Imagine a job where you can work anywhere in the world. Literally, you pick your dream location and you’ll be able to work. If you need a change of scenery, no problem. There are plenty of jobs for people with your skills. Then imagine a job that puts you outside and underwater.
A job where you meet new cool people on a regular basis. A job where you are always doing something new and exciting and challenging. A job that people envy and you love to brag about. A job that is the best conversation starter ever. A job where even as a newbie you can be making good money in 6 months. Does it sound a lot like what you are doing now? I didn’t think so.
The life of a recreational diver is the life that books are written about – a life full of adventure in exotic lands. Recreational diving jobs are jobs such as dive masters or dive instructors. They certify people in the skills they need to be a SCUBA diver, they lead dive trips, they lead snorkel trips, they show you lobsters and dolphins, they maintain equipment, they rescue unsafe divers. They are as at home underwater as they are on land. They enrich lives and have other people’s lives in their hands.
Recreational divers can work anywhere there is water, from the South Pacific to the Great Lakes. People everywhere want to learn to dive. You could work at a YMCA in Iowa, on a live aboard boat in the Galapagos, a dive shop in Bermuda, a dive resort in Grand Turk, or a cruise line in the Mediterranean. There are lots of different options for recreational divers. There are hundreds of thousands of professional divers, but that won’t limit your job opportunities. Divers often work seasonally and keep their certification current long after they quit working.
To work in the recreational diving industry, you must be a certified diver. Globally, PADI is the most employable diving certification agency. Be sure to log all of your dives as you work through the lower certifications. With only 60 logged dives, you can work as a dive master – leading experienced divers on underwater adventures. The next level is dive instructor. You need 100 logged dives and 6 months of experience to be an instructor.
Instructors make more money and spend their days certifying and teaching divers both in the water and in the classroom.
Taking people diving can be scary. People you take diving will put you in situations you never though imaginable. Larry from London might freak and bolt to the surface when you show him a nurse shark. Susan from Singapore might not tell you when she is low on air. Andy from Australia may only understand imperial dive numbers and might not be able to read the metric dive gauges. Toni from Tokyo might not be able to swim but still think it is a good idea to try diving. Everyday you’ll meet people who will amaze you. And just imagine the fun you’ll have telling your friends about them.
Another vital skill to be successful at your new job is to be a people person. You’ll meet all sorts of people in this business – from traveling college kids to Hollywood celebrities to vacationing doctors. Most people that you will lead or teach will be doing it for fun. Besides getting wet and seeing some fish, these people want to feel safe and have a good time. This is where you come in. A big personality, a lot of confidence, and a huge smile all play a part in being a successful diver instructor. If your guests have a good time, they’ll come back for more. And isn’t that the sign of any good business?
Depending on where you work will also depend on your income. You will make a lot more money working in an expensive country like the United States compared to the income you would make in a country like Thailand. The main reason for this is that the cost of living is very different. $10,000 U.S. in Ecuador will get you a lot farther than $10,000 U.S. in Sweden. A recreational diver salary can range from $10,000 U.S. to $50,000 U.S. with or without tips. You may even be able to finagle room and board as part of your employment package.
There are a few other things to remember. Unfortunately, people like to sue other people, even when they are the one at fault. It doesn’t happen often, but protect yourself – remember to keep working diver insurance and keep detailed records, and keep them for up to 7 years after you quit working as a diver. You’ll need to become familiar with different dive organizations. Speaking more than one language will help you because people all over the world enjoy diving. Also know both metric and imperial numbers – metric is much easier and used nearly everywhere in the world!
But even with all that “responsibility” on your shoulders, your job is just down right fun! Going diving on a daily basis and getting paid is hard to complain about. And the lure of adventure and life on a tropical exotic beach is appealing to all.