Instructor Use of Cameras During PADI Discover Scuba Diving and Open Water Diver Courses

Hawaii - Underwater Photography - Instructor and Student - PADI Scuba Divers

Written by Regional Training Consultant, Guy Corsellis

Underwater photography is an art form and an activity enjoyed by many of us. Some of us use photography and film simply for capturing souvenirs whilst others use it for recording data. As a PADI Instructor you may wish to engage in underwater photography activities whilst teaching which may be acceptable in some teaching situations. However, the PADI Instructor is still required to continually observe their divers with only the brief, periodic interruptions needed to lead the dive and provide assistance to individual divers, as required by PADI standards.

We do need to make a clear distinction of what is or isn’t allowed while conducting a PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) or Open Water Diver course. Whilst conducting a PADI DSD, the standard is very clear. As you will find under the Supervision section from the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Instructor Guide, it clearly states: Do not engage in any other activities, such as taking photographs or video, while supervising participants. This standard was also reinforced in the 4th Quarter Training Bulletin 2012. While this standard has not been specified in the PADI Open Water Diver course, as PADI Instructors we still need to apply good judgment to increase and maintain diver safety without ever jeopardizing our student divers.

In the 4th Quarter Training Bulletin from 2005 we published an article about Student Diver-Centred Open Water Dives:

Training Bulletin - Student Diver-Centered Open Water Dives

During Open Water training dives, as the Instructor, you carry the responsibility to observe and evaluate each student diver’s performance. Participating in other activities during open water training dives detracts from your primary focus and responsibility. Underwater, if you are taking photographs, videotaping, mapping, searching, collecting or doing anything not directly related to the dive’s training objectives, you are not providing the direct supervision that student divers deserve or may need.  Please be aware that taking photos during a course (in particular an entry level course) may take your attention off the students.

From a risk management point of view as you will no doubt be aware, dive professionals are always advised to err on the side of caution. This is not only the safest option for all involved but also the best defence, should something go terribly wrong on the dive and the matter is taken to court. As a PADI Instructor, this is something you always need to bear in mind when you need to ‘make the call’. Make conservative judgment calls and always err on the side of caution. If student divers lack comfort and confidence, I strongly recommend that you only focus on the wellbeing of your student divers and not task load yourself with other activities. As stated in our Member Code of Practice, “As a PADI Member, you agree to the following: Put the safety of diving clients and students as your first priority and responsibility!”

Please don’t forget to have fun with your student divers and enjoy yourselves!

If you have any further questions, please email your Regional Training Consultant at

Set Your Plan and Goals for 2019

Written by PADI Regional Manager Damian Jones

If you’re new to the industry in either a part or full-time role, it’s important to know where you want to take your diving career. Being a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor is great fun and gives us opportunities to meet different people and travel to some awesome places. However, it’s even more fun when you have some variety in what you can teach. Becoming a PADI Specialty Instructor, PADI Tec Instructor or PADI Freediver Instructor can give you the variety you need to make sure you’re a long time member of the diving industry.

Bonaire- Open Water Course- Diving- PADI

Do you want to teach specialties? Do you love deep diving or underwater photography?  Working with a PADI Course Director or getting experience to apply direct, will not only allow you to teach your passion but also open up many more job opportunities. The more qualifications you have, the more valuable you’ll be in the industry.

If you already have more experience, do you want to further open up your career options and become a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, PADI Master Scuba Instructor or PADI Course Director? Teaching people to teach is great fun, a rewarding experience and one of the most sort after positions in the diving industry.

The PADI Course Director certification is achievable for everyone, however it does take time, experience and planning to get there. In your PADI Instructor manual you’ll find all the Instructor ratings, the prerequisites and experience requirements needed to enroll or apply for each rating. Use this a guide to plan for the future.

Do you want to eventually own your own business? Along with experience in the dive industry it also very important to have some business training for your PADI Dive Center, charter boat or other new venture. The PADI Business Academy is a great start and is available in locations all across Asia Pacific in 2019.

Whatever your goals are in the diving industry, having a training plan and a mentor can help you stay on track. A simple plan could include your desired PADI Instructor rating, the prerequisites to meet that rating, areas around the world you’d like to teach within and some business and marketing training, all in a timeline that is realistic to complete.

Your best resource to help along your diving career is your PADI Regional Manager and Regional Training Consultant.  Meet them by attending events such as PADI Member Forums, Industry Updates, Business Academies and when needed, pick up the phone or send a quick email as we’re all here to help.

For more information contact your PADI Regional Manager or Regional Training Consultant.