After going through the IDC and the IE in Guam, I got the certifications I needed to be able to teach scuba diving, everything up through Divemaster. Then when I got back I signed up for Liability insurance, both for me and my equipment that I may use, that set me back another $690, and that was after spending well over $3,000 for the classes, books and PADI fees on Guam. It is not an inexpensive proposition to become a dive instructor, and it's not so easy a caveman can do it. But I think it was worth it, and I am thrilled to finally be able to certify divers and have them get a certification card at the end of it.
One thing that has definitely changed is my thinking on the need for further instruction and courses beyond the Open Water course. Back when I got certified, the course was taught by a former Navy Seal, and lasted over 3 months long. You learned pretty much everything he could think to cram in your head and prepare you for whatever you might want to do diving. But that was back in the mid 70's, things have changed a bit since then. Now the purpose of the Open Water course is to get divers in the water as soon as possible, and to give them just enough information and skills to be able to safely dive in a fairly shallow, safe environment. That's great, but it's not enough for most people who plan on taking their diving seriously. If you only plan on diving once or twice a year on vacation, and you have a Divemaster or Instructor with you, then maybe an Open Water course is all you will ever need. However, if you plan on diving regularly, and going out without any diving professionals in the group, then you are going to want more training to make you a safer and more self reliant diver. The Advanced course is really just a matter of reading a few short chapters, doing the knowledge reviews and then doing 5 different dives. It gives you experience in different types of diving, like night diving, deep diving, navigation diving and your choice of a list of other specialties. Definitely something that most people are going to want to do. And quite honestly, if you live somewhere that you can dive every day like we do and you plan on doing it often, you really should consider taking the Rescue Diver course as well. It will give you the skills and knowledge to not only be able to take care of yourself more efficiently, but it will also equip you to be able to help others who may need your help as well. There is nothing worse than seeing someone in trouble, but not knowing what you can do to help them out, or being afraid to help them out because you just aren't sure of yourself. It is a very small investment in your life and your friends lives, money well spent in my opinion.
I'll be honest, Divemaster definitely isn't for everybody. But if you're one of those that likes to understand the theory behind everything, and be able to actually work in the industry if you feel like it, then the Divemaster course is a great experience.
I've already got about 10 people lined up for various courses and will be fairly busy for a while, but there is always room for more. I have also agreed to be a merit badge counselor for scuba for the Boy Scouts, and I'm sure that will generate a fair amount of business as well.
And for those who have always wondered about scuba and wanted to try it without having to take the whole course, I'm ready to accomodate you too. There is a Discover Scuba program that gets you in the water learning about the equipment the first day. We could even do a dive down to 40' to let you experience the wonder of scuba diving and see how you handle it. If you wonder what is so amazing underwater that I have spent 650 hours down there in the last 2 1/2 years, give me a call or send me a message and let me introduce you to my world!