Do I Need to Know How To Swim to be a Scuba Diving Instructor?
The short answer is YES, yes you do. This is simply because as a PADI scuba diving instructor you are an ambassador for the oceans and scuba diving as a sport, which also means promoting safety and comfort in the water for your customers and students when you are teaching.
Without quality swimming skills and your own personal in-water comfort being of an extremely high level, you will simply never be a ‘ great scuba diving instructor’ if the medium in which you teach is always frightening to you because you know you can’t swim effectively without a flotation device that will shine through in your teaching.
When an instructor is 100% comfortable in the water, inside of a BCD or not, that is when true potential is reached and your students will exemplify this behavior in their own actions while training with you. Everything you do as a scuba diving instructor will be emulated by your customers and students, it’s that simple. So you 100% need to be confident in the water as a swimmer to be a good instructor.
What About Safety?
Personally, if I found out or suspected my diving instructor was not a strong swimmer, I would not get into the water with them. Without strong swimming skills you are not only endangering yourself but you are surely endangering your customers lives as well. In an emergency, in the water strong swimming and water skills will help you effectively solve or rectify emergency issues quickly.
Nonswimmers who attempt to help someone else in the water will almost immediately find themselves in a bad situation and be ineffective in helping to solve the emergency, they will most likely just be adding more problems to an already bad situation, where as a strong swimmer could offer help or assistance to someone in need of it.
Add to this that a nonswimming dive instructor might choose to not get in the water at all if someone required help, they might freeze or take to long to offer assistance because they are not comfortable swimming.
Then there is also the matter of your own safety, you spend a lot of time in the water and pool as an instructor, much of this time is spent teaching people who are not immediately comfortable in water and will do things that endanger your safety, like snorkelers who cling to you for buoyancy but push you under the water instead. If you can’t swim then that is going to be a bad day for you indeed.
There is absolutely no excuse for not being a good swimmer, if you are embarking on becoming a professional scuba diving instructor consider it a requirement, not a nice to have.
Swimming Is Essentially Free
If you are not a strong swimmer, than finding water or a pool to practice in is very simple, again there is no real excuse for not learning swimming basics before becoming a PADI instructor.
Becoming a strong swimmer is of course a slight matter of dedication, but doesn’t take very long to master, a few days with a swim coach and you will be gliding in the water like a dolphin.
Are There Swim Tests In The IDC?
Yes there are. The basic swim tests in the IDC are as follows.
- 400 Meter Swim
- 800 Meter Snorkel
Both will need to be demonstrated the ability to swim to a high degree.
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