Do you know that a PADI Open Water diver is an autonomous diver ?
Many divers ignore their prerogatives. They just remember they can dive until 18 meters, and they also think a dive leader will always guide them underwater. The autonomous word is ambiguous and confusing. I’ll give you some information.
Following the WRSTC Standard …
The PADI Open Water certification meets the standard EN 14153-2/ISO 24801-2 of WRSTC. The level 2 « Autonomous diver » has sufficient knowledge, skill and experience to make dives, in open water, which do not require in-water decompression stops, to a recommended maximum depth of 20 meters with other scuba divers of the same level, only when appropriate support is available at the surface, and under conditions that are equal or better than the conditions where they were trained without supervision of a scuba instructor, unless they have additional training or are accompanied by a dive leader.
In summary, the only meaning of the word autonomous allows the PADI Open Water diver to perform its own dive without being supervised by a professional. However, the certified diver must be accompanied by a certified Open Water or equivalent buddy. An autonomous diver (as defined by the standard EN 14153-2/ISO 24801-2) can NOT alone in any case dive.
In real life
But is it really possible to dive alone ? There are several possibilities. I’ll introduce you to two options. First, the safest method is to engage in technical diving courses. What technical diving will give you more autonomy ? Because during your technical training course, you will learn to manage your gas, to apprehend a space suit with redundancy, to plan your dives with a safety margin, especially to prevent all eventualities and manage yourself. You accept to dive if you are self-reliant. If not, you should not dive.
The second method is a shortcut available for recreational divers. It is not a technical training course. The distinctive PADI speciality Self-Reliant teach you how to plan a dive in full autonomy, manage your gas and manage emergency situations.
I am a Diver offers these two solutions right now : enroll in a PADI TecRec diving course and the PADI distinctive speciality Self-Reliant.