How is the GUE Fundamentals course different from the PADI Advanced course?

The difference between the Fundamentals course and the Advanced course is really about the curriculum and comprehensiveness of the courses.

The Advanced course offers the new diver a chance to experience 5 other types of diving environments and covers those in a relatively quick format.

The Fundamentals course instead focuses on an individual and team’s dive skills, in order to manage these new environments effectively.

Diving and Driving, an analogy that keeps on going

The Open Water course is like the basic driving course that everybody does in order to get a driving license. It covers basic techniques, such as accelerating smoothly (propulsion kicks), parking (hovering), braking (ascending smoothly to the surface) and signaling (communication).

The Advanced course would be like getting experience driving on real roads, in real conditions. For example, driving at night (night dives), at high speed on expressways (drift dives), tight car parking spaces (peak performance buoyancy), and trying to navigate while driving in another country (navigation dives).

The Fundamentals course would be more like a defensive driving course, where you’d learn how to minimize your risk (awareness and teamwork), perform pre-trip inspections (gas management, dive planning, decompression management), and handling skids, accidents, and hazards (emergency drills).

Investing in yourself is never a bad decision

While the Fundamentals course and the PADI OW and AOW are different in terms of how they approach diver training, both are absolutely necessary for any serious diver’s training log.

Only after the basics are learned, can a higher level of skill be developed.

Personally, I would always recommend investing in yourself by taking the Fundamentals course, as it takes a more detailed and focused instruction in order to attain a higher level of skill.

I do believe that both types of courses serve their purpose well, but if you truly want to be a serious diver, then the Fundamentals course is the best place to get started.

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

Discussions — 4 Responses

  • Bruce Boyes March 9, 2017 on 3:48 am

    I am a Master PADI Diver, who has joined GUE as a member. I am interested in taking the Fundamentals Course to evaluate the GUE system for me and some of my Advanced PADI divers.

    However, it appears that you have to pay $750 to even get a look at the Fundamentals course material. With PADI, you can at least browse the written material in any PADI Dive Shop.

    If you want more divers to migrate to GUE, lets let us see the material. Let us Download it in PDF format at least, for a reasonable cost.

    If the system is that good, divers will migrate. It should not be hidden away from scrutiny.

    • Leon Boey Bruce Boyes March 9, 2017 on 10:55 am

      Hello Bruce,

      Thanks for your comment. I do have to disagree with you on that price of $750 though. Please allow me to explain.

      From what I understand, when you register for the Fundamentals course, you pay a USD 95 registration fee. This registration fee comes with all the course downloads, which includes course materials and all the recommended reading.

      You don’t have to actually register for a course date at this point if you want to just peruse the materials and see if they work for you.

      After looking through the materials, you are then free to choose a course date, or not at all. Only when you register for an actual course do you have the pay the instructor for their time and diving fees, which is where I assume your figure of $750 comes from.

      That being said, there’s a lot more to the course than what’s in the materials, though. The academics don’t cover enough in a lot of detail, and most of the course is focused on the practical aspects of diving.

      Let me know if that helps?


  • Bruce Boyes March 9, 2017 on 11:58 pm

    Hi Leon:

    It appears you are correct, I paid for a Bronze membership which allows downloads of course presentation materials. $100 USD.

    The $750 USD was an estimate from a GUE Instructor who was helpful in answering some of my questions.

    I have not Registered yet for the Fundamentals Course, its pending.

    So for budgeting purposes to do the Fundemenatals course for myself its:
    Bronze Membership $100 USD
    Registration $95 USD
    Actual Course $750 USD – Estimate
    OUE Membership $85 USD -Estimate

    Subtotal $1,030 USD Roughly

    Dives $Extra

    Is there any other costs I have not listed?

    From a Business perspective, it would be better to have a clear cost structure available to an interested student, including an independent listing of course curriculum and manuals with unit costs.

    It makes it murky and hard to budget for a perspective student.

    At Scuba 2000 (PADI) they had a Masters (Move Up) program that required $ commitment but also provided reduce costs over the Master program duration.

    It really made a difference financially as its two other divers and myself working towards PADI Masters Certifications.

    Does GUE have any such path? I.e. Towards Technical or Cave disciplines?

    It would be nice to avoid unnecessary cost because of my lack of familiarity with GUE model.

    Fortunately, I am not in a rush. I have a few other projects in planning and implementation stages. 🙂

    Thanks for your help,


  • Leon Boey March 10, 2017 on 2:09 pm

    Hello Bruce,

    Just to clarify, in terms of getting the Fundamentals course done, you don’t need to get the GUE membership unless you wanted to.

    GUE is a non-profit, and they probably wouldn’t like me saying this, but in truth, the course registration and the membership are separate things and you don’t need to get both to register for the course.

    Also, looks like you have a duplicate membership listed in your table, the Bronze and the OUE (GUE) membership? Those are similar things I think.

    This brings down your estimated costs to only $750 + $95 or $845 total.

    Apart from dives and gear, that’s pretty much what you need to pay to get the course itself done.

    I don’t deny that GUE’s structure can be confusing at times, due to it being vastly different from other recreational agency course curriculums.

    For what it’s worth, I do like your idea of a clear cost structure and unit costs, but in truth, due to logistical issues in diving around the world, GUE cannot dictate what the instructor and course pricing should be.

    To get a real idea of what it would cost to do the course, it would always be best to consult your local GUE instructor to get an idea of what he/she charges for their fees, and for the diving itself.

    HQ only handles the course registration portion of the costs (the $95 fee).

    GUE’s membership fees do allow you certain benefits, aligned with the type of membership you purchase of course.

    This goes into funding the programs that HQ organizes directly, like Project Baseline, production of the course materials, website, Quest magazine, GUE conference, etc.

    The entire GUE course structure can be found at You will be able to see a progression to Tech and Cave courses listed there.

    Since you are a diver, as you’ll see on the right-hand side of the image, the progression to Tech or Cave courses is really just the Fundamentals course done at a Tech pass level. In my opinion, I think this is the fastest path to Tech or Cave training available in the industry.

    However, getting a Fundamentals Tech Pass is easier said than done, as we grade students on capability rather than just getting the skills done.

    Hope all that information helps!