The typical dive resort usually consists of accommodation (quality can vary) for the divers (customers), an office / admin area, a classroom, a gear room and a harbour area where the dive boat is moored. Higher grade resorts can include: Restaurant, lockers for personal effects, a pool for enclosed water training, a bar for partying after the dives have finished, and a private mooring for liveaboards / dive boats.
It can be a very glamorous lifestyle: Sunny tropical climate, often there's a party atmosphere, you're getting paid to travel on boats and dive pretty coral reefs. Working and living-it-up on a tropical island is not something most people have done.
Working for a dive resort is similar in many ways to working for a cruise liner. You have paying customers who need attention and your job can often mean long hours to do this. The paying customers are usually either: Snorkellers, students or fun divers. These same students may go on to do fun diving once they attain dive status.
Snorkellers: tend to be easiest of them all when it comes to administering and equipping, indeed many often bring their own gear with them. Unless the dive site is inherently risky they usually require only casual / minimal supervision once they hit the water.
Student Divers: This group of diver also tends to be the most varied to teach diving to due to differing experience, age, health along with their mindset and attitude. In fact many of this type may not of even undertaken scuba diving before. The skill of a diving instructor is paramount in teaching the ways of diving. But knowledge of diving isn't the only one: patience, understanding and empathy are all things a good dive instructor should have to impart onto the student.
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Fun Divers: Most tend to bring minimal equipment (mask, snorkel and fins), some may bring a wetsuit, few bring a full dive set (less weights). This group of diver tends to be the most varied to lead on a dive due to differing experience, skill, age, health along with their mindset and attitude. Almost all will need to be escorted / guided around the dive site they choose; be it a coral reef formation or a shipwreck etc. The escorting diver needs to be fully aware and ready to deal with and overcome difficulties that the divers may encounter. It cannot be overstated how important the responsibility factor on the dive guides shoulders is. <To learn more click here>
So who normally works in a dive resort? Well, usually there's a dive manager, several Instructors, Divemasters / Dive guides, boat captain (s), dive boat crew.
Imagine then that you've been picked from a crowd of hopeful wannabe divemasters and Instructors into the dive resort job of your dreams. The dive center / resort doors are in front of you, before you walk here's what lies in store for you.
The hierarchy for Dive Resort starts with the owner of the resort and then the dive manager (although sometimes the dive manager and resort owner are the same person). The day to day management of diving activities is the dive manager, below him is usually a head instructor who often doubles up as a deputy Dive Manager in case of absence. Then the instructors and finally the divemasters. A gray area of workers are the Divemaster trainees aka DMTs who may be undertaking an internship with the dive resort. They are often derogatively referred to as 'Dive Slaves.' due to the menial and chore-like tasks they undertake as a course of their tuition.
The dive boat captains are usually a law unto themselves, separate from the dive hierarchy on land and at sea. As their sole concern typically is the looking after and piloting of the dive boat / dive fleet they can be quite an independent 'entity'. Usually a captains decision is final if the dive boat is to sail or not, although some will listen to advice to the contrary. If a dive resort has no dive boat and is relying on outside contract captains the gulf between dive resort the boat captain widens even further.
Typically a days work starts about an hour before the students/divers arrive. This is usually either in the morning or the afternoon less common is at night (for a night dive). A good dive resorts staff should have already sized-up and equipped the divers already. So with the gear pre-packed its usually a 'calm before the storm' awaiting for the divers / students and dealing with any last minute hick-ups that occur when they come.
Once all divers are checked and good to go its off to the Dive Boat. Note that in some locations a transit boat, skiff or a long-tail boat may be used to access the Dive Boat. Once the divers are on board a boat briefing is given (or at least it should be given!), this covers the areas on board, where you can go, where you can't (this is usually the Wheelhouse / Bridge Area and the Engine Room), dry areas and wet areas, location of first aid kits and oxygen cylinders and entry / exit areas.
Boat briefings are subject to the whims and policies of the Dive Resorts you happen to be at, some will be more in depth, others less so. All should at least cover the above mentioned points.
On the way to the dive site, I usually take the opportunity to give my dive briefing to the divers as it saves time. If its student divers this can be a very good idea as briefings for them tend to be a longer than for fun divers. When the dive briefing is over and you're at the dive site say a silent prayer to the diving gods and start the dive!
Once the first dive is over it may be the end of the days diving, this will be unlikely if its a tropical environment due to the nature of diving there. Between dives you should ensure your divers are happy and ready for the second dive, this may involve another journey in the dive boat it may not. Another briefing is necessary but you may find it takes you less time to give as you'll likely be more 'on the wavelength' of your divers by this point and more comfortable with them.
Second dive over its back to the dive resort. Returning to the mainland its wise to have your divers de-rig and pack away the dive gear in readiness for disembarking otherwise its just another delay. Washing your dive equipment is, as every good diver knows, essential after a days diving. You may find it is wise to supervise this, or even do it yourself. As all it takes is one careless diver and a first stage regulator cap undone and ker-dunk! It's filled with water and needs a service to put right!
Having done that its just menial duties like stamping divers log-books, giving out dive details for them to fill in and giving out other information relevant like the following days dive schedule. Finally its the farewells. Some divers you may find you'll form a special bond with and it will be like a long-lost friend or even lover is leaving you behind. Others may be so galling and infuriating that you'll be imploring neptune himself to consign them to Davy Jone's Locker!