Say It Loud… OWSI And Proud!

By Dave Cross, Simply Diving DM and Instructor Candidate

I am well chuffed. I have done it. After three months of hard slog and graft I can now call myself a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

To all budding scuba divers out there, if I don’t have the opportunity to teach you to fall in love with the underwater world, you could not get much better than Simply Diving on the Costa Del Sol. Simon Bell has been fantastic and it is a really well-run dive operation. (I wasn’t paid to say this either!) A big thank you to Simon for passing on his experience and knowledge as well as fulfilling the PADI requirements of being a great mentor, coach and all round good mate.

I also want to thank Kev Turner, the Course Director, who came over from the Canary Islands and conducted a brilliant, fun and laid back IDC. I got a hell of a lot out of it, so would like to share my mini Instructor Examination diary…

Friday May 1st – 4.30pm
After a detailed orientation, The IE got underway by taking us straight into the Open Water skills. But I didn’t make the best start by forgetting to pack my regs! Yes, I did feel like a prize plonker. Thankfully, a set of spares was run over to save the day. But having been left behind on the beach I then had to sprint-swim out to the buoy to catch up with the rest of my group. Not particularly hard, but I had to carry an extra 8kgs as one of the skills I had to get my pretend students to master was to rig and lift a weight no more than 11kg negatively buoyant!

You have to brief the skill out of the water, then whilst underwater get the students to perform the skill. Micky Thomas, the PADI Examiner, was also down there with us assigning problems that I had to spot and rectify safely. You also had to debrief the exercises the PADI way and this was included in the scoring. I got an overall 4.5 out of 5.0. Result!

After this, we had a simulated rescue exercise we had to pass. Did ok and enough to get through. By now though it was almost 9.30pm. I eventually got to bed at just after midnight for some well-earned rest, knowing we all had to be back in Marbella at 9am for Round 2!

Saturday May 2nd – 9am
Next morning and it was now time for the all-important exams! We had 1hr 30mins to complete a total of 60 questions on subjects such as Physics and Physiology. A quick 20-minute break and we were back for another 90 minutes, this time for 50 questions on PADI General Standards and Procedures. I scored 88%, 100%, 100%, 100%, 96% and then 96%. Another part done successfully!

Next up were the pool skills and this was the area I was worried about. The pressure was on. The five skills we had to perform to demonstration quality included the dreaded Hover! Not one of my stronger skills, but after a small screw up I composed myself and ran through it again. Done. “What’s next?” I hear you ask!

Well by this point, the finish line was in sight as I only had the classroom teaching presentation to go. For this I had to teach the eRDPml – a calculator that works out your No Decompression Limits for multi-level dives. When you teach the PADI way, you are supposed to start with a contact story that can be linked to the subject you are teaching. I used flight planning as it linked well to diving. I made up the figures as I knew I could blag it – no one would know about flight planning, would they?? Well, much to my surprise, one of the fellow Instructor Candidates was a former SAS Captain for 24 years!! He had a quiet word out of earshot of the Examiner asking what the hell I was on about. But despite my dodgy technical aviation knowledge, I scored a 4.5 and had completed the last stage successfully.

I, as you can imagine, was well chuffed. We had a presentation of certificates and a few group photos, and then it was back in the van for the trip home. Only this time I was a PADI OWSI!

Had a nice couple of drinks and tapas to celebrate. Not all over though, as the next few days have been set aside for my Specialty Instructor training in five Specialties to prepare me my Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating.

So then… Who wants to learn first…?