The Six P’s and Your PADI IDC
The Six P’s and Your PADI IDC
By Drew Mcarthur
The meaning is simple to understand, if you want to get a good result from something then you need to put the work in beforehand. Looking back, I guess when I was young I never listened to dad much which must have been pretty frustrating for him.
In my school years, my time was generally spent staring out of the window and getting in to trouble as opposed to preparing for classes. This lack of preparation on my part resulted in various fates like having to do P.E. in my underwear and turning up for a very important exam in the afternoon when it was clearly advertised as being in the morning.
It should come as no surprise that I left school without much in the way of impressive pieces of paper, it turned out that dad had a point.
For many, one of the biggest considerations when deciding whether or not to become a scuba instructor is the initial cost. Making the financial commitment is a big deal but doing so does not guarantee success.
It should be taken for granted that anyone who goes in to the Instructor Exam (IE) should do so with a view to pass but to what extent? Would you be happy to scrape through or would you want to ace it?
Forget about the IE for a minute and consider the IDC as a standalone educational experience designed to prepare you for the big scary world as a scuba instructor, how much do you want to get out of it? Just enough to get by or enough to really empower you to be the best and most employable instructor you can be?
For most people there is a period of time between deciding that they want to become an instructor and the date their IDC starts. If you truly want to get the most out of the program and want to succeed as a scuba professional then this is a valuable period that should not be wasted.
Whether you are a seasoned diver of many years or relatively new there are things that you can do in preparation for your IDC that will help build strong foundations for your course director to work with. And just to be clear, building up your alcohol tolerance before starting your gap year off does not constitute preparation!
Here are some ideas for areas to focus on:
Before starting instructor training there are some things that you have to have squared away. Depending on where you go to do your course you may well be able to fill in any missing gaps prior to the start date, if that’s the case then make sure your course director is aware of what you need before you arrive.
Prior to starting the IDC (assuming you have to do the entire course – AI as well as OWSI) you’ll need the following:
As far as prerequisites go, if you do not have them already, including the EFRI, then make sure you are clear of their costs as they will no doubt be on top of the standard fee for the IDC.
If your demonstration of hovering looks scrappy then how does that help instill confidence in your students? Think about it from a 360 approach, if you turned up to your IDC and you noticed your course director couldn’t put his gear together very well then what would go through your mind?
IDC candidates will always have development areas but time spent during the IDC learning how to hover properly as opposed to developing something like student control techniques is a waste of your time and money.
The skills in this course can be pretty complex and managing them effectively requires quite a bit of thought from the instructor. Instructors always appreciate extra bodies on rescue courses to be victims, role play actors, equipment handlers etc so your involvement should be gratefully accepted.
Re-visit your AOW course and make sure you are absolutely comfortable in how to take a bearing with a compass, navigate a reciprocal and a square. You do not even need to be in water to practice these. Also from the AOW course, take time to get up to speed with your three knots – the bowline, sheet bend & round turn and two half hitches.
When people make a mess of deploying lift bags & SMB’s things go south fast. It is hard to try to maintain a professional image while looking like a kitten tangled up in a ball of string being carried fins first to the surface by a lift bag you inflated, your “students” in front of you try to keep a straight face as they watch your demonstration wondering what is going to happen next.
End every dive by deploying your SMB, even when not required so that when you get in to your IDC it is second nature.
Beyond all this, you need to be thinking of life after the IDC, when you are out there in a classroom full of open water students and someone asks you a question, trust me, you do feel like a bit of a tit when you don’t have the answer.
Try to avoid just remembering the answers and really make sure you understand the content of the subject. This helps you answer questions when they are presented in different contexts to how you have found them so far.
You can find some really useful pieces on the internet but be careful, it turns out that some online content is not entirely accurate!
In addition to this you should have a copy of the instructor manual. Take time to get comfortable with how to navigate your way through it and understand where you need to look to find a general standard versus a standard for a particular course.
As I have already mentioned, I didn’t do very well at school so did not really have a strong educational background to help me through the theory work. I personally found the Diving Knowledge Workbook a world of use.
Make sure you know what regulator fittings they have where you are going, so if you have DIN regs you may well need to buy a DIN-Yoke converter. Also consider the changes in global units of measurement, if you are used to one but the place you are going to do your IDC uses the other then you will need to be aware of the conversions, things to consider are feet vs meters, pounds vs kg’s, Fahrenheit vs Celcius, Bar vs PSI.
My recommendation is to get your kit as soon as you can so you can build familiarity with it in the run up to your IDC. Requirements for the IE are:
Firstly, from a safety and practical point of view, if you find yourself in a position where you have to assist someone by pulling them in to the boat but you generally struggle to get yourself in the boat in normal conditions then you are not off to a good start.
Depending on where you work you may have to get involved with physically demanding roles like changing over the tanks on the boats. Hauling 80 empty tanks off a boat and replacing them with 80 full ones in the midday heat is hard work.
Secondly, image is important for a dive centre. Some potential employers may not want to offer a job to someone who they feel does not have the right image. This could mean someone who smokes, has heavy tattoos or piercings or who is noticeably physically unfit.
Rightly or wrongly, most dive centres like to promote an image of being healthy and active, their staff are instrumental in maintaining this image.
You may have something lined up already but if not I strongly advise that you start thinking about how you are going to make it happen. I have written a blog series which focuses on how to get a job as a new instructor, you can read it on Drew’s own blog.
This time, I had prepared, very thoroughly indeed and it was this preparation that enabled the experience to be fun. No one wants to have to write that Facebook status telling the world that they failed and there is no reason why they should have to as long as they put the required effort in. In summary, my advice to you is get the basics nailed, prepare well, learn lots in the IDC and then have fun blitzing the IE. Good luck!
Does this guest blog article by Drew peek your interest in becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in one of my PADI IDC programs, after having read the blog in August 2017?
There are a couple of opportunities coming up to participate in one of my PADI IDC programs. These opportunities kick off with our monthly PADI IDC’s scheduled to start on Phuket, Thailand in conjunction with PADI CDC Center ‘Dive Asia’, on 6th September, 3rd October and 5th December. Another option may be the PADI IDC programs scheduled to start 21st September on Koh Phangan, Thailand in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center ‘Haad Yao Divers’ or on 21st October in Khao Lak, Thailand in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center ‘Sea Dragon’ and not to forget 12th November in Moalboal in the Philippines in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center ‘ Neptune Diving Adventure’.
See you there,