Becoming a PADI Scuba Instructor – Our Experiences

So you are thinking about becoming a PADI Scuba Instructor, check out our club’s video of our IDC / IE experience.  I know for me personally this was a big decision,  because of the responsibility, time and costs.  First of all if you are a diver (and at the point of considering becoming a professional scuba instructor) you know by now that this endeavor isn’t cheap.  First you really should have your own equipment at this point, if not then perhaps you should come back when you do.  Secondly you have to have a minimum number of dives, these are cheap either.  Finally there are all the costs associated with getting to the Instructor Examination…

  • Divemaster Course (if you are not already)
  • Emergency First Response Instructor Course (EFRI) – course and processing fees apply
  • Instructor Development Course (IDC) – minimum a week or longer (Assistant Instructor & Open Water Scuba Instructor Course) — price will vary here by your Course Director and location.  We went with Platinum Course Director Camille Lemmens (
  • Instructor Examination (flat fee for exam but does have processing fees not included, dives not included)
  • Specialty Instructor (we completed ours with Camille, he gave us a great rate too).  There are Course Director (CD) Costs plus PADI processing fees too.  Dives may/may not be included depending on CD
  • Lodging – don’t forget you need a place to stay
  • Food – you gotta eat

Ok so you have the money…now your ready right?  Ummmm maybe.  Skills need to be perfect and at demonstration quality.  You also have to be ready and comfortable to present knowledge development in a classroom and conduct confined and open water skills.  Hopefully you haven’t forgot what oyu have learned in your other courses because you will need all that now.  You must consistently conduct an open water rescue and be prepared to recall all the physics, physiology, environment & skills, eRDP (or dive tables) and equipment.  Finally you still have one test left…and open book Standards test.  This test isn’t as easy as it sounds, they ask some very specific and intricate questions that will have you searching everywhere to verify it isn’t a trick question.

Don’t be scared though, if you have a good Course Director (like we did) it will be a constructive learning environment that is as challenging as it is fun.  Read our daily blogs below from our experiences:

  • IDC Day 1 – Practice Tests and Skill Evaluation
  • IDC Day 2 – Pool and Knowledge Development Presentations
  • IDC Day 3 – Graded Skills
  • IDC Day 4 – Graded Knowledge Dev. & Confined Water Presentations and Rescue Diver
  • IDC Day 5 – Graded Theory Test & More Presentations
  • IDC Day 6 – Graded Confined Water Presentations, Remainder of Presentations
  • IDC Day 7 – Open Water Presentations & Rescues
  • IDC Day 8 – More Open Water Presentations and Rescues
  • IE Day 1 – Dive Theory & Standards Exams, Graded Skill Circuit, Graded Confined Water Presentations
  • IE Day 2 – Open Water Presentations, Rescue, Knowledge Dev. Presentation and GRADUATION! Night Diver Specialty
  • Specialty Instructor Day 1 – Search & Recovery, Navigation
  • Specialty Instructor Day 2 – Wreck Diver, Sidemount
  • Specialty Instructor Day 3 – Deep, Nitrox, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Gas Blender



Specialty Instructor – Day 1

2014-08-06 15.57.32

Last night we finished the Night Divers Specialty Instructor course. So today we woke up early (not as early as the previous days) to knock out some specialty presentations. We did Search and Recovery and Underwater Navigation Specialty Instructor training before diving today. PADI puts a 3 training dive limit on students and since we were in a “student” capacity for the instructor courses we can only do 3 training dives per day. This meant some pretty busy days with 3 dives in the morning / early afternoon followed by remaining presentations and coursework.

Once we came back from the 3 dives we cleaned equipment and grabbed a quick bite to eat. Around 1500 we gathered with our Course Director (Camille Lemmens) for the Wreck Diving Specialty Instructor training. The information that he provided was really great, especially for those of new instructors that weren’t familiar with any technical diving. Although the course is NOT technical diving there are risks involved that are greater than that of just normal diving…after all the last dive for the specialty could involve penetration.

To give everyone a minute taste of how difficult it could be to navigate while blind we practiced setting up and following lines by feel. We had to follow our original line and not get off our exit line. This was a great exercise that everyone had fun with while learning some difficulties that might occur underwater.

If you are interested in doing penetration diving please watch this video first:

IE Day 2 (Final Day)- Reward or Recycle?

PADI IE Sacheon, ROK August 2014

“When you have some goal out here that you are stretching for, reaching for, that takes you out of your comfort zone you will find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you had. When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do, what will keep you in the game?” (Les Brown)

Talk about nervous…we all stayed up LATE to ensure we hit every point possible for our Knowledge Development presentations as well as the Open Water Presentations. Each Instructor Candidate had to present 2 skills, conduct and evaluate students (with problems) and then conduct a debriefing. We arrived at the dive site early and conducted Pre-Dive checks and equipment inspections to ensure we had everything that we needed for the skills. Once we were all confident we had everything we gather around our Examiner to begin the briefings.

With the briefings out of the way we headed into the water for our remaining Open Water evals: Open Water and Rescue Exercise #7. Open Water evaluations went well, everyone caught their problems. By now it was no surprise that Rescue #7 wasn’t difficult with anyone and we were now moving through the rescue with professional skill and speed…slow is smooth and smooth is fast. One of the difficult considerations within this particular IDC/IE was we were in a transitional period between old PADI Open Water course and the new PADI Open Water course. This wasn’t a huge hindrance however it did present unique situations for both our IDC Course Director and Staff as well as the Instructor Examination process. All in all it was still a great experience and I personally was glad to be taking the IDC/IE during this transition.

After a short break for lunch and gear clean-up we moved back to Bahama Dive Shop to conduct debriefings and present our LAST task…Knowledge Development Presentations. Everyone did a great job on the presentations, by now we were down to +/- 6 minutes with videos. A very nice accomplishment for some. Now that those skills were completed with excellent scores we were all ready to finally join the ranks of PADI Scuba Instructors.

There is no doubt that we couldn’t have made it this far with these scores without the dedication of Allen Rivera who was an excellent IDC Staff Instructor and of course our PADI Platinum Course Director Camille Lemmens (check out his post). Thank-you both for getting us here and being great mentors!

Mango & Grapefruit Bing Su

After that was done we treat ourselves to some MangoSix Mango Bing Su…however we still weren’t able to relax yet. Once we came back from MangoSix we rolled right into PADI Specialty Instructor, Night Dive Specialty. Once we got out of the water we were finally able to relax and enjoy our accomplishment.

I wanted to take a couple lines to put up some IDC/IE quoates:

“you know what I do…I just go on online and google the objectives” (Wildcard, 2014)

“bam, I go to this website…I never look at my cards” … “and then I just look at the video” …”fuck my cards” (Wildcard, 2014)

“all your shit is in space…on your air drive, on your blocks of 22,000 terabytes” (Wildcard, 2014)

Congrats to the 5 newest PADI Instructors!

Carel Aucamp
Larry Bainbridge
Michael Podesta
Lisa Rivera
George Smith