8 months ago

AD 2016 Q1


MEMBER TO MEMBER GOING PRO By Heather Sinclair When I decided to become a divemaster, I already knew I wanted to do my training on a small island in Indonesia. I’m a cold-water wimp, so it wasn’t difficult to decide on clear, 86°F water that teemed with life. It was, however, difficult to pick one of the island’s nearly 20 dive centers. I wanted to enjoy my training, not just complete it. I took the time to talk to people at several dive centers and ask questions before deciding where to get trained. This helped me make the right choice, and it might help you, too. First I considered which training agency I wanted to go with. I was happy with my recreational training, and I chose to continue with the organization I was familiar with. Next I asked questions by going door to door interviewing the dive centers. I did this in person, but many of these questions could have been answered by phone or email. I asked: • What is the total cost of the course, including any fees or charges that aren’t included in the basic course price? • What are the boats like? Take a look, and see if they appear to be well maintained. • What is the expected time commitment per day? Being a divemaster trainee is like being an employee: You’re expected to help out at the dive center. Get an idea of when you’d be expected to start and finish each day. • Will I be assigned a mentor for the duration of training, or will I be mentored by multiple instructors? If you have a preference, this question is important. • How many divers are in a typical group? It may be more (or fewer) than you like, so it’s worth asking if the center has a policy or a cap on the number. • What makes the dive center unique? At each one I visited I asked what made it the best dive center on the island. • What do you like best about working at this dive center? • How much should I expect to spend on gear? Compare the rental cost to the purchase price. If you plan to rent or borrow, find out whether you’ll have consistent access to gear that fits you well. This might sound superficial, but looks and size count. My first impression of a dive center influenced whether I wanted to train there or not. I noted each center’s appearance, how busy it was and how much I liked the staff members I met. Rapport with the staff is particularly important because you’ll be spending a fair amount of time with them. At most dive centers I was greeted before I even entered, but at some I wasn’t even acknowledged; this initial interaction (or lack thereof) made a difference. When asking the staff questions, I watched for signs of professionalism. I listened for clear answers, familiarity with the divemaster course and knowledge of dive center policies. Some of the staff members I talked to answered my questions easily, others rambled or gave unclear responses. Becoming a divemaster is the first step toward a career in diving. Once you’ve decided where in the world you want to train, take the time to pick the right dive center. Visit, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to rely on your first impression. It’s your training, so be sure to choose the center that suits you best. AD SHARE YOUR STORY Do you have tips, advice, travel strategies, dive techniques, lessons learned or other words of wisdom to share with your fellow divers? Alert Diver wants your story! Email it to, or mail it to “Member to Member,” c/o Alert Diver, 6 W. Colony Place, Durham, NC 27705. STEPHEN FRINK 108 | WINTER 2016

Engage Smarter With DAN Educational Resources Your Go-To Resource for Dive Safety Information We believe a smarter diver is a safer diver, so we want to arm you with the information needed to stay safe both in and out of the water. Available online and in print, DAN’s Educational Resources address topics relevant to the new and experienced diver. Engage smarter, and join DAN in the goal of making every dive accident-free. n Health & Diving Reference Library n Online Incident Reporting and Case Summaries n Medical FAQs and Information Line n Social Media Channels n Webinars, Safety Quizzes and Online Seminars

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