Pro Dive's ROS Program

By Shirley Vanderbilt

The soft glow of sunsets, gently swaying palms and the rich, colorful reefs of the tropics are enough to make any avid scuba diver dream of a job as a resort dive instructor. In fact, many of today's instructor candidates have pursued dive career training with just that goal in mind. And, while this vocation has its perks, the reality is there's more involved here than a vacation with pay.

There are many skills required of the '90s style resort instructor/divemaster, from compressor operation to human relations to dive accident management. Diving and instructional skills are only the beginning. With that in mind, Pro Dive has developed the industry's most comprehensive resort training program, the only school offering PADI's Resort Operations Specialist certification. Registered with the trademark name ROS in 1991, this two week, copyrighted course has actually been a part of Pro Dive's career curriculum for more than seven years, continually fine tuned to keep up with the progressive changes of the industry.

Pro Dive's distinguished reputation as a training school has led to many awards and honors, including designation as PADI's first Career Development Center. In the heart of south Florida's famous, oceanfront Bahia Mar Yachting Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, Pro Dive's facilities include multiple classrooms, a retail store, three Olympic sized training pools, the 60 foot glassbottom boat Pro Diver II and all of the luxuries of the resort, including Ft. Lauderdale's renowned beach across the street. Even students choosing to stay in adjacent motels will find everything they need within walking distance and Ft. Lauderdale's international airport is just 10 minutes away.

Pro Dive provides students with a true resort atmosphere, actual hands-on experience in working with vacationing divers and a supportive, structured environment designed to inspire students to reach their highest potential. With a student/instructor ratio of 6:1, Pro Dive's ROS program utilizes the special talents of a 12 member instructional staff to cover 10 major components.

Students not only earn the ROS certification but also six instructor specialties.

Dive boat operations (PADI Boat Diving Specialty): As a major part of their practical experience, ROS students are involved daily in the planning and execution of recreational dive trips aboard the Pro Diver II. Throughout the two weeks of training, students rotate duties as pilot, divemaster and first mate, learning basic seamanship, piloting and docking, boat safety and organization and supervision of dive activities. Checking in divers, handing out gear and even serving as fish feeder on snorkel trips are all a part of their assignment in addition to guiding the group underwater.

Compressor operations and equipment management (PADI Equipment Specialty): Resort operations, especially island locations, are dependent upon professionals who understand the functioning, operation and maintenance of the air station and the center's equipment stock. At Pro Dive, students receive hands-on experience and attend a manufacturer's seminar.

Resort scuba programs: ROS students practice their marketing skills by recruiting their own resort students, then conduct classroom and pool sessions and escort their clients on two 30 foot dives on Ft. Lauderdale's beautiful reefs.

Underwater photography with the Nikonos V (PADI U/W Photography Specialty): Classroom lectures are combined with actual shooting experience on the reef to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of the mechanical and aesthetic aspects of U/W photography, including care and maintenance of equipment. Throughout the program, photography skills are used to augment the coral reef ecology specialty by providing a means of recording and identifying marine life species.

Resort travel: Acting as liaison for visiting vacationers is an important part of resort operations. Pro Dive prepares the student for the many aspects of dive travel, including tips on creating exciting dive packages, incorporating continuing education for travelers and planning pre and post travel gatherings for groups.

Sales and human relations: Pro Dive's store manager walks students through the entire concept of retail sales and operation, emphasizing basic sales, computer skills, inventory and guiding customer purchases. As part of their daily routine, students gain hands-on experience in the shop, assisting with student enrollments and charter bookings.

Advanced diving accident management: Included in this portion of the program is a hyperbaric chamber field trip, hands-on training in oxygen administration, neurological exam, accident evaluation and preparation for patient transport and evacuation. Taking students to an advanced level beyond basic rescue skills, the course focuses on providing immediate control of the situation in remote sites where resources may be restricted.

Coral reef ecology (PADI Coral Reef Ecology and U/W Naturalist): Covering everything from the mangroves to the coral reefs, this portion of the program prepares the student to take a major role in protecting the environment by imparting important information regarding the ecosystem, its normal functioning and minimizing diver impact. Imparting knowledge of the marine life to visitors also greatly enhances their enjoyment of the whole dive experience.

Drift diving (PADI Drift Diving Specialty): With the proximity of the Gulf Stream, south Florida is the capital of drift diving and students have ample opportunity to plan, organize and practice drift techniques on their boat dives. Multi-level computer assisted diving (PADI Multi-Level Computer Diving Specialty): Students study theories and principles involved in computer and multi-level no decompression diving, as well as current recommendations for flying after diving.

Rebreather: A brief introduction to rebreathers is included in the ROS program and students have the opportunity to register for the full course, which immediately follows ROS. Certifications available include TDI's basic and instructor rating for rebreather diving.

Job placement service: Pro Dive's free job placement service provides a professional resume with ROS performance scores and an initial phone or personal interview arranged by the placement director. Significant research and consideration goes into matching graduates to employer requests. Since 1989, more than 500 instructors have completed the ROS program with nearly 100 percent finding placement in dive resorts all over the world. Lifetime placement service is just one of the many outstanding features of this extraordinary training program. For more information, contact Pro Dive by phone or fax at (954) 761-8915.