For first-timers or even the most experienced scuba divers, it’s important to have a good sense of every piece of vital equipment, its uses and its limits. As you get deeper underwater, as exhilarating as it might be, it is of paramount importance to know what to do in any given situation. Depending on what kind of dive you’re in for, you’ll need proper guidance from someone who knows the ropes.
For those seeking to make a living as professional divers—it is essential to get proper training and certifications to reach professional levels. In all instances, this is done through the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)— the international standard bearer for dive teaching and specialized certifications.
On the beautiful island of Borneo on the western shores of Malaysia, people from all over the world seek out Richard Swann and his team of PADI instructors at Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures. Not only does he show the patrons of the local resort through guided underwater adventures, he runs one of the most advanced teaching programs for those looking to become professional diving instructors. On the internationally-recognized PADI hierarchy of training levels, Swann is at the highest level attainable as a Platinum Course Director– one of only 58 people in the world with that title.
At Downbelow Adventures, Swann and his team teach aspiring professional divers and diving instructors the ins-and-outs of equipment, the latest technology, and most importantly– thorough safety precautions. Although on a seemingly remote island, the school and resort are equipped with modern speed boats, diving and communication equipment. Best yet, it is in close proximity to dozens of the most pristine, untouched dive spots in the world.
The Go Pro Team, which may sound like a partnership with the digital camera maker, but in the case of PADI, it’s the instruction team’s goal for the students. After proper certifications and internship hours, the graduates often make careers as commercial divers, or start their own dive centres for tourists and dive students.
The next PADI Instructor Development Course will be starting very soon at Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures. The next classes begin on the 1st of February and run through the 14th. Examinations take place on the 15th and 16th. After that, the next opportunity for aspiring divers will be in mid-April.
The PADI IDC course is indeed rigorous, but there are many benefits to taking the course here with Downbelow and students never usually have trouble passing. One benefit is the “two-for-one-offer”. Since Downbelow operates two PADI centers in the marine park candidates get a very well rounded education. It takes a serious commitment in itself to travel to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in Borneo just to begin the course, so naturally students have high success rates due to the well structured curriculum.
Graduates are also given the option to complete their Emergency First Response Instructor Certificate within days of passing their Instructor Examination. The dive centre also offers a variety of extensions of education for divers.