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How To Get Your AOW Certification At Beaches Resorts

In September, I took a girls’ trip to Beaches Resorts and finally got my Advanced Open Water certification at Beaches Resorts. Some links in this post are affiliate links, which earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Beaches scuba certification

I got SCUBA certified 20 years ago. Over the years, I’ve dived in so many places and loved it.

Inevitably, when I sign up with a dive shop, they ask my certification level. I hand them my open water C-card, and I dive with the OW group while I watch the (usually smaller) AOW group go deeper and see more.

I always assumed it take too much time and energy away from any vacation I enjoyed, so I never did it. While I could do it at home with my local dive shop, I don’t relish the idea of a set of cold quarry dives.

After getting my Advanced Open Water certification at Beaches Resorts, I can’t recommend the experience enough. I just wish I’d done it on one of my previous stays and not waited until my fourth Beaches Resorts trip.

If you already have your AOW certification, learn about the Sandals Elite Diver program that has additional benefits for experienced divers.

Don’t forget to book your Beaches Resort vacation. Check here for the best offers and discounts available.

Want to know more about diving in general? Click over to read all about SCUBA diving at Beaches Resorts.

Want to know even more about Beaches Resorts as you plan your vacation? Check the additional articles at the bottom of the page.

Why Get Your AOW Certification At Beaches Resorts?

The biggest reason? It’s gorgeous diving. The clarity is great, which makes the navigation dive easier.

The same holds true for the fish identification. It’s far more fun to learn about and identify tropical fish that you typical dive with rather than the few that live in a cold quarry.

Beaches sea turtles

Speaking of cold, the warm weather diving at Beaches Resorts means you can dive even without a shorty. Cold water diving can be distracting, where you focus on your discomfort more than the dive or what you’re supposed to accomplish.

You don’t need to bring any equipment with you. My local dive shop provides the BCD, tank, and regulator, but I have to have my own mask and fins.

They rent the BCD and regulator at an additional cost – for each day of diving. At Beaches Resorts, all the equipment from shorty (if you prefer) to mask, fins, BCD, and more have no additional cost.

The Advanced Open Water certification at Beaches costs $300 total – unless you choose to do PADI e-learning beforehand.

My local dive shop charges $350. The cost to rent gear I don’t own plus fees to access the quarry and more bring the cost to almost $500.

It’s cheaper and I’m diving in paradise? Yup, get your Advanced Open Water Certification at Beaches Resorts.

The dive instructors are fantastic, too. They’re patient and know the material. Regardless of how many questions you have, they’ll patiently answer each one.

The Beaches Resorts safety record is tops in the Caribbean, so you can feel safe whether you’re just learning to dive or taking more advanced courses. The same holds true with kids – multiple friends have had their kids learn to SCUBA at Beaches Resorts and have nothing but positive feedback.

There is no minimum to hold a class, which makes the classes far more flexible that the ones offered at my local dive shop. Either add the Advanced Open Water certification course to your Beaches Resorts reservation before you arrive or head to the dive shop as soon as you get to the resort to sign up.

What’s Involved in Getting Your AOW Certification?

Unlike the initial open water SCUBA certification, there’s less classroom work and testing. This makes it a shorter process, so while you need to either do it with your local shop or while on a multi-day vacation, it doesn’t take as long to complete.

You do need to complete the overview and five modules. You can do this either via e-learning through the PADI website or with a hard copy book.

The PADI e-learning costs $125 on top of any certification cost. You can purchase the book from Amazon or your local dive shop, if they still have any. Most are moving to e-learning only.

Do the modules before you arrive for your vacation. If you don’t do the work ahead of time, when you arrive on resort and sign up, the dive shop will give you a copy of the manual to complete while there.

You have to read the introduction and Thinking Like a Diver chapters. Underwater Navigation and Deep Diving are required modules. Three additional are optional modules.

At Beaches Resorts, they do Boat Diving, Fish Identification, and Peak Performance Buoyancy. The remaining modules you can read or skip, as you choose.

Complete the tests at the end of each module. Your dive master will review the test with you prior to ensure you understand the concepts for each dive.

Each of the five modules covers a dive. Your dive master reviews the concepts of the module and objectives for each dive again on the boat.

With the 8am Monday to Saturday schedule including two tanks, you can complete your training over three days.

As soon as you complete your last dive, the dive master will take your photo and submit it to PADI for your new C-Card. You’ll receive an email within a day with you temporary card information, and the full C-Card by mail within three weeks.

Advanced Open Water Certification at Beaches Resorts: What Are the Dives?

While every AOW certification includes five dives, three are optional dives. The navigation and deep water dives are required. At Beaches Resorts, the AOW certification includes peak performance buoyancy, fish identification, and boat dives.

Make sure you complete those five modules in the PADI e-learning or your course book. The other modules are not required to gain your AOW certification.

Deep Dive

The deep dive is often the first dive for your course. You learn about nitrogen narcosis, loss of color at depth, changing buoyancy, and more.

Advanced open water deep dive

Before the dive, your instructor reviews the objectives and what you will accomplish during the dive. This dive requires the slate that comes with your dive book, so make sure you remember to bring it.

While you dive to 100 feet in this dive – and compare your depth gauge to those of your dive buddies or the dive master – you spend only a small amount of time at this depth. Once you complete that portion, you continue to dive and enjoy a typical, relaxing experience.

The variance in readings in depth gauges plus the additional depth with your AOW certification means this is likely the time to purchase a dive computer if you don’t already have one. Not owning a dive computer is my biggest regret of that trip.

The dive computer also helps you track your dives better and more accurately, which increases your safety. I purchased this highly recommended dive computer upon my return.

Navigation Dive

Beaches Resorts provides you with a manual compass that attaches to your wrist if you don’t own one. Practice with it above water before your dive to ensure the navigation goes smoothly if you aren’t familiar with compasses.

For this dive, you also need your slate for the natural navigation portion as you draw what you see heading out on a line, then your partner uses it to navigate back (or you do if you have no partner).

Beaches AOW navigation dive

Learning how far you travel with your kicks is a fantastic skill, which helped me greatly the next day when visibility was unusually low. Coupled with the ability to navigate in both straight lines and shapes using the compass, you feel far more comfortable under water.

Underwater Peak Buoyancy

While you learned about buoyancy and had to practice skills in your open water certification, this dive goes into far more detail. In fact, I learned that I carried too much weight while diving and now dive comfortably with less!

Practicing keeping yourself trim and the different turns and positions underwater also help you gain comfort in various situations. If you love underwater photography, this is a must perfect skill to ensue you capture the photos you need without touching anything underwater.

Beaches AOW peak buoyancy

As with the other dives, once you successfully accomplish the skills, you continue your dive. This ensures that your vacation feels like a vacation rather than spending all your time in a classroom.

Fish Identification

For fish identification, this is a rewarding lesson. While you feel like you’re swimming in a fish tank while SCUBA diving at Beaches Resorts, how often do you know only a few main fish?

Your dive master will provide fish ID cards for you to review prior to the dive so you know better what to expect. As you dive, you track not only how many fish you see but also what you see. Those ID cards come in handy

After this dive, I learned many more fish than I had known before. While we also drew the fish we didn’t recognize for the dive master to help us identify later, both my friend and I were less successful at this than one would hope!

Beaches fish id course

It’s also amazing how many fish you actually do see while diving. While I knew we saw lots of fish, until you start counting them, you don’t realize the actual enormity of them.

Boat Diving

The boat diving is probably the easiest of the modules for the Advanced Open Water certification at Beaches. You most likely already know the basic boat terminology and safety equipment from previous dives, as quality dive shops review this every time you get on a boat.

Beaches AOW certification boat dive

This module has the fewest practical in water skills, so your actual dive focuses on enjoyment. The skills for this dive involve more getting on and off the boat, as well as procedures while on the boat before your dive.

Once you complete your final dive, you’re set to join that AOW group on your very next dive. My experience was so positive that my friend and I already planned to do the rescue diver certification on our next vacation together at Beaches Resorts.

Beaches scuba diving experience

Are you ready to get your Advanced Open Water certification at Beaches Resorts?

Don’t forget to book your Beaches Resort vacation. Check here for the best offers and discounts available.

Looking for more Beaches Resorts tips? Read on:

How to get AOW certified at Beaches Resorts. If you're a SCUBA diver, here's all you need to know to get your PADI advanced open water certification. With your AOW c-card, you can dive more freely, and Beaches Resorts scuba program is one of the best. Check out all you need to know and why you should take this course while on vacation. #beachesresorts #scuba #traveltips #vacation

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