I have addressed this topic before, but it is worth repeating. Dale Davis wrote:
How about a positive question for a change? With the Centennial Eagle adding another day of diving to the Scuba Adventure, any chance to work on any PADI specialities like Peak Bouyancy or Boat Diver? Looking forward to being there in about two weeks!!
During the spring and winter seasons the Florida Sea Base usually offers the opportunity for Scuba Adventure crews to complete a PADI specialty certification or two. However, we are not yet able to do so during the summer. The primary issue is that it is very difficult to find PADI Instructors that are certified to teach specialties and willing to work just the summer months. Let me explain a little more in detail for the benefit of the readers who aren’t familiar with the PADI instructor system.
Divemaster (DM) is PADI’s first professional level of certification. That is followed by Assistant Instructor and then Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI). As an OWSI you can teach what PADI considers “core” courses such as Open Water Diver, Adventure Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver and Divemaster plus a few non-diving specialties like AWARE Coral Reef Conservation and a VERY few diving specialties such as Peak Performance Buoyancy (mentioned in Dale’s comment).
However, to teach most diving specialties (such as Boat Diver) the OWSI must have an additional certification to teach each specialty. I am certified to teach 20 specialties so I had to apply to PADI for each of those 20 topics. Additionally, unless you attend a speciality instructor course taught by a PADI Course Director ($$$) you are required to have a minimum of 25 student certifications in core courses before you are allowed to teach specialties. If you have certified 25 students AND are certified to teach at least five specialty courses, you move up the ranks from OWSI to Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT). So, from a practical standpoint, most instructors who can teach specialty courses are MSTDs. I hope this hasn’t been too confusing or boring so far.
During the summer, there are 12 Scuba Adventure crews on base at any one time. The Florida Sea Base can’t offer specialty certifications to one crew unless we can offer it to all of the crews. Fair is fair. I am only budgeted for one scuba professional (usually a DM but sometimes an instructor) per crew. For most diving specialties, PADI only allows 8 students (coincidentally our crew size) per instructor. The bottom line is I would have to hire 12 MSDTs for the summer just for the Scuba Adventure crews. It is a monumental task to hire 12 Scout appropriate (preferably Eagle Scouts) Divemasters for Scuba Adventure crews. I wish I could find that many MSDTs. Bear in mind that I also have to hire DMs and OWSIs or MSDTs for the Scuba Liveaboard program and the Scuba Certification program.
So as much as I wish we could offer specialty certifications during the summer, I simply cannot hire enough qualified staff to make that a reality during summer. Sorry Dale; I sincerely wish we could. So the good news is you will get two additional scuba dives (weather permitting) in lieu of going to Key West for a day but the bad news I can’t make specialty certifications available to the Scuba Adventure crews during the summer season.
Moving on, here is a photo of more than $1,000,000 worth of Newton 46′ Dive Specials that now reside at the Florida Sea Base dock.
We also have a 45′ Corinthian (power catamaran) dive boat and a few 26′ dive boats. There is no oil in the water at the Florida Sea Base, Brinton Environmental Center or Abacos (Bahamas) bases and none expected in the near future. The water temperature on the reef is 84 degrees; no wetsuits required. The divers are diving and the sailors are sailing. The fishing is good and the fish are still safe. The staff members are enthusiastic and looking forward to serving you. The UV index is maxed out so remember to buy some SPF 50 sunscreen in the Ships Store along with a long-sleeved t-shirt, a hat and polarized sunglasses. COME ON DOWN!!!
Aboard S/V Escape