Get Wet While You Work

By Michael Lawrence

With an international reputation for excellence, Pro Dive trains the professionals of tomorrow. This could be you.

Virtually every new diver has a common thought after their first dive trip: I need to do this for a living. Sitting at your desk, staring at the walls of your office, you daydream about blue water, palm trees and coral reefs, and think, There has got to be way. Well, here’s some good news: There is a way, and it is as close as your telephone. Qualified divemasters and instructors are in high demand throughout the world.

The secret to getting into the dive industry begins with your instructor training. Acquire your professional training from a facility that has a solid reputation, a sense of history that allows a broad view of the dive industry, is constantly in touch with leaders in the industry and has the ability to find you the perfect position.

With these guidelines in mind, you might try Pro Dive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The keywords to remember are professionalism, location and power. The sense of professionalism comes from 25 years spent in the business. Founder Greg McKay explored the dive industry from many professional perspectives, finally settling on training, retail sales and the concept of creating the ideal instructor training facility.

Location: Fort Lauderdale enjoys a wonderful climate, a semi-tropical environment very similar to the locations of a large number of potential resort employers. The retail shop and classrooms are on the Swimming Hall of Fame Marina right on the coast, and the dive boat docks immediately outside the door. Just offshore is a near continuous series of reef lines and numerous shipwrecks, the result of one of the most active and prolific artificial reef programs in the world.

Power: As one of the nation’s leading PADI instructor training facilities, Pro Dive boasts an impressive list of graduates. These men and women are spread throughout the world in management and ownership positions. An essential element in the Pro Dive program is an effective placement program. Upon completion of the IE (Instructor Exam), a resume is prepared and disseminated to potential employers. Pro Dive has a near 100 percent placement record.

Professionalism: The course concentrates on business savvy as much as training skills. When students graduate, they have the knowledge to pursue the business side of diving. Rather than simply doing what can be sterile classroom work, instructor candidates are immersed in the day-to-day workings of a dive operation, learning about retail layout, purchasing and seeing just what sells. Of course, another integral part of the program is assisting on the dive boat. Once you have acquired your divemaster rating, you’ll have the chance to experience a true working situation.

The extensive experience of the course directors makes a big difference as well. Richard Hartley, Pro Dive’s director of training, has completed more than 50 IDCs (Instructor Development Courses) at Pro Dive. More than 2,500 new instructors have come out of the Pro Dive program. Remember, success is born out of a verifiable track record, not just talking about it, but doing it.

An interesting aspect of Pro Dive’s record is the number of people who come from out of the country specifically to attend a Pro Dive IDC. Europeans, South Americans and citizens of the Caribbean Islands have always comprised a significant percentage of the programs. As a mark of the high regard Pro Dive commands, consider this story. PADI International (UK) and the BBC recently collaborated on a prime time television show aired in Britain. The show is called Whatever You Want, and it is a contest to give the winner exactly that. This particular segment was dedicated to changing someone’s life by opening up a career in diving. Rather than using one of the many PADI IDC Centers in Britain, PADI (UK) opted to send the winner to Pro Dive for his final instructor training. When Captain Scott Windham, Pro Dive’s director of student relations asked why, the PADI (UK) representative stated he wanted the winner to get the best training possible. This individual is now on the staff of the Red Sea Diving College in Hurgada, Egypt.

You also can change your life just as easily. The course is demanding but extremely satisfying. If you’ve got the desire and the ambition, take up the challenge.

The course is presented in segments, and you can enter at any level as long as you follow the certification ladder to the IDC. Call Pro Dive directly at (888) PADI-IDC, visit the website at or e-mail Pro Dive at