Now let's start looking at what you'll be doing during your open water dives. Depending on the course location, schedule, your preferences and other logistical concerns, you may have already made Open Water Dive 1, or may make Open Water Dives 1 and 2 after you successfully complete Confined Water Dive Three. You'll do this ifyou're completing only the Scuba Diver certification. Alternatively, you may make all your open-water dives after completing all five confined water dives.

During your open water dives, you'll apply and further develop the skills you've learned during the confined water dives, and you'll start picking up some new skills that you can't practically learn in a confined water environment. Skills in both categories may include : 1) evaluating dive conditions. 2 ) gearing up for a dive in open water, 3) making entries and exits through mild surf, 4) swimming on the surface and 5) descending/ascending in open water.

Evaluating Dive Conditions
When you arrive at a dive site, you want 16 know whether the diving conditions are within your training and experience limitations. As you learned earlier, you normally check out the point unpacking and putting everything on only to find conditions don't warrant diving. Your instructor will show you how to account for considerations like weather, water temperature, bottom composition, waves, depth, local area hazards and anything else that has direct bearing on the dive. You'll also preplan your entry and exit points and procedures as part of this evaluation.

Decide whether you can make the dive safely. Remember: This is your decision - you are ultimately responsible for your safety, and only you can make the final decision to dive. If You don't feel confident about it, your instructor may have you check your alternate site for acceptable conditions. If conditions aren't good, it's best to go do something else - diving in poor or potentially hazardous conditions isn't fun. You're doing this for fun, adventure and challenge - not to expose yourself to unreasonable risks.

In the discussion on exposure suits you learned ways to avoid overheating in your exposure suit as you get ready to dive. During your open water dives, you'll put this kno«-ledge to use. Poor timing and sequence when you kit up can cause you to become somewhat frustrated, tired, breathless and overheated.Ideally, you want to suit up so that you and your buddy finish simultaneously. This never happens, of course, but you can time it so you're both ready at about the same time while staying cool and rested, ready to enter the water.First, it helps if you checked and paeked your equipment properly before the dive. Start putting everything together, but take your time and rest as needed. In hot weather, cool otf m the water you need to. Pace yourself with your buddy, but be as self-reliant and independent as possible, so you become familiar with your equipment. As a suggestion, prepare and don your equipment like this:

Finally, just before entering the water (boat diving) or in waist deep water (shore diving) put on your fins; fins should've been preadjusted.Suiting up requires thought at first, but after one or two dives, You'll be more familiar with your equipment and it becomes second nature.

Entry techniques vary from place to place according to the dive environment. If a dive site requires entry techniques that you don't know, always get an orientation to them so you can enter (and exit) safely. If your open water dives will be from shore, your instructor will teach you the proper entries for the dive site.

The following practices are generally recommended for most scuba entries from shore:
1. Have everything on before entering the water. Depending on the environment and conditions, you may have your fins on when you enter the water about waist to chest deep.

2. As a ganeral rule, breathe from your regulator until yo're floating in deeper water. This way, if you stumble, you can still breathe, even if you end up with your BCD, switch to your snorkel to conserve air if you have a surface swim before descending.

3. If you're walking in with your fins on, walk backward or sideways and shuffle your feet. This helps you find obstructions or holes, scares away bottom-dwelling animals that could sting if you stepped on one, and helps minimize the chances of falling. In some environments, however, you may want to avoid shuffling your feet because it will disturb the visibility. Your instructor will teach you which is appropriate for your open water dives.

4. Swim as soon as the water is deep enough. Swimming is often easier than wading.

Surf Entries and Exits
Surf entries and exits require special training and shouldn't be attempted unless you have had that training. It is possible, though, that you'll enter and exit through mild surf as part of your open water dives. Here are a few simple general procedures.

First, watch the waves and note where they're breaking and how often. Do this during suiting up so you'll be familiar with the surf's pattern when you're ready to enter. As you enter the water breathe from your regulator. If wearing fins, walk backward looking over your shoulder to watch where You're going and to see on coming waves. Your buddy should be next to you, and if' ou re towing a float, it should be between you and the shore so a wave can t push it into you. The idea is to get through the surf zone as quickly as possible.

You've been simulating the right habits during your confined water cl ives, Lt' here are a few reminders:
1. Swirn with your BCD about tzalli Pull so you wont LA4 08 struggle to stay at the surface. Don't over inflate your BCD, though because it creates unnecessary drag,

2. Pace yourself. Swim at a steady, comfortable pace. Surface swimming tires you more than swimming underwater, so don't try to go as fast.

3. Streamline yourself as much as possible. Keep your arms at your sides.

4. Use your snorkel, breathing cautiously to avoid choking on water that may enter the snorkel due to small waves.

5. Keep your fins below the surface when kicking. You may wish to swim on your side or back if conditions allow.

6. Check your location, direction and your buddy every 30 seconds or so. Stay close to your buddy, maintaining physical contact if necessary. Use something on shore, or an anchored boat. for orientation. D on't wait until you reach the bottom. Add small amounts of air as you descend so you reach the bottom neutrally buoyant. This minimizes kicking and stirring up the bottom.

For control and reference, it's a good practice to use a line during descents, or follow the bottom contour. If you descend along the anchor line of a boat. hold the line at arm's length so it won't. strike you as the boat pitches up and down in the waves. Let your arm swing up and down with the line like a shock absorber so it doesn't jerk you up and down.

You want to descend steadily minimal effort, while maintaining neutral buovancv so can stop your descent at any time. Maintain buddy contact and oriented so you have Your sense of direction when voive reach thcehottom don't wait until you reach the bottom. Add small amounts of air as you descend so you reach the bottom neutrally buoyant. This minimizes kicking and stirring up the bottom.