Written by guest blogger Aga Koko
Being a diving instructor is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but also quite a tough one. Nevertheless people often think it is not a job at all – only a pleasure that we are paid for. So, let’s have a closer look at some misconceptions that people have about working as a diving instructor…
Diving instructor is not a job at all – it’s pure pleasure
I have heard this so many times! Although this job is great, it is still a job, and in my opinion a very demanding one – both physically and emotionally.
First of all you work 6 or sometimes 7 days a week, often for 10 hours a day if you are employed in a seasonal region. During the working day not only do you have to dive (that is the easiest part) but there are plenty of other tasks to do. These include assuming responsibility for your divers from the beginning to the end of their experience with you. Alongside getting the divers to their dive site you ensure they have all the equipment they need, pack it, transport it, then re-pack, unpack and ensure everything is washed out after the dive. Add to this the temperature you work in and the responsibility you have to ensure your diver’s safety and it’s no longer a pure pleasure dive.
Every dive is great
Being an instructor or guide means you don’t often get to discover completely new diving locations but generally stick to the ones you know, so as to show your group the ‘best’ dives in your region. Nevertheless, most dives are interesting as every day is a bit different – you see different creatures, and maybe you’ll discover something new.
Sometimes you might experience a bad dive; you get cold, dizzy on the boat, the visibility might be bad or you may miss a wreck you wanted to show your divers… It happens to all of us. Luckily we always have a chance to come back to the site and have a nicer experience.
You become a diving instructor because you’re not good enough to do anything else
This statement is a bitter one to swallow and I’ve heard it a few times. I guess people who think like this are sure being a diving instructor is so easy that anybody can do it, therefore obviously only those who aren’t good enough to do anything else end up working as diving instructors.
Luckily this way of thinking is easy to change – just talking to a sensible diving instructor will show how much effort, persistence and learning it takes to become one. Very often people who decide to become instructors are highly educated, speak a few languages and have had a ‘proper’ job before, but got tired of such a life and chose a different way to make a living. So I would say that you become a diving instructor because you don’t want to do anything else, not because you can’t.
Diving instructors earn a lot of money
The truth is you won’t earn a fortune, but you can earn enough to make a living. A positive aspect of working as hard as we do is that you have nowhere to spend your money – unless you want to spend it on a new piece of equipment…
Also who cares about buying a new pair of shoes if the only thing you need is a pair of decent sandals?
Diving instructors know everything about… everything
Sometimes I have the impression that my students (and divers) play a kind of quiz – they ask me a question and I should immediately know the answer or I will lose a game. If I can manage obvious questions they become more and more sophisticated until I am trapped.
The truth is that some diving instructors know a lot about equipment, others are experts at marine animals but nobody knows everything. So next time a student asks you a question that you have no idea how to answer, send them to your colleague who knows more. I do it when I am asked about underwater photography, something I know very little about – I send the diver to a colleague who is an expert in this subject; this way during a break I can enjoy my coffee in peace while they are happily talking about their passion.
Most of the misconceptions I have heard are based on the idea that being a diving instructor is easy, but now and again I came across a totally opposite point of view.
You must be a strong, fit guy to do it
If you could see me you would see this isn’t true. Firstly I am a woman, secondly I am not terribly strong and thirdly, I don’t look like a marathon runner or a body builder.
Diving is available to practically everybody, although being a diving instructor does require a bit more than just being a diver. If you want to be an instructor you should be relatively fit and healthy but there’s no need to spend all your free time in the gym! Divers are normal people, really.
You must be crazy to do it
Some people think diving is dangerous, strenuous and crazy, so people who work in diving industry must be absolutely mad. Who would willingly spend a few hours underwater, carry heavy tanks and still smile at the end of the day? The secret is – diving instructors are not crazy (well, not all of us) we’re just passionate about what we do. For me, this is the difference between being a diving instructor and doing a ‘normal’ job.
If you work as a diving instructor have you ever heard a diver say any of these things? I bet you have, and probably some more. No matter what people say, being a diving instructor isn’t the easiest job in the world but it’s the only one that gives me this level of satisfaction and happiness.
Aga is a PADI instructor who works in a diving centre in Malta.