During an Open Water Diver Course, Instructor Devlin is taking his student, Manny on their second day in the open water.

After successfully completing all of the confined water sessions a few days previous and feeling comfortable with the skill – Remove, Replace and Clear a Mask during the confined sessions, Manny is finding the skill more challenging while on Open Water Dive 3.

After attempting the skill three times, Devlin feels Manny is becoming too stressed and signals him that they are not going to attempt the skill for a fourth time. He signals that will go for a dive and before they move asks Manny to check his air pressure.

Manny signals back that he is 80 bar and the dive has only been 22 minutes long so far and they are at 16 metres depth.

This reinforces Devlin’s belief that Manny is starting to show signs of stress as his gas consumption has been much better relative to depths and time during the other sections of the course.

He leads Manny towards the area they have planned to ascend and once a safety stop has been completed they ascend together using the five-point method.

Once back at the dive centre Manny explains that he was starting to feel frustrated with the skill and that had led him to feel stressed but would like to try to complete the course and would like to try the skill on the next dive.

Devlin explains some options for Manny to complete the course, they could complete another short and shallow dive with only the mask skill as an objective or they could add the skill to the beginning of Open Water Dive 4.

Manny thinks the first option will be better for him as he feels he’d like to get his confidence back in shallower water before attempting the mask removal skill once more. Devlin schedules a dive later that afternoon to a max depth of 10 metres for 25 minutes in which Manny completes partially flooded, fully flooded and mask removal and replacement twice; once at 5 metres and then later at 10 metres.

The following day they complete Open Water Dive 4 successfully allowing Manny to receive certification as a PADI Open Water Diver.

Is Devlin within standards with the options he gives Manny to complete the mask skill and how will he log Manny’s open water dive experience?

Take a moment to gather your resources and think like an Instructor. Once you feel you’ve got an answer search below for Gaz’s views on this scenario.

‘Firstly I think we have to applaud Devlin’s sensible decision to move on from the skill in the open water to start with when he felt that Manny was displaying signs of stress.

He follows a classic Safety-Standards-Satisfaction paradigm here.

During Dive 3, Manny was running low on air and was consuming it at an unusually fast rate so Devlin is correct in leading the dive to shallower water and ascending safely. Because the dive was cut short for safety reasons Devlin is allowed two options; either move the unfinished skill set from the previous dive or to complete another dive to complete the remaining sections of the previous dive.

Discussing the options with Manny is a great idea as they can feel involved in the decision making too. After all, we are trying to create safe, competent, confident and also autonomous Open Water Divers.

Manny agreeing to a shorter dive in which he practices the progressions for the skill he has lost confidence in is excellent practice for him and the fact they repeated for comfort and mastery shows that Devlin understands the principles of simple-to-complex and shallow-to-deep are there for the students benefit.

Devlin will effectively log five dives for Manny’s Open Water Diver course and should log the fourth dive in that sequence as the dive in which Open Water Dive 3 was completed.’

Gaz Lyden