Exploring the Post-Pandemic Path to Being a Scuba Instructor
This may seem like a strange time to encourage people into a career of scuba diving. According to Scubanomics, the diving industry has been hit harder than ever before. This includes on Maui, where Lahaina Divers and all other dive operators were shut down for several months. However, we will move into a post-pandemic phase, and knowledgeable and enthusiastic dive instructors will continue to be a key part of diving industry success. Without instructors, there are no newly certified divers.
The pandemic has reshaped many businesses, and this affects dive instructors as well.
As a PADI 5-Star facility, Lahaina Divers taps into PADI’s excellent Instructor Development Course (IDC) curriculum. However, to be really proficient in today’s climate, instructors should embrace a few changes.
- The pandemic has opened up digital learning acceptance in many fields, including diving. Lahaina Divers is putting greater emphasis on students completing “book work” online. Instructors should be well versed in digital teaching methods such as meeting online. Not only is this important for social distancing, it is effective in drawing in students from diverse locations. Then, students can complete their training on Maui.
- Being knowledgeable about Hawaii’s unique marine life and becoming an ambassador for the underwater environment is essential. Because of Hawaii’s isolated location, about 25 percent of Hawaii’s fish species are endemic. That is, they are found only in Hawaii. Divers have an opportunity to see marine life found no where else in the world, and instructors can share their knowledge of rare species as well as Hawaiian lore.
Another part of the investment we make as dive leaders is promoting healthy coral reefs. We do this through such activities as reef-safe sunscreen use, ensuring students understand coral is a living animal, and other measures of respecting the ocean environment. Lahaina Divers makes a donation to Project Aware for each student our instructors certify. Project Aware leads global ocean trash removal projects as well as other conservation programs.
- We ask instructors to share information, photos and videos they experience leading dives. This is critical now more than ever as lockdowns have severely impacted our ability to interact with our loyal customers in person. However, we can share images and stories through social media and stay connected about the sport we all love.
- As we move through the pandemic, and into a post-pandemic phase, there is a greater realization of the healing power of diving. We are fortunate that through strict rules Hawaii has been able to keep COVID-19 numbers low. This means divers can travel here with relative ease, and benefit from the physical, emotional and social wellness benefits of scuba diving.
Lahaina Divers has one of the only programs around to take a non-scuba certified employee from entry level to instructor. Along the way, candidates learn most aspects of the operation, including booking dive charters, handling retail transactions, assisting with maintenance projects and interacting with customers, as well as opportunities to be out on the water. These positions will be available again soon as we continue our reopening recovery.
It is not just instructors that are changing with the times, Lahaina Divers is making important pivots as well.
- While disinfection and cleanliness has always been a top priority, Lahaina Divers has implemented significant measures and provided training to protect the health and safety of employees and customers.
- We have adapted our business model to be able to reopen and remain in business. This includes being flexible to change as the economy and regulations shift.
- Our investment in technology, starting well before the pandemic, continues to be a driving force in our business plan.
- Lahaina Divers recruits and screens the best talent available, providing competitive wages and excellent benefits. But being a scuba instructor is not just about certifying divers and collecting a paycheck. Adventure, wellbeing and security are part of the job here too.
Scuba diving has come a long way over the last 40 plus years since Lahaina Divers opened its doors. We appreciate that our team is versatile and multi-faceted, and look forward to many more years certifying new divers.