Diving School Cyprus – Continuing Education

Diving School Cyprus – Continuing Education

Posted on 07. Oct, 2013 by in Diving In Cyprus - Dragons Blog

Most divers I encounter at my dive centre are at the Advanced Open Water Level and have been there for some time.  When asked why they have not gone any further with their dive training, I have been told a number of things but the main answer was “I don’t need to go any further!” These divers were not informed or educated correctly after completing their Advanced Open Water Course!  Although most of the divers that dive with my centre, are holiday divers they believe that they don’t need to extend their skills and knowledge their dive guides are all professional divers and will do anything for them.  To an extent that statement is correct as we aim for 100% customer satisfaction and we will try and cater for all their needs, but when it comes to diving safely it’s not always that simple.

I am a PADI instructor.  I am PADI, not for any elitist attitude as some will say, but the diving school I started my training through was PADI.  I don’t teach for any other agencies, it is just something that I have never needed to do, and because of that I am not going to pretend to know the inner workings of these other agencies, but it can be very upsetting when you sometimes hear other agency professionals, and professionals within PADI, talking in a negative way.  It’s not something I like, but almost every diver has heard the term ‘Put Another Dollar In’.  This comes back to PADI’s success at marketing these small courses, and other people not agreeing.  Seems to be working so far however.  But because of this negative talk circulating around student divers, you may find a lot not inclined to pay for another course.  Have PADI got it right?  Considering PADI is recognised World Wide, the short courses that PADI offer are ideal for travelling divers that do not want to spend their whole holiday/vacation doing a diving course and can therefor increase their knowledge and skills in bite sized chunks, I would say yes!  Of course this will cost money, what doesn’t, but compared to other hobbies, say Golf, for instance, diving is cheaper.  A 45 minute Golf Lesson in Cyprus costs €54, that works out at €72 per hour.  The average diving speciality course consists of 4 dives and if we employed the same rate as the golf the course not including certification would cost you……. €576 because you would have the instructor for 8 hours.  The most expensive speciality course is around €250 and this includes certification, air and equipment hire.  That means you get your diving instructor for less than €23 per hour!

So continuing your diving education is not relatively expensive.  Okay so what do need to improve our dive skills and knowledge?

If you imagine a target, a series of concentric circles expanding from a centre point.   This is what PADI instructors may refer to as the ‘Target of Awareness’.

At the centre circle or “Bulls Eye” you have divers who have just completed their Open Water course.  Their first experiences of breathing underwater, and all of the magic and nerves that these moments can create.  They are focused on themselves and becoming more comfortable in the water, learning to apply everything they have learnt in their course.  Some divers want to spend some time at this level to gain confidence and improve their basic skills, and if they are going to dive without a professional guide, my advice would be to do just that.  Most divers however want to move straight on to increase their basic skills allowing them to dive to deeper depths.

This step will take them out of the centre circle into the second circle.  This is when instructors can start to task load students, giving them skills to complete underwater such as navigation, peak buoyancy, search and recovery of objects.  Not only does this course teach divers skills that, while not immediately necessary in a lot of situations, are extremely useful, but the Advanced Open Water course helps to improve confidence in the water through the use of these skills.  I’m sure a diver with more of an understanding of underwater navigation is going to be more comfortable grabbing a buddy and going to explore a shore diving site.

Take another step further away from the centre and you reach the rescue diver course.  Divers are now comfortable in the water, and they have been task loaded.  This level now expands their awareness beyond themselves and to other divers.  Learning how to read situations to prevent dive emergencies from happening, or if they happen, how to control the situation and make a successful recovery.  When you break it down and look at the levels, this is the first point at which divers really stop and start to have this expanded view of the diving world.  I loved my rescue course, I learnt so much from my instructor.  Teaching in warm waters means there are some things that are going to make doing rescue courses a little bit more comfortable, but I am still just as demanding on my students to get things perfect, while making sure they are that satisfied kind of tired at the end of the day.  Rescue is hard and fun, just as long as you are ready for it.

The final step, just under professional divers, on the ‘Target of Awareness’ is what PADI titles a Master SCUBA diver.  This in my opinion, is where every recreational diver should aim to become.  A Master SCUBA Diver is a rescue diver, with experience and comfort in the water, and a diver who has completed at least 5 different distinctive specialty courses.  PADI recognizes the experience and knowledge that these divers have with the Master SCUBA Diver rating.  They recognize the work that these divers have put into their diving careers, and acknowledge that they are able to step back and observe the big picture, enjoy being in the water, but be ready to respond to anything and everything.

Yes it does cost money to reach the heights of Master Scuba Diver, but can you tell me a sport or Hobby that costs you nothing to do?  Some diver training agencies have training schedules that force you to carry out dives that you don’t really want to do or have no interest.  PADI specialties give you the option to carry out dives that your are most interested in and they separate the diving into 2 categories, Recreation diving (no stop diving) and Technical diving (Decompression diving).  This allows divers to follow the path of their personal goals.  Some divers, me included, do not want to hang around on a shot line decompressing for 10 – 20 minutes.  I enjoy planning my dives so that I can see what I want to see without long decompression stops.  Is it safer to carry out no stop diving in relation to decompression diving….. No.  Providing decompression dives are planned correctly ensuring you have enough air to complete any necessary stops it can be just as safe as no stop diving.

 

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