So i am starting an open water course at my local diving shop
(manchester england)
i start on wednesday for 6 weeks,

i am hoping to do this as a chance for a bit of adventure and travel and hopefully take it further than just this one course,
i dont have any mates that can dive so i guess i will be doing this alone, im also full time employed,

anyways i was just wondering if anyone had any advice for a first time diver looking to get into the world of it all.

Once you’re certified, finding dive buddies won’t be difficult at all. You most certainly won’t be alone. You’ll probably meet quite a few on course with you not to mention folk that come in to purchase gear at the shop. Most dive shops tend to be like the small town barber shop you see in American movies. Everybody serious about diving hangs out drinking java (sometimes more), talking diving and arranging dives. It’s a social club type of setting. You may even have an inhouse dive club at that dive shop as many shops will sponsor one. That just increases the number of trips and dives to get involved in not to mention off diving activities like pub nights, bowling or even paintball. Families are also encouraged, diving or not. Even on trips. It gives non diving wives,hubbies, gf’s,bf’s and kids a group family experience while the divers are out doing their thing for a few hours.
You’ll also benefit from the advice from more experienced divers in the club regarding things like gear selection and dive sites. That helps considerably with your learning curve and most experienced divers will be happy to help since that just adds one more dive buddy to call if they get the sudden urge to get under. You can never have enough dive pals what with everyone’s differing schedules. There are also online communities you can join such as that’s a popular site, offering gear tips, a dive buddy service and dive destination advice or recommendations. Even hotel or resort ratings as well as dive shop listings, charter outfits and the like. There are even online dive trip buddy/room mate finding sites for the solo traveller wanting a buddy to dive a certain destination at a given date. Here’s an example:
Your next step up the ladder is advanced. Your being in the UK, I have no idea if you’re doing a PADI or BSAC, since both are offered there, but the eventual skill sets you’ll learn are the same even though the courses are named a little differently. You’re fortunate to be learning in that part of the world, just as I, as a Canadian am fortunate to have learned here. The reason is that we both dive in challenging conditions. That’s far better than learning warm, calm water and generally produces a diver capable of diving any environment since we don’t know any better. 🙂 You will already have had some of the worst conditions thrown at you and will be better prepared for it. You’ll also garner more respect for your abilities when diving in a warm destination since it will be like a walk in the park.
Get some dives under your belt before tackling your advanced. Become comfortable with the skill sets you’ve learned. Once you feel you’re ready and your Instructor agrees, then it’s time to move up. The cost will be about what you’ve spent on your OW course. You’ll learn underwater navigation and take your dives deeper to the point that you’ll recognize the oncoming symptoms of nitrogen narcosis.
Once you’ve got your advanced, again, use those skills for a time before moving up the chain. Your task loading has increased and you’ll need to be doing everything as second nature. Autopilot if you will. One handy cert to earn for yourself in particular, given your location, is your wreck cert. You have tons of them there. Many historical, many with sad stories. All of them interesting or at least they are to me, I’ve dived up in Scapa and had a blast. I don’t get to dive warships here, only 1850’s schooners, paddle wheelers and the odd cargo vessel or artificially sunk wreck.
Bottom line, you just opened up a new world. There’s lots out there to explore, enjoy and learn. Divers are a pretty friendly bunch. Finding dive buddies is the least of your worries. Explaining to your wife why you just bought another piece of dive gear or a new local wreck has just been found and you can’t paint the bedroom today, are the hard parts. 🙂