Becoming a PADI Instructor

One of our resident dive instructors, Lynsey Bartram writes about her life changing experience in becoming a PADI Instructor.

What's The Worst That Can Happen?

Dive Theory, PADI IDC, Koh Lanta PADI Instructor Course, Thailand Instructor Course
My first time to Thailand was in 2008 - I took my PADI Advanced Open Water Course and fell in love with tropical diving and Southeast Asia. All I wanted to do upon returning to the UK was live the life my scuba instructor was living, but also remember thinking surely there must be drawbacks; it just can't be that easy.
For the next 6 years I came to Asia nearly every year for diving and to catch up with my instructor Tony, by now a good friend; year after year he advanced in his diving career and always had great stories of where he'd been, who he'd met and photos to prove it - but he must be just 'lucky'? My instructor, Tony Andrews is today field service manager at PADI EMEA and now based in the UK.

During my annual diving trip in early 2013 to Thailand I met many new people who were already climbing the PADI ladder and this is when I thought to myself, "What's the worst that can happen if I took the plunge and followed in their footsteps?" This is also around the time when I met my future PADI Course Director Azman Sulaiman. When I returned home to the UK from that trip, Azman and I corresponded over email about all the courses I still needed to do, with him giving me invaluable advice on what to expect from the courses and life in Southeast Asia in general - even though I had already made my decision over cocktails on the beach before I even boarded the plane home.

So, after a few long months I quit my job, found a tenant for my house and was back on a plane to do what I should have done 8 years ago. Become a PADI diving instructor!

The journey has been nothing I could have ever imagined. I spent 8 weeks doing my Divemaster training on the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia under Azman's tutelage; an amazing experience where every day was exciting and different. After having learnt so much from the divemaster course, the next step was the instructor course - preparing me to share my knowledge with people who have never dived before.

During the 2 week Instructor Development Course (IDC) at Anti Gravity Divers on Koh Lanta, I learnt how to fine tune my diving skills and expand on my dive theory knowledge but most importantly how to translate my passion for diving into teaching and giving people a brand new experience in life - a chance to see the underwater world in a safe and fun way! Our Course Director Azman offered our group complete dedication to make us the best we could be, both as divers and future instructors. I couldn't have hoped for a better teacher, mentor or role model.

By November 2013 I had passed the Instructor Examinations (IE) and became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and was offered a job with Anti Gravity Divers. Under the guidance of Azman and the more experienced instructors around me I was handed my first 'students'. I was excited and anxious all at the same time and had one of the best days of my life that day. Although my students were discovering diving for the first time, I was discovering the feeling of helping them achieve that. It felt like I was trying diving again for the very first time. To see their amazement and excitement was second to none, especially as the day had started with two very nervous people. In fact, they were so happy they wanted to dive with me again the next day!

So, this is now my life. Every day I have the opportunity to see people learning about and sharing the underwater world that I love so much - plus I'm always learning something new with each student! But it's not all just about the diving; the 'diving community' is full of different people who share the same passion for fun and diving, who enjoy the island lifestyle and want to share their experiences with others - along with sharing great food and a couple of drinks of course. Also, living on a tropical island isn't that bad either :)

During my time here I haven't just learnt a lot of dive theory and teaching standards to make me a confident dive instructor. I have also made some of the closest friends that I know I will have for life. Also laughed a lot, cried a lot and maybe had a couple of late nights here and there :)

So, what's the worst that could happen? I have a few funny tan lines from time to time.

Lynsey Bartram - UK
PADI OWSI #333738