Things to Know - Resort Diving
Looking for Diving Work
Where to find to work in diving is quite easy, this website is one place (when I eventually get around to listing a hotspot zone of where is good for diving work in the resort sector.) There are website's that list places worldwide that are hungary for dive instructors and divemasters and salespeople. Unfortunately these can be a exploitive and profit-orientated in that they are 'pay and submit' for a chance of work. Alternatively the fun and adventurous way is to email dive resorts and see what's on offer and / or roll up at a country with a lot of dive resorts and drop in unannounced!
Getting the Big Break in Diving
There are many things to aid a diver working for a resort or dive company, these can be skills that are beneficial both under and above water, at the dive shop and on board the dive boat. As mentioned previously the prime requirement at dive resorts (besides customers of course!) is a core of instructors and divemasters who can provide a diving service. Actually gaining employment as a diver can be a varied path at a dive resort. Luck and the benchmark set by the mindset of the Resort manager plays a part, as does the diver role itself. It may be as simple as emailing off a CV for a vacancy and showing up at the dive resort. At the other extreme it may require passing a comprehensive and in-depth interview, skill assessment and a lengthy evaluation period by your peers before being fully accepted into the job.
Having the qualifications to work as an Instructor or Dive Leader / Divemaster is barely half the battle these days. Having a 'face that fits' and the experience to dive the dive is crucial. In busy dive resorts there can be a high demand for dive instructors and divemasters and it is here that the best chance lies in rookies divemasters and instructors getting their 'big break.' Some may feel the need to be 'economical with the truth' on their resume's and when being interviewed to try and give themselves an 'edge' over the competition. This is a controversial subject that gets everyone aflame so be aware that this approach may land you in hot water, if the 'truth' emerges and you'd better be ready to pull something out of the bag to back it up!
It's something of a myth that to work in the recreational diving industry you must be an extrovert by nature and outwardly gregarious. It can certainly help in certain circumstances though, in the PADI diving industry promoting PADI products and materials is encouraged. In some resorts that are dependent on selling diving trips and courses rather than receiving pre-booked customers your salesmanship qualities will need to be high. What is a very important quality to have, especially as an instructor, is confidence and being a good speaker. More important still is having and showing empathy; reading the mood and character of the customers you'll be taking diving.
Instructors and divemasters who can adjust their style and language to suit their audience will find their job becomes a whole lot easier. Arrogance, ideally is a trait that no Dive Instructor should have, however bear in mind that there can be a fine line between an assertive instructor and an arrogant one.
Speaking the native language of the paying customers is another essential skill required.
Varied diving experience in different parts of the world is a seldom realised but fine string to ones bow, a canny dive manager will be impressed if a potential dive instructor has been to more than one theatre of diving. It will show variety, readiness and the fact he / she has experienced possibly more difficult conditions than at local areas dive sites. In short it means that the diver has more potential of dealing and overcoming a difficult situation in adverse conditions. That said local knowledge of the resorts dive sites is also a plus point, as this allows an employee to hit the ground running and require no lengthy familiarisation on the area.
Experience operating a dive boat, while usually the domain of the boat captain, can be another trump card in a jobbing dive instructors arsenal. A boat captain may appreciate being able to leave the helm in capable hands, fix some rigging, or tie off a mooring line to allow him to adjust or see to another part of the vessel. Gas blending mixes and mechanical proficiency of a boats engines are also equally important to most dive operators.
Other desirable things that can be of use to diving resorts is good multimedia skills. Yes, it may not seem obvious but a dive instructor or divemaster who can use graphics software, produce brochures, snazzy logos and essentially save a resort money. By not having to hire a graphics designer or burden already overworked office staff this is another boon to a resort manager. Likewise a proficient computer technician can mean the difference between the dive manager's broken laptop being ready for an important presentation and saving the day or not.
A Dive Resort - On the Inside Looking Out
There is an incredible amount of responsibility that goes with being a dive instructor, the importance of imparting knowledge and skills to others while having to 'take charge' in situations that could develop into life or death emergencies means this is something not to be taken lightly.
There are often tales of charismatic diving instructors 'having their wicked way' with their students. An impressionable girl combined with her first-time underwater and the nature of learning the skills to dive safely can mean a close bond can often develop between teacher and student. After the course is completed and the celebration drinks are in full flow a holiday romance is often not far away. That is not to suggest that dive instructors are predatory womanisers and a danger to a families daughters, such types are rarely allowed to teach diving at any half-decent diving resorts. Conversely female dive instructors and divemasters, although usually a minority, can, if savvy and worldly wise enough use their womanly ways in enticing fun-divers and tourists alike into diving courses and the like.