In previous articles we have discussed what a rebreather is, and the steps that lead to becoming a rebreather diver. Let's just say we've been through this, and we are determined to get a rebreather. However, the purchase of a rebreather is contingent on qualifying as a Rebreather Diver. In this article, you will learn in detail what to focus on when choosing an instructor.
Rebreather manufacturers, Divesoft not excluded, offer their units through their instructors, who also provide divers with the necessary training for basic qualifications. A rebreather diving course is always catered to the particular rebreather being used. If you are already a rebreather diver, you must at least go through a crossover for the new type of rebreather, as each rebreather has critical specifics components.
Devices differ in their assembly, and it is critical to know the specific assembly procedure to safely dive the unit. However, the instruments also operate differently underwater between units, and it is necessary to become thoroughly familiar with this under the supervision of an experienced instructor.
Divers who are completely new to rebreathers need full training to bring them into a whole new world of knowledge, skills, habits, and mindset. We begin this search by researching the manufacturer and this starts at their website, which typically includes a list of their instructors for the particular unit (such as Divesoft).
Good manufacturers take pride in their reputation, thus they also take care to maintain high quality instructors, so such a list should guarantee that the candidate will not make a bad choice. However, even among these instructors there are of course differences.
Criteria you should consider
The first criterion for selecting an instructor will be the location and distance willing to travel for the course. This will narrow down my choice considerably. Some training systems have their training materials worked out better than others and provide much better support for both students and instructors, so this criterion can also be a deciding factor.
However, I personally advocate that the qualities of the instructor themselves matter more than the flag they work under. So, if we have already chosen a particular instructor, it is a good idea to get some references. How long he has been teaching, how often he teaches, how much he is involved in his own projects and diving for his own pleasure. Instructors who are really dedicated to rebreather diving do up to ten to twenty rebreather courses a year, some even more. This keeps their skills constantly sharp, and they don't lose necessary habits and contact with their students.
On the other hand, if they aren't diving for themselves, they are unable to maintain perspective and develop the necessary overlap of experience. Instructors who teach even less frequently, but regularly have two or three courses a year and are fully committed to their own development are also a very good choice. You will certainly be pleased if such an instructor can answer your questions using his or her own wealth of experience gained through a rich, broad and growing practice. Some manufacturers try to maintain a list of instructors just as instructors are active, and if they have not done any training for a long time, they are dropped from the list.
It is very helpful if you can get information on how dutifully the instructor teaches. A properly executed rebreather diving course is challenging for instructors, and it is in your interest to be sure that for the money invested you are not just getting a plastic card, but a good load of knowledge and skills that the instructor will impart through intensive training.