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 training-sales@padi.com.au

PADI/GoPro Evolution Video Contest Kicks Off

Go Pro Contest - Go Pro - Evolution Contest

PADI® is partnering with GoPro to present the three-part Evolution video contest series, which will run through October 2019. Whether it’s a sunken ship in your favorite quarry, an unforgettable turtle encounter or a freedive over a vivid reef, you and your divers have a shot at winning valuable prizes as you show off your video and editing skills. Best of all, the contests are a chance to increase your business by offering specialty courses and camera sales.

The CAPTURE contest, which is open for entries from 15April – 30May, asks divers, who are at least 18 years old, to simply capture an amazing underwater experience; the second contest, EDIT, is open 1 July – 15 August and tests your editing skills with a series of clips provided by GoPro; the final contest, CAPTURE/EDIT, opens 16 September – 31 October and requires you put everything together – capturing and editing – into one awesome story.

The three contests are open to everyone – amateurs and pros alike – and, beyond just being fun, offer incredible opportunities to boost your business:

  • Teach underwater photography. While divers can get tips on how to capture and edit amazing underwater footage from GoPro professionals, consider cross promoting the contest with a PADI Digital Underwater Photographer specialty course. Either offer the specialty on request, or schedule a handful of courses throughout the duration of the contest period (essentially, all of 2019). When selling the Digital Underwater Photographer specialty, point out to your divers that they’ll likely be able to shoot footage during the course that they can then enter in the contest!
  • Consider other specialties. Digital Underwater Photographer isn’t the only specialty you can promote – there are a number of great courses that tie in nicely not just with the contest, but with digital underwater photography as well. Peak Performance Buoyancy is an obvious tie-in because peak buoyancy makes underwater photography more rewarding; Fish Identification teaches divers to identify fish and understand fish behavior better; and, the Boat Diver and Wreck Diver specialties can get divers to environments they may not have dived before, for exciting new encounters. What’s more, if your divers take enough of these specialties, they’re on their way to PADI Master Scuba DiverTM.
  • Sell the hardware. Finally, take this opportunity to sell more GoPro cameras and accessories, or if you don’t currently sell GoPro, consider adding them to you inventory. Only videos shot on a GoPro can be entered into the Evolution contest, so what better way of promoting the sale of GoPro cameras and accessories than by featuring them right next to information about the contests!

Registrations are now open for the CAPTURE contest – Enter Here

To help you promote the PADI/GoPro Evolution contest to your divers, there is a full range of marketing collateral and resources on the PADI Pros’ Site. Happy shooting!