THE COURSE DIRECTOR
Marcel van den Berg is a PADI Platinum Course Director at Sairee Cottage Diving, based on the picturesque island of Koh Tao in Thailand, and here he offers an insight into recreational diver training and professional-level courses, and how these can be rewarding experiences with far-reaching consequences. www.saireecottagediving.com
Becoming a PADI diving instructor can be a life-changing experience
We only have one life, so it is important we find a job that we love. Becoming a diving instructor and being able to work in places like Thailand, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or any other beautiful area of the world can be totally life-transforming.
Do you want to be stuck in a ‘normal’ job?
Many people try a few different jobs before they find the job that they love, but there are also many people that end up with a job they are not happy with, which leads to a build up of frustration throughout their careers. Diving is a massively popular sport and divers can’t wait to go on their vacation to places like Thailand. It’s no surprise why many divers end up finding a job in the industry, working and living in paradise.
How big of a step is it to become a diving instructor?
A lot of us grow up with the belief that we need to go to school, get a diploma, find a job, pay the mortgage, get a car, etc. I think most of us have dreamed about what it would be like to live on a tropical island and work in paradise… then some of us ask the question, ‘why should I pay for a holiday when I can live in a holiday and get paid for it’? It sounds fantastic, but most people think that it is too good to be true, the step seems too big to make…
It is fun becoming a dive instructor in Thailand
That step, to become a dive instructor, is much easier then most people think. It’s very important to know that once you’ve made the choice to become a dive instructor and move to another country, it is not set in stone that you can never come back. I always recommend to at least try it out and if, after instructor training and working as a dive instructor, you realise it is not for you, then you can always go back to doing what you did before.
How is it to live in paradise and work as a diving instructor?
Close your eyes for a second and try to imagine that you are walking to work on a tropical beach with white sand, palm trees and a calm turquoise sea. After a ten-minute ‘commute’, you arrive at the dive shop and meet your customers, who are excited about learning to scuba dive. After some training in the classroom and pool, you are leading them underwater on a beautiful tropical reef surrounded by schools of colourful fish and other marine life. When you have finished work and you are walking home, you notice that everyone you meet is smiling (because they are on holiday), which is amazing. Now it’s time to relax on your balcony with a cold drink after a ‘hard’ day’s work, enjoying the sunset… Is this something that you would like in your life?
Picture yourself living in paradise
I’m ready to make the step, but where do I start?
The first thing you have to do is find a nice area in the world to complete your diving courses, then find the best place for you to do your PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC). Choosing the right dive centre, course, location and teacher is very important as it will set you up in the right direction, with the right positive mental attitude and the right knowledge and skills to be the best possible diving instructor.
Thailand, and in particular Koh Tao, is one of the best places in the world to do your dive training and your PADI IDC. Because Koh Tao is so popular, there are loads of great dive schools to choose from. Sairee Cottage Diving is one of them, and PADI Platinum Course Director Marcel van den Berg has designed a Divemaster and Dive Instructor Internship programme that goes well beyond all standards, giving you fantastic job opportunities after completion of the course. The Dive Instructor course at Sairee Cottage Diving focuses on high quality, improving dive standards, safety and marine conservation while offering some of the best training facilities on the island.
Being a diving instructor is a rewarding career
The step to becoming a diving instructor and enjoying life on a tropical island is not that hard to make, and we recommend you give it a go, especially if you ever wondered if it’s for you. You will be changing your life – and enjoying a dream job in paradise.
Photographs courtesy of Sairee Cottage Diving