Speciality Instructor training

To be a fully rounded instructor regardless of where you’re teaching there are a few specialities that you need to have under your belt. Here in the UK the most important ones are drysuit, deep, search and recovery, wreck and nitrox. If you can teach these specialities you’ll be more employable and more likely to get to do a wider variety of courses than just running referrals in the pool! Specialities are the most fun courses to teach, you’re usually dealing with qualified divers wanting to learn new skills, that means you’re not trying to ‘sell diving’ to someone you’re teaching them new cool stuff. It’s also really important to be able to up-sell from an Advanced Course to specialities as this will often be a newer divers first taste of activities like wreck or drysuit.

Teaching lining off

Teaching lining off

I do a ‘UK Specs Weekend’ that covers these 5 specialities. This also primes you for MSDT as you require 5 specialties to qualify and means you can then go onto Staff Instructor and then hopefully help out on our IDCs!

Earning instructor specialities is a little more involved than many people think. For each speciality, amongst other things, you’ll need to do a knowledge development presentation and then in water demonstrate all skills involved including running an open water teaching presentation just like you did on the IDC. If a speciality has 2-3 dives then most of the time the instructor speciality can be conducted in 1. If the speciality has 4 dives then it’s 2 at instructor level.

I normally run the course as follows:

Day 1:

Drysuit: 1 dive

Search and recovery: 2 dives

Nitrox: Theory only, no dives

Day 2:

Deep: 1 dive (based on deep run as a 3 dive course)

Wreck: 2 dives.

As you can see this is a full program and we cover lots of stuff: Skills, drills and tips for teaching drysuit and search and recovery and then a lot on the control and supervision of deep and wreck courses which is vital to understand in the UK. I have heard of some individuals getting over 10 specialities signed off in a weekend. This isn’t possible and should raise a few eyebrows if offered.

Mark and plane

Mark using a real plane as a non diving related training aid!

The weekend can be run alongside an IDC before candidates attend an IE. This can be really useful as it gives another weekend practising the skills required to pass the IE. The candidates simply process the speciality instructor certs after completing the IE.

The cost of a UK Specs Weekend is £500 as an added bonus I’ll also let you come back on another weekend and complete any other specs you might be interested in, for example Equipment, SMB or navigation!

See here for a full list of available specialities courses

The New Open Water Course

At the London IDC, we teach the new open water course. The following lists some of the key changes to the course. Our Course Director is available to consult in your dive centre if you would like an in-water update on the new course.

  • Securing a loose tank camband.
  • Emergency Weight drop.
  • Emphasis on neutral buoyancy throughout teaching.
  • Emphasis on horizontal trim: no more buddha hovers!
  • Dive planning: Mini dives in confined and open water.
  • Dive computer planning as a requirement: RDP is now optional.

These are some of the new areas of the course. The new open water course is not a total overhaul but instead a modernisation of the course to bring it up to date with current ways of thinking.


How’s it work?

The premise of the London IDC is very simple: We bring candidates from different dive centres together to create a series of regular well attended IDCs.

We work with a number of dive centres: We get together, agree dates and then jointly market the IDC. The IDC then runs over those dates with some candidates from all or some of the dive centres using all the facilities that those dive centres have available from classrooms, to pool time and equipment.

Why do we do this? The answer is because it makes more sense for everyone involved. The London IDC was started by Course Director Alex Griffin when he saw the difficulties of running and scheduling IDCs within his own dive centre:

“Many dive centres don’t always have enough candidates, available at the same time, to justify the expense of bringing in a Course Director to run it. The result is constant rescheduling and poorly attended IDCs.”

From a candidates perspective this is no good as it’s good to have other candidates and staff instructors to work with and you also want to be able to commit to dates well in advance.

By bringing together top quality 5 star IDC PADI Dive centres to pool their candidates, the London IDC can offer a series of fixed dates through the year with access to all the facilities that these dive centres have to offer.

As a result everyone wins. You, the IDC candidate, gets a range of flexible dates to commit to and a well attended course. The dive centre wins by being able to confidently market the program without fear of losing money.