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What to Consider as a New Student to Diving?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by GDI, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. GDI

    GDI Artificer of Havoc & Kaos ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Florida & The World
    While I can't comment on how other instructors do their classes I thought it important to illustrate to a new student what they should expect to see from a instructor who is out for their well being as students and as a customer.

    First the need to feel comfortable. It is important that a new student feel comfortable with whom they are ready to take scuba lessons from. The instructor is preparing you for a fun activity in a world that is for the most part forgein to us. If you have a instructor that concentrates solely on the fun side of the sport then I say start looking again. A good instructor will talk about the fun stuff and will also be able to explain the risks related to scuba diving. Not in a negative way but in a way that will be understood illustrating the importance of taking lessons. Scuba diving is a sport that truely the more you know the more fun it is.

    Second telling it like it is; Right up front the instructor should show a willingness to listen to your expectations and explain how the class will be conducted with this in mind. A instructor or a LDS that appears to be wanting to rush you along may not be interested in any thing other than handing out c-cards. A good instructor and LDS will explain to you the need for additional classes if required and any additional costs thus related should you approach the preset maximum training time frames. Believe it or not that is good for you and yes good for their business. They will discuss any equipment requirements you'll be expected to have for taking the classes. All I can say here is diving is not a cheap sport but it is a sport that if you do not have the right equipment you will not enjoy it as much as you could. Shop wisely and be prepared to drop down some cash.

    Third, The paperwork!; Ah yes how we all hate this part. As boring as it may be it is to your best interest to make certain your instructor covers all the meanings of what these forms are indicating. The forms protect you and the instructor should something go wrong. An instructor that ensures all the forms are completed and signed is showing their attention to detail. If you are required to get a medical opinion from a doctor as to your suitablity to learn to scuba dive then take the time to visit the doctor. Some instructors and LDS shops will know of doctors who are also divers ask if you have any doubts because not all doctors understand the risks associated with scuba diving. Don't be afraid to ask the instructor to see a copy of their c-cards and log book and their proof of liability coverage and teaching status

    Fourth, The Knowledge and Skills Don't assume that your instructor is the know all and end all of diving knowledge. A good instructor will learn right along with you. They will seek out answeres to your questions or find out who knows. Make certain the instructor takes the time to answer your questions. I do need to point out that you may need to be patient to others in the class if they don't grasp the concepts as easily as you may, every student is different and a good instructor will keep you challenged and entertained even while dealing with those who need a little bit more attention.
    Watch the instructor in the pool and at the dive sites as well as in the classroom. Does the instructor walk the talk, and setting good example. Do be afraid to assess the instructor. A good instructor will be open to constructive critque just as you are. They want to improve how they do their classes and it is your feed back that helps. Besides it is by way of mouth that a good instructor gets new students.

    In teaching my classes I use a simple technique in that I see what the student is Interested in, I do my best to reach them based on their Comprehension level, I Emphasize key points and movements. I seek out the students active Participation all in aspects of the class and most importantly I Acknowledge each student as an individual and provide them Confirmation as to how they are doing. I call this technique ICEPAC

    Fifth, The Freebe Goodies; These are the extras that you may expect from your instructors and/or LDS. They may include membership into a dive club, DAN student insurance, a limited Subscription to a dive magazine. The list goes on and on. Ask what goodies your instructor may inlcude.

    In short select your instructor and LDS with care, interview them and make certain you're comfortable with them and understabnd fully what to expect from them and they from you. Have fun, good luck and safe diving
    captjohnr, YourDiver and Scuba_Beth like this.
  2. Hollywoodivers

    Hollywoodivers Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Los Angeles, Studio City, Near Universal Studios..
    You will use the force, or a vibe, or yet a personal recommendation from a freind to get involved with a shop or a group of divers that meet your needs. I recently hired a painter from the phone book...BAD MOVE....He was drunk and late...and cost me money....the next time I needed a skilled laborer I went on a personal reccomendation. It worked...Use your freinds that you trust and ask for their advice...Have Fun.
    tplyons likes this.
  3. oceanaddicted

    oceanaddicted Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
    Amen GDI! You hit the nail on the head! Thought of a couple of small things to add to your already perfect recommendations. One to consider is how the instructor handles any refund of fees in the event you are not certifiable or you discover diving is not for you. Any reputable instructor will have a plan for that. Personally I refund all fees paid in both instances. Also ask about how to make up any missed training classes. I usually schedule the class around everyone's schedule. We all agree on the next class meeting to avoid leaving anyone behind or requiring the instructor to teach the same material twice. Second, instructors are like lawyers, some good, some pretty bad. Choosing a bad instructor may cost you more than a little cash in this case. And paying a higher price for training does not guarantee your training will be any better than a cheaper rate. Be sure and find out the instructor's qualifications! Ask how long they've been diving and/or teaching. It is possible to pick an Instructor who has gone straight thru all the training say over the course of a year or so who has little diving experience much less the experience required to teach students. And third, most instructors are affiliated with a scuba shop. Students usually are discounted on the personal equipment. Be sure you check with the shop about their return policies. Some are more sales oriented than service oriented. Be sure you know what you're paying for. Any good scuba shop will personally try to meet your needs. Remember, the most expensive gear is not necessarily the right gear for you. A shop sales person should help fit you for masks, fins, and anything else you will need. Fourth, don't go rushing out and buy equipment the minute you are certified. Take your time and use different equipment, whether it's a friend's or rental. If it's a friend's be sure it has been serviced properly before using. Just a few of my thoughts on the matter. Hope this helps! Shar
  4. retired

    retired Angel Fish

    My wife and I took lessons (she 58), and got a mouthfull of water while performing her first openwater dive. SHE WAS DONE. Our instructor was a young go-getter that lacked the finese when dealing with an older apprehensive woman.
    Returned and got a 60yr old female instructor who was patient, and took her at a slower pace. SUCCESS.
    Remember, that you aren't joining the Marine Corp. Make it a fun experience. Learn at your own speed. BREATHING UNDER WATER IS NOT NATURAL>
  5. RiverRat

    RiverRat Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Connecticut
    Something else to consider is what the shop looks like. If it's a mess chances are maybe the operation is too. There's no excuse for having a regulator with a torn diaphram hanging around for a year being used by students. Or an octo that a DM (and students) can barely breathe off of in the pool, never mind making it to open water. Students have enough on their minds without that kind of extra task loading.
    Lirpa246 likes this.
  6. Bob Vincent

    Bob Vincent Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: St. Louis Missouri / Diver's Paradise NOT!
    GDI .... Clap..Clap..Clap.. VERY, Very, Good. I love having fun with students ... isn't that the reason we all dive? To have fun? But then again you have relate diving is safer than walking across a street ... as long as. Your right about not relaying negativity ... you die if, your dead if ... you need to make them aware of the potential dangers and consequences of not doing what they've learned.

    Great lesson here hope new instructors see this!

    The only thing I can't agree with is on one thing ... student's asking for a log book?
    I haven't kept a log book in at least 20 years, I could not even attempt to remember when I had one. I think after like the 20th one I stopped filling them in. Divers and Pilots are the ones who keep logs books. For obtaining ratings and lowering insurance premiums. When you get to a point you don't require any more ratings, certifications, etc I don't see the need. Unless for flying you need to log currency then no more. If your into showing a student, "how good you are" show him the suit case of c-cards that have been collected over the decades.
  7. Mouthbreather

    Mouthbreather Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Sacramento, California
    Under point 4, line 7... I think you mean "Don't be afraid to assess..." Sorry. It's the editor in me.
  8. Air On

    Air On Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Northern Phoenix, Arizona
    Unless your taking NAUI dive classes and the instructor is teaching you to trouble shoot and problem solve...:confused:

    Regulators... we don't need no stinking regulators...
    Here... suck on this tank through your teeth! :D

    Plan for the worst and something better always happens - The Pessimistic Optimist.
    YourDiver likes this.
  9. sunserious1984

    sunserious1984 Angel Fish

    I think most important thing that new student of diving must take into consideration is confident level.He should be full of confidence.Secondly he should have proper skills and knowledge regarding diving.

    He should take proper guidance regarding diving from the instructor.I have seen many videos regarding diving at http://www.splashvision.com which will really help the persons who are new in the field of diving.
  10. Davidstealey3

    Davidstealey3 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maryland
    good work . you hit it right on the head. i think that is where having extra DM's & AI's in the class helps too. all kinds of diving experience and the ability to help people on a one on one basis if they need it.

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