Quantity Vs Quality
Before I begin writing about the debate between quantity vs quality. I would like to express that our opinion is what we believe how a dive center should be run. Lots of people have different ideas and visions. Here at Aquarius Dive Center we believe that we train divers for the future, not just the present. We hope that after reading our blog, you believe the same.
All around the world, there are thousands of different dive centers and different instructors, who have been trained and are training divers in a manner they believe is right in their vision. It could be a one to one with a professional, it could be a number of instructors/professionals to multiple students or even one instructor to multiple students. As long as these dive centers and instructors, are organised, professional and keep to standards, whichever method they decide to do will give positive results.
In Tenerife south, here at Aquarius Dive Center, we have three instructors, two DSD leaders and one Master Instructor. With over 30 years of experience, we all believe that quality is the main output that any dive center should be aiming for. This is an activity that over the years of growing more popular around the globe, has rapidly decreased in skill level and basic quality in numerous locations.
There are a number of reasons for this;
- Greater number of divers means harder to control from the top
- Poorly taught professional continue to teach poorly to future divers
- Greed and money are always a huge factor
- People just do not care
- Underappreciated courses leading to disinterested students
- Achieving the bare minimum with little effort and being given a medal
These are just a few reasons; however, the list can continue. I will talk few the reasons and give examples as to why we do not believe this is way forward in diving.
Over the years, scuba diving has becoming incredible popular around the world, with dive equipment becoming more affordable and social media showing how incredible places are to dive. It is an amazing thing seeing something you love become so popular. However, the ever-growing number of dive centers around the world need to be monitored to make sure everyone is following standard rules, whichever organization you are, PADI, SSI etc. This means that if rules are to be followed, then someone has to come to each and every registered dive center to make sure they are following them.
To keep a long story short, lots around the world keep to the standards on the day of meeting the Regional Managers* then back to the way they run their centers for the rest of the period before meeting them again. It is difficult for a Regional Manager to monitor all these centers and they are one person to hundreds of different dive centers. I believe the way to try and improve this problem is to work together in a local organization, between dive centers and instructors and make sure everyone is on the same wave length. This helps the Regional managers out massively as then there are more eyes and ears keeping them informed.
*Regional manager – Someone who oversees an area of operations and works closely with general managers.
Poorly Taught Professional
We see this problem in a lot of places around the world and it coincides with a lot of problems on our list. This can occur when there is a large quantity of trainee divers learning at a school or academy for diving.
With larger groups of students, the professionals have to spread out their skill and knowledge to each student, not being able to concentrate on a single problem. As the weeks go by, the students continue their training but with incorrect or poor skills. At the end of their course, yes, they have completed it, but at a low level.
However, as the instructor does not realize that the student’s levels are low, the student, now professional, believes they are ready to teach future divers, and so the continuation of poorly taught divers keeps on replicating itself. UNTIL, someone who has been taught to a higher standard points out and corrects their mistakes. This is very simple to solve, keep groups small and the standards high!
This is a problem everywhere in the world. Lots of people only care about earning more money. If that’s overloading your boat with divers or underpaying your employees. I cannot say much on this as money talks in lots of people’s minds and we cannot change that. All I can say is that diving has a big risk involved, and lots of these greedy dive centers increase that risk without any care.
Make sure you research your dive center before hand and if all they talk about is money with you, have a second thought.
This a complicated problem, as ‘No Care’ is not just one factor in a dive center. It can mean, no care in taking quality care in equipment or not caring that students achieve the standard that a diving organization has set. For example, and it is sadly a reoccurring occurrence, lots of divers do not know how to prepare their own equipment! This may be understandable problem with beginner divers that just need a bit of a reminder. However, the number of divers that have over 50 dives that connect their BCD on the tank the wrong way or have the regulators attached on the wrong side is more than we would like to see at Aquarius Dive Center. This is due not being taught properly at the very beginning as the center is working as a factory and rushing students through parts of the course the center does not find important.
Then once becoming a certified diver, always having their equipment set up for them (which the diver is happy with as for them, the less work the better). If you do not know how to set your own equipment up and you have an emergency underwater, will you know how to find the correct piece of equipment to save their own or even someone else’s life!
One final thing point on the factor of not caring, or should I say over caring, is for divers to only care about getting a plastic card that the organizations give out for completing a course. We have seen lots of students, booking course in the effort to own as many cards as possible, but not taking any or little interest in what is being taught. As I have written before this is the same type of solution, the centers and professionals must keep to a higher standard and be over seen making sure students reach the standard that is set. Centers should not set equipment up for students unless specially requested.
Underappreciating specific parts of diving is a common occurrence due to centers overlooking the more time-consuming skills which cannot be focused on due to large groups. A prime example of this is the ‘Peak Performance Buoyancy’ course. To have good buoyancy, unless you are an anomaly, you must put a lot of work and time underwater. In a course, with many students, the instructor cannot concentrate on specific detail. This causes the student to continue diving with poor/low level buoyancy control. With low level buoyancy skill, this causes many problems, for example;
- Destroying reefs and corals
- Harming marine life
- High air consumption
- Overall poor diving skills
At Aquarius Dive Center, we offer an ‘Extend on Trim and Buoyancy’ which is an intensive course in small groups to try and perfect your position in the water which in contrast makes your dive all that more enjoyable.
Achieving the bare Minimum
This is a problem from both dive centers and students. From the dive centers side, a thing commonly known as ‘ticking boxes’ is the prime example. What this means is that all organisations have a set minimum standard that all divers need to achieve. In small groups or one to ones, as long as the students are taught to a level above the minimum standard, then over time certified divers will continue to improve. However, when a dive center has a lot of students diving at the same time, then some centers will reach the bare minimum, which in theory is allowed. However, for the future will cause big problem. An example of this is for the ‘Deep dive’ adventure dive. A student has to reach a depth of below 18 meters, which once completed, they then are qualified to a depth of 30 meters. Any diver knows there is a huge difference in the two depths and during the course should be diving to a maximum allowable depth.
On the other side, were students just want to achieve the bare minimum. This could be because they have a break in work and school and just want to get aware for a few weeks and rather putting effort into the course, are only interested in being away from home. Also, we have seen on numerous occasions, the student only caring about getting as many dive cards as possible. So, they put minimum effort and care into passing and once they have their card, lose all interest. At Aquarius Dive Center, we are not a center that just gives out dive cards, we also only take students that have a goal and focus, whatever that is.
Summary Quantity Vs Quality
In Summary, I have written about the problems with why quantity is not just a problem for the ever-growing diving business, but also, WHY this is a problem. These kind of business schemes, Quantity Vs Quality, that only care about having as much money flowing through their business could put every student they have at risk. Diving is a sport that needs to respected above and below the water.
What we believe at Aquarius Dive Center, is for the student to be prepared for the future. Small groups and focusing on improvement. It does not matter if you have dived for 1 year or 30 years, there is always room to improve and learn.
Thank you for taking your time to read our Quantity Vs Quality blog and happy diving!!