View from the front line - Resort diving...
Stephen Hensley - Instructor/Instructor & guide
February 2, 2007 at 19:41:38
Propaganda is a two way street. PADI academics are among the best diver training academics in the world, if both the student and the instructor are able to sift out the BS. For example; in my opinion "consistently slow and deep" is not the most efficient way to breathe underwater, relaxed normal breathing is what I recommend to my students. I use that Knowledge Review (KR) question to teach students how to pass PADI quizzes and exam, it is the best option "given". Other pet peeves include; worrying about vertigo in very clear water for divers not recommended to dive deeper than 60ft (look at the bottom, the surface, your bubbles - clear water!), recommending a breathing check first for OW divers dealing with unconscious divers (picture Jr. OW daughter age 10 with obese parent in cardiac arrest!), questioning compass skills with square images and arrows not pointing North(??). Here's another, standards require scoring 75% or higher on quizzes and exam. With 10 Q's for quiz and 50 Q's for exam you can not score 75%. Why not just say you can only miss 2 on quizzes and 12 on the exam (76% or higher)?
All that is off topic; The topic is Scuba Diver Course: Unsafe at any Depth. Scuba Diver requires the first three book sections, KR's, pool sessions and Open Water dives 1 & 2. Rene claims "Fact is, that no one can make money with it", it being Bubblemaker, Discover Scuba and Scuba Diver (properly arranged). Among many resort dive operations the majority of the customers are Bubblemaker &/or Discover Scuba that result in not only the instructor and dive center "making money" but also the guest having a rewarding experience often resulting in a "new diver" down the road. After Discover Scuba my location offers the guest certification with the Discover dive and cost credited toward certification. If the student is flying in a couple days, they could chose either Referral (all academics and pool - no dive or $ credit) or Scuba Diver (both dive and $ credit). We also have quite a few guests that "just" Discover Scuba on their various vacations (refresher and instructor/guide for every dive vacation). Those are often my favorite customers, both my employer and I make more than we would if they were certified and they are quick and easy in the pool. Our resort area also has many return guests, including a few who have upgraded their Scuba Diver to Open Water Diver with us.
Another Rene claim "a lot of dive centers did not even teach the classroom sessions" could be a result of "proscriptive teaching". According to my PADI instructor training (spring '00), "if the student learned it on their own, move along". The first three sections of the book are fairly simple to understand on your own, second language being the biggest challenge. It is not uncommon for my students to properly complete KR's and ace quizzes (1-3). In my instructor manual; Outline/Course Overview/Course Structure (page 3-7) - 3. When we meet, a short quiz tells me how well you understand the material; then we'll review any areas where you have difficulty and I'll fill in information specific to diving in this area." If they had no difficulties with KR's and quizzes, academics is "only" reviewing the KR's and taking the quizzes. I go over local diving specifics in my briefing. Remember Rene's first claim "1. PADI has without a doubt the best diver education system in the world." My example is PADI academics "by the book" and there is minimal "classroom teaching" involved. If IANTD (my other instructor rating) or any other agency produces better divers how could PADI have "without a doubt the best diver education system in the world". What PADI has is the best compromise resulting in financial survival for instructor/scuba center. We must all Put Another Dollar In but without their marketing skills we wouldn't have the dollar to put in!
As people have been saying for years, it's not the agency it's the instructor. If the dive operator and/or guide/instructor chose to take Scuba Divers on deep dives with limited supervision, it is a problem with the operator/guide/instructor, not with PADI. If you are a prudent operator &/or instructor (following standards) the dangers are evidently minimal or the lawyers and insurance companies would not allow us to do it. There are things I do not like about PADI but I make sure my non Open Water certified divers are safe, not PADI. Similarly Rene, if the introductory programs only resulted in disappointment there would be very few resort dive centers so the "facts" do not match up with your conclusions. you just sound burned out and bitter. Good thing you are out of the business.