When in conversation and people ask me what I do, and I tell them that I am a Scuba Diving Instructor, I often get the reply ‘I’m a diver too!’. Once I start talking to them, I realise they did the PADI Open Water course before they went to the Maldives on Honeymoon. Although it is true that they are a PADI Open Water Diver, it is not something they have kept up with.
The PADI Open Water course is the entry level course on your journey to become a competent, experienced diver and as such is the entry point. We are finding that more and more students are just looking for the experience of diving as a one off and then move onto something else. Whereas this is ok for the individual, it creates an issue with people who don’t evolve their skills to be a safe, competent diver. We then get them turning up wishing to spend time in the pool but do not want to spend the time on a Scuba Review or Reactivate. Just recently we had to ask a diver, who assured us that he had dived recently and was a safe, competent diver, to leave the pool for his own safety and the safety of other pool users. When any new diver comes in we always check their certification card and last dive information. Although this student recently qualified, with a dive centre that I know and respect, the skill level was well below par.
Here at Orca Scuba Diving Academy, we try to explain to students that the PADI Open Water course is the entry level and from there we should progress with our training and encourage all students to reach the Rescue Diver level, for their own safety and the safety of others around them. We do not expect this to be achieved over night, but as the ultimate goal.
Following on from this we have just started a new Dive Master Course with six new candidates, the majority of these have worked with us from an early stage in their diving career. At the start of the course we give a briefing on how we expect them to present themselves to the students and to other members of staff and we also explain this is the first step on their journey on the professional line to becoming experienced instructors.