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WOW big changes to PADI DM for July 2011

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by Divemastersintraining, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. DiverRider

    DiverRider Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hamburg, PA USA
    Just did my DM in Bonaire, worked closely with boat crews and did hands on with students under direct instructor supervision, repetitive times. I heard about the changes and that the exams are fewer but longer. I thought the training I received was excellent and left no room for sidestepping information required. I had the chance to work with at least half a dozen differant instructors and each had something for me to pick up as a tool to use. It gave me a feeling that I shouldn't stop at DM and advance to the Instructor level in the future.
  2. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    I agree. By not demanding the intership option what PADI has done can be compared to trying to teach someone how to drive a car using a simulator; and just like driver (or pilot) training, simulators are good tools but only 1/2 of the job can be done using it.

    In my particular circumstance this, however, changes nothing. I work for a shop that makes extensive use of internships for DM's (AND instructors!) and where do you think these students get their "internship" experience now? .... exactly where they will continue to get it!

    For us, where the rubber meets the road the only difference that will be introduced according to new rules is that some DM's will earn their certification before the internship is finished (just like instructors do). They will still need to intern if they want to work with us though so other than this detail it won't change our modus operandi one iota.

    The point about changing the number of dives to enter the program from 20 to 40 looks strong but is just fluff, if you ask me. If you demand a decent level of diving proficiency from DMC's then you will seldom see people with fewer than about 100 dives that are honestly prepared to become DM's anyway. For instructors, this number might be 300 or more. At that point they may have some bad habits but at least they aren't making beginner's mistakes anymore.

    The point of the above being that for us this also changes nothing. We still won't accept a DMC who can't dive even if they *do* have the magic 60. We *will*, however, teach them to dive if they want to become a DM badly enough to face that challenge as part of the process. If not, that's cool. They can always go to another shop that doesn't demand diving proficiency of them, get certed in a couple of weekends and go be an obvious noob for the competition.... in a maybe not-so-strange way sending unmotivated DMC's to the fail-shops is actually better for business than taking their money and allowing our shop to be connected with the omg-you-can't-be-serious reactions people will repeat over and over in word-of-mouth advertising. It is a small world, after all....

    Ergo... 20, 40, 80 or 200... it's just a number. what matters is what they look and act like in and out of the water.

    On a similar note, the new requirement that "The Deep Diver and Search and Recovery Diver specialty courses are highly recommended" fall under the very same principle outlined above.

    In other words, either DMC's can dive or they need to be taught to dive, which is what I just said. I guess this is PADI's attempt to put that sentiment in words in something that looks like a standard. However, since it's only a recommendation, it simply means that people who know what they're doing were already doing it, and the boobs can still carry on being boobs .... :idk:

    For the rest, updating/modernising the materials is a good idea. I know there are always those who believe that the way it used to be is better by default but I'm more optimistic. I do believe that we learn more efficient ways of teaching as time goes by and I'm happy to see PADI trying to keep up.

  3. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    Hey Cheryl, nice to see you posting again.

    The first time I used a DSMB was in .... mmmm.... 1988 or so.... so it's really not a new invention.

    I bought one because the only thing about diving that worries me *at all* are zodiacs and/or small boats that *always* have propellers and are being piloted either by young men who invariably don't perceive risks accurately or by complete retar... er.. people who couldn't find work doing anything that paid better.

    Needless to say I was going diving somewhere where we would be diving from such a boat. I wanted the DSMB so the boat could at least see where we were about to surface so they could keep their meat-grinder at a safe distance. Incidentally, (alas, many years later) I still use them for the exact same purpose when being picked up by Zodiac.

    To make a potentially long story short, I had no idea how it worked. I "practiced" in my living room by getting a room mate to pull the thing while I let it unwind from the snorkel (yes a snorkel!) that I had wrapped the line around. In those days snorkels were all straight so it made more sense than you might think.

    fast-forward to my first dive with the thing. We were getting picked up by a small boat so I proudly pulled out my new toy and proceeded to "deploy" it. Initially unwrapping it went ok but I soon learned that I didn't have enough hands and free attention to

    - hold the blob
    - hold it OPEN
    - hold my octopus and purge into it (which is how I tried to do it)
    - hold the snorkel with the line wrapped around it
    - watch my gauges
    - watch mate
    - maintain buoyancy control
    - and ... of course... make it look like I had done it a 1000 times already.

    My first attempt, as you might well imagine, resulted in the string coming off of the snorkel prematurely and ensnaring the octopus that I had jammed into the beast's oral cavity. I had sunk unawares from 5 metres to nearly 10 in the process and was continuing to descend when I finally got enough air into it that it went up.


    TaaaWANG . I immediately realised my mistake but it was too late for a remedy. The string had ahold my octopus in an ever tightening death-knot and I got dragged up by my own blob from 10 metres to the surface like like so much salvage sent from the bottom with a lift balloon; much to the amusement of the boat crew, might I add, who greeted me with cheers of "THAAR SHE BLOWS!!!" and other jeers that we won't mention on a public forum.

    Even my buddy, who was normally fairly relaxed about things commented and ..... er ... "confiscated" the vile thing "for my own safety".

    Naturally, being the kind of guy I am I didn't give up and continued (once I got it back from my buddy) to try perfecting my technique. Alas, it all ended one day when the unraveling from the snorkel somehow got jammed and I had to let it go to avoid another embarrassing incident whereby the boat crew were quoting "Moby Dick". It floated away and I was relieved, both figuratively and literally, of the thing.

    All of this, (finally getting to the point), probably could have been avoided with 1 hour of instruction from someone who knew what they were doing.... These days I don't do it in the OW course but we do run one day "primers" for people who are planning on taking dive vacations in the tropics and dsmb deployment is part of that. As you can imagine, I'll try explaining it to anyone who will listen! :D

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  4. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    In my years of teaching educational principles, I have found that this is a surprisingly hard concept for people to understand. What I learned fairly early on is that some people cling to numbers as some kind of symbol of an objective measure because they are uncomfortable with the concept of what education theorist Grant Wiggins calls "trained assessor judgment." As you said, the numbers are meaningless in performance based assessment, but when they are added, they get in the way of proper assessment and actually take over. People see only the number and don't look at the performance. Students who have been number fixated have a hard time understanding that 10 pages of crappy reasoning is still crappy reasoning that doesn't make the grade, while 2 pages of great reasoning may be all it takes. Consequently, I always urged teachers and curriculum designers to do everything they could to avoid putting numbers in an assessment tool.

    The one benefit to them in this case is that it can act as a sort of paper screening, sparing an instructor the time and effort of having to disqualify people who almost certainly aren't ready.
  5. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    I'm sure this is how it's intended.... however, in my estimation, the numbers should be *much* higher, perhaps with a stipulation that one can make an exception for the student who can demonstrate X, Y and Z with less "objective" experience.

    That way you put the onus on the student to prove that they are worthy and not on the instructor to screen every narcissistic noob that walks in the door.

  6. Karibelle

    Karibelle IDC Staff Instructor

    This is my endpoint as well. As I argued vigorously in a previous thread a while ago, there is a difference between minimum requirements for a certification, and actual JOB requirements, and while it is not within my purview to decide what the requirements are for certification, it is completely my right and my responsibility to determine what the requirements are for a DM working with me and I will continue to do that.

  7. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba


    It is never incumbent upon the instructor to accept any individual in their team simply because they hold a certain certification.

  8. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    A couple of years ago my dive team executed a rescue of a drowned (nearly drowned) diver who went OOA during an AOW course.

    To make a long story short, the instructor wasn't even with the group and the DM *knew* that at least one of his students was about to go OOA and instructed them to remain at 18m/60ft until one or both of their tanks were empty.

    The ensuing chaos was enormous and the DM cut-and-ran and left at least two of his his students for dead, which one of them would have been had my team not been in a position to rescue him. The other arrived on the surface with zero psi left in the tank.

    And even at that... with the instructor completely out of control of his course and the DM panicking at the first sign of trouble and running away with his tail between his legs and squealing like a little girl, they both got off easy


    The instructor got off by insisting... lying... in fact, in a court of law (I was there and I heard it all), despite all standards and best practices to the contrary that he had no legal obligation to ensure that his students made it back to the surface alive. It was an AOW course and he argued that as certified divers they should have known better.

    The DM got off by claiming... lying... that once the student went OOA (despite his role in the circumstances leading up to this event) his life was in danger and he had to choose between attempting to save the student's life and saving his own life. The court determined that no individual can be required to sacrifice their own life to safe that of another.

    What REALLY happened was this:

    1) The instructor badly planned a non-executable dive and told his students (6 in total) to follow him

    2) students engaged on a "trust me" dive that resulted in 3 or 4 of them (of whom 3 survived without injury) running out of air before the dive was over

    3) the instructor, regardless of standards, swam away from the main group during an AOW deep dive into deep water with 2 students, leaving the other 4 in charge of an incompetent DM on a platform at 18 metres.

    4) When students were running low on air the DM refused to abort the dive and insisted on waiting for the instructor to return.

    5) at least one of the students ran out of air at 18m/60ft at which point the DM panic-fled to the surface and left him for dead

    6) one of his students, who also at this point had nearly 0 psi in her tank tried to save the OOA diver and ended up surfacing with 0 psi once it was clear that she was unable to do so

    5) She tried to "convince" the DM to return to the bottom and attempt a rescue

    6) the DM submerged but only decended (confirmed by his computer) part way to the bottom before girly-panicking back to the surface again and giving up. He subsequently argued in a court of law that he executed a search for the missing diver, which was a verifiable lie.

    7) upon seeing the DM back on the surface again, the *student* raised the alarm at which point my dive team took control and recovered and saved the missing diver.

    I won't tell you what has happened to that diver since then except to say that it wasn't pretty.

    This whole experience left me wondering how badly you need to f-K up before you need to be held responsible... because clearly a series of 5 alarm f-k ups can be covered up by lying in a court of law.
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    In my one experience as a juror, the defense, led by one of the most famous defense attorneys in our state, based their entire defense on a series of lies. They did not get away with it because we carefully picked apart that defense as we deliberated in the jury room. Once we had everything figured out, we convicted with no problem.

    None of that would have been necessary if the prosecution had shown an ounce of competence. We had to figure out stuff that should have been pointed out to us clearly by a well-prepared prosecutor. As we finished the deliberations, we all said we were, in hindsight, amazed at how poorly the prosecution had handled the case.

    I suspect you may have seen something along those lines yourself.
  10. Peter Guy

    Peter Guy Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Olympia, WA
    John wrote
    OK, totally off topic, but one time I was defending a client (can't remember the crime, some felony, probably drug) against a very bad prosecutor. It was horrible. At the end of the case, after the jury came back (hung), the judge apologized to the jury for the incompetence of the prosecutor.

    So, what is that prosecutor doing today? He's a judge.

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