Is it really work, if you love what you do? Many divers, both young and young at heart, toy with the thought of making scuba diving their profession. They dream of diving every day and sharing their passion with others. Some follow through with those dreams and embraced diving as a profession. Others find a route that is part-time scuba related as they peruse other employment. Scuba Diving Related Professions can cover many jobs.
The most common way to approach having a scuba related occupation is becoming a dive professional. Primarily you can look at the dive professional as teaching. In the PADI system, the first professional position is Divemaster. You can then proceed to assistant instructor and on to instructor status. The SSI system is similar, however, they have a Dive Guide (DG), a Divemaster (DM) and a Dive Control Specialist (DCS) before the Instructor status. SSI also has a Training Specialist (TS) which is a DCS which can train some specialties.
The Divemaster (PADI) and Dive Guide (SSI) are considered the entry level professional position in their respective training agency. They have similar requirements and prerequisites. A diver must progress from the Open Water Diver to the Advance Open Water Diver (SSI- Advance Adventure Diver) to Rescue diver (SSI- Stress & Rescue) to enter the divemaster or dive guide training. You must have 50 dives completed to enter the training and 60 dives to be awarded the certification.
PADI has a program called Zero to Hero that will take a non-diver up to a professional in one training program. A divemaster internship program can take a non-diver to being a divemaster in 8 weeks. The full Zero to Hero program is just over 6 months and can take a non-diver and make them an Open Water Instructor in that time.
Scuba Diving Related Professions is not just instructions. Not everyone that loves scuba diving will want to lead dives or teach scuba diving. There are other parts of the industry that those who love to dive can become involved in.
Dive Shop/ Dive Operator/ Dive Resort
Laurence J. Pete published in 1969 a management concept that has generally become to be known as “The Peter Principle”. The summary of the principle is the statement: “managers rise to the level of their incompetence”. It is based on the concept that people are promoted based on the job they are doing and not the job they are being promoted too. Eventually, they get promoted into a position they cannot do. This frequently happens in the scuba diving industry. Outstanding instructors are encouraged to open their own dive stores or dive resorts. When they do, they often fail. While customer service is important for a dive instructor as well as running a store or resort, there is much more to it. Dive Shop – Dive Operator – Dive Resort are three aspects of the scuba diving industry that are vastly different from teaching. A facility may be one or more of these three items but each offers a separate opportunity.
A dive shop or dive store is a retail establishment. A new diver will often blindly follow an instructor’s advice when it comes to buying their initial kit. Whatever the instructor recommends, the new diver will likely buy. There is a degree of built-in authority and knowledge in being a dive instructor. That, however, does not mean they can manage a retail shop or are experts on the equipment. You can combine your love for diving and retail management into working in a dive shop, maybe being the manager or even working up to having your own. Retail management of any type is a difficult task, one that takes an effort to learn and do well. A well-run dive shop with a trained retail manager with diving experience can bring potential divers and divers together with dive professionals. Equipment repairs are a fact of life in diving, and the opportunity exists for technicians in dive shops. As an independent business, there could be the need for marketing. Here is an additional point for your consideration. While the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is instructor orientated, Scuba Schools International (SSI) is facility orientated. PADI instructors can be based anywhere, they can teach out of the trunk of their car if they wish. SSI instructors must work for an SSI school. Those schools are not approved based on the quality of the instructors but on the ability of the business owner of running their business.
A dive operator is the one that take the divers out to the dive sites. There are many opportunities here as well. Many dive operators have rental gear that needs to be managed and maintained, dive cylinders need to be inspected and filled, and there could be a need for a boat crew and a licensed captain. Many resorts will have a dive operator on site that is not owned by the resort. The dive operator would be responsible for all aspects of running their business and might even require marketing skills.
A dive resort takes the requirements to an all new level. The hospitality industry by itself is very intense and competitive. Managing a resort even a small inn requires a wide range of skills. Often an entry level position will require a four-year degree. While not all aspects of a dive resort will need a knowledge of scuba diving, having those skills may set you above others and lead to positions that do have the requirements.
There are two forms of travel agents, inbound travel, and outbound travel. In simple terms, an inbound agent markets to bring customers to their location. An outbound travel agent arranges travel for their clients going to other locations. For a few years, I operated an inbound travel agency. Our focus was to bring scuba divers to our destination. Sometimes it was one or two people, other times groups. Our knowledge of the local dive sites, dive operators and resorts allowed us to tailor packages that met the client’s needs. An outbound agent could also deal with groups. Many dive shops, that are not at a major dive destination, sponsor one or more international dive trips a year. It is often best for a travel agent to handle the details. Having an agent that understands scuba make the process easier.
I am sure I am not alone, but I cringe each time I read an article that mentions a diver’s oxygen tank. There are many “scuba writers” that are just cut and paste artist and have no understanding of diving. However, we see their writing on web pages quite often. I remember seeing an article where someone had “spun” an article I had written. Spinning an article is changing words around so it does not appear identical to the original. The spun article mentioned that the wreck became visible in 30 to 40 feet of water. In reality, the wreck was in 100 feet of water and the visibility on the wreck was 30 to 40 feet. A big difference.
While the market is small, there is a real need for skill writers who are dedicated scuba divers. This content can be for articles on websites like this one, marketing material for resorts, travel articles or product reports.
Scuba Diving Related Professions
We have not even touched upon occupations that use scuba as an element of their work. Marine scientist are often divers as an example. If you love diving and want to make it part of your professional life there are many options.