All beginner scuba students must be under direct supervision...
NY - Instructor/Engineer
August 30, 2007 at 16:40:24
One of the first things you learn as a responsible instructor is that if you do entry-level courses by the book, you're headed for the kind of trouble described in the news report that generated this forum topic. Supervision is inadequate--so are the training standards.
PADI OW standards allow for one instructor per eight students. We found that a ratio of one dive pro (instructor, assist. instructor, divemaster) per student is the only way to ensure their safety. You need to assign a dive pro to each student to monitor their air supply, assist them with problems and get them safely back to the surface if they panic. Ask yourself how a solo instructor could continue to supervise other students if one panics and must be taken to the surface. It's impossible. You can't be in two places at the same time. Add real-world factors such as limited visibility, currents, cold water, etc. and you start to realize why people get hurt during their scuba courses even though the instructor did everything by the book.
We also modified the course with better, more thorough training exercises that roughly double the content and duration of the standard PADI Open Water course to make sure that course participants actually master all of the required skills. The standard course is set up so you can more or less walk people through it holding their hands and then wave goodbye as you count their money hoping they eventually get it right. A lot of instructors do just that. It's called "selling C-cards".
Bottom line as far as this accident is concerned is that all beginner scuba diving students must be under direct supervision by a dive pro at all times.