5 EMOTIONAL REALITIES THAT SCUBA INSTRUCTORS WILL RECOGNIZE

Updated: Dec 14, 2019


First of all, just so we’re clear here, most of us will probably agree that becoming a diving instructor was the most ingenious move of our lives. But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be aspects of our jobs that are uniquely hard to deal with. Most of our colleagues will probably agree that:

1. EVERYONE QUESTIONS YOUR CAREER CHOICE Try sitting through a dinner with the extended family. Cousin Joey over there is in IT and he’s making mad money, his girlfriend next to you is an accountant and your two siblings are engineers or doctors. We’ve all been there, trying to explain that our job is not “just a phase”, it’s a profession. It’s a job with responsibilities and it does pay the bills. Luckily, for those of you who’ve been in the industry for a while, we get used to it. There’s a certain stillness inside of us, a confidence that doesn’t feel the need to explain to people why it is we do what we do. Deep inside we know it’s the only way we could ever live and it’s awesome. Bonus points for us: When the immigrations officer goes “Oh wow, a SCUBA Instructor huh?”

2. THE LONG DISTANCE NEVER GETS EASY Unlike the first one, this one just never gets better. It’s not that we wanted to move “away” from our family or friends, we just had to move “towards” the ocean. We get it though: it’s super hard on them. Nobody wanted to see us leave; we’re pretty awesome. However, it’s not easy on us either. We’re never truly home and always feel like something is missing. There’s a lot of sleepless nights where we wish we were there. It took a while for us to realize that this is the only way we can pursue our dreams and that that’s okay.

That being said, some friendships will fade and with some people it really is “out of sight, out of mind”. But with others, the real ones, the true homies and BFF’s, the bond only gets stronger. We don’t skype every day, or even every month, but when we get ‘home’ for a visit it’s as if no time has passed at all.

Bonus points for us: We get to be the cool aunt or uncle who does epic stuff and really only shows up when there’s a party going on.

3. EVERYDAY IS ABOUT LIFE OR DEATH (Seriously, people don’t get this)

Don’t get me wrong here: fire fighters, pilots, doctors… these are the real MVP’s. But that being said, nobody seems to fully appreciate that we literally submerse ourselves on a daily basis in a substance that human beings can’t actually breathe. When we do so, we usually take absolute noobs with us, too. When first learning how to SCUBA dive, most people have absolutely no idea how dangerous that actually is or how to keep themselves safe. That’s our job. We get it, “being a good instructor” is making sure people don’t get hurt and that’s what we’re there for but during the initial stages of training most people have no clue how hard that actually is. You know what some people do when they panic? Breathing apparatus out. Unsupervised for a second? Swim away from us into the open ocean for no apparent reason. Unidentified creature with sharp teeth? For some reason they must touch it. Most people seem to have way less street smarts about keeping themselves alive than you might think. Bonus points for us: We get to feel like James Bond or Lara Croft at the end of every day.

4. WE DON’T “OWE” ANYONE A CERTIFICATION Some people are under the impression that going to a dive shop is like going to a bakery. You know, I give you money, you give me bread. You give me money, I give you a certification. Unfortunately for them, that’s not quite how it goes. Obtaining a diving certification involves a series of skill requirements that absolutely need to be mastered before we’ll have you walk away with our names on your card. The only thing you pay us for, is our time. Time during which we will do our best to explain to you how the cookie crumbles, and time during which you then get to show us that you understand the crumbling of said cookie. It gets even worse when people decide they “don’t like it” and ask for a refund. You know: “I don’t want the certification after all so I’d like my money back”. Unfortunately for you, our time isn’t like free candy at the front desk. It’s the actual item you were purchasing all along and you consumed it.

Bonus points for us: When people really “get” it, it’s the most rewarding feeling in the world.

5. THE OCEANS ARE DYING AND NOBODY SEEMS TO GET THAT

Plastic bottles, straws, single use cutlery, six pack rings, cigarette butts, plastic bags.. It’s literally the stuff of our nightmares. Remember that scene where Alice falls down the rabbit hole? Some dives are like that. On some dives literally everything around you is garbage and nobody gets that. There’s so much plastic in the oceans that nearly every fish caught today, contains microplastics of some sort. (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-health-pollution-waste-microplastics/) Don’t worry, we’re not here to make you feel bad but just like doctors who see the effects of smoking on the human body or Joey the IT guy who has no idea why you had to click on that suspicious looking pop-up, it can be aggravating to see how slowly society is reacting to a problem that concerns us all. Bonus points for us: Great things are being done every day and as SCUBA professionals we have the opportunity to be part of the change. At the end of the day, we all love being dive instructors and there’s nothing we’d rather do. So please, when you next see us, sign up for a few days of our time and let us show you what it’s all about. It’s the best secret out there!

Nick Derutter is a PADI Platinum Course Director and runs SCUBA Instructor Training in Utila, Honduras and Mallorca, Spain.


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