Choosing the right Scuba Instructor
Types of Scuba Training
First and foremost you must decide, which organizational certification is best for you. There are lots and lots of Diver Certification Organizations and the choices can simply be overwhelming. Choosing the right Scuba Instructor can be overwhelming. Since I am in Pensacola Florida in the United States, we’ll use that are as our base for this article. There are two basic choices Recreational Diving or Technical Diving. For those that want to be technical divers the choices are organizations like TDI and GUE. We are going to focus on the recreational side where our choices are PADI and SSI. PADI is the dominate certification organization and is recognized over much of the world. If you plan to dive on vacations in other Countries then PADI is your best choice as your certification will most likely be accepted at their Dive Shops and Charters.
At this point we have decided that we want to be PADI certified. Fortunately for us they have a well documented and laid out core certification program. Starting out we don’t even know if we are going to enjoy diving and PADI has that covered with introductory classes. If your sure this is something you want to do then their Open Water Certification is your starting place. Now you have to find an instructor that fits with your learning abilities, personality and goals.
Types of Instructors
There are different types of instructors, Independent, Independent attached to a Dive Shop and Dive shop employed instructors. In Pensacola National Scuba is an independent instructor and has everything you would find at a dive shop, but does not sell equipment. When you read the different websites they all promise the same certifications, but prices may differ significantly as well as your underwater experience.
My Scuba Instructor
I was certified in 1987 by a PADI independent instructor. She is an amazing woman who dedicated herself to her students. She made learning fun and exciting, while making sure that we could handle almost any emergency that may occur. Additionally She understood that we all wanted to explore the ocean and see the marine life. Even 30 years ago she was concerned with the underwater environment and its conservation and management. Teaching us to interact with the environment without unintentionally harming it. The best part of the whole story is she never belittled or made an example out of a struggling student. Instead when everyone else had finished, she would work with that student one on one, overcoming their fears and issues.
When choosing the right scuba instructor you will want qualities like this. That is the primary difference, between Independent and Dive Shop Employee instructors. The independent instructor is generally more flexible with scheduling, has smaller classes and the time to provide that extra one on one experience.
Difference between Instructors
So here is what I see as the major difference, between instructors. You want to learn to dive, but you also want to experience things, while you learn. Using Jeff as an independent instructor and owner of National Scuba as an example. I have watched him sit down and plan training dives, because the student wanted to see Turtles, Goliath Grouper, Stingrays, Historic wrecks and even specific wrecks like the Joe Patti Memorial Reef. I have seen him drive miles, because the student wanted to be certified in Vortex Springs. Dedication to you and your underwater experience is the major difference, between instructors. Remember to choose wisely and choose the right scuba instructor for you.