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.