Your PADI instructor course is one of your most nerve wracking,inspiring, awesome and fun experiences you can have, or supposed to be anyway! As much as possible, I want everybody to be as prepared as they possibly can be, so I thought I would put together a check list of some of the things you need to have prepared before you arrive. This is not just your standard, oh by the way, you need to have your physics revised, it’s the bits they don’t tell you about. Now most may, or should be covered during your IDC, but some inevitably won’t be and it’s good to have that heads up no?
So I’ll start with the obvious, yes your theory. You have to cover your dive theory knowledge which includes physics, physiology, dive equipment, dive skills and knowledge, and the RDP. Heres some specific pointers for each;
Physics: They give you the constants!!! Stop panicking!!! The only additional formula you need is the P1 x V1 and there are even some ways around that ; )
Physiology: Sort out the difference between hypo and hyper. HypO meaning LOW and hypEr meaning HIGH. (AKA hyperactive) so hypocapnia is too low carbon dioxide and hypercapnia is too much.
Equipment: Yes, you do need to know what a capillary depth gauge is and it IS more accurate at altitude. Also it helps to really understand first and second stages so considering taking one apart to look at it. It helps a LOT.
Dive skills and Environment.: Refresh your rescue diver, open water diver knowledge. This is the subject that everyone tends to forget as they are too busy focusing on the rest and this is the easy one right? Don’t be fooled. A good thing to do is to maybe watch the open water and rescue video to refresh some skills like the CESA and correct CPR technique. Also check in your encyclopaedia of recreational diving and make sure you know the directions of the main currents on the globe. They like to throw those in!
RDP: Keep your table skills fresh. It is quicker a lot of the time to use the standard RDP so familiarize yourself with it well before your IDC starts. You will also need to use the eRDPml, which FYI has a button to turn the sound off! This is for multi level calculations and you should, by PADI standards, have one for your divemaster course. If you don’t, check with your instructor. You need to learn the basic background of the table and important numbers to remember are RDP 14 tissue groups, 60 minute washout and the Navy Table is 6 tissue groups, 120 minute washout.
Okay, so additional things you need to know.
Compass work: Make sure you are familiar with and can easily and accurately navigate with a compass and just as importantly, show someone else how to do it. You should now this after your open water and certainly after your advanced. It is covered again in rescue and divemaster. There should certainly be noone out there guiding divers who does not know how to navigate naturally and with a compass. If you need some hints, here you go.
Standards: Make sure you have looked through your instructor manual at least a bit. You are given it during your PADI Divemaster course so its good to at least look at the layout of each chapter, and in particular pay attention to the final chapter, the Professional membership chapter. This defines each rating, duties, as well as the code of conduct and youth agreement. Some important info you should definitely look over. If you need an up to date manual don’t forget you can download it for free from the PADI website.
Things you will need: One of the most common questions that comes up during the IDC ” Can I use my phone as a calculator?” Answer….NO! Make sure you bring one before hand to your IDC along with the rest of your materials.
One of the other things I will add is it’s good to have an idea of where you you would like to work once you finish. The marketing plans you have to put together can be very useful. If you use them to the best benefit, as in, if you can prep them for where you will work, or where you would like to work, you can get the most out of them. I use them as a great discussion point where you can plot and plan you way to acquiring more divers, promoting more courses you want to teach and so on. The only person who can benefit is you.
Hope this helps just a wee bit…remember have fun and live the dream!!