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PADI Assistant Instructor Course – Day 3 November 24, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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Day 3 started at 9AM with us back in the classroom. This time we covered pre-dive briefings for the open water class. These are quite simple. The skill is named, then the objective (i.e. perform a fin pivot by using the inflator orally; this needs to be read exactly from the cue card), then the value (if your power inflator doesn’t work, you can still achieve neutral buoyancy). Then you need to review the skills, especially with respect to the way they’re performed in the open water, and the hand signals.

The other parts of preparation are to determine how the skills demonstration will be organized, and anticipate the problems that might occur (my “students” used the power inflate instead of the oral inflate, and didn’t kick to start the ascent on the CESA – Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent). After you’re done, you tell the students what they did right (positive feedback), provide them with reminders on the correct way to do anything you noticed that was wrong (without naming names), restate the objectives and reinforce the value. Another important point (to get a 5 out of 5) is  to use your assistant. I forgot to do this on the fin pivot, but got it right on the CESA, directing the assistant to keep an eye on the other students while I went to the surface with the student.

At 12:30 we were off to Big Bay Point in Lake Simcoe to simulate giving Open Water Training. There were 5 of us in the class. Steve Irwin (yes, that’s his real name) had me as his “student” for a mask removal and replacement. Meanwhile Brad had shown me a slate telling me to drop the mask while doing the exercise. Did I mention the water temperature was only 7C (44F)? I steeled myself for the shock of cold water on my face, and dutifully dropped the mask, making ineffectual arm movements to try and recover it. It put it back in my hand, with the thumb in the nose, and I successfully replaced it. Then to my surprise he asked me to do it again. He told me later that I really glared at him when he did that, but I did the exercise properly for him.

Ryan got me as his student for the half-way mask flood. Brad told me this time to bolt for the surface. I was wearing some new undergarments on my dry suit and was pretty buoyant, so I didn’t push it too hard, or he wouldn’t have been able to stop me. I also tried to warn him by being really hesitant and opening my eyes as wide as I could. He said later he saw me do that but didn’t realize the implication.

I’ll post the picture of all us, instructors, volunteer divemasters, and AI candidates when our surface support divemasters send them to me. We’re all standing in the snow in our dive gear, and we’re hoping that PADI will publish it in the Undersea Journal. I’ve dived in colder water but never in freezing temperatures outside (1C, 34F).  Three of the students were in wet suits, as was Brad. I’m happy not to have joined them.

So now all that’s left is the pool, and getting my medical signoff and I’m an official PADI Assistant Instructor. Too bad that in most students’ eyes AI ranks lower than Divemaster. My official last of the season record is now November 24th. I might try to squeeze one more in before the year is out, so I can have 50 dives in my log book for 2008. It’s a little less than I wanted, but without a trip to the Caribbean where I can chalk up a dozen dives, and the extra-long tech dives up in Brockville, I feel like I’ve done pretty well.



1. Chronicle of an older diver - November 27, 2008

[…] promised, here is a picture from last Sunday’s Assistant Instructor Training at Big Bay Point in Lake Simcoe. Notice that 3 divers were brave enough to go in wet suits. […]


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