So you’ve decided it’s time to
make the big bucks live your passion and enter into the world of being a dive professional, huh? Congratulations, it’s time to travel the world, share the underwater world with others, carry thousands of tanks and play the occasional role as psychiatrist. But before you embark on your next life, do you have all the gear you need? Let’s find out!
As a dive professional, not only should you have excellent dive skills, you also have different equipment considerations. You’re not responsible for others, both their safety and enjoyment. Each piece of gear we cover in this series can contribute to both.
You’re also on the high-end level of use, so you need gear that is going to last a long time while being able to withstand the sometimes hectic life of a dive professional.
High Visibility Fins
When guiding a tour, you’re likely to be in the lead. If visibility goes down, which can sometimes even happen in the tropics, your students/customers may have a hard time finding you. If they can’t find you, they panic, run out of air, bolt to the surface and get bent. Okay, hopefully not that bad, but you get the idea. Also, if you lose them, you can’t show them the awesome Giant Pacific Octopus or moray eel that you know is just under that rock.
Yellow survives best at depth, so that’s the ideal color to get. While some dive professionals have spent their early diving days buying gear because it matches and yellow may not be your thing, you’re in luck. You can still get an any-color matching black fin with yellow tips! The Hollis open heel F-1′s are a great option for more than just their high visibility. They also have spring straps, which makes getting your fins on and off incredibly fast so you can get back to helping your students.
Regardless of how well you review hand signals before descending, you’re bound to run into a situation where one of your wards doesn’t understand what you’re trying to tell them. Instead of shaking them like a polaroid picture, simply jot down the information you’re trying to convey and show it to them. As long as they can read, you’re good to go.
One great option is a glow in the dark, multi-page wrist slate. It’s on your wrist so it’s out of the way. It has multiple pages so you don’t have to worry about erasing underwater. It glows in the dark so everyone can see it even on a night dive. Whatever kind of slate you choose, you can count on it to be an effective means of communication with your students when signals just won’t cut it.
As a dive professional, it’s highly likely that at some point you’ll guide a night dive. Just like your new high visibility fins, a marker light will help your divers to find you while on a dive. If you intend to work somewhere like Kona Hawaii with their incredibly popular manta night dive where ten or more boats of divers converge on the same spot, you may want to get a variety of markers so your divers know who you are, even from a distance.
While it will only make you friends once your divers have found you thanks to how insanely bright it is and not when they’re swimming right behind you being blinded by the flashing, a strobe is a great tool to have in your kit. If you want something a bit more subtle, but don’t want to murder the environment with single use cyalume chemical sticks, pick up a battery operated marker light (or three, one in each color).
Check out SCUBA Gear for the New Dive Professional: Part II to see what else you may want to consider adding to your professional dive gear kit!