A mini-me ?
SCUBA diving is a self-regulated activity…meaning: is the dive community the one that had set up the rules about who can dive, what the minimum requirements are, the limits, etc. It is a good thing… think about this:
How many accidents on the snow slopes will be avoid if somebody will ask for a “ski certification card” ? but… nobody asks!! and there you have a bunch of mexicans that had never see snow before in their lives trying to go down in a black diamond ! (mainly due to the fact that English is NOT our primary language and they truly believe that a “black diamond” is in fact A DIAMOND ! greed is a bad adviser )
So, from the very first second you wear a SCUBA diving gear you are required to have some sort of trainning…and it never stop… Discover SCUBA Diving, Open Water Diver, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, Specialty Diver….and the list just keeps going….
Some divers ask me often why they need to take another course. The true is that they DONT HAVE TO…but it will be great if they DO take more courses. why?? because like everything in life: is all about learning, preparation and practice… A diver that learn more has better odds to respond in the right way to situations that a diver that doesn’t have enough trainnin will…kind of makes sense.
Yes…I know what are you thinking: more courses more money ( for you to spend and for Alex to earn ) but at the end it’s money that pays back, believe me on that.
Every once in a while a get a diver that had invested enough money, time and effort to come and pop the big question: “Alex… what do I have to do to become a Divemaster ? ” and its here where the fun begin !!!
For me, working with a Divemaster Candidate is like playing with play doo…or having a new baby.. it’s the opportunity to be sure that my “diving gens” move forward to the next generation of divers… my chance to be like a Shaolin Monk Master…the oportunity to create a mini-me… the chance to practice some tricks that I normally don’t play with my other students ! and why not: it’s a little bust to my ego to know that somebody actually believe and trust that I’m the right person to learn from.
There is, of course, a by the book way to teach a Candidate to become a Divemaster…and there is also “my way” to do it… because I mean…anybody can seat down with a Candidate and review the Divemaster Manual, the Standards and Procedures, the Role and Duties, etc, etc of the Divemaster…but the real secret is to teach the Candidate the core of this trade: care for the divers and be sure they are safe and happy…and make it look easy!!!
Many times divers come to me and say: “oh Alex…you have such a nice and easy job!! all you have to do is dive everyday!! I could do that!! ”
mmmm…yes…I’m sure you could !
I’m not going to cry like a baby now and make a list of all the stuff we have to do to make your diving trip hapend…but let me tell you something: it’s not a glamorous job as must divers believe ! Early mornings, lots of tanks, washing gear, loading boats, diving, diving, more tanks to carry, counting divers, counting again, paper work and late afternoons…and of course: find the time to hang out with the divers !!!
And there I have a diver that feels that is her/his time to become part of the tribe…and just like in the old times: the diver has to prove that is worthy to carry the weight of being a Divemaster.
It is awesome to watch them growing and mature on theirs diving skills…listen to their first briefings…trying to find their sea-legs and almost hang themselves with the ropes at the boat !!! it’s at times like watching a big pin ball machine where (of course ) the Candidate is the ball !!! bouncing back and forth while is trying to accomplish all the task but have not clue where to start !!! but…everything comes on is own time and before they notice they move smooth and gracefully among the divers and become the person that the divers seek for advice…and is then …when just feet away from them I hear them explain the divers how to deal with the currents…how to fill up a log book…why is better to use such or such kind of gear…and I see that they transmit their knowledge in a non pretentious way, not with the ” I know it all” attitude that some divers sometimes have but with the true desire to help others.
I play a little role here…I help the Candidates to let go out all the good attributes they carry inside…Im like Yoda ( but not so gray and green and a little taller ) guiding the Candidate on how to use the Force.
I must admit that my method is quite orthodox but it works… I do not “give way” the Divemaster credential…I wait and wait until I’m sure they are ready to go out there and be capable to do a good job…and all I can hope is that besides training, preparation and practice they also have a decent amount of good luck.
Money wise: I don’t make much out of a Divemaster course….but again..its just like having a new baby..rigth??
I know that only a handful of you one day will pursued the Divemaster status…but I wish many of you will keep learning and practicing new and the old skills that will make you a good diver.
I see you around here soon…be safe.