There are two Solstices; Summer and Winter, and two Equinoxes; Autumnal and Vernal, the latter signalling the start of Spring in the northern hemisphere. 

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It doesn't appear that clearly in the Key Standards of the PADI Instructor Manual but in the Specialty Instructor Manual, it states that a diver must an Advanced Open Water Diver, 18 years old and have 100 logged dives as a prerequisite for the PADI Self-Reliant Specialty Course.


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PADI Instructor Colm has four PADI Open Water Diver students and during their confined water sessions one of them, Therese, has some difficulty with the No Mask Swim skill.

Colm askes his Divemaster, Amy, to look after the other three students at the surface so he can take Therese back under to do some remedial work with the mask.

Amy suggests that she can take Therese for the remedial work so Colm can carry on with the other students and after she has checked that Therese has mastered the No Mask Swim skill she will bring her over to join the class and carry on with the rest of the performance requirements.

Colm considers this option as it would keep the class running on schedule and trusts Amy to be able to check to see if Therese has mastered the skill.

Would they be acting within PADI Standards if they take this option?

Although having the Divemaster assist in the remediation of a student diver is a great option and well within PADI standards, final skill mastery for the No Mask Swim must always be evaluated by the PADI Instructor.

Didi has just completed her IDC and begins work with a new dive centre in a new location. After completing an orientation period in which she is introduced to the logistics and procedures in the dive centre and having shadowed her new colleges on the local dive site, she is asked to take a PADI Open Water Course with six students.

Although she feels ready to teach she explains to her dive operations manager, Ralf that this is too may students for her to start her career with and she feels nervous about her ability to supervise the group effectively and would prefer to team-teach this course with another Instructor or have a Divemaster present to assist her.

Ralf informs her that he is assigning her this group as they are short staffed and that eight is the maximum student number for the course. He ensures her she’ll be fine with six and he’ll be around to help in any way he can during the course.

Is this a good idea and is there anything within PADI standards to help Didi defend her request?

Although Ralf’s intentions are good and he wants Didi to do well he has to listen to her concerns. The PADI Code Of Practice contains guidelines for a Instructors and their conduct – point 3 states that every Instructor should perform a personal readiness check including stating that new Instructors should make appropriately conservative judgment calls.

The section Instructor Judgement also supports Didi – it states that ‘you’ must apply sound judgment in determining what is appropriate for training each time you conduct a course or program based of your abilities and limitations and reduce the ratios accordingly.

As part of Didi’s risk assessment, she is correct in raising her concerns about taking such a large group in a relatively new environment as her first autonomous teaching experience.

You can thank Sir Isaac Newton and his theory of gravity and the tracking of the relative position of the sun and moon and their effects on tidal patterns for this one. He was a bit of an underachiever as he only managed this, the three laws of motion and the invention of calculus in his lifetime!