Do Your Open Water Materials Make a Difference?

A good diver is always learning

I regularly see this phrase in the email signatures of instructors, and there’s no doubt divers who pursue additional training tend to be more comfortable in the water and more invested in our sport. I’ve often  wondered: is there a relationship between what Open Water materials an instructor uses and continuing education certifications?

Tables versus Computers

I looked at PADI stores in Southern California who’ve switched to the dive computer option and compared their certs with SoCal stores who are still using tables.

As it turns out: there is a significant difference. Here are my findings:

Increase / Decrease in Con-Ed certs

Teaching the Dive Computer option
62% increase in con-ed certs from 2010 – 2011
37% increase in core certs (AOW and Rescue)
92% increase in specialty certs

Teaching Dive Tables
21% decrease in con-ed certs from 2010 – 2011
6.5% decrease in core con-ed certs (AOW and Rescue)
23% decrease in specialty certs

Ratio of OW to Con-Ed Certs

Teaching the Dive Computer option
For every 10 OW students, 5 con-ed classes were sold (AOW or Rescue).
For every 10 OW students, 5 specialty classes were sold.

Teaching Dive Tables
For every 10 OW students, 3 con-ed classes were sold (AOW or Rescue).
For every 10 OW students, 4 specialty classes were sold.

Of course there are a lot of factors that influence a student’s decision to sign up for more training:

  • An instructor who makes learning fun
  • An overall desire for self-improvement, etc.
  • A love of diving in general

That said, the data suggest when our introductory class is less-complicated, students are more inclined to stick with diving – investing additional time and money in our sport. The cost difference between the table crewpak and the computer package is only $2-$3. This small investment upfront can translate into big rewards for a dive business and its customers in the long term.

PADI Open Water crewpak
PADI Open Water crewpak – dive computer option


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