PADI Instructor Development Course, Scapa Flow 17- 25 Apr, 2019

Posted on August 9, 2018 by Alex Griffin

Join PADI Course Director Alex Griffin for an incredible PADI IDC in Scapa Flow, the UK’s most iconic diving destination!

Who:

Alex Griffin is an experienced PADI Course Director and also a PADI Technical Instructor trainer too. He runs regular PADI IDCs and tec courses and has a relaxed and friendly teaching style. His philosophy is that courses should be run to a very high standard whilst still being fun! By completing your PADI IDC with Alex you can be assured that you will be taught the most up to date and modern techniques for teaching divers.

Scapa Scuba

Where:

The IDC will run at Scapa Scuba in it’s famous red, converted lifeboat station dive centre. We’ll have access to their onsite classroom and access to open and confined water.  

Why do the course with us?

  • The whole IDC is directly run by Alex, an active and experienced CD and Tec IT.
  • Learn how to work with your students in neutral buoyancy and how to apply it to real world situations.
  • Complete your IDC in amazing UK conditions and learn how to teach courses in UK seas
  • Get a free precision diving and equipment workshop written by Alex, full of techniques you can pass onto your students.
  • Get an amazing offer on a self-reliant student and instructor program that will teach you how to use and carry redundant gas, a huge advantage to working dive professionals.
  • Complete 5 specialities towards MSDT with your IDC: Nitrox, O2 Provider, Deep, Search and Recovery and Wreck. We will attempt to complete as many of these on the incredible wrecks in Scapa Flow!
  • Get an amazing deal on Tec 40 and complete your intro to tec diving too, saving you over a £100.
  • And of course, have fun! It’s the only reason anyone learns to dive so if you’re not enjoying it, neither will they!
  • Get a free Human Diver online micro-course, a brilliant course for any new dive professional that focuses on human nature and it’s effect on us as divers.
Alex Griffin Course Director

Dates and Course Schedule:

Running at Scapa Scuba from 17th to 25th of April with the Instructor Exam on the 26th and 27th in Kirkwall, Orkney.

  • Day 1: Course orientation, equipment workshop, buoyancy workshop
  • Day 2: Knowledge Development workshop and confined water skill circuit
  • Day 3: Confined water teaching presentations
  • Day 4: Open Water teaching presentations and instructor specialities
  • Day 5: Emergency First Response Instructor Course
  • Day 6: Confined Water teaching presentations and Rescue Workshop
  • Day 7: Classroom Presentations
  • Day 8: Open water workshops 

Accommodation:

There are various accommodation options in Stromness ranging from hostels and Air Bnbs to hotels.

Costs:

  • Basic IDC (AI and OWSI):
  • Full IDC (AI, OWSI and EFRI): £1050 
  • Pro IDC (As above with MSDT specs): £1200 
  • Staff Instructor: £400 
  • Tec IDC (As per pro but including Tec 40 afterwards: £1500 

Additional fees for course materials, applications etc:

  • E-Learning: £135
  • Course Materials: Usually about £400 (You must have copies of all the core course manuals so if you don’t have these you’ll need to factor this in too).
  • Instructor Examination Fee (payable to PADI): £545
  • Instructor Application (payable to PADI): £160
  • EFR Instructor application (payable to PADI): £100

Contacts:

Contact Alex at info@londonidc.co.uk or on +44 7961953468

PADI Instructor Development Course, Gozo 1-8 Nov 2018

Become a PADI Diving Instructor in Gozo, Malta! This year Scuba Wild along with in house PADI Course Director and Tec Instructor Trainer Alex Griffin, have joined with Gozo Aquasports for a fun, modern and progressive PADI IDC!

Alex Griffin Course Director

Who:

Alex Griffin is an experienced PADI Course Director and also a PADI Technical Instructor trainer too. He runs regular PADI IDCs and tec courses and has a relaxed and friendly teaching style. His philosophy is that courses should be run to a very high standard whilst still being fun! By completing your PADI IDC with Alex you can be assured that you will be taught the most up to date and modern techniques for teaching divers.

Where:

The IDC will run at Gozo Aquasports a PADI 5 star IDC dive centre in Marsalforn, Gozo. The dive centre is right by all the restaurants and bars and accommodation. We’ll have an onsite classroom and easy access to open and confined water.

Why do the course with us?

  • The whole IDC is directly run by Alex, an active and experienced CD and Tec IT.
  • Learn how to work with your students in neutral buoyancy and how to apply it to real world situations.
  • Learn how to teach in a low stress style and pass this onto your students.
  • Get a free precision diving and equipment workshop written by Alex, full of techniques you can pass onto your students.
  • Get an amazing offer on a self-reliant student and instructor program that will teach you how to use and carry redundant gas, a huge advantage to working dive professionals.
  • Complete 5 specialities towards MSDT with your IDC: Nitrox, O2 Provider, Deep, Search and Recovery and Wreck for only €150.
  • Optional internship on Gozo after qualification to work towards your MSDT.
  • And of course, have fun! It’s the only reason anyone learns to dive so if you’re not enjoying it, neither will they!

Dates and Course Schedule:

Running at Gozo Aqua Sports from 1st to 8th of November with the Instructor Exam on the 9th and 10th.

  • Day 1: Course orientation, equipment workshop, buoyancy workshop
  • Day 2: Knowledge Development workshop and confined water skill circuit
  • Day 3: Confined water teaching presentations
  • Day 4: Open Water teaching presentations and instructor specialities
  • Day 5: Emergency First Response Instructor Course
  • Day 6: Confined Water teaching presentations and Rescue Workshop
  • Day 7: Classroom Presentations
  • Day 8: Open water workshops and instructor specialities

Scuba Wild Gozo Aquasports PADi Instructor Development Course

Accommodation:

Various options starting from around €25 euros per person per night based on 2 people sharing an apartment.

Costs:

  • PADI IDC (AI and OWSI): €850
  • Full PADI IDC (AI, OWSI, EFRI and MSDT 5 specs): €999
  • Self Reliant and combined instructor program: Special IDC offer €200: 13/14 Nov
  • IDC Staff Instructor- €400. *Existing staff instructors can join this IDC at a rate of €150.

Additional fees for course materials, applications etc:

  • E-Learning: £135
  • Course Materials: Usually about £400 (You must have copies of all the core course manuals so if you don’t have these you’ll need to factor this in too).
  • Instructor Examination Fee (payable to PADI): £545
  • Instructor Application (payable to PADI): £160
  • EFR Instructor application (payable to PADI): £100

Contacts:

Contact Alex at info@londonidc.co.uk or on +44 7961953468

Alex Griffin

Alex Griffin is a PADI Course Director and technical instructor trainer. Alex started diving in 2001 and then started full time in the dive industry in 2003 about the same time as starting his dive master course. He worked at Ocean Leisure and also Dive Solutions before buying Diving Leisure London in 2007. After 6 years successfully running a full dive centre he sold up and went freelance to concentrate on his main passions teaching tec divers and instructors. Alex has been tec diving since 2006 and has dived and taught tec all over the world from the UK and Europe to SE Asia and Egypt.

 

How to make diving look cooler!

The temperature crept up into double figures today meaning that I ventured out of the house in something less than a giant hoody and hat. As the seemingly perpetual winter starts to slide away I found myself thinking ahead to the Spring wardrobe sported by the average UK diver and wondering whether there could be a way for UK diving to be a bit ‘cooler’. My next thought was to realise that if you are wondering how to make something ‘cooler’ then you are immediately by default entirely the wrong person to attempt to make that happen. “Cool’ is effortless and natural. If you try to be cool you will fail. If you have a meeting to decide how to make something cooler you will make it much less so. If you use the word ‘cool’ you are not. However as the rest of my hair turns to grey I am not going to let this stop me…

Looking good

This is from the liveaboard collection and features undersuits with an almost legal requirement for being laundered. Note the stance, as if I have just finished my routine on the pole and the jealous onlooker in the background.

Now first off, in Winter, I don’t care, all bets are off, I just want to be warm so I will happily leave the house in all my undersuits complete with ancient Fourth Element hoody thrown over the top and whichever dive branded hat is currently languishing at the bottom of the stairs. I have been know to queue for the life preserving Costa Coffee at Reading services whilst fully zipped into my BARE SB suit with the faint must of drysuit sock wafting around me.

UK Diving Winter

Here I’m sporting an ensemble from the Winter/Fall collection. Notice the sailing jacket, over a decade old, half tucked into the drysuit complete with beanie hat, one size too small. Note also the stance, leaning slightly back with a casual hold on the spool I like to call ‘leisure grip’

But now Spring is approaching and we must all collectively think about how we want to portray ourselves as a group when the sun finally comes out. The first step in finding a solution is admitting you have a problem. Take a look through the following list and tick off the items you wear to find out how on-trend you are:

  • Fourth Element Hoody (bonus point if it’s old and says ‘Dive Team’ on it)
  • Branded Beanie
  • One of those Russian style wooly hats
  • A novelty hat (ie ‘hilarious’ jester’s hat)
  • Trousers that zip off at the knee (bonus points for having actually unzipped them)
  • Clogs (Add 10 points for Crocs)
  • Wrap around mirrored shades
  • A gilet
  • A northface style fleece
  • Those trainers that aren’t really trainers but aren’t walking boots either. Often brown.
  • A T-shirt with some kind of cartoon fish on it.
  • One of those dryrobe things that makes you look like a Jawa.

I can check off about 6 of those (no ones going to get me out of skinny jeans and converse, not yet anyway…) but I was thinking that perhaps it’s time to up my game. Specifically I’m thinking about the outfit Prince wears in the Purple Rain video. I believe that the extra time spent in the morning ensuring my cravat is just right will pay off simply by how much cooler I’ll look walking round the dive site. I’m going to be the Beau Brummel of UK diving, just you wait…

Purple Rain

Looking forward to greeting the candidates for the Spring IDC in this little number.

PADI Instructor Development Courses 2018

This year join PADI Course Director and Tec IT Alex Griffin for a fun, modern and progressive instructor development course! Alex is one of the most active and qualified CDs in the UK and is responsible for much of the PADI instructor development in the greater London area.

On the course you’ll learn the following amongst many other things:

  • Use PADI teaching techniques in a low stress style to get the best from your students.
  • How to work with your students in neutral buoyancy and how to apply it to real world situations using a ‘tecreational approach’
  • You’ll get the chance to incorporate instructor specialities into the IDC itself and learn how to do the same with your students.
  • Most importantly how to have fun whilst teaching as nobody goes diving to have a bad time!

In addition to a standard IDC Alex offers an equipment and buoyancy precision diving techniques workshop as a free bonus. This course covers advanced buoyancy and streamlining techniques as well as information on how to pass these techniques onto your students. Also upon completion of the course you’ll also be able to complete a special self-reliant instructor course that will teach you how to use and handle redundant gas, a great skill for all dive pros to have particularly when guiding deeper diving.

Dates:

Wraysbury, UK: 5-8 and 19-22 Apr
Wraysbury, UK: 14-17 Jun and 28 Jun-1 Jul
Divecrew, UK: 9-12,18,19 and 25,26 Aug
Scubawild, Gozo 1-8 Nov

 

Locations:

Wraysbury Dive Centre.

By being based at one of the busiest inland dive sites in the UK, we have onsite access to both open and confined water. Plenty of parking and on site gas fills, changing rooms, parking etc. As a result we can offer more in water time than just about any other IDC in the UK!

Scubawild, Gozo,

Based in Marsalforn bay, the IDC takes place in conjunction with Scuba Wild and Gozo Aquasports. Over 8 days you complete an in-depth IDC along with optional instructor specialities. For more details of our overseas IDC see here

Pre-requisites, course materials and recommended kit:

See here

Course Schedule:

The following is sample schedule for a typical IDC and may be subject to some minor changes.

  • Day 1: Course orientation, equipment workshop, buoyancy workshop
  • Day 2: Knowledge Development workshop and confined water skill circuit
  • Day 3: Confined water teaching presentations
  • Day 4: Open Water teaching presentations
  • Day 5: Emergency First Response Instructor Course
  • Day 6: Confined Water teaching presentations and Rescue Workshop
  • Day 7: Classroom Presentations
  • Day 8: Open water workshops

Costs:
IDC (AI and OWSI): £850

Full IDC (AI OWSI, EFRI and MSDT specs): £1050

Pro IDC (AI, OWSI, EFRI and 5 MSDT Specs): £1500

Self Reliant instructor: £200

All courses also include a free precision diving speciality course.

 

 

 

PADI Instructor Development Course in Gozo Malta Nov 1-8

This year join PADI Course Director and Tec IT Alex Griffin for a fun, modern and progressive instructor development course! Alex is one of the most active and qualified CDs in the UK and is responsible for most of the instructor development in the greater London area. Alex has been diving and teaching regularly in Malta for 15 years and brings a wealth of diving experience to the IDC.

On the course you’ll learn the following amongst many other things:

  • Use PADI teaching techniques in a low stress style to get the best from your students.
  • How to use technical diving skills to teach in a ‘tecreational style’. How to work with your students in neutral buoyancy and how to apply it to real world situations
  • You’ll get the chance to incorporate instructor specialities into the IDC itself and learn how to do the same with your students.
  • Most importantly how to have fun whilst teaching as no one learns to dive to have a bad time!

In addition to a standard IDC Alex offers an equipment and buoyancy precision diving techniques workshop as a free bonus. Also upon completion of the course you’ll also be able to complete a special offer self reliant instructor course that will teach you how to use and handle redundant gas, a great skill for all dive pros to have particularly when guiding deeper diving.

Dates:

IDC: 1-8 Nov

IE: 9/10 Nov

Self Reliant and combined instructor program: Special IDC offer €200: 13/14 Nov

Location:

Gozo Aquasports: http://www.gozoaquasports.com/en/

Pre-requisites, course materials and recommended kit:

Please see here

Course Schedule:

The following is sample schedule for a typical IDC and may be subject to some minor changes.

  • Day 1: Course orientation, equipment workshop, buoyancy workshop
  • Day 2: Knowledge Development workshop and confined water skill circuit
  • Day 3: Confined water teaching presentations
  • Day 4: Open Water teaching presentations and instructor specialities
  • Day 5: Emergency First Response Instructor Course
  • Day 6: Confined Water teaching presentations and Rescue Workshop
  • Day 7: Classroom Presentations
  • Day 8: Open water workshops and instructor specialities

Accommodation:
There are various options starting from around €25 euros per person per night based on 2 people sharing an apartment:
http://gozo.com/lantern/
https://www.booking.com/hotel/mt/crystal-palace-apartment.en-gb.html

Costs:

IDC (AI and OWSI): £850

Full IDC (AI OWSI, EFRI and MSDT specs): £1095

Self Reliant instructor: £200

Instructor Development Course Pre-requisites and Recommended Kit List

Here’s a bit of information about what’s required and what you need to bring to your IDC!

Pre-requisites

  • PADI Divemaster or equivalent
  • 100 Logged Dives
  • Current in date fit to dive medical
  • EFR training within last 2 years (or can incorporate into the Instructor Program)

Required PADI Materials:

  • IDC Crewpack
  • EFR Instructor Manual
  • Student Level materials (special available on digital products)
  • A laptop and or tablet. Please ensure you have downloaded the PADI app and the PADI Library App.
  • Please ensure you can log into the PADI Pros site and that you have downloaded the most up to date version of the Instructor Manual
  • Not required but highly recommended: Complete the PADI Dive Theory e-learning module.

Required Kit (All kit must be serviced and in good working order)

  • Regulator including primary and octopus on 100cm hose with SPG or transmitter and LP feeds for BCD and drysuit if required. Long hose set up with necklaced backup is also fine.
  • BCD or Wing system. If using a wing system there should be some form of break in the harness that allows you to remove and replace it easily.
  • Dive Computer
  • Mask and Snorkel. The snorkel does not have to be worn but must be easily attached to the mask when required.
  • Adequate exposure protection. Whilst shorties are fine, full suits are much more preferable even for confined water work as they assist in hovering in horizontal trim. Also for working in ‘confined open water’ shorties rarely provide enough warmth. A drysuit is the best bet for open water and preferably should have at least one pocket.
  • Boots and fins. I won’t cry if you turn up in split fins but my bottom lip will probably tremble.
  • Red SMB and spool/reel. My recommendation is a finger reel and oral inflation SMB
  • A simple clip for attaching slates to the harness. I recommend a stainless-steel double-ended bolt-snap (this will become clear on the course)! Please try to steer clear of curly lanyards and retractors as they do have a tendency to get tangled.
  • A Pocket Mask
  • A slate and pencil, wetnotes are a definite plus
  • A compass
  • Spares: Mask, fin straps, mouthpieces, bungee and cable ties!

For any help or advice on the above please do contact me so I can point you in the right direction!

How to become a PADI Tec Deep Instructor

Have you ever considered going pro with your tec diving? The PADI Tec Deep Instructor program allows you to teach tec programs all the way up to PADI Tec 50. At the Londonidc we run regular Tec instructor programs with PADI Tec Instructor Trainer Alex Griffin, where you’ll get the opportunity to assist on real courses and gain experience too. There is also the Tec Instructor rating which allows you to teach the Tec 40 program and is a great entry point to technical instruction, read on to find out more of what’s involved:

Course and Application Pre-requisites:

To begin the Tec Instructor Program you need to be

  • Tec 45 or equivalent student level.
  • Be a PADI deep and nitrox speciality instructor
  • Have a 100 logged dives (20 nitrox, 25 deeper than 18m, 15 deeper than 30m).

To then qualify as a Tec Instructor you will need the following:

  • Have 20 staged deco dives (these don’t have to be met before starting the tec instructor program but do need to be met before putting in the application).

For Tec Deep Instructor you also need to have the following levels before starting the course:

  • Tec 50 or equivalent student level

Before putting in the application you also need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be a PADI MSDT or higher
  • 270 logged dives with at least 25 staged deco dives below 40m
  • Have certified at least 10 nitrox and deep student level divers (can be a combination of both)

What’s involved:

The course takes 5 days to complete. It roughly breaks down as follows:

Day 1: Theory, kit set up

Day 2: 2 x Skills dives and practical applications

Day 3: Simulated deco dive and full deco dive

Day 4: Simulated deco dive and full deco dive

Day 5: ‘Mini Instructor Exam’

During the course you will go through the tec skill circuit, working on demoing key skills like shutdowns, NOTOX , gas sharing and SMB deployment. You’ll also complete practical exercises in planning technical diving using both manual planning and deco software. During the Mini IE you will be evaluated on several key skills and you will also teach a series of skills in a similar manner to the PADI IDC.

The Tec Instructor program takes 3-4 days to complete, following a similar outline

Locations:

We can run the course anywhere we have access to deep enough water, in the UK, I tend to use Wraysbury, Vobster and NDAC. The course can be run as a stand alone course or run alongside existing student level tec courses although we need at least one day dedicated to the course for the mini IE.

Costs:

The course costs £200 per day excluding the following

  • Course Materials: (currently approx £60)
  • Equipment hire
  • Gas fills
  • Applications to PADI
  • Dive centre costs or dive site entrances
  • Travel

Dates:

I will be running a program in 2018 from the 6-10 June. For more details or to sign up, please let me know!

How to skilfully demonstrate skills….

you love me

One question that regularly comes up on IDCs is to do with skills and how they should be done. As any good instructor knows, the key point to remember is the performance requirement, there is no standard ‘PADI way’ or signal for a given skill. It’s also very important to understand the difference between getting it wrong vs the way you like things done. As an example, you might prefer holding BCD straps to a ‘roman handshake’ during an out of gas drill but both are fine (in fact one may be better than the other and vice versa dependent on gear set up etc). There’s also no problem with a dive centre establishing a consistent way of performing skills through their DM and IDC programs but it’s also important to understand that doesn’t make their way, the right way either.

Because I work with candidates from multiple centres on the same IDC, my philosophy is that I don’t set out to attempt to mould candidates in my image. I’d much rather they got on with doing skills their way, with me occasionally pointing out some improvements or tweaks along the way.

One of the nice things about this way of working is that I get to learn different methods for skills too. Fortunately my ego is no longer as fragile as it was (seemingly directly proportionate to the greying of my hair) and I no longer panic when someone does a skill better than me. In fact I’m usually quite open about my intention to nick someone else’s method when I like it!

Having said all of this, I do have a preference for the general way skills are done (yes, my preference but also, obviously, the right way). Here’s my guide to all things skill related:

  1. Poncing About. Lots of instructors love poncing about. I do not. Poncing about involves loads of wind-milling arms, theatrical flourishes and invitations to everyone in the surrounding vicinity to ‘LOOK AT ME, ME, THE INSTRUCTOR, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME NOW BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO BRING THE SHIT WITH THIS SKILL’. I don’t mind a quick ‘look at me’ signal, I do it, it helps get me in the zone to do my demo but just get it over with and then do the skill. Just please, do the skill.
  2. Concentrate on the critical attributes: If you want to clear a mask, then basically you need to put some pressure on the top of the frame (any which way you like), look up and exhale through your nose. If you do that slowly and clearly, that’s pretty much a 5 as far as I’m concerned. Throwing in lots of stuff to show what you shouldn’t do doesn’t really add anything. Also don’t go through a slow and loving piece of theatre about everything that you are about to do and then fail to clear the mask in one go, or finish with one lens still with an inch of water in the bottom. Even Brando couldn’t save himself from a 4 with that.
  3. Be Quiet: Please, please don’t start every skill by doing that thing where you punch your palm with an open fist repeatedly. I realise that when people aren’t actually looking at you it’s a great way to get their attention, but when they are, it’s a bit like snapping your fingers in their face like a sassy drag queen from an 80s movie starring Andrew McCarthy.
  4. Dumping gas: Don’t start every skill by whirling your fingers at the top of the BC hose to show you have dumped all your gas. It’s not a performance requirement to do every skill whilst heavily negative. Whilst in real teaching scenarios kneeling on the bottom of the pool will help in some skills, it doesn’t require you to be negative during your demos.
  5. Lose the numbers: Some skills may benefit from a series of steps broken down by number as in step 1: Do this, step 2: Do this etc. But most don’t. Sometimes the sheer volume of hand signals being produced completely eclipses the skill and it all becomes a confused blur of sign language. Remember, just do it slowly and clearly.
  6. Be decisive. Often one of the big differences between a score of 4 or 5 is simply down to the confidence with which the hand signals are deployed. We’ve all been there, when your hand extends only to discover that it’s intent has been forgotten. Try to make sure your hand signals are confident and clear. Avoid the tentative hand slowly extending and producing a limp apology of a signal, it looks like an elderly vicar trying to break up an orgy. A good method is to practice your hand signals for skills in front of the mirror. I often video skills on the IDC too which allow you to see how you’re getting on so we can work on ways to improve.
  7. Don’t sweat it: When all’s said and done, you can do these skills. If you couldn’t you probably shouldn’t have got through your open water course! The best thing you can do is just slow down, relax and do the skill slowly. If you do that, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least a 4. If you then just throw in some clear signals that emphasise the critical steps, there’s your 5.

Of course, the next person you talk to will contradict everything I’ve just said but then that’s what makes it all so interesting. Obviously I’m right though. Obviously.

Hard working recreational diving instructors are the unsung heroes of the UK diving industry.

Bonus points for spotting the reference…

I remember when I was first thinking about becoming a diving instructor, which was pretty much as soon as I came up from the last dive of my advanced course, it seemed like one of the coolest professions it might be possible to have. At the time, tec diving was still a tiny niche area and the heroes of the scene were people like Mark Ellyatt who were doing immensely deep dives on open circuit. It was epic but hardly the kind of thing that was aspirational to your average recreational diver.

Fast forward 15 odd years and the landscape has changed. Tec diving has become much more accessible and popular but it’s aspirations have changed as well. No longer are the deep divers held up as heroes (albeit slightly bonkers ones), witness the outpouring of unpleasant schadenfreude after the death of ‘Doc Deep’ a couple of years ago. Nowadays tec diving has become fixated upon technique with the result that our current heroes are held in high regard because of their ability to hover without twitching an arse muscle instead of their achievements and accomplishments. I’ve already ranted about this more than enough times already

The upshot of this is that becoming a recreational instructor is not always seen as the top of the tree. It also occasionally seems there is a degree of snobbery aimed at recreational scuba instructors mainly centred round things like kit configurations, perceived lack of personal skill or lack of skill demonstrated by their students.

I believe this is because, as an industry, we have pitched tec diving as if it is a superior activity to pro-level recreational courses when in actual fact they’re just different. I don’t really care how many amazing deep dives you’ve done on CCR, it won’t make you a good diving instructor.

As an example, whatever someone might want you to think, teaching DSDs is not an easy task that anyone can do. Meeting minimum standards might be straightforward, but actually making a DSD enjoyable and safe takes an immense amount of skill and work, very little of which has to do with looking good in the water. In fact, if you spend time worrying about how you look, instead of looking at your students, you’re probably at risk of being distracted if a problem does arise. When you think that for many people a DSD is their first diving experience and the make or break over whether that person will continue diving, then it quickly becomes clear that instructor ego and a fixation on skill perfection is a toxic combination unlikely to do the DSD candidate or the industry any favours.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying that a lot of instructor trainers and tec instructors (me included) would probably soil themselves in terror at the prospect of taking 5 people through an open water course now. That’s because we’ve been spoiled by only dealing with customers who have their own kit and already know what they’re doing (most of the time..). This means we get to sit in our ivory towers bollocking on about horizontal trim when we don’t actually have to get a group of open water students through 2 dives in rented drysuits in cold water and then drive a van full of kit all the way back to the centre, unload it and sort paperwork before we finally get to drive home, often all for the love of it.

Last week I was at NDAC doing a tec instructor program. On the Sunday I watched an instructor with a big group of Advanced students running through his briefings. He had 3 dives to do (always a challenge with the van runs at NDAC) but he was funny and engaging and his students were clearly having a good time. On top of all this, he’d somehow found the time to be wearing a Pokemon costume over his drysuit for Halloween which his students also loved and at the end of the day I saw them all laughing and joking over paperwork.

I wasn’t in the water with them but all thing being equal, to me, that’s the true sign of good instructor and also a reminder of just how challenging and rewarding it can be.

Tec diving is a brilliant next step for a diver wanting to continue their education but it’s not always the best thing to rush straight into either. I see lots of divers who might otherwise have chosen to progress down the DM and Instructor path now choose the tec path instead. This is all well and good but I can categorically state that divers who have attained at least DM level almost always have a greater level of skill and comfort in the water than those who haven’t. It’s also true to say that whilst DMs and Instructors will regularly continue onto tec diving, which I think is great because it gives them a diving activity that’s just for their enjoyment, it’s rare for tec divers to come back and do DM or instructor, which is often a great shame.

Becoming a recreational diving instructor is an incredible achievement and being a good diving instructor takes a rare combination of skills of which in water prowess is only a part. Don’t let anyone let you forget that!