Some people consider the world below the sea one of the last great frontiers on Earth. And why wouldn’t they? Scientists have said 95 percent of the ocean has yet to be explored.
That’s the statistic which set me off on a journey to explore what lives under the sea. I was determined to feel what it was like to explore a place so many haven’t.
And what is down there will not disappoint. However, not everyone is allowed to explore the depths of the ocean. You must learn to take the proper precautions. It can be dangerous down there, after all.
You also must learn a new language spoken with hand and arm signals.
And, finally, you must be able to afford it. Luckily, I will explain how everyone can afford to scuba dive and even turn the hobby into a side income.
Utilizing Your Background Skills to Get Started
Two years ago, at the beginning of 2017, I had been scuba diving zero times in my life. I had yet to take my first breath underwater. I didn’t even know the first thing about scuba diving.
I was looking for a job which could extend my visa and keep me in Europe, and I was desperate. Walking around Malta with resumes, I stumbled upon a dive shop along the Sliema promenade.
Quickly, I examined their storefront. They had a few PADI advertisements hanging from the window which looked like they were designed in 1998.
That made me curious about their marketing strategy. Without hesitation, I checked their Facebook page. As I suspected, it was less than stellar.
With that in mind, I entered the shop and asked for a job with their marketing team. Many dive shops need help in this department.
I had a background in marketing and a resume to prove it.
Though, I didn’t want a wage. I knew the chance of them offering me a job on the spot if I was requesting money was unlikely. So, instead, I asked for something which they could offer – diving lessons.
I would do marketing for the shop, and in return, they would train me to become a certified diver – and they went for it! I got my visa to stay in Europe.
Unfortunately, scuba diving is not the most affordable hobby, especially for a backpacker.
If you hold yourself to a strict budget while traveling, you may want to start thinking about what skills you could utilize to earn yourself free dives. Marketing is not the only useful skill in dive shops.
Being bi-lingual is an asset; photographers and videographers are needed; even people with excellent organizational skills who are willing to do the dirty work can find a job in dive shops.
You never know if your skills qualify until you ask.
Getting Certified as a Professional Diver
There are all kinds of levels of certification in the PADI scuba diving world. Below are the most common levels and the advantages each certification holds.
Open Water Diver
Dive down to 60-feet of depth without a professional as long as you are with another diver of any certification level.
This benefits you because diving becomes a lot less expensive when you don’t have to bring along a professional.
Advanced Open Water Diver
With the Advanced Open Water certification, you can now dive to 100-feet of depth, opening up a world of potential.
This is a required level of certification in safety. You will become a much safer diver in the unlikely event of an emergency. However, as far as advantages go, that’s about it.
Most people consider it a bit of a bump in the road on your way to becoming a professional.
This is the point at which you earn the label of “professional.”
Once you reach this level of certification, you can begin working in the industry. With this level of training, you can lead groups on your own and assist instructors with their underwater courses.
Many people earn their Divemaster and are satisfied. It allows them to work at any dive shop and get paid to hang out underwater. However, others want to make even more money.
At this point, you can grant other divers different levels of certification as you see fit. You are responsible for teaching the fundamentals (and beyond) of diving.
Instructors typically make a considerable amount more than Divemasters which is the most significant benefit of taking the IDC (Instructor Development Course).
Once you are an instructor, you are highly touted and needed almost anywhere.
How You Can Use Scuba Diving as a Side Income
If you are the type of traveler who leaves your schedule open to opportunities, perhaps pop your head into a few dive shops and ask about opportunities for your level of certification.
Many times a Divemaster will stick around a shop for only a week or two. That is okay! During the summer season, especially, dive shops are traditionally short-staffed of qualified Divemasters.
It’s a great way to make some extra spending money while you travel without getting tied down somewhere.
The best part is there is diving happening all over the world. Even in destinations which aren’t often talked about for their diving scene – like Malta – you can find great gigs that keep you on the road longer.
Some of the most popular places to dive (with the most promise to find a job as a certified diver) are the Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, South East Asia, Australia, the Red Sea, and the South Pacific.
There are more opportunities than what meets the eye in the line of scuba diving. Once you reach professional certification, it is a very laid back and rewarding industry.
The problem is, many people don’t pursue diving as a career or as a means to bring in an income because reaching proper certification levels is so expensive.
However, after reading, hopefully, you are persuaded that you don’t need to be knowledgeable in the field to enter it. And you don’t need to be rich to become certified.
There are alternatives to these common misconceptions. You just have to find yours.
This is a guest post written by Adam Cheshier on behalf of his client, Surface Interval.