If you’re getting ready to get certified in scuba diving or are ready to up your certification to a more advanced level, finding the right dive instructor is imperative. Whether you’re checking out dive shops on a honeymoon or tropical vacation or looking for a local diving instructor in your landlocked state, here are seven must-ask questions before you hire a scuba diving instructor:
1. How long have you been teaching?
Usually the more experienced a teacher is, the more they will have to share and the more confident you can be in their training techniques. Also, a scuba instructor who has been in the business for ages is probably passionate about his profession, which can make learning from him a whole lot more fun.
2. How many students have you worked with at this level?
Many instructors in the scuba industry are just part-time. While you shouldn’t rule out a part-time instructor just because they don’t teach full time, you also shouldn’t assume that an instructor who has been in the business for five years has taught tons of students to scuba dive. If an instructor is still very new or has not worked with many students at the level at which you want to be certified, you may want to find someone else with more experience.
3. How many students do you take at a time in the pool and in open water?
While you’ll pay less for a scuba diving class in which one instructor handles many students, you won’t get as thorough of a class in this way. Developing skills when it comes to scuba diving is essential for your safety, so don’t skimp here. If you feel you won’t get enough one on one time with the instructor to really master diving skills, then find a different class to take!
4. What classes have you taken and dives have you done in the last year?
The last thing you want is to take a scuba diving course from an instructor with stale teaching methods and no real passion for diving. An instructor who is really passionate and knowledgeable will take classes each year to keep up with certifications or to learn the latest diving techniques and equipment. Also, a passionate diving instructor will also be a passionate diver who takes plenty of dive trips just for the fun of it!
5. How do you care for the environment in the ocean and teach students to do so, as well?
Many would-be divers skip out on this important question. When it comes to the ocean, you’re dealing with very sensitive eco-systems, so you want to make sure that your diving instructor is ethical enough to care for those eco-systems and to teach her students to do the same. A dive instructor who routinely litters the ocean floor or doesn’t use and teach eco-friendly diving practices isn’t one you want to work with.
6. Can you teach snorkeling/freediving?
Snorkeling is a good way to have more fun with your diving, especially during surface intervals. The ideal diving instructor will teach you snorkeling techniques that will boost your confidence in the water and make your overall diving experience more enjoyable.
7. Do you certify every student after a course?
While it seems like a good thing if a diving instructor gets everyone through his course with an actual certification, this may actually not be a good thing. Scuba instructors who certify everyone in their courses may not hold high enough standards or require the kind of skill mastery needed to really be safe in the water. A diving instructor who isn’t afraid to hold some students back if they haven’t mastered the necessary skills for safety and efficiency in the water is actually going to be a better bet than one who passes everyone in the class every time.
Become Part of the Scuba Movement
There are thousands of scuba diving instructors around the world, and scuba diving is becoming more and more popular. PADI, one of the main scuba diving organizations, has seen certification rise dramatically since the nineties. Today, PADI says there are more than 900,000 scuba certifications made each year!
Daniela Baker from CreditDonkey says, if you’re going to start scuba diving and expect to fall in love with the sport, it’s a good idea to plan financially for scuba diving trips in the future. One way to do this is with a travel credit card, which can help you save up points to spend on airfare, hotel fees, and other travel related expenses. Another option is to set up a separate savings account for scuba trips and to put a certain amount of money into that account every month. That way, when it comes time for a scuba trip, you have points and cash saved up so that you can more easily pay for your trip.
Scuba diving is a great sport, but it can be a little scary. Finding an experienced scuba instructor who can teach you essential skills and build your confidence with scuba diving is the best way to get started.