Sunday 14 February 2016

Diver Ranking and Attitudes

Whatever we do in life, we all have to start somewhere.

Diving is one of those sports where you can begin at any age. There are 8 year olds that can make their Bubblemaker, right through to 80 year olds trying Scuba Diving for the very first time.

Many of these people then proceed to complete the diver training, buy equipment and dive on a
regular basis. As a general rule, diving instructors and those of us with more dive experience try to help those with less experience with patience, advice and assistance when needed.

So, if we look after these divers as they are learning to dive, why does the attitude change completely when training the next generation of professionals. I am talking about Dive Masters and Dive Masters in training (DMTs).

It seems to be pretty commonplace to treat Dive Masters and DMTs like slaves and general dogs-bodies to be used and abused doing the things that the instructors, office workers, managers etc. don't want to do. Equally, if a piece of equipment is forgotten, a tank isn't quite full or has the wrong mix in it, suddenly there is a scapegoat to blame, even if they aren't trained to fill tanks or mix nitrox.

I have seen instructors yelling at their DMTs because they have asked a question when they should know the answer or missed a point on their dive briefings.

This attitude then passes to the Dive Master who may become an instructor and treat their DMTs in the exact same way, creating a lot of instructors with bad attitudes towards their Dive Masters.

As instructors, it is our responsibility to look after and mentor our Dive Masters so that they are proficient in the water AND able to assist divers with any queries and problems they have. Treating them with respect is just as important as teaching them the physics and skill sets because your attitude will become the accepted standard for them.

Yes, sometimes it is necessary for you to leave them washing the dive equipment while you continue instructing but it isn't an excuse for you to pop off, put your feet up and have a coffee.

Kit washing can be a great opportunity for unofficial debriefings and chats to help you find out where your DMTs are struggling, what they enjoy and who they are. All these things will help you to find the best way to teach them as an individual and help them become the best Dive Master they can be.

Remember, when all is said and done, these divers become a reflection of you and the kind of instructor you are.