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Ihave been a dive leader for 3 years, 2 as a divemaster and 1 as an instructor and I could not be happier about going this route. People always ask why to go into dive leadership, some people look into it for the wrong reasons while others look into it for the right reasons. Dive leadership has many different certifications but the two most commonly certified are divemaster and instructor, if you choose to go for these levels you must be ready for hard work, determination, the successes that come and the failures that come as well.

Once reaching these levels it is also required that you have liability insurance. This is why I tell all prospective divemaster candidates that this is not for everyone.

Divers looking into the divemaster program must meet certain qualifications to enter the program, certified master diver, certified rescue diver and certified in first aid, CPR and 02 administration. Divemaster candidates must also pass swimming and snorkeling time requirements, towing requirements, and scuba skill requirements, each skill must be passed by the candidate or they are not allowed to move onto the open water portion. The open water portion contains giving dive briefings, diving with students and divemaster shore duties. Divemaster candidates must also complete academic work while taking the course, the last part to be completed is a test. Once successfully completing all portions of the course the candidate can register themselves with the organization through which they are trained.

The instructor program is different than the divemaster program as this course is more about preparing class lectures than diving skills. Instructor candidates must first take the instructor qualification exam, each section of the exam must be passed to gain entrance into the course. Once the test has successfully been passed the instructor candidate starts to prepare lectures to give to Instructor trainers (instructors allowed to certify other instructors). In this course, the candidate must also give dive briefings, show in-water performance and pass the final test based on leadership standards and policies.

Like I said earlier these courses are a lot of hard work but are so rewarding. It is tough to explain the feeling of how it feels when taking someone on their first river drift dive or showing them how to navigate. This is why I said not every diver is suited to be a dive leader, divers that want to help people learn are best suited for dive leadership, divers that enter the leadership courses because "it's the next thing to do", or "I want to do it for the certification card that comes with it" usually never take full advantage of what being a dive leader is all about. Many dive leaders realize that by becoming a dive leader they are going to do more "work" dives instead or "pleasure" dives, however, the ones that truly take to being a dive leader realize that the pleasure comes from the new diver's excitement after the dive saying how much they enjoyed that dive.

The other reason that some shy away from dive leadership is the costs, no i am not talking about the course costs but rather the yearly costs, like I said earlier dive leaders must carry insurance, the higher the certification the more insurance you need, dive leaders also pay dues every year to the agency they are associated with, if they are associated with multiple agencies than they pay multiple dues each year.

So after reading this, most people are going to think that they divers who become dive leaders are crazy, they have to pay insurance fees, dues every year, more work dives than pleasure dives, well I will say this call me crazy, I would not trade this job away for anything. Nothing can beat a new diver's fresh smile after a great river drift, their loss of anxiety over their first deep dive as we return back to the boat and lastly the thank yous they give after having a great dive.

Until the next time

Happy Holidays

Alex

P.S. If you would like to know more about becoming a dive leader stop in the store and talk to myself or Joe.

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