Creating the next generation
At the start of every open water dive class, I think about the aspirations I have for those divers. Will they love diving? Will they continue to dive? Will they be the next great dive masters? But, at the heart of it all I wonder if they will go on to become great lovers of and advocates for our oceans. Most times my dive students end up being weekend or vacation divers, enjoying a fun dive on their leisure time. And that is perfectly wonderful. But, every once in awhile I'll get some amazing divers that want to continue on with dive training to be the best divers and dive buddies that they can be. Some even go through to the professional dive level.
You see, the Open Water dive course essentially teaches you everything that you need to know to breath and be comfortable underwater. It's a doorway to underwater opportunity if you will. In Open Water you learn the skills to explore the underwater world safely and comfortably. Some divers will go no further than this and that is perfectly wonderful. Open Water classes create the next generation of ocean advocates. People that see first hand the beauty and wonderment of our oceans and issues that are threatening our marine environments.
But, there is so much more you can do with diving above the open water certification. One thing I always tell my students is that I recommend three courses, 1) Open Water (obviously) 2) Advanced Diver and 3) Rescue Diver. Advanced Divers really get the chance to explore their interests. This is where you fine tune your skills as a diver and hone in on new skills in areas that interest you. Areas like wreck diver, deep diver, search and recovery or underwater naturalist. Is your goal to dive the many awesome wrecks of our coasts and lakes? Try the Wreck Diver adventure dive! Do you love marine ecosystems and want to know more about them? Do the Underwater Naturalist adventure dive! Or, maybe like most of us, we want to see what is below 60 feet! The Deep Diver adventure dive let's you do just that. There's so many opportunities to learn more about what interests you. Essentially, the Advanced course makes you a better diver.
Then on to the Rescue Course. Now this is course is the MOST fun! It's completely hands on, physical and most importantly it teaches what to do in case of an emergency. This is the course I wish that EVERY diver would take! You never know when a problem is going to arise and you want to be sure you are darn ready for when it does. You could be the one to save someones life after all. The Rescue course and associated First Aid/CPR course give you confidence in knowing how to handle problems should they happen. I don't know about you but, if I get into a dive emergency I want to be darn sure my buddy knows how to handle it!
Disclaimer: Please don't freak out! Diving is still one of the safest sports on the market. No joke it's safer than bowling!!! Here's a link in case you don't believe me :) http://www2.padi.com/blog/2017/07/17/scuba-diving-safe/ We teach divers to be conservative and safe. It's our goal in fact. When diving within limits you are extremely unlikely to encounter a problem. Nonetheless.....I always recommend being prepared for problems. I mean, shouldn't that always be the case diving or not?
Anyway...so why do I bring this up? Well, I recently had the pleasure of teaching two divers who, from the start, want to be the best divers they can be. One of which is a 16 year old who is smart, articulate, highly driven and all around awesome. She gave me hope for the future of our world. These two divers reminded me of why I choose to teach others to dive. They were genuinely intent on putting in the effort to get the maximum joy out of diving. It's students like these two that are the reason I show up for class (spoiler alert! It isn't for the money).
I was fortunate to be able to spend World Ocean's Day with these two at the best place possible, underwater. It was a downright pleasure.
So cheers to you my next generation of ocean lovers and advocates! Thank you for putting the metaphorical air in my tank!