5 PADI Pro Tips: How to Deal with Nervous Students

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The first breaths underwater are always very exciting for first-time divers, and usually the fascination for this new underwater world is much bigger than any fears. Sometimes, however, there are some new divers who are very nervous about learning to dive, and need to be treated very carefully by their PADI Instructor.

Follow these 5 tips on working with nervous divers to help alleviate their fears and encourage them to succeed in the best possible way.

#1 – Talk to your students about their fears

If you notice that one of your students is very anxious, then you should talk to them about their fears and concerns. Ask them questions to help identify what and where the problem is, and explain to them objectively, using facts and reassurance, about why there is no need to be scared.

#2 – Explain all of the exercises in detail in your briefing

As a PADI Pro you’ve already learned to describe and explain all the skills, exercises and dives which you’re performing with other divers or students.

If you have one or more anxious divers in your group, you should extend your briefings and deal with the concerns of the divers. Prepare your group and let them know what could be the challenges during the exercises or dives you’ll do together – and tell them how to deal with them in the best way.

#3 – Position anxious students correctly

If you’re doing underwater skills with students, or guiding a dive for a group of divers, then make sure that any nervous members of the group are always very close to you.

While training for skills in larger groups, any nervous divers should never sit completely at the end of the row. If possible, they should always have another diver on either side.
Make sure you begin the practice of diving skills with a more confident diver – not with someone who is already anxious. This reduces the nervousness when one sees that another diver masters the skill without any problems.

If you’re guiding a group with an anxious diver, you should offer them to dive directly behind you. Form a buddy team, and give them the safety and attention they need to build confidence underwater.

#4 – Reduce the distance between nervous divers

As a PADI Pro you’ll already know that you need to stay close to your diving students to have complete control over them. However, if you have a very nervous student in your group you should pay special attention to stay as close as possible to them in particular. This makes it possible for you to intervene at any time, and gives them a feeling of safety and security.

#5 – Give anxious students frequent commendation

After each training session, you should highlight one thing in every debriefing that all diving students have done particularly well – that’s what we call positive reinforcement.
With anxious divers in your group you can expand this positive reinforcement even more and give them extra commendation for things they have mastered. With this additional positivity and praise, you’ll push the self-confidence of anxious divers, which in turn will help to relieve their nervousness and boost their confidence in the water.

Extra Tip: Work in small groups with more time – if possible!

Where possible, work in groups of max. two divers, and plan more time for your course from the beginning – this should be helpful for anxious divers who will feel less pressured by others’ progress. In a smaller group, you can respond even more effectively to the problems and concerns of each student.


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.

5 Tips for Pros: How to Maintain Your Scuba Gear Properly

dive-equipment

As a PADI Professional, your scuba gear is exposed to heavy use – much more than the average recreational diver. Three or five dives a day teaching students or guiding certified divers will quickly leave their mark, and you’ll notice your diving equipment ageing much quicker than usual.

Of course, you can help to counteract this wear and tear with proper maintenance of your dive equipment, allowing you to get the best results from your gear despite the high strain.

Above all you shouldn’t forget that you always have a role model function as a PADI Pro, and your scuba gear in particular should always be exemplary: clean, well maintained and fully functional. This way you show your students and other divers that you’re a conscientious diving professional, and demonstrate the importance of well-maintained diving gear.

Here are 5 tips on properly caring for your scuba equipment:

#1 – Rinse your diving equipment thoroughly after every dive

It doesn’t matter if you’re diving in fresh or salt water; clean your scuba gear with clean water after every dive. This will help to remove dirt and other contaminants like micro-organisms or stinging particles from coral or jellyfish. It also helps to prevent the unwanted formation of salt crystal build-up after open water dives in the ocean.

#2 – Dry your diving equipment after every dive

neoprene-careSure, it can difficult as a PADI Pro to do this if you use your diving equipment multiple times during the day. But in between your dives, try to dry out your gear as well as you can. When dive gear is kept damp (especially when stored), bacteria or fungi can quickly develop and spread, which not only damages your diving equipment but can also trigger infections and irritations to your skin.

To dry your scuba gear hang it up outside, ideally in a dry and breezy place but not directly in blazing sunshine. Sunlight can cause faster ageing of materials and can make neoprene and rubber parts brittle.

scuba-equipment#3 – Check any moving parts regularly for dirt and defects

At least once a day, you should make sure that all moving parts on your diving equipment (such as buckles on your BCD, inflator buttons, regulator purge buttons etc.) are clean and working properly. That way you’ll be reassured that there are no dirt, sand or salt crystals stuck in your diving gear that might cause a malfunction during a dive.

#4 – Deep-clean and maintain your diving equipment on a regular basis

In addition to rinsing your kit with clean fresh water after each dive, you should also wash your gear thoroughly at least once a week with a special cleaner designed for dive equipment. This applies not only for neoprene suits, but also for your BCD.

scuba-gear#5 – Store your diving equipment properly

Between dives – and especially if you’re taking some time away from teaching – you should ensure that your gear is stored properly to avoid damage and deformation of the material. Make sure it’s completely dry before packing it away (see #2), don’t stand your fins on the blade-end (as they’ll bend out of shape), and ensure the glass in your diving mask is protected from being scratched.

In addition to these 5 tips, you should always be very careful when carrying and using your diving equipment. Strong impact can easily damage your gear, especially the small components in your BCD and regulator.

PADI’s Equipment Specialist Touch is a great tool to help refresh your memory on maintenance techniques, even as a PADI Professional. It’s also a valuable teaching aid to use with your students to help them learn the importance of caring for their scuba equipment.


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.

Working on a Liveaboard: Pros and Cons

For many PADI Pros, the thought of working on a liveaboard is a dream opportunity. Maybe you’ve already toyed with the idea or started applying for that once-in-a-lifetime position, imagining endless expanses of sea and the fascinating dive sites that can only be reached by safari boat.

Whilst this is certainly a worthy attraction for PADI Pros, there’s a few lifestyle sacrifices you’ll also need to be aware of – and prepared to make – to avoid disappointment. Check out the pros and cons below to make sure you know what to expect before heading out to sea on your first job.

Pros

#1 Dive sites

Many of the best and most spectacular dive sites of our blue planet can only be reached from a liveaboard. As a PADI Pro, you’ll undoubtedly experience countless memorable dives that you wouldn’t have access to from the shore.

#2 Experienced divers

If you work as a PADI Pro on a liveaboard, you will accompany many experienced divers on their dives and depending on the level of experience they may even ask to go alone with their dive buddy. This means you’ll often only need to guide smaller groups and show them the most beautiful corners of dive sites.

feel4nature-tauchsafari-1#3 Specific interests

Due to the previous dive experience often required for a longer safari trip, it’s less common to encounter training courses on a liveaboard, and those that are conducted usually focus on developing the specific interests of the group or skills relevant to the type of dives they’ll do, such as PADI Digital Underwater Photographer, PADI Deep Diver or PADI Enriched Air Diver. This often means you’ll be able to apply more of your personal interests and experience over a more relaxed scenario.

#4 Building relationships

Because you will spend a week or even longer with your guests on a liveaboard trip, there is plenty of time to build up a friendly relationship with the divers on board. Not only does this mean building happy memories from great trips, but it’s also a springboard for creating loyalty amongst customers who will want to come back and dive with you – and your business – in the future.

Cons

#1 Limited lifestyle

If you have ever been on a boat, you’ll remember how small the space can be, and cabins of liveaboard boats are no exception. Dive guests may only spend a few days like this, but remember you may need to call it your home for several months.

You’ll also need to be prepared to sacrifice comforts such as long showers, internet access and even peace and privacy, as well as the ability to catch up with your partner or friends at the end of each day – while you’re on board, your friends are your customers.

#2 Need for preparation

One of the benefits of liveaboards is the ability to travel to faraway destinations, sometimes several hours away from land. This means you need to be prepared for the journey as you won’t be able to pop back to shore if you need something.

From Divemaster training and above, self-sufficiency is emphasised – and bringing extra gear in case you or your guests need something is even more important when liveaboard diving. Double check your packing list to make sure everything is on board, which should include plenty of spare gear, from o-rings to masks, as well as medical supplies such as seasickness tablets.

feel4nature-tauchsafari-2#3 Physical demands

As a PADI Professional working on a liveaboard, you may be expected to complete multiple dives every day for several days at a time, and there won’t be spare Divemasters or Instructors ready to take your place once you’re out at sea. It won’t be possible to cancel your guests’ diving plans just because you feel tired or just don’t feel like diving today – just like shore-based operations, you are required to support the needs of your paying customers, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re fit for duty. If you don’t think you can keep up with the demand, then liveaboard diving might not be for you.

#4 Diving experience

We already know that liveaboards travel to some of the best diving spots in the world, but quite often these are also the most demanding places to dive. Strong currents, difficult entries, dives in blue water with no reference and potentially tricky surface conditions mean that, as a PADI Pro with guests under your care, you need to have enough experience in the same conditions to be able to safely operate and guide the dive.

If you’ve read the above and think that liveaboard diving is a perfect match for your skills and lifestyle, then visit the Job Vacancy board on the PADI Pros’ Site today to start searching for your dream job!


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.