Divers know when they’ve been out of the water for too long and need a refresher – you can help.
Developing conservation-savvy scuba divers starts with PADI Assistant Instructors and Divemasters
Helping as a PADI assistant instructor or Divemaster isn’t much different in an Advanced Open Water diver course, but in many ways, it can be more satisfying.
As a certified assistant, you’re invaluable to instructors teaching the PADI Open Water Diver course – after all, helping instructors mold new divers is probably the most important role you’ll ever take on. But, taking those newly certified divers and helping them navigate the Advanced Open Water Diver course is just as valuable in its own way, and offers new challenges that may lead you to instructor and beyond.
The main challenge, of course, is becoming familiar with the specialties. Whether it’s for Adventure Dives such as Wreck, Boat, Underwater Navigation etc., you’re not just increasing teaching ratios for the instructor, you’re also able to act as an inwater supervisor during the course – and the more you know, the more helpful you’ll be.
“Many Adventure Dives allow indirect supervision by the instructor,” says Karl Shreeves, PADI Worldwide Technical Development Executive. “This allows a certified assistant to be in the water with student divers providing guidance and supervision. Of course, the instructor is still responsible for assessing performance.” With a few exceptions, as a certified assistant, you can take an active role in supervising Adventure Dives and guiding divers through completing tasks. And, with a few certified assistants, a PADI Instructor can run several different Adventure Dives at the same time.
For example, imagine you’re on a boat with an instructor who is running an Advanced Open Water Diver course. Four divers need to complete the Dry Suit Adventure Dive while two additional divers are doing the Boat Adventure Dive. During the open water dive, the instructor could supervise the four dry suit divers and assess performance of the various buoyancy control skills. You could dive with the other two divers. The key inwater skills for the Boat Dive are navigating to and from the boat, making a safety stop and deploying a surface marker buoy. By coordinating with the instructor, you could make sure the divers navigate back the boat to meet up with the other group near the end of the dive. All divers ascend with you and the instructor, performing the required safety stop together, and then your two divers complete the surface marker buoy skill for the instructor to assess.
Taking things a step further, on some Adventure Dives you can even be the one to assess performance. An Assistant Instructor can teach the Peak Performance Buoyancy course – the first dive of which counts as an Adventure Dive – under the direction of an instructor (meaning an instructor is available, ready to answer questions or help with any issues). PADI Divemasters and Assistant Instructors, after completing instructor training and earning the Specialty Instructor rating, can also conduct the Digital Underwater Photographer course under the direction of an instructor.
It’s rewarding to introduce new divers to scuba diving, but assisting with the Advanced Open Water Diver course offers a change of pace. It enhances your experiences in teaching situations, and you watch the new divers you helped teach grow into more experienced divers.
Mostly, though, assisting an instructor teaching Advanced Open Water Diver is fun and it adds to diver safety. And that’s a win-win, in anyone’s book.
January is a popular time to reflect on personal goals and hopes for the future. As a Divemaster, you may have thought about leveling up to PADI® Instructor. For some, it’s a foregone conclusion; for others, teaching people to scuba dive seems like a big step. Whether becoming a scuba instructor is at the top of your to-do list for 2019, or it’s your Plan B if you get tired of office life, here’s what you need to know:
To enrol in a PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) you must hold a Divemaster certification and be a certified diver for at least six months. Other requirements include:
- Current training (within the past 24 months) in CPR and First Aid from Emergency First Response©, or other qualifying organisation
- A medical statement signed by a physician within the last 12 months.
Before taking the instructor exam, you need:
- 100 logged dives
- A CPR and First Aid Instructor certification from EFR® (or other qualifying organisation). Most people take the EFR Instructor class in conjunction with the IDC.
Frequently asked questions
How long does the IDC take?
The minimum length of an IDC is five days, but most are a full week. Some programs take place over three consecutive weekends.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary depending on location. Generally speaking, the cost is similar to what you’d pay to become a yoga instructor, and cheaper than becoming a ski or snowboard instructor.
What if I don’t have teaching experience?
The PADI system of education was designed to help people with no teaching experience become instructors. You probably didn’t have experience breathing underwater when you became a diver, right?
The IDC focuses on teaching people how to conduct in-water training sessions, present information to students, and provide feedback. Many PADI Instructors tell us the skills learnt during their IDC made them better, more confident communicators.
Is it worth it?
Helping people experience their first breath underwater is an indescribable feeling – ask any PADI Instructor. In addition, PADI Instructors are the most sought-after dive professionals in the world. The job board on the PADI Pros Site is filled with job openings around the world, and a PADI Instructor credential opens doors to a variety of careers.
I’m not sure I’m ready…
Going from Divemaster to instructor may seem like a big leap. But the reality is, your experience and training as a Divemaster has you well-prepared.
What are you waiting for?
According to one study, those who made a New Year’s Resolution were ten
times more likely to achieve their goal than people who resolved to make a life
change at other times of the year.
Whether you’re the sort of person who makes New Year’s resolutions or not, why not resolve to take the first step towards becoming a PADI scuba instructor?
Step one is easy, use the PADI Dive Shop Locator to contact an IDC Centre. If you’re not sure whether you might want to do your training locally or abroad, look at the PADI Pros employment board to see where the job opportunities are.
A good divemaster is the PADI System’s “secret weapon.”
The PADI® System of diver education is built upon a foundation of learning and applying safe diving for fun and exploration. It is this system that makes PADI Pros the most sought-after professionals in the scuba diving space. While many divers may not fully appreciate the significance of the PADI Divemaster, PADI Instructors, Dive Centers and Resorts do because certified assistants are integral to the PADI System. Divemasters are a key component that allows other parts of the system to move freely and function at full capacity, working toward optimal safety and education to enhance fun and adventure.
The role of the PADI Divemaster can’t be underestimated. Divemasters are often the conduit between student divers and instructors. Sometimes students find themselves struggling with particular cognitive or motor skills. Instead of risking looking foolish in front of the instructor, reaching out to the dive master for help creates a strong bond of trust. A diver may look for assistance in mastering the physics of diving, overcoming an inwater skill, making the best equipment purchase choice, figuring out how to get to the dive site or whether to bring sunscreen. The divemaster can become the source of all kinds of dive knowledge for that diver.
What is a divemaster’s value to an instructor and dive center? From the PADI Instructor’s perspective, a good divemaster is like the best birthday present ever. Someone who anticipates needs, shares the course planning and execution load, communicates eﬀectively and empathically with divers and works independently when needed, a divemaster is a trusted second-in-command whose presence can help ultimately contribute to effectively conducting PADI courses.
For the dive center, a good PADI Divemaster can be the store’s secret weapon; its USP (unique selling proposition) that drives repeat business. Happy customers are often repeat customers, and repeat customers translate to increased revenue. PADI Divemasters are the most versatile of creatures who may be found filling cylinders, preparing a site briefing and assisting on a training dive that morning. In the afternoon they may be out guiding certified divers or coordinating a Dive Against Debris® survey. (Does this sound like you?)
The breadth of knowledge and skills needed to become and remain a competent PADI Divemaster can’t be overstated. Everything learned and experienced at this professional level forms the foundation of the PADI Instructor you may aspire to soon become.
Earning the prized title of PADI Divemaster is pretty awesome, with much kudos attached to it, and you’ll want to hang on to it. Do this by staying current. Renew your membership each year. Read all published training and standards updates. Go to live Member Forums and network with other PADI Pros. Look for opportunities to practice and further develop your knowledge and skills. Take PADI specialty courses. You never know where or when you’ll be called upon to use your divemaster knowledge and skills, so always be ready.
Be Best. Be PADI℠.
PADI AmbassaDiver, Manu Bustelo, spoke to us about his travels, his steps to becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and how he is inspiring others to become ocean stewards.
- You had quite a busy summer Manu! Could you tell us a little bit about what you did?
I spent over 40 days travelling with four electric vehicles from London to Nordkapp. We covered a distance of 9000km showing that electric vehicles can travel to remote places in Europe with zero tailpipe emissions. We named the project ‘Charge to the circle’. Before our departure, we also had the opportunity to take part in the Bristol Harbour, UK clean up organized by Project Aware and PADI.
- That sounds like a great challenge! Straight after you went on to do your IDC, Could you tell us more about your journey to becoming a PADI Instructor?
I’ve been pretty busy but nothing took out of my mind this year’s highlight – to become a PADI Instructor. For over 10 years, I have travelled as a PADI Divemaster around the world scuba diving in as many destinations as possible. My passion for diving grew through the years. I began to feel the itch to share my passion with others, therefore I enrolled in the PADI Instructor Development Program and it seemed the right step to take.
I only had a few days between my return from Norway to the due date I was supposed to be in Murcia to begin my IDC training with BALKYSUB. Before Charge to the Circle I spent an entire month scuba diving in Ibiza, therefore during the last four months I’ve been at home, Andorra, for just a couple of days.
- What is your advice to those who want to become a PADI Pro?
Becoming an instructor is something I recommend to all divers who love the underwater world. Whether you want to make a life out of teaching how to dive, own your scuba dive center or simply encourage more people into diving, you are going to need to be an instructor. I feel a tremendous benefit is already providing me to deeply understand how to teach people how to dive. Educational frameworks are always great to enhance the way you can share your passion with other individuals.
- How did you become interested in ocean conservation?
I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of high altitude mountaineering and mountain biking in The Andes, Alps and Pyrenes during my high school and University Career. At the time, it felt I’ve seen quite a lot in my mid-twenties. It was only when I discovered scuba diving that I reset my ‘adventure’ button. If our planet is 70% water, then there was much more to see underwater than everything I’ve seen till then. Here’s the crucial point though, without water life in our planet wouldn’t exist as we know it. The oldest and more complex ecosystems are underwater.
- Why do you believe it is important to raise ocean conservation awareness?
I believe that an essential part of being human is being curious. Curiosity leads us to explore unchartered territories. Loving what we see is crucial, since our oceans are vast yet fragile at the same time. Current rates of plastic pollution, ocean acidification due to CO2 emissions and overfishing are damaging our oceans more than we could have ever imagined. Scuba divers are ocean stewardship because we learn to love what we see.
Nature hasn’t given us gills. Give yourself some love and learn to scuba dive. If you need a scuba instructor, now you can count on me.
Did you know 95% of the underwater world remains unexplored? Unrivalled by both its beauty and mystery, the oceans have become a fascination for divers around the world. With over 7 continents and 5 oceans on the earth, there is an abundance of different environments not to be missed. For all the adventure junkies out there, being a PADI Divemaster allows you to fulfil your eagerness to explore the world. Every individual has their ‘perfect destination’, and luckily for you, there are over 6500 PADI Dive Shops across the world. The PADI Divemaster certification is your one one-way ticket to work and exploration; both below and above the surface.
Exploring the World
Imagine waking up each day to a job that you love in a location you could only dream of living in before. Being a PADI Divemaster is the perfect mix of business and pleasure. It allows you the opportunity to turn your passion into your profession and lets you take your job across the world. As a PADI Divemaster, you work hard to ensure that PADI Dive Shop customers are having an unforgettable experience, whilst providing them a high quality service and creating unforgettable memories with them. By spending your time with guests from different backgrounds and nationalities, you explore the world further through their stories. But this rewarding lifestyle also allows you time off to explore the surrounding area, as well as time in between PADI Divemaster jobs to visit corners of the world that are now accessible to you ; From Central America, Europe, to the Pacific Islands. And along with all these beautiful places, comes a range of diverse diving locations. There really is something for every type of divemaster.
Working the World
With over 6500 PADI Dive Shops across the world there are plenty of opportunities. So how do you find a job as a PADI Divemaster?
Using the PADI Dive Shop Locator you are able to find a dive operator close to home or one in a faraway travel destination. Take a look at the PADI Pros Employment board on the PADI Pros site, which has regular job postings from Dive Shops around the world. Not only this, but the site allows you to post a bio of yourself to tell prospective employees about your skills, availability for work, and desired location. To use the employment board and receive all PADI Member benefits you must be a renewed PADI Member. By signing up for PADI Automatic Renewal by 6th November 2018, you’ll save at least 25%* on your annual membership fee. As well as global brand recognition, advancing your career and the PADI employment board, there are many more advantages of being a PADI Member.
So, are you ready to explore and work the world as a PADI Divemaster?
Sign up now to Automatic Renewal
Check out the PADI Pros Employment Board
*This discount represents a saving of at least 25% against the standard renewal pricing.
As a PADI Divemaster you are a role model to divers around the world, leading and motivating others to become ocean ambassadors. Whether you are working in a faraway location or in a local dive shop, your PADI Divemaster membership creates a world of opportunities for you.
Renew your membership by signing up for PADI Automatic Renewal by 6th November 2018, and you’ll save at least 25%* on your annual membership fee.
Automatic Renewal benefits:
- Save at least 25%* on your annual membership fees
- Experience no lapse in your membership, so no need to refresh and retrain
- Complete control of your membership – you can turn Automatic Renewal on or off at any time on the PADI Pros’ site
So, what does continuing your Professional membership as a PADI Divemaster allow you?
- Access to PADI’s latest digital educational tools – Further your education with PADI’s Digital Products, accessible in 25 languages across all devices. This globalized learning experience makes studying from anywhere feasible and reliable.
- Global brand recognition – With over 6500 PADI Dive Shops worldwide you are part of a world-class leader diving brand, as well as a strong PADI community of over 135,000 Professional members.
- Advancing your career and changing lives – Divemasters who have completed the Discover Scuba Diving Leader Course are able to introduce students to scuba diving in confined water. Not only this, but Divemasters who complete certain PADI and Project AWARE Speciality Instructor courses (with PADI Speciality Instructor Trainers), may teach these courses.
- Work the world – Do what you love as a career across the globe, as you further your diving skills and expertise whilst mentoring and leading others.
- Employment Board – The Pros job board, found in the Pros’ Site, where you will find worldwide job postings and where you can advertise for work.
- Access to PADI Pros’ Member Forums, Webinars and seminars and updates
- Worldwide PADI Events – Get involved in one of PADI’s global events, such as AWARE Week, Women’s Dive Day and many Dive Against Debris.
What are you waiting for, sign up to Automatic Renewal now and save on your 2019 PADI Divemaster Membership.
Find out why the PADI Divemaster journey is a truly unique and life changing experience.
*This discount represents a saving of at least 25% against the standard renewal pricing.
You learnt to dive, completely fell in love with the sport then decided to fulfil those dreams of retreating to a better life under water. So here you are, either completing your PADI Divemaster Course, or you are already a certified PADI Divemaster. Whichever stage you are at on the journey, cheers to the adventure and the wisdom you have gained from discovering the beautiful underwater world.
We’ve put together 3 truths of becoming a Divemaster, that in our opinion, make this experience a truly unique and life changing experience.
Knowledge shared is knowledge gained
As a Divemaster you are there to educate and pass on your knowledge. Assisting with the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course, you have allowed students to use a regulator; that oh so magnificent invention that allows us to breathe underwater. Sharing this knowledge means you witness those moments of pure awe, when the students breathing slows to a calm pace, they become comfortable in their surroundings, and succumb to the feeling of weightlessness.You educate students in the dive briefings about different marine species, the history of different wrecks, and then with any luck you all encounter these as you assist them on their Open Water Diver course.
But whilst you spend every day sharing your knowledge, you also get to spend your time with individuals from all over the world. As you sit on the boat after a dive, sharing stories and learning about new cultures, you realise just how vast our world is, and how diving lets you explore and navigate your way around it, be it below or above the surface.
Those diving companions are for life
Whilst meeting amazing new people every day from across the world, you will also work within an incredible dive community of likeminded people who support you, teach you and become your family. There is no better feeling than surfacing from a dive and all announcing your excitement about the beautiful marine life you saw. No matter your age, background, or native language, you all share a love for the ocean and an adventurous spirit for exploring the underwater world.
Exploring the Unknown
It really is another world down there, one that is full of mystery and beauty. Being a Divemaster allows you to share your passion for this underwater world, letting people enter a meditative state where they are in the present moment, taking in their surroundings. You gain the opportunity and responsibility to help protect our oceans and the marine life within. By allowing people to explore this vast environment, they become conscious about its ongoing protection. Not only this but you can personally get involved, by participating in Dive Against Debris events and becoming an ocean ambassador, you have the knowledge and ability to become a catalyst for change.
We hope you carry on living your incredible Divemaster journey with PADI. This can be made easier with PADI Automatic Renewal which allows you to save 20% on annual membership. To do this, head to the PADI Pro’s Site where you can sign up by clicking on ‘My Account’ then ‘Sign up for Automatic Renewal and save!’. Each year, automatic renewal takes place during November and requires no action on your part after you sign up allowing you to save time and money. By renewing your PADI Membership you have continued access to programs and products that allow for recognition, leadership and financial opportunities exclusive to the PADI brand.
Happy diving PADI Divemasters!
A certified assistant plays a key role during open water training, especially when weather conditions, equipment issues and other variables make life difficult for students and the instructor.
PADI® Course Director Patrick Hammer from Scuba Emporium in Illinois, USA says, “When an instructor works with a certified assistant, it’s like a pilot and co-pilot. You can fly a plane with one person, but with two people, the flight is smoother and safer.”
Review the tips below to learn more about effective assisting during open water training.
Prior to class, meet or message with the instructor to discuss equipment needs, skill sequencing, student issues and review the weather forecast.
PADI Course Director Kevin O’Brien from PADI Five Star IDC VIP Diving in Bonaire says, “Work as a team to determine the most efficient way to complete the necessary skills: shallow vs. deep, surface vs. underwater. This is especially important for multi-level training. Also discuss how the tour portion will be conducted.”
Equipment and Safety Preparation
Ensure your equipment is in working order and consider what equipment is needed for students to meet the performance requirements.
“An effective assistant will make sure any specialized equipment required for the dive is ready when needed,” says O’Brien. “For example, when conducting the navigation dive in Advanced Open Water, you need a reel or line to mark off 30 metres/100 feet, and your student divers will need compasses.”
In addition to diving equipment, be sure to pack a dive roster slate to check divers in and out of the water. Bring the appropriate course slates to ensure you’re aware of skill depth requirements and refer to the list of common student problems in the appendix of PADI’s Guide to Teaching.
Arrive early and set up your gear before students arrive. “Many of our training dives start early in the morning when the weather is still cool. It’s important for staff to arrive early and get setup so they can help students. That way no one stands around getting cold,” says Hammer.
Try to be one or two steps ahead of the instructor to ensure the class can efficiently transition from one activity to the next. “A good certified assistant should be a thinker, someone who can anticipate class needs without the instructor having to ask,” Hammer says. “For example, while I’m working with students, the certified assistant can be getting equipment set up or setting the float.”
Keep students together as much as possible and make sure the instructor knows where you are at all times. If a student unexpectedly separates from the group, take action to ensure the diver’s safety while simultaneously alerting the instructor using a noisemaker or other signal.
“A good certified assistant can corral the class and make sure everyone stays close, keeping an eye on the students I’m not working with and keep them from drifting away,” said Hammer.
The importance of global awareness cannot be understated. A good assistant keeps one eye on the instructor and one eye on the students at all times. If you find yourself working directly with a student, regularly look around to see what the other divers are doing. While you’re checking one diver’s air, their buddy could be drifting rapidly to the surface.
A good assistant also keeps students focused on training. Wait until skill time is done to point out marine life and show off your bubble ring skills.
We hope you learned something from this list of tips. Feel free to add additional tips and suggestions in the comments.
Have a read of our previous blog about how to be an effective assistant in confined water!