button causing this to activate. I also ensure that my octopus is positioned with the mouth piece facing in a downwards position, again to try and stop the flow of water directly against the purge button. Unfortunately both of these things I had not considered until after the incident occurred and perhaps if I had then it wouldn’t have happened in the first place. Regardless I learnt a lot from albeit a fairly minor incident in the grand scheme of things and it did not stop me from getting back in the water.
Written by Robert O'Rourke
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE