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Rules for PADI istructors

Discussion in 'Q and A for Scuba Certification Agencies' started by Budprop, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Budprop

    Budprop DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Oahu
    I am looking at a couple of options for getting my Instructor Cert and, in an effort to find the best quality school, I am looking at the practices of the instructors that are coming out of those schools. After talking to different ones I am very confused about what kind of standards PADI sets for their instructors, if there are any. I have reached out to PADI and literally got a bunch of garbage and non-answers to the specific questions I asked; hopefully some of you may be able to shed some light on some things.
    Are PADI instructors allowed to video their classes while teaching OW or AOW?
    Are PADI instructors allowed to teach and certify immediate family members?
    Are there mandated fees that instructors HAVE to charge for OW or AOW classes (outside DS prices)?

    Pretty simple questions, but from I am seeing from a variety of instructors and from PADI reps themselves, I have yet to get clear answers. I want to choose a school that teaches PADI standards, but not necessarily made up standards that they feel should be standards.

  2. shurite7

    shurite7 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Missoula, MT
    1. No. The instructor must pay attention to the students. If you want someone to video have an assistant do it.
    2. Yes. You can certify anyone who has completed the course and met all the requirements and prereqs. There is a lot of "discussion" on this issue which I will not get into.
    3. No. OW and AOW, or any course, prices are set by the dive operator, LDS, or independent instructor, not by an agency.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  3. northernone

    northernone Instructor, Scuba Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Waskaganish (Cozumel currently)
    I'll have a go at answering based on having recently read the PADI training bulletins and am familiar with the current standards and procedures document combined with a dash of folk lore and little googling.

    1. No (unless someone else assumes the duty of care for the students at that time. Eg. Another professional providing direct supervision)
    2. Yes (though it's generally considered a bad idea)
    3. No (you're welcome to donate your time and sponsorship certification costs/materials to as many students as you like)

    Who did you reach out to within PADI? I've not found questions to be left unanswered by the regional office when I've contacted them.

    PADI standards are a global minimum, I am happy when a shop will have their own standards which best suit there environment and better serves their local customers. Freedom to be an instructor who applies common sense and experience to the topic he's teaching is one of my favourite characteristics in an instructor and I like a shop that develops that.

    I'm curious what is drawing you to become a padi instructor, or at least single out padi for some unusually specific and random questions. Are you related to many of the area instructors¿ If so you'll be happy with the answer to #2.

  4. Sevenrider860

    Sevenrider860 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Newnan, GA
    With regards to #1...

    There is not a specific line item in the General Standards and Procedures that states an instructor cannot video their classes while teaching OW or AOW. The key is that the instructor remain focused and not be distracted. The instructor should not engage in other activities while teaching students.

    Is an always on camera that is mounted to a mask or BCD that neither interferes nor distracts the instructor in providing the duty of care owed to the students allowed?

    How about a fixed camera put in place prior to the open water or confined water dive that does not interfere or distract the instructor?

    How about an instructor who is teaching an AOW student that takes video of the student to provide more detailed feedback on trim and buoyancy once out of the water?

    In the end, a scuba instructor must exercise the same degree of care that would be exercised by a reasonably prudent scuba instructor in the same situation. The situation of when, where and how video may be taken during a class is based on good judgement and exercising good risk management techniques.
    RainPilot likes this.
  5. Budprop

    Budprop DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Oahu
    Thank you all for your help. From what I am seeing, there is no hard/fast rules "thou shalt not" take video while instructing, but I totally get the importance of the bad standard. Good stuff. again, thanks!

    For those who think PADI is great customer service, below is the back and forth between me and "Ross" at PADI when I asked this question. After the last non-answer from him I pretty much quit.

    I have seen a lot of PADI instructors here in Hawaii doing things that seem questionable to me. Does PADI allow its instructors to take video while teaching OW or AOW classes? What about teaching their children OW or AOW?
    Hello there
    If you feel there are unsafe practices happening then we invite you to put your direct observations and details into writing and send to qm@padi.com for review.
    Thank you very much for your diligence,
    Talk about a non answer.
    I don't want instructor friends to get in trouble and would like to know. Does PADI allow its instructors to video students while teaching OW or AOW classes? What about teaching their children OW or AOW?
    Congratulations on your recent PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification. To help us with our Quality Management efforts, please provide your answers to Course Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ). PADI Course Evaluation Questionnaire Your assistance is essential to help ensure that divers who take future PADI Advanced Open Water Diver courses receive the best program possible. Please be assured the information you provide will be used to improve PADI’s program, and that confidentiality regarding your identity will be strictly maintained.
    Thank you,
  6. shurite7

    shurite7 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Missoula, MT
    This is something that you are going to have to deal with if you become a DM then later an instructor - the ability to step up and inform the agency that an instructor is not abiding by standards, regardless if they are friend or family or simply an acquaitance. All of the agencies, at least NAUI and PADI, have a system set up for reporting any issues of standards violation. If you are not willing to inform the agency of specific details then don't expect specific answers. If you provide general or vague information then expect that same generalization or vagueness in the answer.

    The agencies really can't do a whole lot in terms of QA without the help of individuals actually taking the time to write a detailed letter/email stating the issue. Simply put, it must be in writing with good details. Without that no one is going to contact the person violating standards with generalized information. I had a long talk with PADI regarding an issue with a Staff Instructor. In the end a member of PADI thanked me and the student who was involved for providing the information in writing that was needed to address the issue. The member also stated, sadly many people do report issues because they don't want to take the time to write or are to afraid of getting someone in trouble.

    If you are not willing to step up then don't become a DM or instructor. I'm not saying one needs to be a tattle tail or snitch, just be a person of good moral judgement and the willingness to report issues.
    pconsidine likes this.
  7. Budprop

    Budprop DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Oahu
    Good stuff, I agree and most certainly will hold DMS and Instructors to a high standard.
  8. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    The answer you got from Ross was exactly what he should have told you: if you have a concern, send PADI the details. Unfortunately, you thought you were entitled to a straight "yes" or "no" answer without giving him any details. Your question was far too vague.

    If they had no idea who you are, why would they provide you ammunition to disparage their instructors because of what you think is questionable behavior? You have to see it from the other side: they have no idea why you're asking for this information, and what you intend to do with it if they tell you "yes" or "no".
    Hoyden and northernone like this.
  9. Scuba Legends

    Scuba Legends Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: spain
    Dear Budprop.

    You do not have to answer the questions because others have already done it. But if I would be interested in contributing something to this topic.

    From my point of view, a good instructor is not done at the IDC. The IDC (Instructor Development Course) is a mere procedure where you will learn to control students, demonstrate exercises, detect failures, do briefings and debriefings, theoretical presentations and little else. While it is true that there are differences between IDC's, the truth is that basically all are more or less the same. Think that it is PADI that dictates the steps of an IDC.

    From my point of view, an instructor starts to form from the moment he starts to dive. But it is in the Divemaster and following where you can make a difference. It does not matter how good the IDC is if the instructor arrives with 100 dives and zero experience attending courses or guiding divers.

    As for learning standards, even during the IDC, no one is going to "teach" you. They will give you the Manual Instructor and they will ask you to read it on your own. If you want to know the standards well you can get the manual and study it thoroughly at home. In any case that you have a doubt about standards you can always write to padi for clarification.

    So, if you want to leave your IDC being a good instructor, I recommend:

    1) That you look for a very complete DIvemaster course

    2) If it's already too late for that: That you gain experience as a Divemaster before starting your IDC

    3) That you never think that because you are an instructor you already know everything. Adopt the principle of constant improvement. Everyone, students, other instructors, etc. can teach you something.

    I wish you all the best in your professional career

    Happy bubbles

    Gery @Scuba-Legends
    Ankush Mittal likes this.
  10. roturner

    roturner ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands, Netherlands
    The standard expressly forbids the use of a camera for the DSD (try dive). For the other programs it's not forbidden but you obviously need to have your hands free while teaching. The standards do not stipulate how the instructor manages that but what I do in the pool is to use a tripod mount. it doesn't make for interesting video but it records what the students need to see. If someone is actually filming then I also do not include them in supervisory tasks.


    The students need to buy the course materials and there is a fee for the actual certification. This is true even if you are not working through a shop. If you are working independently then you need to account for other costs as well, like air fills, equipment rentals, vehicle costs, site entry fees in some places, maintenance on your own gear, PADI membership fees, insurance fees and so forth. Teaching for "free" would actually put you significantly in the hole.


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