Junior Dive Master

Divecrew are one of the first dive centres in the world to offer the Junior Dive Master Programme. This programme is aimed at the 15 to 17 year old diver. Divecrew have for years specialised in young divers as they are the future. As the UK’s only Gold Star IDC Centre, Divecrew piloted an open water course for young Autistic students. Despite many nay-sayers, Divecrew were successful in certifying the students having completed their open water, right here in the UK. Divecrew also teaches some of the top schools in the world and are a PADI approved Youth Training Centre. With the Autistic pilot group, it was the teachers, parents and school health and safety, saying these student cannot do this they will fail. They did achieve and it changed their social interaction and confidence incredibly!

Divecrew’s Master Instructor Martin said, ‘I have come across some really great young divers. One nicknamed Trigger, is just 14 years old, have close to 100 dives including liveaboards, is a Master Scuba Diver but then could not progress his diving to Dive Master until he is 18 years old. Trigger is a Junior Black Belt Karate Instructor. Diving needs to get up with the real world and actually some young people like a challenge. Like it or not, youngsters are given greater opportunities and therefore excel at earlier ages than us oldies at whatever they are interested in. Other sports have Junior Instructors, so why not scuba? I appreciate the issues of liability and of course, it is not always going to be appropriate for a Junior Dive Master to be involved with a course. However, there is always an instructor in direct supervision. Just imagine teaching a school with a Junior Dive Master present, what an inspiration.’

Divecrew raised the issue of Trigger with PADI and were informed no one can start their PADI Dive Master until they are 18 years old for legal/insurance reasons. One agency I work with instructors suggested a young wannabe diver should snorkel from the age of 10 to 16 years old before learning to dive! Amazing attitude. So, back to Trigger, he would have 4 years with no progression, diving would lose Trigger. So Divecrew decided to create is own opportunities. Starting with “Young Guns”. This is an opportunity for young divers to dive together (pleasure diving) under the watchful eye of a Master Instructor. These dives include shore diving, boat diving, diving inland and in the sea. Next up, “Dive Leader”. Young MSD divers can move onto the Divecrew Dive Leader Course. The outputs of this course are more demanding than the PADI Dive Master Course for adults.

With the introduction of the PADI Junior Dive Master what’s Divecrew’s view? Well first off the industry needs this and it needs to give young divers the opportunity. So much of scuba diving is antiquated and living in the past. Not all young divers are mature enough for this course true, but some are, and should be encouraged not blocked. The PADI Junior Dive Master is being field tested so it may evolve. At the moment, some of the syllabus does not make sense to Divecrew. Example. Skills circuit. As a Dive Master (Adult) you have to complete a skills circuit where each skill is demonstrated and scored from 1 to 5. PADI requires an overall score of 82 points, scoring at least a 3 on each skill, with at least one underwater skill scoring a 5. Total points available over 24 skills is 125. For Divecrew, 3’s and 82 points out of a possible 125 points, just does not cut it. Divecrew demands 5’s on each skill. Once these skills are achieved, a Dive Master at the behest of an Instructor can demonstrate the skills to students for them to mimic. However, a Junior Dive Master cannot demonstrate a skill but can assist on something like air sharing. So if a Junior Dive Master has scored 5 on a skill, is under the direct supervision of an Instructor, why can they not demonstrate if all other things are suitable and or appropriate? Makes little sense. When asked it was not to put the Junior Dive Master under undue pressure. They either want to demonstrate or they don’t.

Divecrew are happy to be involved in the Junior Dive Master programme and are interested to see what the take up is.


Dry suit diving is COOL.

Diving in the UK’s temperate water, really needs a dry suit. So what are the benefits and how do they work?

Should I Own My Own Dive Kit Or Just Hire?

This is a question that Divecrew often gets asked.  Some customers come into our shop and say “it’s cheaper to just hire”.

Do you know that initially they are right it is cheaper, but is that the only measure that you are working on?

Benefits of hiring dive kit

You have more room in your luggage.  If you are travelling long haul, most airlines give you ample luggage room, but some shorter haul destinations are a bit miserly.  But did you know if you say you are a diver some airlines give you extra free luggage allowance.  You also avoid any servicing charges on regulators. To keep your regulators in tip top form you do need to ensure they are fully serviced in line with manufacturers requirements.  In my opinion those are the key benefits for hiring kit.


Benefits of Purchasing your own kit

The most significant is the fact that your kit will fit you correctly, it’s always better to visit your local dive store to seek professional advice while trying equipment on.

All too often we see people who have purchased products which are inexpensive, ill-fitting, not fit for purpose online and have had to deal with the hassle of trying to re-coup costs, time and effort sending something back overseas.

Once you have your own kit you become familiar with it and instinctively know how to use it. Adjustment settings on regulators, location of octos, clips and gauges, subtle additions of air into your BCD and finally correct weighting with your equipment.

Another major benefit of taking your own, is that you cannot guarantee the quality of the kit you are going to hire overseas. We often we hear stories of poorly serviced hire kit causing divers an issue. Or they don’t have the size you need, so you must compromise.  Most certainly they will only have unisex kit. Female BCDS will fit women better in the right places, and hire centres are unlikely to be able to offer you these.

Examples of kit defects we have seen about include:

  • Rust from the inside of 15l cylinders being drawn into the regulators causing a rust deposit being produced inside, and probably in the lungs too.
  • A cracked first stage.
  • Burst high pressure hoses.
  • Leaking bladders in the BCD.
  • Faulty regs that are not allowing sufficient air at depth.
  • Spiders crawling out of a regulator Second stage because they are not stored properly
  • And of course you now have the issue of Covid. Do you really want to share a set of regulators that 10’s of people have had in their mouth prior to yours!!!

These are but a few of the issues we have heard of or physically seen.  Some of our clients would never hire again.

If you are a travel diver there is light weight kit out there, travel BCD, travel regulators, travel fins meaning that your weight limit with these gems in your luggage is kept to a minimum.

There are also amazing colours, so everything can match and blend- an important requirement particularly for us ladies.

Ultimately you are using life support kit.  You need to be 100% comfortable with the kit you are using, in what is an alien environment to us, can you guarantee this when you are using a 3rd parties equipment?

Our recommendation is purchase your own.  You will be surprised at some of the costs associated.  With some rentals it only takes 2-3 hires to have purchased the cost of a new set of dive kit.

We would also recommmend purchasing DIN regulators rather than relyiong on a compression fit of an o’ring of a Yoke or A Clamp. I have seen diver spend ages trying to find an insert on holiday with a descent o’ring and I have witnessed an o’ring blowing on a dive when over 10 metres down.

Have peace of mind and dive safe- Get your own.

Have a look at some of the Divecrew Packages available in store today.


Psychology and Scuba

At Divecrew we try not to teach divers as a homogenous group. Everyone is different. So how did we get to the this point? Well first thing is we challenge some agencies as they tend to turn our “sheep” instructors. Instructors being professional should use a range of skills and techniques so that every diver student can be taught in comfort and safety. Working with Deptherapy and injured troops heightened our senses to the individual needs of the divers. The “sheep” mentality is challenged as to what is a technique and what is a standard. For example many instructors talk of a giant stride as a deep water entry. So what is the best entry for a student? The easiest! Simple. The standards state a deep water entry not a giant stride.

When working with the troops, some of whom have missing limbs, it is seen so often that instructors know best. Normally the instructors do not have limbs missing. Therefore, one cannot put themselves in that students place. Sometimes the instructor has to state the output and ask the student how they think they can best achieve it.

Divecrew have been fortunate to work with an autistic group. Many wrote the group off stating scuba was just too much for them. Wrong! The students completed their open water but a miraculous change happened. At the beginning the students were withdrawn. We struggled to get them to participate. Eventually the barriers went down. By the end of the training, the students were laughing and joking with the team. Their confidence went through the roof.

So do we deploy different tactics. Yes we do. Divecrew are multi-agency and believe no one agency has it completely right. PADI, SSI, RAID and BSAC. So what our senior instructors do is work with the agencies standards then add value to the course by supplementing skills and training techniques. Our speciality courses are enhanced giving any diver more value, more skills, more understanding. Once the senior team agree on a skill, the skill and technique is cascaded down through professional master classes. These free classes for Divecrew professionals teach skills, techniques and control. We discuss the psychology of scuba and students. Everything possible is undertaken to ensure our students re well trained and at all times feel safe. We undertake our own Quality Assurance through the senior professionals. So regardless of the course being taught, a Master Instructors may show up to observe. When we have new instructors, they must go through an internship. Unfortunately too many instructors believe once they have the ticket they have the right to teach. Some lapse into bad habits. Some become complacent. Some out of date and out of touch. Unlike some other sports, scuba instructors do not have to have annual assessments to ensure they are up to date and technically correct.

Divecrew believe agencies should do more to teach instructors adaptive methods and how to treat divers as individuals. The psychology of scuba should be a pivotal component in the instructor candidates development. Blindly following a set powerpoint and or a slate, is not conducive to teaching professionally. It makes a mockery of being “Professional Educators”.

So our advice. If your chosen dive centre do not treat you with respect and as an individual, find another dive centre.

Part 3: Sarah Richard

Gas Guzzler Course

Are you bit of an air hog? Do you end others dives early? Getting your self stressed? Well this a course for you. Divecrew have mustered years of experience into helping divers with bit of an air problem. 14th March 2020, our Master Instructor is applying all his knowledge and skills to help divers. The […]