Phuket Thailand's best scuba diving (+66) 076 688 113
Why is control important when you are a dive professional.

Why is control important when you are a dive professional.

Why is control important when you are a dive professional

As a PADI professional and particularly as a PADI Instructor we hold a great deal of responsibility each time we take a student into the water, be it the swimming pool or open water. The onus is on the instructor to provide a safe dive and complete that dive or pool session with the student/s without incident. I believe that the core of being able to do that is good student/assistant and dive control. Here we will try and explain why control is so important when you are a dive professional.

Why we need to do more than verbal directions

I sometimes hear the excuse of instructors “I told the student not to do that”. Instructors should not get into the habit of relying on verbal instructions. There are a whole lot of reasons why students would not comply with your verbal directions. If you cast your mind back to the first time you dived and how nervous you were. There was a massive amount of information to take in. Trying to remember buoyancy control, breathing control, stay above the coral, stay behind the instructor, check your air, check your computer, hand signals and on top of that trying to relax and have a fun experience. All add to information overload. This could be one of the very simple reasons why divers forget your instruction. Add to that being nervous, language barriers and the use of new scuba diving terminology can all add up to a student forgetting the simplest of directions.

A dive instructor should brief a student on what they should and should not be doing however the only way to make sure they are doing that is to monitor them and have good communication and control the entire time and act as a good role model.

PADI Open Water Course IDC Aussie Phuket Scuba Diving

PADI Open Water Course IDC Aussie Phuket Scuba Diving

How PADI Describes Control

Control includes not only deciding when, where and how skills practice will occur but having the ability to clearly communicate your plan to student divers and assistants. Your control and guidance are what makes a dive (or training) progress smoothly and efficiently.

You control a dive by:

a. Positioning yourself, student divers and your assistant in an area and manner that is conducive to performing skills.

b. Positioning assistants where they can observe student divers not under your direct supervision.

c. Monitoring all student divers throughout the dive by making frequent checks yourself and by effectively coordinating supervision with your assistant.

d. Clearly communicating with divers and assistants using whatever means is appropriate and effective.


Good positioning is vital to good control of students. If working alone, either underwater or on the surface all students should be in the instructors’ field of vision during skill demonstrations and other activities.

Further, ideally, the instructor should have good eye contact with the students. All good body language experts start by reading the eyes. Good eye contact, along with body movement can reveal if a student is uncomfortable and possibly about to panic.

All students and assistants if you have one should be placed in your field of vision and the instructor should be close enough to make good eye contact and be in easy reach of the student.

Underwater Navigation PADI Advanced Open Water Course Aussie Divers Phuket

Underwater Navigation PADI Advanced Open Water Course Aussie Divers Phuket

Positioning Assistants

The same rules should apply when positioning an assistant. If the assistant is in charge of keeping the group together, and situated behind the group then the instructor in charge still needs to maintain eye contact and the majority of control.

If the assistant is in charge whilst the instructor is swimming away from the group, they take over the role of control and should be facing the students.

Assistants should be thoroughly briefed and debriefed on what to do if there is any problem with the students and subsequently what to do if a problem occurs.


The responsibility of monitoring students lies solely on the instructor. Frequent checks of air and welfare checks with both students and assistants. Even if the instructor has a certified assistant, all students should be monitored by the instructor and they should not be reliant on the assistant.

After all, the instructor is the leader and should take responsibility of all involved in the dive.

Clearly Communicating

Instructors should consider hand positioning when giving have signals. Hand signals done quickly and just in front of the body may be difficult for a student to pick up. Try and place your hands in an area where they are clear to the student and hold the signal until you see the students’ eyes connect with the hand movement. They should return with a signal to acknowledge your sign. This will often be the OK signal.

Always receive an acknowledgement from your student.

Lucky Escape #1

Many years ago I was working with an instructor on a scuba diving vessel. On the day she had three PADI Discover Scuba Divers. The first-time divers were extremely confident and performed the DSD with ease.

After the dive, the instructor was on the surface with her SMB above her head waiting for the dive boat. The instructor was focused on getting the boat’s attention. The three DSDs were placed behind here and chatting away.

One of the students was getting a little bored waiting and let the air out of his BCD and descended under the water unbeknown to the instructor. The instructor turned to find only two students on the surface and one under the water. As you could imagine this made for a very difficult and dangerous situation for the instructor.

On the boat, the instructor argued that it was not her fault. However, with some simple body positioning, the incident could have been avoided. If the instructor had placed the three students between here and the boat, she could have still signaled the boat and had the students in her field of vision. This way she would have seen the student releasing the air and could have placed an immediate stop to it.

SMB Scuba Diving Aussie Divers Phuket

SMB Scuba Diving Aussie Divers Phuket

Lucky Escape #2

Another incident that comes to mind also involves three DSD students. On this day the students were entering the water off a boat for their second dive.

One of the students successfully entered the water and had made his way to the instructor. The instructor placed the student to the left of him and asked the student to wait while the others entered the water. The instructor was focused on giving directions to the two that had yet to enter the water.

In the interim, the student waiting decided to do some surface snorkeling. The instructor was not aware of this. Once the two students entered the water, the instructor turned to find the first student some nine metres away, worse, the student was panicking and splashing about in the water.

Again, the instructor stated that he had verbally told the student what to do, however the student was outside his field of vision. Better control of the student, either by placing the student in front of him or even physically holding the student would have prevented a very difficult and potentially dangerous situation.

Not so lucky

I recall a story related to me by former PADI safety guru Richard Evans. It related to an interview he conducted with an instructor who unfortunately was involved in a serious incident with a DSD.

During his questioning, Evans asked the instructor how often he checked on the student. The student replied with an answer of “every couple of minutes”. Evens then gave the instructor a bit more time to consider the answer to which the instructor replied “maybe every minute”. The instructor then changed his answer to “about every 20 seconds”. Unfortunately, all three answers were incorrect. PADI’s thoughts on control of a DSD student is as follows;

• Position yourself so that you or a certified assistant can make immediate physical contact with, adjust buoyancy for, and render assistance to, participants.

• Continually observe participants with only the brief, periodic interruptions needed to lead the dive and to provide assistance to individual divers.

• Do not engage in any other activities, such as taking photographs or video, while supervising participants.

The investigation did not end well for the instructor and he was found liable for the incident. Poor student control was sighted for the reason.


As mentioned at the beginning of the blog, instructors take on a lot of responsibility for the divers they take into the water.

Students do require verbal instructions on what to do however more importantly the instructor needs to constantly monitor students during training and subsequent dives.

Good student monitoring and control is a professional’s best asset in preventing above and underwater incidents and will make sure that the instructor is a safe one and has many years of incident-free teaching.

Aussie Divers Phuket IDC Group

Aussie Divers Phuket IDC Group

Posted in Instructor Pro Diving Tips on .

A Professional IDC With - 'Aussie Divers Phuket'

Lets face facts for a moment, the dive shop & Course Director who teach you to be a Scuba Diving Instructor is one of the most important decisions you make when doing an IDC, be it in Phuket, Thailand, or elsewhere in the world. Names & reputations count for a lot in the scuba industry & if you get it wrong you will spend 3 intimate weeks over your course regretting it. Don't trust your instructor education and future employablility to just anyone, trust it to a world reknown, professional & Five Star PADI Instructor Development Centre like Aussie Divers IDC Phuket, we will ensure you get the best PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor education that money can buy.

Your Course Directors will be with you throughout the IDC & IE, on hand for any and all questions regarding your course. Darren Gaspari is an exceptional dive, sales & business coach who will help you not only become a great dive instructor, but also impart knowledge that will one day be essential to you as a PADI professional who wants to start their own dive centre. Do not hesitate, get a world class dive education today with Aussie Divers IDC Phuket!

IDC Phuket Calendar
PADI Divemaster Aya Terauchi Endorsements

Aya Terauchi

I am a world traveler and I have a lifetime bucket list. Scuba diving is one of them. I got certified PADI Open Water Course in Hawaii in 2013, which I really enjoyed and was satisfied with the fact that "I did it, bucket list checked." I have not had a chance to go diving since then until my friend introduced Aussie Divers in 2015. I did fun dives at Koh Phi Phi and Racha Noi/Yai. I discovered diving in Phuket was amazing with colorful coral reefs and active marine life. I fell in love with scuba diving again! I went back to Hawaii to do PADI Advanced Open Water Course and came back to Phuket to do rescue and ERP with Aussie Diver [...]

Read The Story
We have been talking for a long time about re-designing our web presence to match the level of enthusiasm we have for all things related to scuba diving in Phuket, Thailand. We wanted to build a web site that could not just inform people about what we do, but one that would create a medium by which we could truly communicate with our current and future customers. We wanted a web site that you could view any where and on any device, and we definitely wanted it to be simple and easy to use. So with that in mind, welcome to our brand new web site, dedicated to bringing the Aussie Diver experience to more people than ever before, and to help bring awareness of the issues we face and the good times we have diving here in Phuket! A Diving Community What is a diving community? Well that is exactly what Aussie want to help people understand. We are not just a dive shop, we are a larger group of diving individuals with a common thread that links us all together, that thread is scuba diving, that thread is protection of the marine environment, that thread is being updated on what we can do to play our part so that the health of the worlds oceans and reefs improves and does not decline. Communities can be powerful voices for change, or they can just be a cool place to get information and find dive buddies. So we want you to come with us and be part of our dive community, a big Aussie Divers family, right here in Phuket! Mobile Friendly Today there is not much point having a web site if you can't look at it on your mobile or tablet. So we have worked hard to make sure everything on our new web site works nicely even on the smallest of screens. That way you guys can look up information on courses, day trips, dive site and read our blog with out the hassle of re-sizing and wrestling with your device! Zippy & Relevant The new web site is quite a bit faster than the old one, we've done away with embedded video and third party plugins so that we can deliver you a blisteringly fast web site experience. You should quite easily be able to browse our new site with any device or internet connection available to you! We have also worked extremely hard at updating our content to be more relevant and less like reading a text book or thesis. Have a look at some of our course pages and you will notice a big focus on visual story telling rather than mountains of text. We know your time is valuable, so we only include the important stuff, you can leave all the little details to us and if there is something you want to know, just send us an email, we are always happy to hear from you! Easier To Get Around You may have noticed how on the new web site the menu will follow you as you scroll the page, this makes it super easy to navigate the web-site, and we have kept the options simple. Contacting Us I think we may have already said it once or twice, but Aussie Divers is not just about diving, the customer experience to us is paramount, and as such we are always available to chat and answer your questions. You'll find many ways on the new web site to contact us, in the top navigation bar you'll see and email icon, click that for an instant email pop-up window. In the footer you can find our phone number, Google map location and Trip Advisor page. Don't hesitate to get in contact with us because you will never forget diving in Phuket! News & Special Offers

New Aussie Divers Phuket – PADI Instructor Development Course – Website

With our desires firmly fixed on becoming the worlds best scuba diving centre Aussie Divers Phuket are entering a new era of PADI Instructor Development training. We believed we have believed we have formed an exciting and professional team headed by world renowned PADI multi Platinum Course Director Christophe Pace, Course Director Darren Gaspari, Master Instructor Simon Creed and Staff Instructor Ashley Walker along with the highly professional team of Aussie Divers Phuket instructors. Along with our new training centre located on the Chalong Pier road with have now launched a brand new website dedicated to out PADI Instructor Dev [...]

Read The Story
Aussie Divers Phuket Rocky Divemaster Boat Endorsements

Rocky Powers

Growing up in Australia I have always been connected to the sand and surf, I am pretty sure I learnt how to swim before I learnt how to walk so it would be fair to say the water has always been apart of me. I remember my first discovery scuba session on chartered catamaran sailing the Great Barrier Reef in 2009 and seeing my first turtle. Its the small moments in life I appreciate and I will always treasure, nature in the natural. I have always been a traveller, my first Europe trip in 2014 I dived the Greek islands and Spain. From then I knew I always want to be apart of this world but It wasn’t until 2016 I took the direction o [...]

Read The Story

The Best Instructor Development Center In Thailand

Here at Aussie Divers IDC Phuket we do not worry about the number of divers or IDC candidates we have, we worry exclusively about the quality of your education, be it one person or many, you'll never feel abandoned or bored when training, working or diving with us. Maintaining relationships before during and after any courses done with us is what Aussie Divers is all about. To help manage such a huge base of divers & industry professionals we built this diver network, connecting on every social media platform we can think of coupled with extremely helpful blog articles, to keep you engaged & to keep you engaged with us for the entirety of your diving career!