What it’s like becoming a scuba diving instructor
When we begin scuba diving, it starts as a recreational activity only, something to do on vacations in tropical destinations, and becoming a scuba diving instructor is not something that crosses our mind – it seems like an amazingly fun but unachievable lifestyle. However for many people, this holiday sport turns into a regular weekend activity and eventually these people take courses to enhance their skills and develop their confidence in the water.
Then, out of curiosity for the industry or the idea that you can holiday overseas for months at a time and scuba dive for free leads them down the track to become a Divemaster.
Divemaster is the beginning of the professional career track to work as a scuba diver, however if you have a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge with others, maybe you should think about studying to become a scuba diving instructor. The PADI Instructor Development Course is designed for people who want to make a career out of diving, travelling the world and passing on their diving experience with others. Today, we are talking with Cedric and Paco, who have completed their IDC courses with Dune Mexico Blue Dream and are now working as scuba diving instructors.
What made you want to take the step from recreational diving to scuba diving instructor?
CEDRIC: I was working in an office and I really wanted to change my way of life. I wanted to enjoy what I did for a living every day. I love travelling around the world and I figured that it’s better to work underwater than in a restaurant whilst travelling.
PACO: Well, my story is a bit different in that when I made the decision to become and instructor, I had very little experience as a recreational diver was very little, I am talking about only 4 dives! To me was more about being in need of a change in my life and, knowing that I love sports and the beach, one day I just woke up and decided that diving was the perfect blend. I did a Career Change program that took me from “zero to hero” (Open Water Diver to Divemaster) enrolling in a 6 month internship with Dune Mexico Blue Dream.
You studied the Instructor Development Course IDC with Dune Mexico Blue Dream, can you tell us a bit about what it involved?
CEDRIC: It’s a two-week course where we review all diving theory, which is very interesting because when you really understand something in theory, it’s much easier in practise and to make your students understand. Wethen had a lot of practise in confined and open water with all the in-water skills to have experience and to learn technically how to teach them. In this way it’s very different to the Divemaster course, where you lean to demonstrate, but as instructor you learn to teach and correct the skills. We finished with the instructor examination, which for me was the easiest part of the course because we had all been prepared well during the theory and water sessions.
How much work is involved with the course? Is it hard? Can only studious people pass?
CEDRIC: All the preparation is harder than the exam because you prepare yourself harder just in case, even if the d date is stressful, you feel prepared because you have studied well. You are not supposed to be a perfect instructor, you learn that along the way.
PACO: It is indeed tough, you will spend most of your days in training and then go home to prepare your presentations for the next day and keep working on your weak theory points. I would not say only studious people but you will definitely have to work hard at some point…hint: if you want to make your life easier, study diving theory in advance!. There is also a lot of fun involved, in spite of the tiring days, i was always looking forward to the next day, i enjoyed it so much
Camille, the course Director here at Dune Mexico Blue Dream was your instructor for the IDC, what is he like as a teacher and mentor?
CEDRIC: He’s really professional, but fun as well, which to me embodies the PADI spirit. He can joke, be cool and relaxed. In his lessons it’s a good environment. It’s not 15 days of hard work, you thoroughly enjoy his classes. If you try to ask him a question and you hope he won’t be able to answer, good luck! I tried to trick him many times! He has so much experience in teaching future instructors, it’s impossible to ask him something he doesn’t know.
PACO: He is the best!. He’s got a lot of experience, he is a great diver, knowledgeable, smart, fun, patient and the most compromised and professional guy i have met in the diving industry. Luckily i stayed at DMBD after my course and he has supported me each and every single time I have needed some help. If you do the course with him, expect him to be next to you all the way from the beginning till the end, and even in the long hours of your 3 day instructor examination!
What is the typical day as scuba diving instructor?
CEDRIC: I wake up early to get to the dive shop by 7.30am to help open and prepare equipment and paperwork. Sometimes the early starts are difficult but the diving is so much better in the mornings. The clients are different every day, you may have fun dives guiding certified divers, in which case within an hour of waking up, you are underwater with your clients. You come back for lunch and if you’re lucky, you go diving in the afternoon too. If you are teaching a course, you may spend the morning in the classroom going over theory or teaching skills in the swimming pool, then an afternoon putting those skills into practise in open water. You finish your day at around 5pm so you have the afternoon to be with your friends and enjoy your social life.
What qualities do you need to become a successful instructor?
PACO: Well, you will initially have to be a good diver yourself in the first place, then i believe that having knowledge, patience, a good common sense, love for sharing, for what you do, and sensitivity to people feelings will make you a great diving instructor, then social and customer service skills will be a good plus. Not to mention that being aware all the time that you will never stop learning will surely make you become a better instructor every day
How do you think that being a scuba diving instructor has affected your life so far?
CEDRIC: It has changed my life enormously, from a work life in an office behind a computer, with corporate deputies to working amongst turtles and fish. You still have stress like with any job, and yes there is a element of danger if you do not take caution, but it’s a good stress because you can see in the eyes of your students that they are having fun. Between an office in France to underwater in the Mexican Caribbean, there is a huge difference!
PACO: It has clearly and totally changed my life for good!. Now I go to work in the morning eager to get my day started, finish the day looking forward to the next one, and don’t want any days off, I believe that defines it all! Going into details, I am extremely happy having a new challenge every day knowing that every individual will present a new situation that will require a different approach, and my ultimate goal is to help that person to become a great scuba diver who is able to go out there and enjoy the blue safely.
If you are a scuba diver and looking for a way to make diving a part of your life, enrol in the PADI IDC Course. It’s a small investment that you will make back in a matter of months and will open up doors to working in the underwater world, getting paid to do what you love.
BECOME A SCUBA DIVING INSTRUCTOR
The Next IDC Course starts on September 5, 2018. Not ready to start in September? We have IDC courses every few months, ask us about our next intake!
Photo credits: Camille at Scuba Diver Republic