Student Son completes his PADI Open Water Diver certification at a Dive Centre while on holiday. He enjoys his experience so much he informs his Instructor, Rio he’ll be back the following year to complete his Divemaster and possibly become an Instructor.

Rio informs Son that he must be certified beyond Open Water for a minimum of six months before he is allowed to participate in the PADI IDC so she recommends he take some additional training while at home.

Seven months later and true to his word, Son arrives back at the Dive Centre and is greeted by Rio. He explains that he wants to jump right in and complete his PADI Rescue Diver certification and go straight on to his Divemaster.

Rio is excited to see her student back and that he is taking steps to become a dive professional too. Before they begin their training sessions, Rio asks to see Son’s certifications and logbook to see if he has made any advancement on his training and experience while back home.

He shows his logbook and it has 38 logged dives and he also produces his PADI Adventure Diver certification card which he completed immediately after arriving back home. His logbook shows he completed the Deep Diver, Underwater Navigator and Night Diver Adventure Dives.

Son’s logbook also indicates that he has dived in the last two weeks so Rio schedules the Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver courses for the following days.

The EFR program goes without issue but on the first day of the Rescue Diver course, during the Self-Rescue Review in confined open water, Son seems to be having some issues with his buoyancy.

He explains that he has been used to diving in different equipment, most notably a thicker wetsuit than the one he is using here and feels that he may have selected an incorrect amount of weight for this exposure protection.

Rio agrees and decides to halt the Self-Rescue Review and starts to brief a Buoyancy Clinic. She explains to Son that although this isn’t part of the course and not tied to the performance requirements for certification, she feels this will be very beneficial for the rest of the course.

She conducts a buoyancy check at the surface, neutral buoyancy and then asks Son to hover using both the power inflator and oral inflation. She then asks Son to descend into neutral buoyancy to see if can complete the Self-Rescue Review without making contact with the bottom, which he does successfully.

The following day Rio enlists the help of PADI Divemaster, Femi for the Rescue Skills and Scenarios required to complete the program.

After completing all of the required skills on day two of their training Son prepares to complete the scenarios set by Rio using the Emergency Assistance Plan he has created during their academic sessions together.

All three have a great time on the final day of their course and Son successfully rescues Femi in both scenarios twice over two sessions. The first session is much longer than the first and the dive they complete together is seven metre deep for 25 minutes, the second is five metres deep for 19 minutes.

Rio explains to Son that since they have only completed one dive during the Rescue Diver course that qualifies as a training dive and he now has a total of 39, he will have to complete one more dive before beginning his PADI Divemaster Course.

Is there anything in this scenario you think is a violation and/or a misunderstanding of PADI standards?

Take a moment to gather your resources and think like an Instructor. Once you feel you’ve got an answer search below for Gaz’s views on this scenario.

‘It’s always great to see your students return and even more so when they decide to follow your path and begin their journey towards working as a dive professional.

Rio has shown good intentions in this scenario but unfortunately, she has made a few mistakes, some with information but some with the PADI Standards as well.

Her enthusiasm in wanting to give Son advice on how best to prepare for his return for professional training is admirable, encouraging your divers to dive often is always a great thing. She’s mistaken about the amount of time required between certification beyond Open water Diver training and the IDC though.

There is a six month period required after the completion of your Open Water Diver certification and when you may join the PADI Instructor Development Course, not between the Adventure Diver and IDC.

Rio is correct in accepting Son on to the PADI Rescue Diver course with his Adventure Diver certification as he has completed the Underwater Navigator Adventure Dive, therefore meeting the prerequisite certification requirements to begin the PADI Rescue Diver course.

She also shows good intention and considers the safety and satisfaction of her student during the Self-Rescue Review by adding in the Buoyancy Clinic to remediate before the open water sessions.

It’s important to assess your student’s skills and knowledge at the beginning of the course so using this technique is a good use of resources and she kept it simple and effective. She also explained that the skills weren’t part of the performance requirements but would benefit Son throughout his training.

Asking Femi to join for the Rescue Skills in the open water is a smart move too. It is very difficult to demonstrate and assess students during many of these skills when teaching one to one. Enlisting a certified assistant during the skills was the right thing to do. The error comes when she only has one certified assistant during the scenarios.

In the PADI Guide To Teaching, it indicates that at least four people must participate in the scenarios and that they may be made up of students, certified divers or certified assistants. Having only three people participate in the scenarios is a violation of the standard and although not listed in the PADI Instructor Manual, The Guide To Teaching must be considered an extension of the standards.

Rio also makes an error when it comes to logging of the dives for the Rescue Diver certification. The two scenarios for the course should be logged as two dives and may be credited towards the logged dive prerequisite as described in PADI’s Guide To Teaching under Logging Dives.

It’s worth noting that Rio’s encouragement of Son to complete the scenarios more than once and the use of the prepared Emergency Assistance Plan during them shows intent to build a holistic learning experience and general use of the PADI Instructor Manual seems good.

Her problems arise primarily from her lack of familiarity with the connections to the Guide To Teaching.’

Gaz Lyden                                                                                                                                            

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