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Diving as a profession

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by Mauui, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. hroark2112

    hroark2112 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Raleigh, NC

    iamrushman and jlcnuke like this.
  2. W W Meixner

    W W Meixner Banned ScubaBoard Supporter


    Outbound is certainly on the right track...you'll spend thousands...to earn hundeds...

    The best job you will ever have is one that will provide you and your family with the best benefit/Pension plan you can possibly find...

    You'll be retirement age in the blink of an eye...and retirement is something that is always better done sooner rather than later...

    By all means have scuba diving as a love...never...ever...have it as a life...


  3. abnfrog

    abnfrog Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: great white north
    @Mauui I say go for it if you want to be a scuba professional ....yeah maybe if you don't own the shop you wont get a million dollars , but its very satisfying , I am a full time instructor I have a house and cottage on 3.4 acres of lake front property , most of these nay sayers are NOT instructors and most couldn't pass the programs so take their opinion with a grain of salt ,.........
  4. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    OK. I'm not in your class re certification or experience. But--12 years on ScubaBoard yes, you CAN make a nice living as an instructor IF-- you are very high up the ladder. And teach only advanced courses with specific numbers of students and charge high rates. I think I know one of those folks in all of the Halifax area (other than the shop owner).
    Regular PADI OWSIs have said here over and over that for most of them, making a GOOD living is not possible. All that I've known teach scuba on weekends as extra income.
    I won't disagree with you that if you do everything you can, dedicate your life to it and get to the Tech. Instructor level you may do OK. I do think you are in the minority though.
    When we moved to Nova Scotia I, as a retired teacher, lived on 6 acres of open ocean here and still own a cabin in Northern Manitoba. That's on years of a $60,000 (CAD) salary as a school teacher--plus some inheritance. I just can't agree with you saying "go for it", unless it's someone who really wants to work beyond what I ever would (and I feel I was a very dedicated Band Teacher).
    yle likes this.
  5. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    Could you provide the OP with more details on how you got where you are? Simply telling them to "go for it" isn't particularly useful. At least you could point them in the right direction and give them an idea of how much time and money they will need to invest to become a successful scuba professional. You could also suggest where they could find success, i.e. locations where there is sufficient demand to provide a steady income.
  6. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Have you ever done something like this before? Backpacked through Europe, studied abroad, taught English in China, Peace Corps, etc.? You might find the lifestyle lonelier than the fantasy.

    I've done a fair amount of solo travel, and while I love the freedom and sense of possibility, I'm usually ready to go home to my people and my stuff and my routines after a couple weeks. It takes a special kind of person to just hit the road alone and start over every couple years. It might be just your thing. It might be a great experience while you're young, a memory you cherish but don't care to repeat. Or it might be lonely and unpleasant and, if you haven't left yourself an out, a huge and costly mistake. If you haven't tried the nomad life, maybe find a small-scale way to do so before sinking a ton of money into this professional diving plan.
  7. tech_diver

    tech_diver Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    I started diving as a kid and decided I wanted to one day be a dive professional. Here's what I did....

    First, accumulate a wide set of useful skills. You need business skills like balancing a cash registers, managing people and technical skills like working on machines. Before you can be valuable to the dive business, you have to be valuable to business.

    Second, accumulate dive experience. This is the easy fun part.

    I had a specific plan to move up the ladder starting as a clerk in a dive store. I went on to divemaster, instructor then store manager.
    After a few years of that, I became a territory sales rep for a manufacturer then eventually moved into technical support for that brand. Next I moved up to technical development, (that's what I call it since titles can be fuzzy in the scuba biz.) Now I'm the manager of a scuba name brand, Sea Pearls.

    If you are comfortable spending years at a low wage without health insurance, in just 2 or 3 decades you can make a decent living in the business.

    People will tell you how rough it is surviving in the scuba business (and it's very rough), but the trip is amazing.
  8. nippurmagnum

    nippurmagnum Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Washington DC metro
    Please keep in mind that recreational diving is not a growth industry, and in fact has been in a sustained decline since the 2007 financial crisis. Dive shops and operators are closing all over the place, or laying off DMs and instructors. That puts even further downward pressure on wages, to the point that you'd be ultimately competing with lots of people who do it in semi-retirement, or as a hobby, or are just bumming around the world for a few years.

    My 19-year old daughter is a free spirit, and has been diving since she was 12 years old. She loves diving so much that when she was 16, she went off and got a tattoo of a specific manta that we'd seen during a dive together. I gave her a brief lecture about the evils of tattooing, but I was secretly pretty proud of her. But if she told me that she wanted to earn a living from diving, I'd be REALLY worried.
  9. oly5050user

    oly5050user Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Westchester NY
    Can an instructor make a living? Anything is possible, but be a smart businessman first, instructor second. I know of an instructor, I was his ow instructor, who went that route, and was successful, here in NY. Started with almost nothing, worked for different facilities, opened his own. Had a few rough years to start with, established the only facility in NY metro area that has a parking lot, onsite pool, and does not pay rent, owns the property and building which is on a busy commercial avenue. The property is basically his retirement account. Someday way in the future the building will be kept as a rental property for retirement income.
    Diving Dubai likes this.
  10. Princess Chris

    Princess Chris Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wellington, New Zealand
    I am one of those said "nomads", i'm currently instructing in Vanuatu in the south pacific and i worked in Canada and South Africa before this. I made a passable living in Canada (considering how disgustingly expensive vancouver is) i'm not earning much at the moment but food and board is included. It is very much a lifestyle choice but my advice is never stop learning, constantly expand your knowledge of the industry as you go then when you find somewhere you want to hang your hat (or hood in this case) you have a wealth of experience and qualifications to earn a decent living.

    That said im still just a recreational instructor with many more courses to pay for so dont take my advice too strongly but i do love my job and i wouldnt trade it for anything,

    Also a bit of hospitality exerience never hurts too
    Diving Dubai and Esprise Me like this.

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