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Amanda Calverley (OWSI), MSDT Prep Course at Stoney Cove, UK - May 2008

I have just finished a fun packed weekend working under the watchful eye of Stephen Martin doing an MSDT Prep course at Stoney Cove. If you get the chance you should do it too! Here’s why:-

Learning is fun, especially with Steve as your course director, and I mean that respectfully as he is also very professional. Learning to teach students new skills is a serious matter, particularly if you are taking them into potentially hazardous environments like a wreck. Learning new things yourself can also be hard work but as professionals we should always be looking to learn something new. The MSDT course that Steve delivered (6 specialty courses in 2 days) was most definitely the best fun I’ve had diving in a while – and all that at Stoney Cove! Now I feel I am in a strong position to pass that on to my students.

Added Value - If you want to learn some valuable skills as a teaching professional, then one of Steve’s MSDT weekends is ideal. You will pick up new skills that will benefit both you and your students. If you really want to make a mark, Steve can give you ways of adding value to the set PADI syllabus’ for the specialty courses too.

Renewed Enthusiasm and Confidence - I needed a personal boost, and found the MSDT weekend was really good for doing that. If you’re feeling a bit stale, or you’re looking for ways to boost your own teaching repertoire, then why not fast track on the MSDT route by doing the course with Steve. It will give your confidence an almighty lift. Confidence and enthusiasm is contagious, and Steve has heaps of it to pass on!

Top Tip - So my top tip for a way to the top is to get yourself booked on an MSDT course with Steve. You can of course go the other route and qualify by experience. I could have submitted my application for MSDT on this basis too but, having done the course, I feel that it was well worth taking the time to cover the syllabuses formally with Steve. A huge thank you!


Paul Thomas - (IDC) Instructor Development Course, Manchester, UK

What can be said that hasn’t already been said by my fellow OWSI candidates? I personally would like to thank you for your perseverance and encouragement when dealing with a complete numpty like me.

For others reading the testimonials I would have to say that doing the IDC with Steve is not an easy option, as he is very thorough and committed to making a GOOD instructor of the candidates and not only passing the exam. However with this in mind I should say that I felt Steve’s very professional and enthusiastic approach to the IDC prepared me completely (if that’s possible) for what was to come. As others have said the course was hard work but this seemed to make the IE less intimidating. Its often said’ the proof of the pudding is in the eating’, well all of the candidates from Aquatech passed the IE and this is surely the best testimonial of Steve’s ability.

I would recommend Steve to anybody and am looking forward to continuing my dive education with him. I should also thank my fellow candidates, Q, Dave, Helen, Chris and Ivan (thanks for the muffins) for their support and humor during the IDC. I would also say a BIG thaaaaank yoooooou, to the Aquatech instructor crew Steve (K.L.F) Millard, Paul (kerching) Hatton and Dave (extra weights) Elcock. Well that’s about all for now except to say just one more time THANKS and Gooood Jaaaab.


David Barker - Open Water Scuba Instructor (April 27th 2008) Manchester, GB

Well, what can I say that hasn't been said by Q and Helen? I guess this testimonial has a couple of roles to fulfill.  First and foremost it's a recommendation and endorsement of Steve and his role as Course Director in getting a mixed group of divers through an IE.  Steve worked hard (bloody hard) with us as a group and individually and by the time of the IE I think we were as well-prepared as we could be.  Any examination process is going to be stressful, but we went in knowing we could get through it.  I don't think that was the case at the start of the IDC and the confidence and competence we developed with Steve's support, instruction and guidance is testament to his abilities.

Secondly, this is about saying thanks.  More than anything, this was a team job.  Helen, Paul and Q made it bearable and I think we all helped each other through - thanks guys.  The folks at Aquatech did a magnificent job in keeping us together during the IDC and the IE - BIG thanks to Steve, Paul and Dave E for working with us.  And, finally (it is his site after all!) to Steve, who took us from not so sure instructor wannabees to the well-oiled machines we are today (well, freshly oiled and just getting rid of the squeaks).

If you're not sure about whether OWSI is for you (or even if you are), I would wholeheartedly recommend working with someone like Steve.  You're not simply on someone else's conveyor belt.  There's a lot of learning to do and Steve can deliver what's needed in a flexible, structured and entertaining manner. I now feel obliged to say "Good Jaaaaaab", but I hate myself for it :-)

see what the dive centre manager Steve Millard had to say (click here)


Quentin (Marvin the Paranoid Android) Roebuck - Instructor Development Course, Manchester, UK 

3 years I'd been a Divemaster and constantly being told I should become an Instructor had given me enough reason to take the plunge. then I ended up' due to work spending a year (well nearly) out of the water. After a total rethink to life and what we (the wife and I) wanted I looked at the instructor route again. Aquatech were now an 5 star IDC and the only place to do it (for me...its our club and we are mostly very loyal) So I contacted them and yes there was one coming up with some bloke called Steve Martin (Oh my god I thought a Hollywood star teaches diving how cool is that going to be) Sadly it was not the man with 2 brains but by the end of the ordeal' that's the prep for the IE, he became a star in his own right.

Now for those that have met me and know me I do not give much away or compliments easily so take this as an indication of the quality of the training supplied. Now I will be honest it was not all down to Steve he had help form the guys at Aquatech who are as always a set of Pillars of strength and support and complete Tw*ts in the nicest of ways. So big thanks to those guys Steve (Fatboy) Millard, Paul (Yoda) Hatton, and Dave (copy that) Elcock. So what makes the experience of the AI - OWSI fun well the others you do it with sure as hell help, but someone who listens' to your input too. We are not the easiest lot to deal with but Steve changed his style and approach to suit our (some have said) own special style of instruction - blunt and to the point!!

For those of you that will benefit from Steve's knowledge and professionalism in the future be assured that he will make you work (they don't give this cert away) but he will also say that the IE is easier than what he is putting you through. You won't believe him, we didn't, but when you get there it sure as hell seems a lot easier than you thought and that's not because its easy (don't be getting your hopes up there) but because that Lanky streak of P*ss (see Steve said I would say it) has prepared you so well that nearly all of it is (in a sick way) fun. So would I recommend Steve well there's a question well in my own special way let me put it like this.... I was sure I was not going to make it......I DID do you want to?? then give Steve a call. Cheers Mate Goooooooodd Job!!!!

see what the dive centre manager Steve Millard had to say (click here)


Helen Elcock - Open Water Scuba Instructor (April 27th 2008) Manchester, GB

After being an AI for a while I felt ready to take the next step and become an instructor. I did wonder briefly, when stood in a blizzard in Capernwray after a dip in 6°c water (see photos) whether it was the right choice but my doubts were unfounded and we succeeded despite the prevailing conditions.

It was a very intensive and thorough course that certainly covered all the bases and left us fully prepared for the I.E. Nothing that came up left us in the dark. We had plenty of time to perfect the class room presentation skills and after the "give a presentation in 20 minutes" test on the course, the one at the I.E seemed less stressful. We had had hands on practice of all the skills that I.E. candidates were given in confined and open water which meant we just had to worry about doing the right skill and doing it well and not worry about what we were trying to do.

Everyone in our group passed with flying colours. Thanks to Steve and everyone at Aquatech ( "Good Job" - Helen

see what the dive centre manager Steve Millard had to say (click here)



Jason Renoux #96982 - PADI IDC Staff Instructor Course (March 2008) Playa del Carmen, Mexico

It was time for me to go a step further in my career as a dive professional. The decision to call Steve to arrange the training and schedule of the IDC Staff program came as a logical one. I remembered the rewarding and fun training week I had with him to qualify as a Tec Deep Diver! The longest dive of my dive history was recorded during the DSAT course: 2.30 hours!
His knowledge is based on many years of practice and certifications in the diving industry. Just coming back from his CDTC was the best thing for me, because he had all the latest news from PADI HQ! I really enjoyed the afternoon spent reviewing one by one, all the 20 skills of the circuit, so I could prepare my future AI candidates to get ‘fives’. He is a very good educator and knows how to keep a good pace and listened to any questions I had.

Again, Steve, I thank you for the time and effort you put in the courses and to cope with a French man for the second time... Two thumbs up!


Danny Barber #640201 - Divemaster to Instructor... (June 2006 to March 2007)

What does a 59’ish male, with a low attention span, bad memory, and a late starter in the Underwater Scuba world of PADI, do to progress? He approaches a The Diving Academy and meets with a Young’ish Master Instructor. Steve Martin. Steve, with a patience of a saint, proceeds to teach, and educate me in the Professional PADI training programme. This training and education course commenced in early 2006 whereby Steve ensured completion of my Dive Master Course. The enthusiasm, professionalism and character that Steve always showed, ensured that my continued education, concluded , in Assistant Instructor Certification (640201) in June 2006. Steve, with infectious, vigor, and professionalism, convinced me, that I was capable of becoming an OWSI.

In February, March 2007 I attended a Pre IDC, IDC and IE in Malta. Steve, again was always in attendance, providing welcomed support. By this time, my memory had improved, However this was replaced by “Mirror Ball” instances. Steve, proceeded, always smiling, to rectify the errors of my ways. I am sure that Steve will prove to be a great after dinner speaker, providing some examples of “Mirror Ball” Instances in his speeches.

The result of Steve’s tenacity, and patience, ensured that I obtained some high marks in the IE (Several 5’s) and successful certification as an OWSI. On the 11th March 2007. By the time this note goes to print, I would have gained Certification as MSDT. It is a great shame that I am unable to continue the next phase (Staff Instructor) with Steve. We would have certainly enjoyed the continued progress together. The meeting of an Old, Pedantic, Obnoxious, cretin of a diver, with a youngish MI does work. I am eternally grateful for the Great Enthusiasm, Professionalism, and patience which has enabled me to embrace the Underwater World of PADI. Thank you Steve. Now F**k Off and Teach the rest of us to Dive.


Chris Newton-Smith #637850 - Divemaster to MSDT (2005-2007)

In any walk of life advice is free and plentiful, however good, sound advice is rare! This is one reason that I am happy to endorse Steve Martin as a complete diving professional.

Following an unhappy interview with my company insurers, I decided to end my 10 years of “falling out of airplanes” and decided to look at diving. With twenty years of experience as a managing director of three successful companies I am perhaps not the easiest person to teach and initially found it pretty difficult to deal with, shall we say a younger person. Steve took the matter out of my hands immediately with an easy assurance and, his absolute command of the subject. On one occasion, as Dive master for Steve on a deep course, I was proud to overhear him say “Chris was always exactly where I wanted him to be” That’s because he taught me where I should be!

Throughout my AI – OWSI – and Specialties, when I was in doubt, the quiet word or, not so quiet! Always put me right. Above all his safety standards are absolute – no compromise. I agree with Steve; it’s about the Students – not us... So here I am, MSDT and on the way to Staff. Where next? If it’s diving, my money is with Steve. PS. I know this won’t help me on my next course.


Geoff Woodward #637476 - PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Course (11th March 2007)

Steve has an obvious talent for teaching and when combined with his passion for diving, he really was the obvious choice to help prepare me for PADI’s infamous I.E. Classroom presentations were thorough, but at the same time light hearted and of course FUN! In the water he comes into a league of his own. He makes conducting confined and open water sessions appear easy and is a true mentor, offering constructive feedback and encouragement on the IDC.

Steve has managed to earn himself the nickname of ‘the squirrel’, but I have come to the conclusion that this is due to the wealth of knowledge he has acquired……….but is more than willing to share. Thanks for all your help Steve.


Gary Martin #643485 - PADI Instructor Development Course (March 2007)

I gained a lot from this course and under the guidance of Steve I was finally able to get a good score for a hover!! During this course I learned several valuable skills from Steve that I was able to apply after certification, and that have helped me in my diving "career" to date. These included several things that I was able to transfer over from the AI to the OWSI, including Steve's now legendary "press it, test it" method for describing how to perform neutral buoyancy skills to students. This genuinely seems to work with students who are having difficulty grasping these buoyancy skills.

Having gone straight from doing my AI into doing the OWSI and IDC, I missed out on some "Pre-IDC" extra help that was provided by The Diving Academy before we left for Malta. This was because I was still doing my AI! When we arrived in Malta, and even in the airport lounge on the way out there, Steve took time out to help me catch up with the other course participants. This extra work from Steve would see him sitting round with me long after classroom sessions had finished, missing meals and generally going beyond the call of duty to make sure that I was up to speed, and I had the same preparation as everyone else. This was greatly appreciated, and definitely helped me to get through the IDC/OWSI program then later the I.E. 


Andy Bennett #646020 - Master Scuba Diver & Divemaster Course (2005-2007)

I first met Steve on route to Stoney Cove one weekend (November 2005), expecting to pick up a instructor who was in his mid 30s, I was a little surprised when Steve walked out. I realised my mistake - I thought he can't be that good he only looks around 22 yrs old. I couldn't have been more wrong, Steve had so much experience, skill and passion for scuba diving, just talking to him made me realise what I could achieve and after my first specialty course with Steve I realised he was the person, I was going to continue my training with. Early in 2006 - I went on to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver through Steve's Instruction and guidance.

I started my PADI Divemaster internship (late 2006), it was a fantastic course. There were at times concerns that bothered me but after talking them through with Steve who's confidence & patience, they soon passed, he made the course very enjoyable and relaxing although still hard work. I have assisted Steve on many occasions since qualifying as a PADI Professional and its obvious that he has a real talent for teaching and through his professional no nonsense, yet light hearted approach he has inspired me and many other divers to continue their training. Many thanks for all your help and advice - Andy B 


Howard Shaw # IDCS 629631 (Staff Instructor)

I first met Steve in Malta after completing my OWSI. He had just completed his course in the UK and had come out to join the rest of the team for the second week of the "holiday" to start the MSDT process - lots of divers wanting to take advantage of Malta's crystal clear waters to do their Deep, Wreck, Navigation and Night specialties. So much for a holiday! During that week, I was really impressed with Steve's diving skills, both in and out of the water, with his relaxed manner and his ability to get over all the important information to the students whilst remembering that everyone there was on holiday and also there to enjoy themselves.

Since then, we have taught numerous courses at the likes of Capernwray and Stoney Cove. Steve always makes time for everybody and is always willing to help and answer questions from everybody.We have staffed several IDCs together and his ability to calm nervous instructor candidates shines through, imparting knowledgeable information and filling them with the confidence they need to succeed in their IE. Anyway, do you need a staff instructor, I'm well p****d off at work! 


Patrick Lawrence - Equipment Specialty Instructor Course - November 2007

I recently took my Equipment Specialty instructor course with Steve the Course Director at Aquaventurers in Liverpool. I turned up for the course thinking that I knew it all and that the course was just a formality to gain certification. However, it soon became clear this was not the case! Not only was Steve extremely informative but he also gave me an excellent course lesson plan and custom PowerPoint presentation he had designed. The training materials given to me were clear, structured well and easy to use both for teaching the course and for students understanding.

Although I'm a PADI Instructor, I still feel there is much for me to learn in order to further my career in the dive industry, Steve's tuition was invaluable. Any instructors planning on becoming MSDT should think twice before self certifying as Specialty Instructors. By doing a specialty training course with a Course Director such as Steve, we're much better prepared to offer specialty courses. I for one want to be able to offer the best for my students.

Cheers Steve and keep up the good work!


Calendar shows where I will be and duration of my time there. If I am in your area and you want to join a course, contact me for locations. If you see any dates free and would like me to visit your dive centre or location, drop me an email with location, course interest and possible dates.
Want to know more about how your cylinders weight changes during a dive..? Video has information on what effects the weight change and has tests showing cylinders at different air pressures during dives in salt and fresh water. It displays whether they have Negative, Neutral or Positive Buoyancy. More details found at
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