MY beef is with resort certification, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by scarybarry on May 14, 2004 at 09:09:54:

In Reply to: PADI should be the object of hostility posted by Chris on May 13, 2004 at 17:29:30:

I am an admittedly new diver. As such, my new hobby has been coming up a lot in conversation and I'm amazed at how many people tell me "oh yeah I'm certified too." I'm always curious to get get more information from them since I'd like to build a network of dive buddies, but almost invariably I learn that they were certified at a resort, and as such look at me with glazed eyes when I talk about things that are very basic (like dive profiles, for one!!)

I recently went on a boat dive with an old friend to Catalina. He brought along another person whom I didn't know, but they had apparently dove together in the past. As we were suiting up I started to get nervous as this third guy was having trouble with really basic stuff, like how to thread his tank straps!! Anyway, we got in the water and it just went downhill from there...for instance I gave him the descend signal and he put his snorkel in his mouth!! When I finally got him straightened out we began our descent and he couldn't even descend, he was flailing around so madly. I'm holding at 15 ft and there he is just skulling at the top, apparently unable to deflate his BC. I'm thinking to myself "oh jesus this is going to be a long day" when THANK GOODNESS I saw the DM jump in the water after him. I surfaced to see what was going on and to my profound relief he was dragging the guy back to the boat saying to the guy "you're not diving today, not while I'm on watch." (THE DM WAS PADI CERTIFIED, by the way, I learned later)

When my friend and I returned from our dive, I asked this third guy where he got certified and he said "Hawaii"

This experience really brought home to me the importance of being prepared for the environment that you're diving in; not assuming that diving in a lazy tropical location will prepare you for harsher California conditions, and it also profoundly demonstrated the vital purpose that DMs serve. I was so thankful that this DM was actually paying attention to the 20 or so divers in the water at the time, and could immediately recognize when someone was literally out of his depth, and take decisive action even knowing that he was probably going to get a lot of grief from the person he dragged out of the water.

So now when I'm in a conversation and diving comes up and someone expresses an interest in diving with me, I always ask if they've dove in California before, not whether they're certified or not.

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