5 Tips for Pros: How to Maintain Your Scuba Gear Properly

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As a PADI Professional, your scuba gear is exposed to heavy use – much more than the average recreational diver. Three or five dives a day teaching students or guiding certified divers will quickly leave their mark, and you’ll notice your diving equipment ageing much quicker than usual.

Of course, you can help to counteract this wear and tear with proper maintenance of your dive equipment, allowing you to get the best results from your gear despite the high strain.

Above all you shouldn’t forget that you always have a role model function as a PADI Pro, and your scuba gear in particular should always be exemplary: clean, well maintained and fully functional. This way you show your students and other divers that you’re a conscientious diving professional, and demonstrate the importance of well-maintained diving gear.

Here are 5 tips on properly caring for your scuba equipment:

#1 – Rinse your diving equipment thoroughly after every dive

It doesn’t matter if you’re diving in fresh or salt water; clean your scuba gear with clean water after every dive. This will help to remove dirt and other contaminants like micro-organisms or stinging particles from coral or jellyfish. It also helps to prevent the unwanted formation of salt crystal build-up after open water dives in the ocean.

#2 – Dry your diving equipment after every dive

neoprene-careSure, it can difficult as a PADI Pro to do this if you use your diving equipment multiple times during the day. But in between your dives, try to dry out your gear as well as you can. When dive gear is kept damp (especially when stored), bacteria or fungi can quickly develop and spread, which not only damages your diving equipment but can also trigger infections and irritations to your skin.

To dry your scuba gear hang it up outside, ideally in a dry and breezy place but not directly in blazing sunshine. Sunlight can cause faster ageing of materials and can make neoprene and rubber parts brittle.

scuba-equipment#3 – Check any moving parts regularly for dirt and defects

At least once a day, you should make sure that all moving parts on your diving equipment (such as buckles on your BCD, inflator buttons, regulator purge buttons etc.) are clean and working properly. That way you’ll be reassured that there are no dirt, sand or salt crystals stuck in your diving gear that might cause a malfunction during a dive.

#4 – Deep-clean and maintain your diving equipment on a regular basis

In addition to rinsing your kit with clean fresh water after each dive, you should also wash your gear thoroughly at least once a week with a special cleaner designed for dive equipment. This applies not only for neoprene suits, but also for your BCD.

scuba-gear#5 – Store your diving equipment properly

Between dives – and especially if you’re taking some time away from teaching – you should ensure that your gear is stored properly to avoid damage and deformation of the material. Make sure it’s completely dry before packing it away (see #2), don’t stand your fins on the blade-end (as they’ll bend out of shape), and ensure the glass in your diving mask is protected from being scratched.

In addition to these 5 tips, you should always be very careful when carrying and using your diving equipment. Strong impact can easily damage your gear, especially the small components in your BCD and regulator.

PADI’s Equipment Specialist Touch is a great tool to help refresh your memory on maintenance techniques, even as a PADI Professional. It’s also a valuable teaching aid to use with your students to help them learn the importance of caring for their scuba equipment.


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.

My Top 3 EMEA Dives – Part 3: The Zenobia, Cyprus (Guest blog by Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler)

In this article, guest blogger Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler concludes her list of top 3 dives in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Missed the previous articles? Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.


Dive Site: Zenobia Wreck

Location: Larnaca, Cyprus
Description: Wreck
Length: 174 meters
Depth: 18 – 42 meters

The Zenobia wreck is one of the top wreck dives on the planet, originally a roll on-roll off (RO-RO) ferry, not unlike the ferries that service the Dover-Calais route between the UK and France.

She sank in 42 meters of water in Larnaca, Cyprus on her maiden voyage in June, 1980 after departing from Malmo, Sweden. Her final destination was Tartous, Syria but she never made it; after just a short while at sea her captain noticed severe steering problems. Investigations showed that the ballast tanks on the port side were filling with water, and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

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My Top 3 EMEA Dives – Part 2: Ari Atoll, Maldives (Guest blog by Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler)

In this article, guest blogger Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler continues her run-down of her top 3 dives in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Missed Part 1? Read it here.


Dive Site: Ari Atoll

Location: Maldives
Description: Trench
Depth: 0 – 30 meters

I was lucky enough to celebrate my 30th birthday on a liveaboard in the Maldives. Four dives a day, in a location that is all about diving, was a dream come true. If I had to choose one dive that has stuck with me however, it has to be the whale shark encounter that I had in the Gaafu Atolls.

Strong currents are something that I am not used to (I come from a Mediterranean environment which is notorious for its calm, clear waters) and this trip was my first use of a reef hook. The current was particularly strong on this dive; my brother and I made a quick, negative entry and headed straight down to 20 meters – as we had been briefed to do beforehand. The plankton-rich waters were teeming with life, the cleaning stations were prominent and the dive group was experienced. This meant that the conditions were perfect for a very close encounter indeed.

The maldives are world-renowned for crystal clear waters and stunning marine life

Our dive guide must have been psychic. No sooner than the 10 of us making the dive had tucked ourselves away, a whale shark with an adolescent pup came into view. She was enormous. She was gentle and glorious. She was here for a cleaning and my brother and I were just meters away. I could have reached out and touched her if I had wanted to (I didn’t of course).

After 10 minutes the other divers started getting fidgety, but I didn’t want to move. I looked at my brother and could see that he had no intention of moving either. I signaled to the dive guide that we would stay, and that we would end the dive when either of us became lower on air with the safety of my DSMB, and that they should continue their dive. They signaled “OK”, released their hooks, and were a distant spec within minutes.

We stayed there for almost an hour. The whale shark was cleaned and we watched every second of it.

Whale sharks are regular visitors to the Maldivian atolls

This dive stays with me forever. I felt like I was on a conveyor belt of wonder, that my brother and I were the last two humans on earth and we had front row seats to all the action. I have seen whale sharks before, but this was the dive of a lifetime…. and that’s why it has made my top 3!

If you’ve enjoyed this article, watch this space for Part 3!


Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa.

My Top 3 EMEA Dives – Part 1: Million Hope Wreck (Guest blog by Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler)

“So what’s your favorite dive site?” asked a freshly scuba addicted student yesterday.
“Ummm… That’s a really hard question!” I’d replied.
He looked puzzled, “Why?”

Why indeed. I am a PADI Instructor, as are many of you. I am sure you get asked about your favorite dive site all of the time too – don’t you? What is your answer? How do you choose? How is it possible to remember every amazing experience underwater and then pick only one? It is almost always impossible. Diving is incredible in so many ways. You can enjoy a wreck dive as much as a wildlife dive, but we love them each for very different reasons.

So I thought I would write about my top 3 dive sites in this three-part blog series. Surely I can narrow it down to 3!

Dive Site 1: Million Hope Wreck

Location: Nabq Sharm El Sheikh
Description: Wreck
Length: 130 meters
Depth: 0-30 meters

Million Hope

This wreck has it all. It’s huge, it’s in shallow water, it’s covered in coral and teeming with life. This wreck is rarely dived due to its proximity to the shore line, and notoriously choppy waters make it hard to get there. However, if you are lucky enough to dive it you will be in for a real treat. It took me three trips to Egypt and many attempts by RIB before we had the right conditions to dive the Million Hope Wreck!

Why I love it…

Some of the ship is still visible above the surface but the majority is underwater. The shallow depth makes this wreck one of the most colourful and vibrant wrecks that I have ever seen. The traffic of fish was thick and the nudibranch were out in force. Beautiful.

It’s a big wreck! It is possible to get round it in one dive, although the use of nitrox to extend bottom time will make it a lot easier. This wreck sank in 1996 whilst heading for Cyprus. It was carrying fertilizer high in phosphates; the cargo had to be removed following an algae bloom, but there is still lots to see. The cranes that lie on the bottom create overhangs and there is even a Caterpillar crane at 22 meters; a bizarre addition to the dive that’s covered in colourful soft corals. The rotten seat and flooded controls are contrasted by the many scorpion, lion and glassfish that have made their home there.

Million Hope Wreck

White broccoli coral hangs from the ship’s stern but unfortunately the prop and rudder have been removed, leaving a void that the coral struggles to fill. It is one of the places on this ship that makes you feel very, very small! The hull is covered by enormous fire sponges and pajama slugs, as well as there being numerous starfish and pipefish clinging to it. There is a rotary telephone and a toilet seat in the sand surrounded by raspberry coral. There are penetration points everywhere; crew quarters, illuminated by various portholes; a work room complete with spanners on wall hooks, and where a piece of cloth still tied around an old radiator reminds us that this was a working ship.

You can also see the two boilers and twin six-cylinder engines before going up to make your safety stop. My “safety stop” lasted for more than 15 minutes! It was so beautiful between 3 and 5 meters that I could have stayed there forever.  The Million hope is a photographer’s dream – so full of natural light. The contrast of this huge rusty beast next to the multi-colored coral is one of the most breathtaking things I have ever seen.

Million Hope Wreck

If you’ve enjoyed this article, watch this space for Part 2 next week!


Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Working on a Liveaboard: Pros and Cons

For many PADI Pros, the thought of working on a liveaboard is a dream opportunity. Maybe you’ve already toyed with the idea or started applying for that once-in-a-lifetime position, imagining endless expanses of sea and the fascinating dive sites that can only be reached by safari boat.

Whilst this is certainly a worthy attraction for PADI Pros, there’s a few lifestyle sacrifices you’ll also need to be aware of – and prepared to make – to avoid disappointment. Check out the pros and cons below to make sure you know what to expect before heading out to sea on your first job.

Pros

#1 Dive sites

Many of the best and most spectacular dive sites of our blue planet can only be reached from a liveaboard. As a PADI Pro, you’ll undoubtedly experience countless memorable dives that you wouldn’t have access to from the shore.

#2 Experienced divers

If you work as a PADI Pro on a liveaboard, you will accompany many experienced divers on their dives and depending on the level of experience they may even ask to go alone with their dive buddy. This means you’ll often only need to guide smaller groups and show them the most beautiful corners of dive sites.

feel4nature-tauchsafari-1#3 Specific interests

Due to the previous dive experience often required for a longer safari trip, it’s less common to encounter training courses on a liveaboard, and those that are conducted usually focus on developing the specific interests of the group or skills relevant to the type of dives they’ll do, such as PADI Digital Underwater Photographer, PADI Deep Diver or PADI Enriched Air Diver. This often means you’ll be able to apply more of your personal interests and experience over a more relaxed scenario.

#4 Building relationships

Because you will spend a week or even longer with your guests on a liveaboard trip, there is plenty of time to build up a friendly relationship with the divers on board. Not only does this mean building happy memories from great trips, but it’s also a springboard for creating loyalty amongst customers who will want to come back and dive with you – and your business – in the future.

Cons

#1 Limited lifestyle

If you have ever been on a boat, you’ll remember how small the space can be, and cabins of liveaboard boats are no exception. Dive guests may only spend a few days like this, but remember you may need to call it your home for several months.

You’ll also need to be prepared to sacrifice comforts such as long showers, internet access and even peace and privacy, as well as the ability to catch up with your partner or friends at the end of each day – while you’re on board, your friends are your customers.

#2 Need for preparation

One of the benefits of liveaboards is the ability to travel to faraway destinations, sometimes several hours away from land. This means you need to be prepared for the journey as you won’t be able to pop back to shore if you need something.

From Divemaster training and above, self-sufficiency is emphasised – and bringing extra gear in case you or your guests need something is even more important when liveaboard diving. Double check your packing list to make sure everything is on board, which should include plenty of spare gear, from o-rings to masks, as well as medical supplies such as seasickness tablets.

feel4nature-tauchsafari-2#3 Physical demands

As a PADI Professional working on a liveaboard, you may be expected to complete multiple dives every day for several days at a time, and there won’t be spare Divemasters or Instructors ready to take your place once you’re out at sea. It won’t be possible to cancel your guests’ diving plans just because you feel tired or just don’t feel like diving today – just like shore-based operations, you are required to support the needs of your paying customers, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re fit for duty. If you don’t think you can keep up with the demand, then liveaboard diving might not be for you.

#4 Diving experience

We already know that liveaboards travel to some of the best diving spots in the world, but quite often these are also the most demanding places to dive. Strong currents, difficult entries, dives in blue water with no reference and potentially tricky surface conditions mean that, as a PADI Pro with guests under your care, you need to have enough experience in the same conditions to be able to safely operate and guide the dive.

If you’ve read the above and think that liveaboard diving is a perfect match for your skills and lifestyle, then visit the Job Vacancy board on the PADI Pros’ Site today to start searching for your dream job!


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.

Women’s Dive Day: Go Pro, Girls!

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Today is PADI Women’s Dive Day, and in this guest blog article, Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler shares exactly why she wants to encourage more women to take the next step and become PADI Pros…


I have been a diver since 1992 and I can say, without a doubt, that scuba diving has been the driving force behind my own personal development. I became a professional diver on Halloween 2005, joining the largest diving family that is PADI, and it changed my life forever. How have I felt throughout my journey? How did I feel entering a sport that I had considered a “manly” activity? Why am I passionate about encouraging more females to take the plunge and Go Pro?

Cultural

Equality. It is a beautiful word. It opens so many doors and scuba diving is definitely one of them. Women are being encouraged to lust after everything, women are encouraged to try anything that takes their fancy. Scuba diving is no exception. What was before considered extreme has become safer. What was before considered unusual has become an experience not to be missed. Equality has given women the confidence to think “I can do everything” and we can. Cultural differences may have meant that men were considered to possess greater physical strength, finding it easier to lift heavy scuba equipment, but that perception is a thing of the past.

Alexandra DimitriouExperience

When I became a scuba diver I was seen as a “tom-boy” – a little unusual, and it makes me extremely happy to say that this is no longer the case. When I was a child my father had over 10 friends who he would dive with – only one was a woman. She was seen as a dare-devil and I wanted to be just like her. I was the only girl on my dive courses from my PADI Open Water Diver course to Rescue Diver.

When I signed up for the Divemaster course, however, things had already started to change. The dive center where I received my training had more female instructors then male and my course had a balanced split of students from all genders and backgrounds. I felt more at home, and less of an anomaly. It became more and more evident that diving could be an interest for anyone, that is was a uniting force that allowed global discovery across the board.

Equipment

Diving equipment now exists that has been developed with females in mind. Female specific BCD’s can now shift the load of our equipment from the upper back onto the hips – making it more comfortable. Wetsuits are now tailored to fit the female form, they fit better and are definitely more flattering! All equipment comes in a huge variety of colours and girls can now express themselves underwater. Diving equipment has become more female friendly.

Becoming a PRO

So why should more women think about taking the next step? Why should more women “Go Pro”?

Because we can do anything we want to do.

We can teach and spread our passion to the next generation. If I can do it, so can you. When a guy signs up for his PADI Open Water Diver course, encourage his girlfriend, sister or mother to sign up too! Any doubts that she may have can be immediately dispelled when she sees that you can do it – and that you have made it your career. She can become “one of the gang” and it will be life changing.

In my experience dive centers like to keep ratios even. They like to have both female and male instructors, as it allows them to cater to more of the market. This can improve your chances of getting that dream job in an exotic land.

So, over the years I’ve seen a shift in the diving world. A shift in perception, a shift in involvement and a shift in the pursuit of adventure. We can do everything, and anything that we set our minds to… so tie up that hair and jump in girls!


Alexandra Dimitriou selfieAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a dive center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner at Scuba Monkey Ltd.

Skills Deconstructed: The “How-To” on Happy Hovering

Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her next article shares advice on teaching the tricky skill of hovering to new students…


Good buoyancy control is one of the most important skills that a diver must master for two reasons: It keeps the diver in control throughout their dive and protects the marine environment at the same time.

Many students find hovering a tough skill to master. I know I did when I was an open water student, and that was over 20 years ago. I can still remember the frustration of not getting it right the first time. I can also remember the calm reassuring voice of my instructor.

So let’s see why students struggle sometimes.

Being overweighted: Take a lot of time with your guests when you first enter the water on day one. If a diver is overweighted, hovering is a nightmare. Take the extra time at the beginning and you will save time later.

Not thinking about how they are breathing: Try to emphasize that buoyancy should become a habit, and they should not just treat it as an isolated skill. Get them thinking about their breathing. Nothing more than that. Just make them aware from day one.

Getting Frustrated: Emphasize that hovering will take a little time, and because it is a skill that is controlled largely by the lungs, any changes to their rhythm of breathing will affect their success. If they get frustrated, their breathing will change, which will make it harder to control their buoyancy…. then they will get even more frustrated and the issue compounds itself.

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The Perfect Buddha Pose

So, what techniques can help you help your student?

#1 – Briefing

I like to tell my students the steps that I will go through before going into a hover. I ask them to kneel, stand or lie on the bottom, but I also emphasize the notion that, soon, contact with the floor will be eliminated altogether. I ask them to visualize their lungs once they get into the position that they would like to stay in for 30 seconds.

“Hovering requires control and it requires calmness” – This is my opening line when I start briefing them about this skill.

I keep this briefing for hovering only. I reassure them that they will be able to do it because they have already done multiple fin pivots and that hovering is almost the same – except this time ALL of their body will be off the bottom. I warn them that this is tricky because it is mostly about feeling the differences in their buoyancy as they inhale and exhale.

“As soon as you feel your body start to rise…. Exhale.

“As soon as you feel your body start to get deeper then inhale”

I repeat this several times. I show them how to signal this thought process underwater.

I find that keeping my voice to an almost yoga whisper keeps their nerves at bay. I keep repeating that they should stay calm, to have fun with this lesson and within a very short while they will never touch the bottom again if they don’t want to. I tell them that this is where the magic happens.

#2 Underwater

I find that this briefing is the key to success underwater. Students are prepared for the possibility that hovering will take time and therefore they give themselves the mental space to get their head around the physics of it.

michelle finlay (alex blog hovering)

Success for Michelle Finlay, hovering like a Pro!

I demonstrate the exaggerated breathing hand gestures that we instructors have used since our IDC. I get my legs into position and inflate my BC in tiny bursts to get to that bouncy feeling, signifying that I am neutrally buoyant. I show them that I am inhaling, that I start to rise because of it and that I exhale just as I get to the mid-water position. I show them the signal for thinking. Thinking about how full my lungs are as I control my position in the water.

In my experience students get to the mid-water point quite easily, but they cannot help but try to balance themselves with their hands and fins. Let them do it for a few seconds before gently silencing the movement. You are looking for a calm face. Let them feel the movement of a slightly-too-deep inhalation – how they ascend a little too far as a result. Let them feel it – don’t correct them too early but also be ready to stop them if they go up too fast. It’s a fine line between trial and error. Keep them safe above all but give them some learning room.

It won’t be long before they’re hovering like a pro – and they will remember your methods long after they have completed their first logbook entry all the way to the day when they might be teaching their very own students to hover!


Don’t forget, once your students have completed their PADI Open Water Diver course, they can sign up to complete a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty course to further improve their diving skills. For more information on becoming a PADI Peak Performance Specialty Instructor, click here or contact the PADI Training department.

How to Become Part of the Diving Dream Team (And Other Useful Tips)

Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her latest article focuses on what dive center owners look for when hiring scuba staff…


Scuba diving Instructors and Divemasters are considered to have the “Dream Job”. This year marks my 10th anniversary as a diving instructor. I have worked for countless dive operations before becoming a dive center owner, so I know both sides of how the staffing cookie crumbles….so let me share a few insider tips and tricks to a successful application.

So…..you are now a PADI Professional – but how do you get the job?

How many people were on your IDC? How many successful instructors did your examiner see this year? How many in the last 5 years? Ask the same question about becoming a PADI Divemaster. Just how many PADI professionals are there in the world anyhow?

I think you will find that the answer is “a lot” – close to 150,000 professionals in fact, and they are all competing for that “dream job”. What makes you so special? What makes you stand out above the rest? What are dive center owners looking for?

Dive Center Needs

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Diving is ever-evolving, as it now competes with countless other “extreme” sports in the leisure tourism market. Diving has responded by diversifying its menu, offering new practices like sidemount, technical and countless other distinctive specialties. Dive centers also compete with each other in each region in the hope that they too will stand out above the rest. Targeting niche markets is a great way to increase turnover, diversifying again and again as the market changes from year to year.

“Staff are the most vital element of any dive operation.”

Without staff we are dead in the water. Without you we cannot function. It is very well to stock your shelves with the best gear, state-of-the-art tech and offer every specialty under the sun – but if you do not have the support of the right staff then you are going to have problems.

When I look for dive center staff I look for six things:

#1 Training

When did you become an instructor/divemaster? What can you teach?

#2 Experience

This is a tricky one. Which is the better choice – the seasoned instructor or the newly qualified OWSI? Both have their benefits. Both have their drawbacks.

On one hand, a seasoned instructor who can teach 10 specialties is an awesome asset for the dive center, but how set in their ways are they? Can they teach each program and course with equal enthusiasm? Can they gel themselves into the team to become part of a well-oiled machine when the season kicks into full swing? In my experience the main advantage of hiring an instructor with experience is that they know how to get the methods of each PADI component in to an actual time schedule that is workable for the dive center.

DSC00740 copyThe newly certified instructor on the other hand, who is fresh off their IDC and has not yet worked in a dive center, is yours to mold. They have no experience, but sometimes this is a benefit as they have yet to pick up any bad habits. They are still in “learning mode” and absorb every molecule of information. The main advantage of hiring a “newbie” is that they are the most up to date instructor on the market. Latest IDC = Latest standards. Thanks to the IE they have very recently had these standards drilled in to them, repeatedly…

#3 Languages

Cyprus is a holiday destination with visitors from all walks of life. Learning and listening is much more comfortable for a guest if it is in their mother tongue, or at least one they understand. For this reason my main motivating factor when looking for staff is to fill this need. The more languages that you can teach in, the better. I worked for one dive center who paid their instructors an extra 50 dollars a week for every additional language that they spoke outside of English. That was pretty cool.

#4 Personality

IreEng06_0810The diving lifestyle is a dynamic one, full of energy and passion. I need my team to be full of it. Full of infectious enthusiasm that will keep our guests coming back again and again, year after year. Smiling is a uniform in my book, and there is no such thing as a bad day. I need to feel this energy. It needs to be oozing out of you. I love my job, and I want like-minded people around me. A good dive team bounces off each other, and we become a family, fast. You can have all the training in the world, but it is of no use to me or my dive center if you cannot smile.

#5 Local Knowledge

It is common sense that it takes a little time to learn a new dive site, and new staff require an orientation just like the rest of us. It is valuable to hire someone who is at least familiar with the sites where we take our customers as time is, after all, money. It is not essential however. A good divemaster or instructor should have a good sense of direction, a good memory of dive routes and therefore would be able to pick things up quickly – but prior knowledge is definitely a bonus.

#6 What can you do that I cannot?

As a team we each have our strengths and weaknesses. Together we are stronger. I will often hire someone who can teach specialties that I cannot, or have some other additional skill that will help the dive center as a whole. We never stop learning, and each addition to the team will bring something to the table, and we will learn from each other.

How do I evaluate prospective team members?

Step 1: Facebook

shutterstock_204633139Today, privacy is a luxury that has to be guarded vigilantly. The first thing I do when I receive an application is to cut and paste the applicants name straight into the Facebook search bar. You would be surprised how few people know how to use their privacy settings effectively. Public posts of drunken behavior, inappropriate material and not-politically-correct attitudes are not going to impress a prospective employer…..so pay close attention to this when looking for your dream diving position. What I do love to see on Facebook is an applicant’s enthusiasm for diving. Lots of smiles in dive gear repetitively posted shows a history of passion. That’s a good thing.

Step 2: CV

Your CV is your first contact with your potential employer. First impressions count. I like applications that also include a cover letter telling me a little bit about themselves before getting down to the sterile format of the conventional CV. Include a photograph too – after all, if you get the job you will become part of a family, and I like to see you as soon as possible. Ensure that your CV is in a format that is easy on the eye and above all, keep it brief and relevant. I do not want to have to search for information or read over 1000 words on why you like pickles. You also do not have to include every last job that you have ever had – your diving experience and training is what I am interested in, so that is what you should focus on. Include a reference if possible, and don’t forget the (correct!) contact details.

Step 3: Skype interview

If I like the look of your CV I will want to meet you. Face to face is ideal, but this is rarely possible, so Skype is a good alternative. I want to see the energy. I want to see the smiles. I do not want to see you in your underwear, in a bedroom that looks like scientists could find the missing link to human kind somewhere among your piles of dirty laundry. Impressions are very important, so be clean, on time and make sure your internet connection is not having any problems. You can be the happiest, most experienced candidate in the pile – but if I struggle to hear a whole sentence without the beeps and squeaks of a bad connection it will be hard for me to judge your character.

So what now?

PADI University Program Channel Islands Shoot March 24-29, 2007I think above all the right job for you as an instructor or divemaster is out there, you just have to find it. There is a dive center who is waiting for what you can bring to their mix. I think the best bit of advice I can give you above all is to be upfront with everything. Don’t oversell yourself and be honest. Don’t pad out your CV. Get as much experience as you can and be as flexible as possible. Let your personality show in your application – diving is high in people skills and even higher in passion, it is not a normal job and we hate the mundane…so don’t be afraid to shine.

Don’t be afraid of rejection either. Apply, apply, and apply!

“If a dive center does not accept you it does not mean that you are unsuccessful, it means that your journey to achieving your dream job is simply not over.”

They were just looking for something else and it is not an attack on your personality so don’t take it personally or let it get you down! Diversify your skills, take an instructor specialty course that is less common, or learn a new language. Get your PADI Course Director or student to write you a current testimonial – everything helps.

Who knows, I may even hire you at Scuba Monkey!


Looking for your dream scuba job? Check out the PADI Pros’ Site today for the latest dive industry vacancies – find them in the Classifieds Employment Board section.

Guest Blogger: Introducing Alexandra Dimitriou

Alexandra Dimitriou selfieAlexandra Dimitriou is a dive center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner at Scuba Monkey Ltd and will be writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa.

So, how did she get where she is today? Where does she want to go tomorrow? We caught up with Alexandra Dimitriou for the low-down…..

How did I become who I am today?

I am a “BBC” – a British Born Cypriot, but I grew up in Cyprus. I was lucky enough to have a childhood full of sea, sun and schooling. I could swim before I could walk and scuba diving was always going to be my future. My father was a scuba instructor for the British Sub Aqua Club and he was crazy about diving (he still is). He had a tiny compressor in our garage, and he painstakingly filled the tanks for his friends, as well as himself, all week in preparation for the weekend. The noise from this little machine used to drive my mother crazy, it took hours to fill just a few tanks, and the not-so low hum of this air pumping miracle became the soundtrack to my childhood.

I was always a strong swimmer and I can’t remember ever being chased around with water wings or other buoyancy aids by my mother. My father taught my brother David and I how to snorkel early so we could follow his bubbles while him and his group were diving. We would follow their bubbles as long as we could and often our jaws would ache from stretching our mouths wide enough to accommodate the mouthpiece (no kids’ sizes back then). We would help him and his friends get ready, and those moments were what I lived for every summer.

Under the BSAC umbrella, we were unable to become divers until we were 15 years old. I couldn’t wait that long. I just couldn’t. My father was good friends with a local PADI Instructor and he took me to his Dive Center in the Golden Coast Hotel one summer.Costas was my hero after that day. He put me through the PADI Open Water Diver course after I spent the summer helping them with anything that they would allow me to: coffee, floor sweeping, wetsuit washing – anything! I was twelve years old when I became a scuba diver. It was a milestone that has dictated my life ever since.

Catching the “SCUBA-bug”

I “worked” at the dive center every summer after that. I was rewarded every year with a new course and my enthusiasm grew exponentially. I was living in the UK by this time, for education, but I would return home every six weeks. I went diving whenever I could, but I did not put a toe in the colder British waters until I went to university in Plymouth. I graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in oceanography in 2003. My favourite modules were the underwater surveying ones. My diving experience secured me a spot on a work experience trip to Mexico, where we were counting sea lion pups for 3 weeks while camping in the desert. I still remember how these beautiful creatures moved underwater. Sea lion pups would often play “chicken” with you – swimming with a scary speed on what looked like a collision course before turning at the last possible second. They were training how to hunt. They were having fun. I was terrified for the first week, but by the time I was finished didn’t want to go home. Ever.

From Scuba Enthusiast to Scuba Professional

Alexandra DimitriouI did not become a PADI Divemaster until 2005 as I went sailing for a year after I graduated. I remember thinking that I wanted to take the first step on the professional ladder in dive conditions that were far from perfect. Plymouth waters were cold, and dry suits made me feel like an astronaut, but I loved it. My father thought I was crazy, but I assured him that I wanted to have more experience in low-visibility waters to prepare me for less than ideal conditions when working in regions outside of the Mediterranean.

I worked as a Divemaster in Ayia Napa Cyprus over the summer of 2005 with Lucky Divers. I received no payment, instead working in exchange for training in the form of the end of season PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC). I was one of 25 candidates, a huge group by today’s standards. We worked hard, we learned and we practiced until we were ready for the PADI Instructor Exam (IE) in October 2005. We were having fun, more fun than I have ever had. The Course Director and 7 IDC staff members definitely put us through our paces, often drilling us so hard that I remember dreaming about positive reinforcements, mask clearing and worries about failing to hover in front of the examiner. My worries were unfounded, just as I was assured of, and I became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor on Halloween, 2005. It was life changing.

The freedom of being an instructor

As an instructor I could now travel freely, funding myself while on the move without the need to go home and recharge the bank account. I worked in Cyprus, Thailand, Australia and Mexico; exploring each region in detail, unrestricted by time. I settled into every walk of life. I met people from every corner of the globe. It broke my heart to move on most times, but wanderlust is often strong within diving instructors and I was no exception. I must have done something right, however, as I have students who follow me to whereever I am when they want to take their next course.

Taking the Leap from Instructor to Dive Center Owner

I decided to become a dive center owner in 2011. I flew to Dusseldorf, Germany and went to Boot – the Disneyland for divers. I fell in love at Boot – with the L&W 450es compressor! I started choosing my dream equipment. I started visualizing my dream location. Everything was going well. We chose the hotel and had meetings for tour operator contracts set up for the spring of 2011.

I worked one more season as an employee in Cyprus in the summer of 2011, ever watching for the ideal location for my own school. I found it. I rented it. I found a concept coordinator who made my dreams an affordable reality. I gathered quotes for equipment. I formulated my profit and loss spreadsheets. I bought my beloved compressor. I gave it a name and Scuba Monkey Ltd opened its doors in May 2013. It was a proud moment.

Where I am now

We overcame the obstacles that any start-up business encounters. The move from instructor to dive center owner has been a steep learning curve, but I love it. It challenges me every single day and I cannot see my love of diving ever becoming mundane. I am hugely involved in all sides of the business and do most of the diving myself. Yes, I could delegate the water work to my team, but where is the fun in that? If I don’t dive at least once a day I become miserable. I was addicted to scuba from the first inhalation and I will continue as long as I am able. If I ever hang up my fins for good I will shut my doors forever. I will never get tired of it. Diving is my life and always will be.

Plans for the Future: Where do I want to go tomorrow?

Scuba MonkeyMy dream for tomorrow is growth: Growth for myself as a diver by learning new disciplines like sidemount, and growth for my business by offering an ever expanding menu of possibilities. I’m am extremely excited about the new digital learning options that PADI have been developing and releasing recently. The PADI Open Water Touch is a beautiful thing. You will fall in love with learning all over again with the first fluid finger swipe across your tablet, and the planet will thank you for choosing this paper-free alternative.

My five year plan for Scuba Monkey is to keep offering quality, not quantity….and growing slowly until I reach the criteria I need to qualify for all-desirable PADI 5* Status. I know I will get there, and if your dream is like mine – to open your own center – then you will too!