Question Agency vs instructor selection (Netherlands)

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

Cheizz

Contributor
Messages
195
Reaction score
126
Location
Netherlands
# of dives
25 - 49
I am looking into specialty training, sidemount diving in this specific case. In my area (Netherlands, Belgium), I have access to SSI, TDI, and PADI courses (both 'recreational' 2-dive courses and Extended Range 4-dive courses). Is there any of these agencies that - because of their approach t this specific type of diving - I should avoid or definitely check out?

OR should I be seeking out a good instructor, whatever the agency is under which (s)he is teaching? Bear in mind that here in the Netherlands, it's not very common or easy to find informed reviews on individual trainers (of dive schools, for that matter)...

To my Dutch/Begian friends: any recommendations?
 

BoltSnap

Contributor
Scuba Instructor
Messages
8,964
Reaction score
4,765
Location
Nomad
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
You also have some of the TOP NAUI instructors in Europe living and teaching in the Netherlands and Belgium. They are really TOPS in their area. You also have in Finland and Hungry some of the best in the world.

If you want contacts, send me a PM please. These guys will take good care of you even more because they are my friends and they will go the extra two miles for you.
 
OP
Cheizz

Cheizz

Contributor
Messages
195
Reaction score
126
Location
Netherlands
# of dives
25 - 49
Finland or Hungary is hardly 'my area'....
 

BoltSnap

Contributor
Scuba Instructor
Messages
8,964
Reaction score
4,765
Location
Nomad
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
My country where I live now, Libya, is about 3/4 the area of the entire European Continent (sans the communist part) and hence anything in Europe is like anywhere in Libya, close :)
 

Angelo Farina

Contributor
Scuba Instructor
Messages
2,350
Reaction score
3,726
Location
Parma, ITALY
# of dives
1000 - 2499
In Europe there are also diving clubs. They are not-for-profit associations, where volunteer (unpaid) instructors operate under agencies such as CMAS or BSAC.
Being a member of a diving club is something entirely different than purchasing lessons or courses from a shop.
The whole point of a club is to have a number of friend buddies, who also train you. Often the club has a significant set of nautical and diving equipment, and rents it to the club associates for just a nominal cost.
So being trained and diving with a club can cost 1/4 than with a shop, and you can find super-skilled instructors, often ex military or commercial divers.
I started diving in one of these clubs, and, albeit being a broken student with no money, I was trained to use CC rebreathers, to dive under the ice, in caverns, wrecks, using twin tanks, deep air with deco, full face mask, dry suit, hookah, etc.
After paying the annual fee, all this stuff was almost for free, I had just to pay a ridiculuous fee for renting the advanced equipment.
Later on I became an instructor in the same club (also the course for becoming a CMAS instructor was free, the club did pay the small fee required).
These clubs are everywhere in most European countries and in UK.
They are also very friendly with foreigners. During 1986 I had to spend some months in UK, at Southampton, for completing my PhD. I contacted the local diving club, and they allowed me to join their activities, operating as an assistant instructor in the municipal swimming pool and helping during a couple of dives in the sea.
The English club, as my one, was also a volunteering association, cooperating with public authorities in search & rescue operations and in benefical actions.
The club environment is fantastic, I invite you to evaluate this alternative to shops or professional instructors.
This, unfortunately, does not seem to be so widespread and well radicated outside Europe.
 
OP
Cheizz

Cheizz

Contributor
Messages
195
Reaction score
126
Location
Netherlands
# of dives
25 - 49
I am a member of a dive club. For sidemount diving, however, there is not really an experienced trainer.
 

Wibble

Contributor
Messages
3,600
Reaction score
3,116
Location
UK
# of dives
500 - 999
Instructor every time.

Cards aren't important. Agencies even less so. The instructor's the critical link in your training.

You want an instructor who walks the walk, not talks the talk. Sidemount implies -- although doesn't require -- someone who's an underground specialist. The other speciality things include core skills (finning, buoyancy, trim) which should come with that sidemount specialist.

If you're heading deeper, then backmount's a lot easier than sidemount, especially if it's extended range (circa 55m) where two decompression stages are used. It's doable with sidemount, but much easier with backmount especially in cold waters.


FWIW, I found sidemount really straightforward to deal with when you're comfortable with backmount. You really will shorten your learning time if you have an experienced sidemount instructor who can help configure your kit and give you those amazing tips that save a load of issues.
 

Marie13

Great Lakes Mermaid
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
12,429
Reaction score
12,091
Location
Great Lakes
# of dives
200 - 499
I am a member of a dive club. For sidemount diving, however, there is not really an experienced trainer.

Do you know of any local/regional divers who actually dive SM on a regular basis? If so, I’d ask who their SM instructor was.

Also, there’s a very active Sidemount Diving group on FB. Lots of European divers. Suggest you ask there for an instructor recommendation, as well.
 

BoltSnap

Contributor
Scuba Instructor
Messages
8,964
Reaction score
4,765
Location
Nomad
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
Instructor every time.

Cards aren't important. Agencies even less so. The instructor's the critical link in your training.

So PADI is just the same as GUE?
 

Top Bottom