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PADI Assistant Instructor – All Done December 22, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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Sunday was the grand finale of the course. Ed and Brad were instructing, Ron and Rich acted as students or divemasters as required, and Duc, Steve, Marty, Ryan and I were the AI candidates. The pool session was at a different dive shop located just outside Barrie, Ontario, which has its own pool. Tim, the owner was clearing up snow when we arrived.

All of us except Ryan had met at our own dive shop in Newmarket at 9AM. We ran through dive skill briefings, where I had to do briefings for underwater scuba unit removal and replacements, and the partial mask flood. These were similar to the briefings for the open water exercises – stating objectives, value, procedure, organization, hand signals, and things to look at for. After the four of us had run through those we jumped in a few vehicles and drove up the snowy highway, scene of some major accidents this winter, to Barrie. Ryan lives closer to Barrie, so he met us at the pool and did his briefings on site.

We started out by taking turns being students and instructors. Doing the air-sharing drill, for example, Marty was told just to grab the regulator out of my mouth. I just sat there blowing bubbles until Duc gave me another one. My my turn came, Marty stuck his alternate in my mouth upside down. Duc didn’t catch that even though I pretended to cough, then actually started coughing because it breathed so wet (one of reasons I like my Apeks Egress Reg, it’s a little bit wet upside down but perfectly usable. Eventually I had to put my own regulator back in my mouth so I could take another breath,

I was also a student for the mask flood and clear exercise. I did the exercise as I was supposed to and spat out  my reg. Steve had another one in my mouth pretty quickly. When Marty did it he took his mask off completely. Such is the life of an instructor.

When my turn came to demonstrate the skill, I found my “students” all trying to follow along with it. It was pretty funny to watch. I stopped them, signalled them to watch me, and all was fine. I didn’t exactly make the demonstration look easy though. There was a bit too much weight in the BC and even though I was wearing 4 pounds on a weight belt it was still a bit hard to balance. Got it done though. When my student Ryan tried it he unbuckled the shoulder strap without me noticing until he start to put it back on. I helped him finish and made him do it again.

The other exercise I had to do was a partial mask flood and clear. One student filled the mask completely and the other lost his reg. Whenever anyone is flooding the mask, removing the scuba unit or taking the reg out of the mouth you must have another source of air ready – that is you keep your alternate second stage in your hand ready to go.

After we’d all gone through our own skills demonstrations and evaluations we all did our skill circuits, which is going through the 20 skills that open water students have to accomplish.  The class was competent and we went through them all with no problem.

At the beginning of the session Brad told us that something was wrong and whoever figured it out would win an amphibious outfitters t-shirt. When Ed demonstrated weight belt removal and replacement I saw him hold the buckle in his right hand. Weight belts are supposed to be a “right hand release” so the buckle is wrapped around the left side of the body, so should be in your left hand. I had a wrist slate and wrote “weight belt backwards” on it and showed it to Brad – who shook my hand to let me know I’d won the shirt.

After 3 hours of fun in the pool, we drove back – past two minor car accidents – to the dive shop and were all certified as PADI Assistant Instructors. I’ll mail my form, along with the registration and membership fee, to PADI in the morning, having, as Brad said, “earned a second stripe”.

On a final note, I found the videos of Divemaster skills circuits and PADI skills demonstrations on Youtube quite helpful in preparing for the day. Remembering the little things to slow yourself down and exaggerate the movements is important both for the students and to get a good score on the evaluations.



1. Naples Scuba Diving - December 23, 2008

Congrats on the designation, it’s quite an accomplishment!


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