As dive professionals, we can only spend a finite time in the water. For some of us, lengthy travel is required to make open water training dives. Once we’re at a dive site, we need to use our time wisely and avoid leaving our students sit idle and be bored. Let’s look at a couple of ways to use your dive time.
One of the ways promoted in Instructor Development Courses (IDC) is multilevel training. That means we’re running multiple courses at the same site at the same time. Here are a couple of possible scenarios:
Scenario One: Separate classes, same site, separate dives
Say you have an Open Water Diver class of six divers and a Rescue Diver class of four divers. Ideally, you’d have at least one certified assistant for each group. Brief your assistants and divers on the plan. Take your Open Water students and assistant out and make your first dive. Have your second assistant get the Rescue class ready about the time you should be surfacing with your first group. Let your Open Water divers get out, get a snack, swap tanks, etc. While that is going on, have your Rescue class practice skills or perform one of the scenario exercises. You could even use the Open Water students as spotters or other surface support for the Rescue class. After the Rescue class is done with their exercise, they take a break while you take your Open Water class back out for their next dive.
Since you were supervising from shore, you were able to get a surface interval before your next dive. Your Open Water students benefit by seeing continuing education in action and might even get to participate. Your Rescue students benefit by having bystanders around so they can practice scene management. You benefit in many ways, not to mention only making one trip to the dive site.
Scenario Two: Separate classes, same site, same dives.
Say you have a couple of small classes, two Open Water Diver students and a diver completing an Adventure Dive like Peak Performance Buoyancy or Fish Identification. Ideally, you’d have at least one certified assistant. Take the entire group out and descend. While you evaluate your Open Water students’ skills, the Adventure student waits patiently or hovers nearby with your assistant. After you’re done evaluating your Open Water students, you have the Adventure student perform their skills. For Peak Performance Buoyancy, that might be the hover, etc. For FishID, they could be looking at the fish around you and the group while you were evaluating your Open Water Students.
Scenario Three: separate classes, same site, some on the same dive, some on other dives.
Combine the three groups above: Open Water, Adventure/Advanced and Rescue. You can take the Open Water and Adventure/Advanced out as in Scenario Two, then when you surface you have the Rescue class perform one of their scenarios.
Now, not all courses mesh well together. For example, you shouldn’t take your Open Water Students out with Adventure/Advanced students doing a Night dive on the same dive. In general, though, this can be a great way to save you time and travel costs. Be careful, though. Make sure your student diver get the best experience you can give them. We’re not here to just make money, we’re here to make sure divers learn to dive safely and have a good time. Don’t just push your students through as fast as possible. Remember, if you’re having fun, your students will have fun, too. Take the time to have fun.