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The Top 5 Mistakes New Scuba Instructors Make

Successfully completing the PADI® Instructor Development Course and Instructor Exam (IE) takes passion, commitment and a desire to excel. If you’re a new PADI OWSI reading this article, congratulations on your achievement!

Now that you’re a PADI Instructor, you’re part of a worldwide community dedicated to sharing the wonders of the underwater world with others. With that in mind, we asked experienced PADI Pros from around the world to share their top tips for new scuba instructors. Their advice centered around a few common themes, which we’ve presented below:

Mistake #1: Flying Solo

The best way to avoid beginner mistakes is to team teach with an experienced instructor. Just like avid local divers know the best (and worst) places to dive, seasoned instructors can help you avoid bad situations and help you through rough waters.

Partnering with a PADI Divemaster is another excellent way to improve safety, reduce stress and help everyone have more fun. If you don’t have a divemaster to work with, post your opportunity on PADI’s Job Board or identify divers with leadership potential and encourage them to become PADI Divemasters. Click the button below to download free Divemaster marketing tools.

Mistake #2: Waiting Until the Last Minute 

New instructors cause themselves a lot of unnecessary stress by failing to plan ahead. Experienced instructors suggest scheduling pool and classroom time in advance and reserving spaces on the boat (if applicable) as soon as students sign up.

Sending frequent reminders to your students can help keep things on schedule. Here are two time-saving tips:

Create a document with pre-written reminders for each classroom, confined water and open water session. Include relevant links to release forms, a list of what students should bring and helpful tips (bring water, allow 15 minutes to find parking, etc.). Copy-paste the info into a new message as needed. 

For example, the first message you send to new students could include:

A friendly welcome message
The best way to contact you 
How to complete digital forms 
How to redeem a digital code 

You may find it helpful to create a checklist of everything you (and your students) need to do or bring for each classroom, confined and open water session. Some instructors also have a gear box for every class they teach.

Mistake #3: Too Many One-and-Done Experiences

Convincing existing students to take more classes is much easier than finding new students every month. Around the world, the most successful PADI Pros have a continuing education ratio of 50% or higher

Watch this video to learn one of the easiest ways to promote continuing education. 

If your job requires doing a lot of intros, the two articles below include expert tips on how to convert Discover Scuba Diving® (DSD) participants into Open Water students:

Linking DSD to the Open Water Diver Course
Maximizing Your DSD Conversion Potential

Mistake #4: Only Teaching Open Water

Introducing people to the underwater world is rewarding, but it can also be exhausting. By encouraging students to take continuing education you can:

Help new divers build confidence 
Keep your divers diving
Avoid burnout

Remember: as a PADI OWSI you can also teach Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Peak Performance Buoyancy (PPB), First Aid and CPR and the two non-diving conservation specialties Coral Reef Conservation and PADI AWARE.

Passionate about ocean conservation? Organize a beach cleanup, Dive Against Debris®, or other activity and promote your event for free on PADI’s Conservation Activities Locator.

For tips on how to run a PADI AWARE conservation activity or Dive Against Debrisevent, check out the videos in the PADI AWARE section of the Marketing Hub.

Love working with kids? Inspire the next generation of divers by working at a kids’ summer scuba camp or offering Bubblemaker birthday parties. Learn more about scuba diving classes for kids.

Last but not least, experienced PADI Pros urged new instructors to dive for fun, continue learning and try new things. You can:

Earn specialty instructor ratings
(the most popular specialties are Enriched Air, PPB, Deep Diver, Dry Suit and Wreck Diver)
Write a distinctive specialty
Become a PADI Freediver or PADI Mermaid Instructor
Set a personal goal to become an IDC Staff Instructor or even Course Director

Mistake #5: Not Taking Advantage of Free Resources and Tools

As a PADI Instructor, you have access to free marketing tools, teaching tips and other resources to help you build a successful career.

New employment opportunities are posted daily on PADI’s Job Board. Bookmark the link and check it regularly.
Watch videos about how to attract new customers.
Download eye-catching images and videos you can use to promote your classes. 
Read marketing ideas, tips and advice on the PADI Pros Blog.
Explore the content in your Digital Product Library
Download a free Mission Hub Marketing Toolkit packed with conservation activity ideas, shareable graphics and info sheets about conservation.
Sign up for auto-renewal to save money and ensure your membership doesn’t lapse. 
Connect with your PADI Regional Training Consultant, for advice, ideas or local insights.

If you have questions about any of the information in this article, contact your Regional Training Consultant or your local PADI Office.

Related Reading

More Tips for New Scuba Instructors
Hints and Tips from PADI’s Quality Management Departmen
Mentoring Divemasters in Open Water

The post The Top 5 Mistakes New Scuba Instructors Make appeared first on PADI Pros.

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