Selecting an instructor for your diving education isn’t something you should take lightly. At all skill levels, the most important factor isn’t the agency. Rather, it’s the instructor that makes the difference in how much your get from the course.
Since you’re on my website, you’re obviously aware of the World Wide Web and may have even been researching me when you found this site. If so, good for you! You need to keep in mind that you will be placing your life in the hands of your instructor. Google their name and see what comes up, but keep an open mind. There are many people who enjoy posting inaccurate information to the web. Also, don’t forget to check training agency sites. IANTD has an area where you can double-check your potential instructor’s qualifications, and PADI keeps a list of instructors who have been expelled and suspended.
If you’re satisfied with what you found on the net, set aside some time and give your potential instructor a call. E-mail is easy, but sometimes can be misread or sent to the Junk Mail folder without even being seen! Some of the questions you may want to ask are:
More than likely the instructor will have some questions for you. Answer honestly and don’t be offensive if they ask about your skill level. The best instructor-student relationships start here!
If you feel comfortable with the instructor after talking with him or her, ask them for the names of some previous students. Some of the questions you may want to ask them include:
Once you’re satisfied that you and your instructor are a good match, sign-up for the class! Should any questions arise while you’re in class, always talk to your instructor. If for some reason you won’t be able to attend, make certain you contact your instructor immediately. There should be no surprises (you asked about the cancellation policy earlier, right?
When shopping for SCUBA instruction, it’s important to not focus soley on price. SCUBA can be a deadly serious sport and quality instruction is imperative. With so many agencies teaching similar courses, the deciding factor becomes the person teaching you to expand you limits.