Adding certifi ed assistants whenever you can is a huge benefi t to everyone. Make sure you use a PADI Certifi ed Assistant – an Active status PADI Divemaster or Teaching status PADI Assistant
To supervise and monitor, you must be able to clearly see the participants. One way to measure the ability to immediately make physical contact with someone in the water, is to keep them within
arm’s reach. If you can’t see and easily reach every person in your group, you have too many people.
Reduce your ratio.
One common misunderstanding is that to lead people on a tour, you must be in front of them, face forward, with the participants trailing behind you. This option makes it more diffi cult to
constantly monitor or reach each person in your group when you are looking ahead and away from them most of the time. Chances are you swim a lot faster and more effi ciently than they do, so
quite naturally, there is a tendency to get too far ahead. Consider the advantages of other positioning techniques. If you have one participant, it’s easy to swim side-by-side and enjoy the dive together.
If you have two participants, positioning yourself between them allows you to be within easy reach of both.
When you have three or four participants,
consider these techniques:
— position your divers threeor four across, or two teams of two, one team behind the other. You hover just above the two teams, where you can easily access any of their BCD infl ate/defl ate mechanisms. In this position, you’re ready to assist with divers who become a bit too buoyant. You can easily grab a cylinder valve to stop someone from descending too far or too fast. If you are hovering slightly back from the middle of the group, it allows you to see all of the divers quite clearly. This approach works particularly well when there is a natural visual progression to the dive – such as following a wall, sloping bottom or reef edge. The dive teams can naturally follow the features. It also makes sure the dive is at a comfortable pace for the participants, as they aresetting it.
In front, swimming backwards
— teaming up your divers three or four across or in two teams as before, you can position yourself in front of them, while you swim backwards. This allows you to face and monitor them most of the time, with only brief glances over your shoulder to check your direction. In this position you are leading and monitoring at the same time. If you do choose to use two teams, one behind the other, it is important to ensure you stay in close proximity to all participants, so you are able meet the supervisory requirements “… make immediate physical contact with, adjust buoyancy for, and render assistance to, participants.” Let the participants set the pace for the dive.
On the side
— if there is a barrier on one side of the divers, such as a wall, positioning yourself on the other side of the group makes you the outside “barrier” to keep divers contained as much as possible. Shifting from hovering on the top to the side is also useful when you are trying to get the attention of your divers for air checks or to observe marine life because people are less likely to look up.
— position your assistant in front, swimming backwards. Your assistant leads the dive and helps you monitor. This gives you the latitude to hover above and around the sides of the divers to monitor comfort, air supply and buoyancy. In this positioning, you are slightly back to clearly see the last part of the group, the assistant is in front, clearly seeing the front of the group,with all four supervisory eyes on the group. This positioning puts the majority of supervising and assessing diver comfort on you (instead of on a potentially less-qualifi ed assistant), and frees you up from having to think about leading the dive.
When everything is favorable
— adding participants beyond the four allowed to one instructor.
When all factors are favorable (including conditions, logistics, participants responding extremely well to the skills, etc.) you may consider taking an additional one or two participants along withyour assistant to make a total of fi ve or six participants in the group. This is the exception, not the rule. You can use the same techniques above with fi ve or six people. If you add a second assistant, one can lead the dive; the other can position to the side of the group and you can alternate hovering above to going on the other side. Alternatively, one assistant can be looking for marine life to observe and other points of interest while you and the otherassistant are responsible for monitoring and supervising the group. Have clear predive communication with assistants on supervisoryand dive expectations.
Guide to Teaching for more conduct recommendations for Discover Scuba Diving programs.