You hit the nail on the head--it's the instructor...
Jason - Open Water/Sales
August 9, 2006 at 15:10:02
I think the instructor is a biggest factor. I got PADI certified last year and have been on over 20 dives. My instructor really put me through the paces and made me do the skills over and over in the pool until I felt comfortable. I was his only student and he took the time to go through everything in detail until I understood the "how to" and "whys".
When we went to do the open water dives he had three other students who had received their classroom and pool training from another dive shop. My instructor was doing their open water dives and skills as a courtesy to this other instructor. I couldn't believe how poorly prepaired these students were.
One showed up both mornings with alcohol on his breath. One panicked doing the basic skills and the other got lost. The one that panicked was sent back for re-training. The other two with a little more work got it finally and were passed. I was so miffed after having dives cut short. After it was all over there was only one of the three that I would consider going diving with.
The difference when I look back on it was the instructor. He used the same PADI materials and they had the same amount or more of pool time. My brother in law got his OW certification from the same instructor that I did and he is a great diver. I have to go right back to the instructor. People like to blame PADI because they are the big target but bad instructors are bad instructors. Personally I think resort certification and the scuba diver card should be given the old heave ho but really if a person with scuba certification goes out diving thinking they have an OW card they are just stupid.