A recent post circulating on social networks highlights the difficult working conditions of diving instructors in centers around the world.
Through his approach, the author wanted to send a message to the managers of dive structures so that they participate in a revaluation of the profession of instructor.
Regardless of the scuba diving agencies to which they are affiliated and the country in which diving instructors are working (which they have mostly chosen for their passion for diving and the underwater world), many professionals regularly speak up to denounce unacceptable working conditions: too many successive dives, lack of “off” day to desaturate, minimum wage, worked hours well in excess of the number of legal hours, indecent practice conditions, absence of social security, use of dive leaders under the guise of volunteering (supervision against free dives), …
Regularly, I highlight through the YOU section the journey of people who have made their way into the world of diving. All these stories are success stories showing that it is possible to be sucessful while working in the world of diving.
Today, however, I want to associate myself with the instructors from all over the world who do a great job but sometimes find themselves working in conditions that are clearly not what we should expect from the diving industry.
While many of them want to make their passion their job, some are discouraged by bosses whose practices are sometimes questionable, many of them will give up after a longer or shorter period.
However, while some dive structures may be singled out, there are many dive shop managers who demonstrate a perfectly correct attitude and a positive attitude. They in turn have to make the difference in order to keep their dive shop profitable. contenting their employees and their customers.
In the evolution of the quality of the diving business, taking away the responsibility of the instructors, the center managers and the clients who come to dive there, would, in my opinion, be an intellectually dishonest approach.
So how do we reconcile the demands and obligations of each to revitalize the profession by putting the different actors in front of their responsibilities and possibilities to act ?
Focus on some tracks to follow
From the instructors:
- Do not accept to be trained free of charge for unpaid work. If you start investing in your training, you will increase your chances of getting quality training … and become a quality instructor. Your training will be your first passport to a suitable job. A boss will be more inclined to keep someone who practices his job with skills than someone who has been trained in a hurry and sometimes to the detriment of a solid base. Regardless of the training path, take the time necessary to be knowledgeable, to acquire basic expertise and understand the ropes … As for any other profession, it will be difficult to be demanding if you just finish your training (sometimes accelerated) and you have little (no) experience of the job.
- Choose carefully the structures where you will apply. Feel free to listen to others’ experiences, ask questions and discuss with your future employers.
- Do not give up your skills: do not agree to work against a pittance so as not to maintain this system.
- Require centers that employ you to meet at least the standards of the certification agencies to which you are affiliated.
- Make sure you have realistic requirements: a plane ticket + a good salary + few hours worked + a housing + a job including only supervision (no storage of diving equipment, no tank filling, no paperwork), … is probably not sustainable for the dive shop. Be aware that this is a job with advantages (do what we like) but also disadvantages. Any professional achievement requires a minimum of effort: it is a job, not holiday (except for Aydin in this article 😉)
- Always give the best of yourself, stay open, curious, respect the standards of your training agency. If you come across an employer that does not allow you to work in a minimum of decent conditions … change job! You have this chance to practice a profession that allows you to explore so many horizons.
- Raise the issues and dysfunctions you encounter concerning standards and procedures to the local leaders of your training agencies.
- Do you still feel like being exploited and little (not) valued in your skills? And if you took the opportunity to create your own business? To match the world of diving to what you dream it is? 🙂
Do not forget that you are the leading players of an approach of revaluation of your job
From the dive center managers
- Agree to pay a decent wage to your instructors. A high turnover not only makes you waste time but does not give a good image of your diving structure. This attitude will convey to your customers a feeling of being faced with inexperienced people (because not knowing well the spots on which they take your customers). Your reputation may suffer quickly from exchanges on social networks.
- Your instructors practice a profession that has a direct influence on their health; set up a schedule that respects rest and desaturation times and buy them a good insurance.
- Emphasize the ease of use of your dive centers: your instructors are your best assets to convey a positive message from your structure to customers. If in the short term it has no influence, in the long run it will make all the difference.
- Keep in mind that a “happy instructor will make a happy customer” … who will only have one desire, to come back. Spoil your good instructors … let go away those who are less.
- As the instructors, raise the issues and dysfunctions you encounter concerning standards and procedures back to the local managers of your training agencies.
- In the long run, quality will take precedence over quantity, a happy customer is indeed a customer who comes back and / or circulates the info … the opposite is very true too, beware!
The future of your business is in your hands, it’s up to you to choose which image you wish to give of your dive center
Fron the clients of dive shops
- If there are people who can change the world of scuba diving, they are certainly the customers of dive shops. If a center has no customers, it can not work. Also, I can only encourage you to choose carefully the dive center that will welcome you for your wonderful dives. To help you, read the tips here.
- Even if you have paid and you consider that you are entitled to the performance you expect, be respectful of the instructors who guide you in your underwater discoveries (listen to their briefings, follow their directions, offer your most beautiful smiles just because it’s so good to see smiling people, …)
- Do not hesitate to report what you find dysfunctional to officials, i.e: you hardly finish your dive and you see your instructor leave with another group, the same instructors are present every day of your stay without taking a day off, you pay a (very) high price for (too) mediocre services, …
Finally, request quality not only a low price: I personally prefer to pay more and find myself in a nice dive structure with instructors who can take the time to be with their customers than in a structure where “you pay, you dive, you leave »
Instructors, dive center managers, clients of these dive shop and certification agencies representatives we are all responsible, at different levels, for the current situation in the diving world and therefore able to act and influence this reality.
I have this belief that together we can all make this wonderful world of scuba diving evolve. Let’s go ?
Tell me your experiences in the world of diving in a comment below, it will be a pleasure to exchange with you 🙂
And most importantly, do not forget to be happy 🤗
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