Choosing the right dive instructor is crucial for anyone wanting to learn scuba diving, particularly for beginners. A poor dive instructor can not only make the learning experience terrible or unsafe but also put you off scuba diving altogether.
Major professional diving organizations like PADI, SSI, or other training organizations ensure that dive instructors and dive centers comply with the standards set by each organization and the dive industry in general, but it is still up to the dive instructor to deliver good quality training.
So, what are the warning signs that can help you spot a bad dive instructor?
Ignoring Basic Rules and Regulations
The main issue with a bad instructor is that they might deviate from the standards and procedures for your dive course, which can leave you with incomplete skills or can even be unsafe. Instead of following the regulations, they act according to their discretion, so it is essential to be aware of your diving course standards.
On all diving courses, there are certain tasks and skills that you need to learn and perform, such as practicing diving skills in the pool or confined open water, and performing diving skills during open water dives. All diving organizations have performance requirements that ensure the highest level of safety, so make sure your dive instructor is adhering to these standards.
A classic bad dive instructor will skip some of these requirements to save time. Do your research and educate yourself on the standards and performance requirements of your diving course, and make sure your dive instructor is following them.
Poor leadership or teamwork skills
You can quickly identify a bad dive instructor by observing how they treat their divemasters or fellow dive instructors. Teamwork is critical in diving, and dive professionals rely on each other for safety and enjoyment. A bad dive instructor who lacks leadership skills or doesn't value teamwork might not be the right fit for you.
Lack of Diving Skills and Environmental Awareness
Some dive instructors may be competent on land but lack the skills and awareness required for diving. This could come from a lack of care and attention to the environment or the well-being of their students.
A bad dive instructor may have students perform diving skills in hazardous areas, rush through skills, or not provide enough time for students to get comfortable. Environmental awareness is crucial in diving, and an instructor who lacks care for the environment, the reef, or their students' buoyancy is not an ideal role model.
In conclusion, the dive industry, like others, is not perfect, and there are countless dive schools to choose from. To avoid bad dive instructors, do your research beforehand and exercise caution when choosing a dive instructor. The dive center reviews online or the booking process for your course should also give you hints about how the experience will go!