"What should I be looking for in an instructor" Back to About Steve
With the ever increasing number of dive instructors out there, I suggest you look for what makes each dive instructor special and stand out from the others; most importantly you are looking at who will give you the most value for your particular course.
I believe that you should get the most value from any courses you take; these questions below are what you should ask to every instructor, they will help you find the right person to teach you.
What is your name and current qualifications..?
- PADI Course Director and Tec deep & trimix instructor trainer
- PADI TecRec Sidemount instructor (open water & adv wreck diving)
- IANTD advanced sidemount cave diver.
When did you learn to dive and when did you become an instructor..?
I learnt to dive from the early age of 16, back in October 1999. I became a technical diver at the age of 18, then a Divemaster and Assistant Instructor in 2003. 16 months later aged 21, I went onto become a PADI instructor in November 2004.
From then on I was working as a full time instructor in the UK, this involved taking groups of diver’s overseas to destinations around Europe. I became a PADI Course Director at 23 years old in July 2007. Since becoming a Course Director I've been working freelance, offering diver training in recreational, technical and instructor level courses all around the world. (
Are you a full time or part time instructor..?
Since I became a dive instructor I have worked full time in the industry. I am a full time dive instructor that actively teaches diving courses, this is my sole source of income and funds what I love to do.
When I am not teaching a course, I make a point of regularly spending time diving for myself. This allows me to push and develop my own skill level and keeps my passion and enjoyment for scuba diving.
With part time instructors, I have found that even though they are mostly as dedicated as full time instructors, they may not find enough time to run courses which is needed to keep their teaching skills at a high level. They can also fall short on time staying up to date with new diving skills, techniques and equipment developments as well as their own dive fitness level.
Countries you have worked in..?
The many countries I have worked and lived in are currently; England, Scotland, Malta, Greece, Egypt, Mexico, Australia, Solomon Islands.
The countries I have visited and conducted courses in are; Great Britain and all around the UK, Shetland Islands, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Maldives, Bahamas, Florida, California, Mexico, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand.
What did you do before becoming a dive instructor..?
Everybody I knew had no real idea of what to do once they left school. Most enrolled in colleges and universities or just found any job they could. From the ages of 16 to 18, I spent my time developing sales skills working for outdoor activities companies and then decided that I would be one of the few people that would try something “outside of the box...”
From the age of 10, I have been involved in watersports, it started with waterskiing. At 18 years old I realised I had what it takes to help others learn and share what I loved to do and was so passionate about.
I became a waterskiing and barefoot instructor throughout 2001 to 2003, while working for Lowwood ski school, Windermere, Lake District, UK. It was during those 2.5 years while developing my teaching skills and building my scuba diving experience. Combine this with the fact that I wanted to travel and see the world... Lead me to my chosen career as a scuba diving instructor and instructor trainer.
If you’re not out diving what else do you do..?
I now spend most of my spare time keeping a high fitness level. This is important for any diver especially someone who makes technical dives. I regularly run, road cycle, swim and do weight training to balance it out. Other interests I have are kite-surfing and I enjoy any competitive sports. If I have to stay indoors then, doing website development and catching up with friends and family over Facebook and Skype.
Are you involved in technical diving and how did you start..?
With anything you do, especially technical diving I found that you needed to make technical dives on a regular basis to keep your skill level high. Another would be the need to take further technical training with people who specialise in different fields of technical diving.
I have always had an interest in wreck diving and went technical for that reason and the fact that technical divers learn a higher skill set than recreational divers.
I learnt to technical dive in Egypt during 2001 and worked my way through the courses to become a TDI advanced trimix diver (open circuit). I built up my technical dive experience working for many dive centres around the world. In 2006 I became a DSAT, PADI TecRec deep and trimix instructor. Two years later I became a PADI TecRec instructor trainer writing my own distinctive specialty courses for teaching people sidemount scuba diving. (
2008 was probably the biggest eye opener for me; this is when I learnt to become a cave diver, possibly the hardest environment within technical diving. This took me to Mexico’s cenotes and a cave instructor called Steve Bogaerts, later I would go on to learn advanced cave penetration using sidemount equipment configuration. From then on sidemount diving became my passion...
What types of dive environments do you have experience diving in..?
I have been subject to diving in many different dive environments throughout the countries I have been to.
These environments include;
- cold water diving (4*C, drysuit)
- warm water diving
- remote location diving (Shetland and Solomon islands)
- hazardous dives with high current, low visibility
- wreck dives (involving penetration work)
- deep dives
- cave diving
- DPV dives
What are your goals for the future..?
I am looking forward to doing more and more sidemount diving in caves and wrecks. Also will be spending one year or more exploring potential dive sites around New Zealand. As for improving my dive instructional skills, I will as always be helping divers to become dive instructors, one goal I have will be working towards becoming a cave diving instructor by 2012.