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What would your ideal training agency look like?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by ScubaWithTurk, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. stevensamler

    stevensamler Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Culver City, California, United States
  2. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    I have enjoyed reading this discussion. I hope to offer something unique to this thread.

    - This has been largely discussed, but every IDC should be conducted NB/trim (basically GUE fundies tec pass requirements). The IE should require the same. Existing instructors who had IEs on the knees would have to recertify NB/trim, and those who fail that remedial IE would require remedial training until they can pass. Now this is completely unrealistic, as this would cause a massive loss of existing dive pros, and that would result in a significant loss of income for said agency.
    - Adopt recommendations from DAN with regards to training, if they are not already addressed. Example: 2016 DAN report calling out ten changes that they'd like to see. Buoyancy and proper weighting are the top two. I'd like to see an emphasis on minimally required weighting: whatever is required to maintain the shallowest stop with an empty wing/BCD (and drysuit if applicable) with weight distributed so that students are comfortably horizontal without any sculling (especially hands).
    - Objective performance requirements for all skills in all courses that gradually get more stringent in terms of allowed depth change while performing skils.
    - Required checkout dives for con ed where students must demonstrate a subset of open water skills (and possibly other courses) prior to starting the dive portion of a course.
    - Follow DAN recommendations. For example, no more diving past a gas density of 5.2 g / L per DAN's recommendation. Yes, changing curriculum requires a fair bit of effort. Online training materials eliminate the distribution cost of printed materials, as well as the loss of unsold materials. Which leads to.
    - Online materials access never expires. Students get any updates for free.
    - For DSD/Try scuba experiences, required basic skills in confined water prior to any open water dives. 1:2 ratios that drop to 1:1 for a number of conditions.
    - Strict entry requirements for tech courses, more of an emphasis on resolving worst case scenarios. I haven't taken GUE T1, but my understanding is that there is a lot of emphasis on dealing with failures - anyone who has taken it, please correct me if I'm wrong).
    - Max ratios for any course, is 1:4. Some courses even less. Provide descriptions on when decreasing ratios is required (don't just leave it to the instructor's judgment as shops often push instructors to take risks).
    - Instructors must pass yearly online academic tests to maintain teaching status.
    - More use of video. This is controversial. Absolutely ban any filming of fish. Video must be only of students performing skills. Hands free as well. Simple record/off switch.
    - as part of IDCs, remedial testing of existing instructors, creation of skills circuit videos.
    - much better dive planning in open water
    - more meaningful con ed courses, instead of the fluff that infests most agencies.
    MichaelMc likes this.
  3. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

    My branch has a pool every week all through the year except Christmas and New Year. We do teach OD but I think concentrating on SD is more effective at gaining long term members and filling boats. Where we are we pick up a lot of people with OW or AOW already. Through SD they end up fine pretty much however they started out.

    Our limiting factor is instructors. Getting people able to teach and willing to waste valuable diving holding the hand of some trainee is a problem.

    When we cannot accept more OD trainees I send them to a local commercial school. A factor in getting commercial centres to teach OD students is the lack of e-learning. This means theory has to be face to face and so is much more expensive.

    This reminds me of a couple of things that an ideal agency would do to do with technological. First is to embrace e-learning and telepresence, next is to treat tables like double entry book keeping in paper ledgers.
  4. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
    This is one of the short comings of club life as you know all to well.

    The old club here was a "super club" by that I mean, it had just over 100 registered and fee paying divers (on top of social members) We had 4 x 30' boats of our own, 3 of which were generally out each weekend. There was something for everyone, with West coast Wrecks, East Coast reefs and Deep wrecks for the Techies and teh Northern Musandam with currents and pelagics (accessed on day or weekend club charters).

    Looking at the records from 2013 -2015 we were averaging 2500-3000 man dives per year. We had our own clubhouse and compressor too. We turned over approx £100k per year, and had a surplus in the bank of just over £200k

    Yet with all that tryign to get people moved on through training (remember we can diver year round wind permitting.) We had a surplus of instructors but getting them to give up their time was near impossible. Indeed getting people to take their turn with compressor, and bar duty, assisting with boat maintenance and havign people prepared to tow was a constant challenge. It always came down to a few. SD and DL took far too long for most people (nepotism was alive and well though)

    By 2018 after a series of unconnected events the club was on its knees and now has approx 10 diving members and has depleted all its reserves, with one of the biggest reasons being internal politics where lots of people (myself included) decided it was no longer fun nor enjoyable and go commercial, where diving is fun, and easy (no more washing boats) and you're no longer facing the constant bickering and backbiting on boats each week.
  5. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

    Our local yacht club has the bar run by an external contractor.

    I think it is important to manage expectations and concentrate resources. We have picked up a member via here who found that being part of one of the larger central London clubs didn’t get SD done, they were concentrating on OD trainees. He didn’t SD commercially. I am only responsible for training until Wednesday and my view has been on retention rather than recruitment. That has to include senior people too. Part of the reason picking up PADI AOW is attractive is they have a bit of plastic that says they are good to 30m, so the hand holding impact is not on the whole boat. (Do keep copies for the coroner though, just in case).

    A theme of this, and many, threads is how poor instructors are. Then a lot of gatekeeping is put forward as the solution. Really though you want enthusiastic people, telling them to come back later is telling them to get lost. In the club environment it is important to keep the momentum with new people, get them involved and maybe doing instruction, being on the committee, running dives etc. They might not be as good at it as the old hands but they will only get that way by doing it. Now, clubs can play these games because the divers are not expected to vanish and not dive again for a year, and if they do then appropriate hand holding will be done.

    Another thing is that different people teach for different reasons. I teach to have buddies and fill boats, some people teach because they like teaching. In the commercial side I see people who teach to get out of the house at the weekend and the money/discount is just a minor subsidy for an expensive habit.

    Commercial diver training is a proper business. It wants to maximise profit. You can’t expect them to do what you consider is the right thing.
  6. Dominik_E

    Dominik_E Contributor

    I am actually thinking diving as a whole already is in quite a good situation. A large portfolio of agencies and clubs and training routes to choose from.
  7. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlantic Ocean and Red Sea
    That’s just new diver enthusiasm along with PADI peddling their profit model and preying upon new divers.

    My focus is on the certifying agencies and the gates they set, not the naïveté or exuberance of the applicant.
    chillyinCanada and ScubaWithTurk like this.
  8. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlantic Ocean and Red Sea
    Humbly concur.
  9. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

    I concur in some ways but here is an alternative view

    OW/OWD is generally someone's first introduction to Scuba diving. While we agree that its also where the foundation of the core skills are embedded, until people have competed the course they don't actually know whether they're going to enjoy diving. In which case a long convoluted certification process isn't for them

    Perhaps OW/OWD is treated as a provisional licence needing further experience dives and post cert modules to be completed to make it a full OW/OWD. Before moving on to more in depth tiers. (SD in BSSAC world is a great cert and where lots of people are satisfied to remain

    Also a great many people are time limited, in that they only dive warm water and on vacation, so again really long courses don't suit them

    All they want to do is see pretty fishes - maybe one dive vacation every couple of years or so. Hence the market demanded the bite size course, while with good intent has morphed into something less than ideal

    Perhaps OW/OW should be a course limited to certain dive centres (those who can carry out instructor courses) Con ed courses can be done by all, but you limit those who can teach OW which in turn allows easier monitoring and auditing of teaching standards

    Maybe a shiny new instructor has to earn an additional qualification to teach OW?
  10. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
    Somewhat disagree. PADI, SSI et merely provide courses that exceed (the low admittedly) WRSCT Standards

    It is the dive shop that prey on the customers, you know the one, cultivating a feeling of belonging with their regulars (as the hook) then convincing these divers that they're good enough to go Pro in order to bring in more income

    The PADI Elite recognition concept was a great idea, giving instructors some recognition for the amount of effort they put in - It's now evolved into a monster

    Look at how many centres boast of Platinum CD's (100 Pro level certs) - so now centres become a sausage factor to get this award in order to compete with others

    Makes my teeth itch.

    Must be a better way of reward and recognition

    Not saying the agencies aren't faultless in trying to increase their profits for investors.

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