Our latest Divemaster trainee Laura Mulvey had just one part of her pre-training to complete this week – the PADI Rescue course. Below is her account of her memorable experience:
Arguably the most talked about part of PADI training among my diver friends has been the Rescue Diver course, and this week I found out why. In theory, the Rescue Diver course is a chance to develop your skills in dealing with dive related accidents and assisting other divers who might be in distress or danger. In practice, the Rescue Diver course has the additional benefit of letting your instructor and assistants refine their acting skills and put you through your paces. After finishing the PADI manual and video, would-be rescuers have a chance to brush up on scuba skills with an instructor (snorkel to regulator exchange, compass skills and search patterns, etc). Then the real fun begins.
If you are lucky like me, you might have the benefit of extra demonstrators to practice your rescue skills with. In my case instructor Gary enlisted the help of Hidden Depths Divemaster trainees Paige and Chris. These skills include getting control of a panicked diver and providing rescue breaths to a non-breathing diver at the surface. Your team won’t go easy on you. Rescuing a panicked diver means that you must protect yourself from the diver trying to grab your gear and push you under the water. So, having demonstrators who are really scrappy (and dramatic!) helps you prepare for the real thing, and that might mean getting your reg ripped out or getting a fin or two in your face. After practicing a few times with some very theatrical trainees playing the part of the victim, the Rescue Diver course also teaches you some of the ways you can carry victims onto the beach. Turns out that some methods are better than others (sorry Chris!)
The team then planned a rescue scenario with a missing diver off the pier. I had to find our victim by putting together a plan and executing a search pattern underwater. Upon finding the ‘victim’, the rescuer must perform rescue breaths and remove gear while towing the victim to safety.
The visibility during our scenario was quite murky, making it the perfect place for search and rescue practice- albeit a bit spooky. Lucky for Paige we found her in time and got to shore. A successful rescue mission!
It’s true what they say: ‘do your rescue course and you will sleep well that night!’ Though, in my opinion, the very best benefit of doing your rescue course in Thailand is that a well-deserved Thai massage is just around the corner!
Our latest blog is a guest blog from our last Divemaster trainee, Sarah Wood. Here, she tells about her experiences becoming a PADI professional.
My Dive master training started with a lovely warm welcome from Rich and Ali at Krabi airport. From there we drove and ferried our way to what would be my home for the next three months on Koh Lanta. The first night was spent at the restaurant May’s Kitchen, meeting the people who would become my work colleagues, mentors and friends during my stay and all of them were lovely!
During my first few days of training I started to learn the theory behind scuba diving and also learning to navigate my way around the local dive sites with Rich who was to guide me through my DM training. Nicole and Steve were also doing their course at the same time and it was lovely to have people in the same situation who I could ask questions of and who knew exactly what I was going through.
I started to shadow Rich when he was working with customers on Open water and Advanced courses and also some very funny DSD’s. I had five practical tests to complete which saw me navigate myself out to sea on the snorkel test and also realize you should never wear a 5mm wetsuit when performing a tired diver tow as it gets very hot! As well as working with Rich I also shadowed Cynthia, our French Canadian instructor, George, an English instructor and Gary who owns the business with Rich. It was great to see how other instructors taught courses and to pick up some new ideas.
Over the course of seven weeks I learned how to inflate an surface marker buoy without going to the surface with it, how not to panic when you sometimes feel a bit lost underwater, how fast to fin when guiding customers underwater and a whole host of other practical skills. My training also included how to deal with customers and how to sell a dive trip.
Eventually it all had to come to an end and I finally finished the course in the middle of March. The final part was my snorkel test which I did on the beach at Koala bar with a DMT from another dive centre, Blue Planet Divers. Our mini beach Olympics was good fun and I had a great night.
My training at Hidden Depths was fantastic from start to finish. Everyone who works at the company is lovely and I have made some great friends during my training. The other staff are always willing to help and to answer questions when things don’t make sense or you just don’t know the answer. Koh Lanta is a perfect island to live on with all of the locals being very friendly and the other dive shop staff always ready to join in a night out. I would recommend to anyone wanting to do their PADI Divemaster training to get in touch with the staff at Hidden Depths Diving and find out when they can start!