How Did I End Up Being a Scuba Instructor?

Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:27 | Filled in Biography, Dive Training

Frank Preparing for the Exam

Frank Preparing for the Exam

I recently obtained my PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) certification.  This means that I can train divers for their initial Open Water certification all the way up to Divemaster and Master Scuba Diver.  I am also allowed to teach various specialties that are offered and eventually create my own distinctive specialties.  This is not a position I would have seen myself doing back in 2008 when I got my Open Water certification and started scuba diving again with my son.  Our primary goal was very clear.  Do what we need to do so that we can dive the Fossil Ledge and find our Megalodon teeth.  My son, Anthony, decided that since he was stationed in Wilmington, NC as a Navy recruiter, he would take advantage of this opportunity to get the shark teeth he always wanted.

 

After our initial certification and a few dives in the ocean, we continued our education, getting our Enriched Air specialty.  In a nutshell, this specialty gives you the ability to increase the amount of time you can stay underwater before you reach your no decompression limits by using oxygenated air.  Take the course, if you want more detail.  It’s worth it.

 

Various Underwater Artifacts

Various Underwater Artifacts

With our Open Water and Enriched Air certifications, we proceeded to dive and get our teeth.  We got bit by the diving bug and continued to go out to other dive sites to see the various wrecks and other cool things in the water.  Anthony got an underwater camera and started taking pictures and video with it.  We got our Advanced Open Water certification the following summer.  Anthony moved to California when he got reassigned, but I did not lose my interest in diving.  There always seemed to be more to see and do at all the different dive sites I had access to.

 

Frank Being a Tourist Geek

Frank Being a Tourist Geek

Being the geek that I am proud to be, I was also looking to absorb as much information and training as possible to make myself a better diver.  In the winter, I finished my Rescue Diver certification and soon thereafter, I started my Divemaster training.  I figured that the more classes I took, the better diver I would be.  And we all know a better diver is always a safer diver.

 

I wasn’t sure if I was interested in doing anything beyond the Divemaster level.  I was not really interested in getting my Master Scuba Diver certification/recognition and the cost and time involved to become a certified Instructor was fairly high.  Also, I was not sure if I was interested in teaching scuba classes.  I was primarily interested in learning and mastering my scuba skills.

 

There are quite a few technical divers around the North Carolina coast and as I said in one of my previous posts, I hope to get my full technical dive training and certifications.  I started by taking the initial Technical class, the PADI Tec 40 course.  Once I obtain my personal set of technical gear, I plan to continue that training.

 

Instructor Exam Rescue Skill

Instructor Exam Rescue Skill

I ended up down in Florida with a few other local divers on a last minute decision based on the fortuitous confluence of several different events. I was given the opportunity to take the Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) program while I was down there.  I decided that it would be great for my scuba skills, and I would be able to teach classes part-time and provide training to friends and family that want to scuba dive and continue their education.  Anthony will be visiting next month and I plan to train him up to his Divemaster certification.

 

Passed the Instructor Exam

L-R: Staff Instructor Brad, Alan, Author Frank, Tyler, Course Director Tom and Examiner Gary

When I returned home after successfully completing my OWSI certification, I spent some time deciding how I wanted to apply my new skills.  I did not want to add my name to the list of current instructors working at the local dive shop and dilute the instructor to student ratios.  I wanted to develop something that did not bite the hands that fed me.

 

I attended a PADI professional update meeting and learned that no one had really developed a full featured program for the Boy Scouts of America in this area.  This was a perfect opportunity for me.  I obtained my Eagle Scout in 1984 and I was always pretty good at sales and marketing.  PADI was promoting scuba with the Boy Scouts with the addition of the Scuba Diving Merit Badge in 2009.

 

I am getting my program off the ground, providing merit badge counseling for the Scuba Diving and First Aid merit badge as well as providing introductory scuba diving classes for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  This is another great way for me to give back to the scuba community and help grow its ranks.  I look forward to teaching many youth and youth volunteers all the great things about scuba diving.

 

-Frank

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