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PDIC- What in the WORLD are yall thinking?

Discussion in 'Q and A for Scuba Certification Agencies' started by txaggie08, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. wedivebc

    wedivebc CCR Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    I left PDIC when they just sucked. Never had the screaming experience though.
    Here's a thought, contact your instructor who very likely has moved to another agency like so many of us. He may be able to issue you a cert card with a minimal amount of hassle through whatever agency he now teaches for.
    I saw PDIC circling the toilet bowl a few years ago and when Trace left I swear I heard the big FLUSH.
    Ed Jewell likes this.
  2. OldNSalty

    OldNSalty Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Just this side of paradise.
    I am making a mental note-take no classes sponsored by PDIC.
  3. VooDooGasMan

    VooDooGasMan Solo Diver

    PDIC has joined with SEI because of this thread, now you can be able to have a nice conversation with Hoosier people, I see that most have put there opinions here and they are not that great. Lets see what the future holds for them, and will they certify another 5 million. If Trace was the top instructor he must be a millionaire.
  4. Ed Jewell

    Ed Jewell Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Melbourne, FL/Shavertown, PA
    Can you or someone verify this? I know they were in negotiations. The last I heard was SEI wasn't pleased with any of PDIC's teaching materials and it looked like the deal wasn't going to happen. I guess I could call PDIC headquarters since I live only 10 miles from it.

    Never mind, I just saw the news on PDIC's website. PDIC: Professional Diving Instructors Corporation
  5. Jacques-André

    Jacques-André Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Montreal
    Happy to see that the voices of a few may have forced Mel to come out of grumpiness and act quickly before PDIC dies. From what I read the quality of the instruction was above average to start with. Unfortunately, although it is the instructor that makes the difference, adequate support from the certifying agency is a must and that was definitely lacking lately at PDIC. This is not a comment derived just from reading on these pages, but from the person who would be my instructor to become an instructor as he had many difficulties in getting certification cards delivered and had to deal with you know who.

    I really hope it will be better if the do really join SEI and that I could have the opportunity to be a PDIC instructor.

    I will spare you the details of my personal experience in communicating with the head office, as many have described it quite well!

    As for the "big" ones with the excellent customer service, I am happy that some are happy with their relations with them, but aren't they the ones certifying divers in a weekend, or worse, 10 years old kids !!??

    I was interested in becoming a PDIC instructor for various reasons, one of which because of the higher standard put forth, but will wait a little to see how this is unfolding.

    Happy and safe diving to all!
  6. txaggie08

    txaggie08 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vidor, TX
    I doubt REALLY strongly that this thread had anything to do with it
  7. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    I had a conversation with SEI headquarters yesterday morning on my way to teach an intro to tech class. It was confirmed that PDIC and SEI had merged and that SEI HQ will be handling the processing of PDIC certification cards and will be providing PDIC professionals with needed materials. This merger will be a good move for each agency at this point. PDIC members will find the customer service through SEI HQ to be professional and friendly while SEI will find representation once again at RSTC and WRSTC meetings.

    Reading this thread has always made me sad. For most reading this thread PDIC is just another agency in an alphabet soup of agencies. Some have never heard of PDIC before seeing it in this thread. Others remember PDIC as an agency that stood for quality and one that tried to fight the good fight against a changing industry in which marketing has replaced education; an industry which has become politically polarized and which has been divided by the schism of recreational vs. technical diving.

    It made me sad to hear that a woman was treated so negatively by PDIC HQ and it made me sad to read that a former PDIC instructor with a reputation I hold in high regard could use the word, "suck," when referring to an agency of which I was always proud.

    I started with PDIC as a 13 year-old boy when an illness kept me from going on vacation with my family and a fateful trip to Kentucky Fried Chicken with my grandfather took us past a dive shop that turned out to be PDIC's retail dive center. Snorkeling was my primary joy throughout childhood and I had no idea that there was a real dive shop in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I had always found rubber masks, fins and snorkels in places like Sears and K-mart. I was serious about my snorkeling and super excited to return with my mom and visit a a real dive shop! You wouldn't believe my excitement when I discovered I could become a SCUBA diver! PDIC's minimum certification age was 14 years for junior open water. But, I was allowed to start at age 13 since my 14th birthday was just weeks away. Training was 8 - 10 weeks meeting every Tuesday night for 1.5 hours of classroom and 1.5 hours in the pool.

    Training was challenging. Class by class divers dropped out or flunked out. Doris Murphy, PDIC president, was both a cheerleader and drill instructor as we began each night with 30 minutes of lap swimming with and conditioning with masks, snorkels and fins, followed by 40 minutes of education and then 20 minutes of play time. The first night of training began with the swim test, moved into snorkeling, drown-proofing, using weightbelts and horsecollar BC's, etc. The first night with SCUBA was thrilling - and scary! A lot of skill was demanded of us. After the first night we never were allowed to touch the pool walls or stand in shallow water. We would get dressed in deep water and had to stay off the bottom. Basically, we had to pretend the pool was the deep ocean and solve every problem underwater or at the surface without standing or holding on to the sides or the ladders.

    Only 2 people from the first class (I think we started with 8?) were ready for open water. I was lucky to be one of the two. Over the winter, I also attended two more entire OW classes. 1 out of 4 made it through in one class and I can't recall the success rate in the other. When I did my open water training only 2 passed. Compare that to today's attrition rates. Failing a student is considered a sin today.

    Most of the skills we learned are no longer taught today, but I still teach them in my classes because they are FUN! Industry hype would have us believe that anything challenging is about as much fun as the Bataan Death March, but in reality skills that build confidence and proficiency such as tank valve breathing, buddy breathing, no mask buddy breathing, no mask buddy breathing BC assisted ascents, etc., develop confidence and control. Such training has been argued ad nauseum on SB and other forums. In my opinion it's awesome. I was lucky to have it and my students today are lucky to have it. I had tough instructors and it paid off over the years in spades.

    My instructor, Doris Murphy was the aquatics director for the YWCA and had one of the first exercise shows on TV. Her husband Frank Murphy was one of the first YMCA instructors out of Hall's Diving Institute, a WW II paratrooper from the 101st Abn, a private pilot and incredibly good in the water. He was very still. We weren't allowed to scull with our hands. That was a "No Go" to open water, but Frank rarely sculled a blade when demonstrating. I hadn't seen anyone so still until I started learning cave and tech diving 18 years later! Frank's passion was treasure hunting. He found one of the oldest Native American dugout canoes in 1962 in Lake Winola and really disliked any push in the industry to adapt no take policies for artifacts in shipwrecks.

    I decided to become a PDIC Dive Supervisor at age 20 after 7 years of active diving and a PDIC instructor at age 21 after being encouraged to follow those paths. Training for each was a year long. In order to meet the demands of being a PDIC instructor at the HQ, I ended up having to quit karate. Today, you can become a DM or instructor with almost no experience at many agencies. Back then, to be a PDIC Dive Supervisor meant having 3 years experience and 200 dives, I believe.

    I don't have lots of experience with PDIC professionals far afield from HQ, but at PDIC HQ standards were always high. Today, you will have lots of DIR types not understanding "high standards" not being frog kick, backward kick, backplate, wing, long hose and perfect trim. The non-DIR types would think these standards would be too insensitive and would weed people out of the sport. Diving was different back then and divers were different. That's a totally different thread topic, but those old salts know what I mean. PDIC is one of the agencies that was popular with the older, tougher more independent instructors.

    So, what happened?

    Frank died of cancer a few years ago and Doris aged. This resulted in progression at PDIC coming to a halt. The economy caused a slow down in the industry. Combined PDIC needed to lay off support staff. Their son Mel was far more progressive in his role as training director and allowed us to create programs Frank would probably have shot down such as the solo programs. But, at the same time, Mel found himself trying to run PDIC, a dive center, help his aging mother and care for all the family affairs single-handedly. Mel was never what you'd call a "people person" and frustration between dive professionals not getting things processed quickly and correctly and Mel's frustration dealing with PDIC pros and the public just increased to a point of mutual unhappiness. I can see all sides ... Mel's, PDIC pros, and customers. Customers often don't realize how they have changed, not just the customer service. Remember when boat captains were in the order God Almighty - Jesus Christ - Holy Spirit - Boat Captains - Apostles ... well, today, how many captains are treated like rickshaw drivers by soccer mom's with Salt Life stickers on their SUV's? Salt Life stickers are another thread!

    Anyway, with the operating stress off Mel, I'm sure this merger will be a good thing. When things looked like they would implode at PDIC, I looked at other agencies. SEI was on my radar screen until I found out they had no interest in technical diving. I believed that was a huge mistake. Technical diving has been around since Cousteau and Dumas were diving 300 feet in the Med. Diving was just diving and magazines used to tell awesome tales of daring adventure until the 1980s when pink gear hit the market. If SEI continues a tech program that will be one positive gift PDIC will give to SEI. The program that was created was excellent. PDIC just never marketed it well.

    As for me, I am happy at PSAI because I can take all of the lessons I learned since 1981 from so many wonderful mentors and experiences I've had, living a life that in many ways has been off the hook and beyond my wildest hopes, when watching Jacques Cousteau on TV Sunday nights, dreading school the next day and dreaming of one day being a SCUBA diver.

    I'm grateful to God, my family, and all of those who have helped make my underwater dreams come true. A huge part of that gratitude goes to PDIC. I hope that this merger renews the value and vigor of both agencies.

    All the best to both PDIC and SEI!
    jm, boulderjohn, Jim Lapenta and 3 others like this.
  8. Ed Jewell

    Ed Jewell Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Melbourne, FL/Shavertown, PA
    The response from SEI after sending a letter of inquiry.

    Thank you for your email. There is a little information posted on the PDIC website – a note from Mel, which explains very briefly what is happening – posted below or at this webpage PDIC: Professional Diving Instructors Corporation
    We are in the process of compiling an informational kit for PDIC instructors and will keep you up-to-date. And if you plan on attending DEMA in Orlando FL Nov 2-5, 2011, there will be an informational meeting on Friday Nov 4 at 4pm.

    We look forward to being able to offer improved customer services with faster certification turn-around and access to staff. We also look forward to updating materials and offering more to our team.

    Would you mind sharing with me your current contact information so we can keep you informed?

    If there is anything else I can do, please contact me.

    Kind regards,

    Santyna Johnstone
    Scuba Educators International
    765 281 0600
    765 288 1297 Fax
    SEI Diving
  9. Ed Jewell

    Ed Jewell Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Melbourne, FL/Shavertown, PA
    The negotiations for a merger between SEI and PDIC started long before this incident occurred.
  10. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    I have been working with Santyna for 3 years now and she is the go to person for whatever you need. She has processed certs for me while I was on the phone and gotten them ready to mail before the call ended. I received an email from her this morning in answer to one that I sent after reading this thread. I can guarantee there will be no attitudes, grumpiness, and certainly no swearing when you call. And please keep yours to a minimum (read don't do it:no:) as she does not appreciate nor ever use that kind of language. EVER. So be nice and you will get genuinely good customer service by a very professional young lady.

    Good talking to you last night Trace. See ya at DEMA.

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