PADI MSDT, Mikhail is conducting a DSD in a pool with his friends Sophie and Aleksandr. After their initial experience, they decide they would like to continue with Mikhail to do a dive in Open Water.

Mikhail explains that will have to complete some skills as required by the standards before heading out to the open water.

Once completed Mikhail heads to the dive centre to prepare the equipment for the following day’s open water dives which he will be leading himself.

Neither Sophie nor Aleksandr required any weight in the pool and were using steel cylinders. Mikhail thinks they may need weight for the open water experience and asks the dive centre for two additional weight belts and some weight he has estimated using his Basic Weighting Guidelines from his Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Instructor Manual.

Another Instructor form the dive centre, Anastasia informs Mikhail that weight systems are not required equipment for the DSD and he could reduce his friend’s equipment rental bill by placing any weights they need into their BCD pockets.

Mikhail thinks for a moment and thanks Anastasia for her suggestion but informs her that he is going supply his friends with the weight system and any additional equipment he thinks will be necessary for his friends to have a safe and enjoyable open water experience.

Is Mikhail doing the correct thing and Anastasia correct in her thinking?

‘Anastasia is correct in saying that weight systems are not listed as required equipment for the DSD experience as it may take place entirely in a freshwater pool.

If a diver requires additional weight for this experience it should be provided along with a weight system with a quick release mechanism. This means placing any weights in a DSD’s BCD pockets is certainly a no-no.

Mikhail’s decision to provide his friends with the additional equipment to that listed as the minimum for a DSD is very prudent. DSD has no listed equipment required for a weight system, alternate air source, snorkel or any instrumentation apart from a submersible pressure gauge.

I would always equip individuals diving in open water with the equipment listed in Training Standards in the PADI Instructor Manual and encourage every dive leader to adopt a ‘Self-Reliant’ mentality, especially when diving with new trainee divers and DSD experience participants.

Imagine if you, the Instructor had an equipment failure in which you required an alternate air source? Or if you have a diver with a BCD failure and cannot quickly release excess weight at the surface?

I always refer candidates and experienced Instructors to the Judgement section of the PADI Instructor Manual and the PADI Members Code of Practice found in the Commitment to Excellence section of the same manual.

These contain ethical guidelines and encourage you to consider the intent of such things rather than engaging in bare minimums or attempting to teach to maximums without forethought.

I applaud Mikhail’s thought process here and the way he has used other components of the teaching system to improve the safety and enjoyment for his friends DSD experience.’

Gaz Lyden. 

Sven and Johanna decide to take their PADI Open Water Diver course whilst on holiday and wish to get some memories of their underwater experience. Their Instructor, Aba explains that if conditions are suitable and everything is going well with the course she may take a camera on the last open water dive and take some photos of the couple for them.

During open water dives 1 and 2 the conditions are great. Good visibility and no strong water movement and the couple are finding the course very enjoyable and taking to the skills very well.

The last day of the course includes the final open water dives, 3 and 4. During open water dive 3, the visibility drops considerably from the day before and surface conditions have lessened due to a storm overnight.

Aba informs the couple that she feels it’s best that she doesn’t take the camera for the final dive so she makes sure everything goes to plan and nothing distracts from the objectives they have agreed upon whilst planning with their PADI Dive Planning Slate; to dive safety and complete their Open Water Diver training.

Svan and Johanna understand even though they are disappointed. Aba explains that once the couple are certified she will happily take them on a dive the following day and take her camera to get some photos.

Is it against PADI standards for photographic equipment to be taken by an Instructor on Open Water Diver training? Is Aba justified in her decision to inform the couple she will not be taking her camera on the final dive of their course?

‘There is no mentioned with PADI standards about the use of photographic equipment used by dive professionals conducting open water sessions with the exception of the DSD experience.

Aba has used the EAP approach to determine whether she should take the camera on the last dive for Sven and Johanna – Environment – Activity – People.

Environment – Aba may be very familiar with her local environment but the previous evening’s storm made her think that conditions were not suitable for the use of the camera on this dive. Part of the personal readiness check every professional is duty bound to perform as outlined by the PADI Members Code of Practice states you must take into consideration your personal ability, dive site, knowledge and confidence before each dive. The decision not to take the camera on this dive is a prudent one based on these factors.

Activity – Although Aba would not be in any violation of a standard she must consider the intent of the activity she is partaking in; teaching the foundation of safe diving to novice divers. Using her judgement and the guidelines stated in the Judgement section of her PADI Instructor Manual, she feels that her ability to effective directly supervise the activity on these conditions would be diminished if the camera were present.

People – Sven and Johanna appear to be safe, competent and comfortable students but it’s important to remember that they are still just that, students. Until they are certified, Aba has a duty of care to directly supervise and teach to mastery all of the performance requirements for the Open Water Diver certification. Even if she feels their ability to conduct the performance requirements in the conditions they are diving in, she feels her personal ability to conduct the dive effectively would be diminished with the presence of the camera.

Even though Aba feels the conditions are adequate for the Sven and Johanna to conduct their final open water training dive, the decision to err on the side of caution and leave the camera because she feels it would impede her ability to directly supervise them is a good one and allows Aba to represent herself as a prudent dive professional’

Gaz Lyden.

Assam wishes to complete his PADI Wreck Diver and PADI Night Diver Specialty course over the course of a week while on vacation.

He explains to his PADI Instructor, Melissa that he would like to get as much night diving experience as possible during his trip.

Melissa suggests that they complete the first Wreck Diver and Night Diver dives on the first day his trip. That way on the second day they would be able to complete the second Wreck Diver dive the following night. That way allowing him one more wreck dive than was originally planned.

Is this a good idea and allowed by PADI standards?

‘Melissa is looking to balance safety, standards and customer satisfaction and is doing it very well. The standards for the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty Course states that non-penetration dives may be conducted at night for students who have completed the first dive from the PADI Night Diver Specialty Course.

Having Ammar complete the first dive on the wreck during daylight hours is good practice as she may have no previous diving experience with Ammar and can use this as a chance work on anything during her assessment of his readiness for upcoming performance requirements.

Lastly, the way she has looked for solutions to a customer while working within the parameters of the standards and their intent is to be applauded!’

Gaz Lyden

Assistant Instructor Sarah is conducting the PADI Seal Team with two sisters; Annie aged 8 and Lilly aged 10.

After completing the first five AquaMissions in a local pool both sisters say they would like to continue but want to stay together.

The sister’s mother, Val contacts Sarah’s manager saying that the girls would really like to try diving in the open water. Sarah’s manager asks Sarah if she would be willing to take the girls for some of the Master Seal Team AquaMissions from the beach just outside the dive centre.

Should Sarah take Annie and Lilly from the beach for their Master Seal Team AquaMissions?

‘The Master Seal Team AquaMissions must all be conducted in a pool. How to conduct them is found in PADI’s Guide To Teaching.

Sarah’s manager may not be aware of this but she can point it out to her as stated in the PADI Instructor Manual, Section Three of Seal Team.

There are options for the sisters to be able to dive in limited open water if they wish. They can either complete the PADI Bubblemaker experience together, Lilly may even begin her Open Water Diver Course.

Allowing the sisters to dive together in open water through the Bubblemaker and then complete the Master Seal Team program would be a great way to balance out customer satisfaction safety and the correct application of the standards’

Gaz Lyden. 

Mali’s PADI Open Water Diver students, Christina and Bert loved their course and would like to continue their education.

After talking about the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course they realise they won’t have the time to complete the whole course so Mali explains the PADI Adventure Diver option and how PADI Adventure Dives work.

Their goal is to become PADI Advanced Open Water certified as they would one day like to become PADI Divemasters. After discussing their options with Mali they opt to complete their Deep Diver, Underwater Navigator and Peak Performance Buoyancy Adventure with Mali but not certify as PADI Adventure Divers as they plan to take a referral to their local dive centre and complete their Dry Suit and Night Diver Adventure Dives when they return home after this trip.

What does Mali need to do before beginning this program and is she within PADI standards?

“Mali would need to complete the PADI Continuing Education Administrative Document as it is required for any component of the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.

She also needs to issue each student the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver student manual too. Even though the students are not completing the entire program, PADI standards dictate that the student must have a personal copy of the materials both during the course and for their use afterwards.

Even though Christina and Bert would qualify for the PADI Adventure Diver certification after the completion of the dives and required knowledge development, their choice to take the referral option is a wise one. This reduces their costs as they will not need to certify for two separate programs.

There is also no time limit set on this referral either in accordance to PADI standards which states the exception for PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and PADI Specialty Diver courses from the standard 12 months after the last completed section of training.”

Gaz Lyden.