The decision as to who teaches you to dive is far too important to be left to chance.
Taking an active role in selecting who teaches you means you are more likely to learn all the skills you need to be a safe and competent diver.
STRANGE AS IT MAY SEEM, GIVEN THAT you are trusting them to teach you skills that might save your life one day, most people do not choose the person who actually teaches them to dive. Instead, they go into the dive shop or scuba club closest to their home and announce that they have decided they want to learn to dive. Or perhaps, on a whim, they make enquiries at the dive centre in the hotel where they are staying while on holiday. It is the club, shop or dive centre that then assigns them an instructor. This is what commonly happens but it is not what SHOULD happen. The decision as to who teaches you to dive is far too important to be left to chance. The dive operation and the training agency they represent (PADI, NAUI and BSAC being the most common) have some impact on the quality of the diving course you get. But by far the most important factor is the person who actually teaches you. Their personality, ability, dedication and professionalism have a crucial bearing on whether your course is the first step on the path to a lifetime of diving, or a waste of time and money.
How to choose A good first step in choosing an instructor is to ask for recommendations from divers you know. Be sensible, however. Not all your friends will be completely objective. Most people who learn to dive then believe their instructor to be a god or goddess of the sea. This is not always the case. Next, talk to the recommended instructors directly, either by phone or in person. Interview them. After all, they may not recognise the fact, but they are applying for the job of teaching you to dive. Then find an opportunity to watch them at work. Ask if you can attend a swimming pool session as an observer or pay to go out snorkelling on a boat trip when they are teaching. Do you find their personality and approach sympathetic? Are they professional, attentive to detail, concerned enough with safety, able to manage a group effectively? What a re t he signs of a professional instructor? Here are five key things to look out for. If an instructor ticks these boxes, you know you’ll be in good hands: