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Dive into the UK as a Scuba Instructor: 2020 – the year the 9-5 sank

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2020: without a doubt the year that we realised that there is much more to life than 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. We learnt new things, such as how to wear a face covering correctly, or how to follow arrows in a supermarket… but most importantly, we learnt what is on our doorstep and that there is more to life than just ‘paying the bills’. We realised how important family and friends are – perhaps even who our real ones were… but without getting into too much of a deep conversation… hopefully we also learnt that we can change, adapt and overcome things that we never thought we could. 

I hear so many times, that divers who love diving, want to make it their career. Something which is not so much the ‘done thing’ in the UK. I understand that the UK does not offer the nearly 365-days-a-year clear and warm waters like some of our abroad locations, but the UK is definitely awesome in its own right… As divers, I am sure you would already agree with this anyway. So, what is the real reason that is stopping you? 

I can only speculate with ones that I have most heard: 

  • ‘there’s no money in diving’. 
  • ‘there’s no work in the UK, and nowhere good to dive’
  • ‘nobody wants to learn in the UK’

Are any of these being ticked off your list?

All of the above were phrases that stuck with me, having had them said time and time again when I was looking to become an instructor. If all of the above were true though, maybe consider that there are lots of successful dive centres here in the UK… and if nobody wants to dive here, join the ever growing number of instructors trying to promote the amazing UK coastline, and encourage divers to see what is right on their doorstep.

After becoming an instructor, starting to teach doesn’t even need to be that complicated. Try this equation: 1 shed + 1 bathroom = a dive centre. This is the exact equation that worked for me, and got me to where I wanted to be. I didn’t have the money for a fancy dive centre in the middle of town, but had the ambition to make it work. So, I bought a shed as a kit room and purchased five sets of equipment. Not too much of a complicated or expensive combination to start instructing? Appreciated, at the time living with my mum, I am not too sure that she appreciated my new found drying room (bathroom) as the most practicable solution… but we all have to start somewhere and do what we can with determination to make it happen. 

So my advice to anyone wanting their New Years resolution to become a PADI Pro… Having been there and done it, it most definitely is possible. Maybe now is the time to reflect and finally take that leap of faith and teach the world to dive. If you have a shed and a bathroom to hand, you’re already part of the way there!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com.

Clare Dutton, is a PADI Course Director and Director of Duttons Divers and Vivian Dive Centre. At the age of 25, Clare was one of the youngest to be accepted on the PADI Course Director course. Her work in the industry has involved promoting cold water diving, putting sites such as the Menai on the map for divers, and assisting others to chase their ambition as a PADI Pro. Get in touch with Clare at www.duttonsdivers.com

Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Navigation

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Not the most fun of topics we guess, but pretty important for any diver! Now we are sure that there are some of you out there that steer away from the navigation side and are quite happy to follow along at the back. But if you are one of those divers and the reason is because you think that it is ridiculously hard.. we want to give you a few basic tips to help you!

Now using a compass may look scary but actually there is not much to it. First rule to remember… North is North under the water as well as on land… it doesn’t change! So, with that in mind we can use that pretty easily under the water to at least give us a point of reference whilst we are diving, even if you are not leading it. Knowing the direction that you are going and how deep you are is a good reference and will help you to become more confident. Get into the habit of taking a ‘bearing’ – fancy word for direction – on the surface before going under and check the bearing as you are diving.

Knowing which way is left and right – well, when going right, the numbers increase, and when going left, the numbers decrease… easy! Starting off with turning left and right 90 degrees will start to get you into the habit of making turns. Try not to use complicated numbers when you first start off, nobody likes maths at the best of times, let alone trying to add 273 to 32 under the water! Keep it basic.

Last but not least, navigating is not all about using a compass. If you are not a fan of it and want to keep your dives simple, there is nothing wrong with natural navigation. There are some amazing sites around our coastline that are perfect for this – harbour walls, piers, open sea coves, all allow the point of reference to be followed on one side of your body on the way out and the opposite on the way back. You can also check that you are going the right way on your return as the depth will start to decrease. This is a great way to start building your confidence with navigating if you are new to it, and what is even better, lots of marine life love to congress around these rocky areas!

Other aspects to consider to throw into your natural navigation bag are picking some land marks during your dives. If there is something notable that doesn’t move (fish are not highly recommended!) take a note of this and use it as a reference and pick another. On the return journey, you can use these ‘markers’ to find your way back to the starting point. A nice and simple way to find where you are going.

So, give it a go in a nice shallow bay area and see how you get on… practice makes perfect!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… Behind the scenes of a dive centre

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Ah yes, the glamorous dive instructor. Just as you see in the adverts walking around in swimwear coming out of the sea… and as you guys see us, walking into the centre to meet you at 10am and having done two dives, finishing at 2pm and heading home…

Or not. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the job as a dive instructor, more than I could ever tell you. But, it does not come without the negative side as I am sure with any job. 

So first off, let’s get these 10am starts out of our heads. A lot of our dives do meet at 10am, to be honest, that is mainly to give you the time to get to us and avoid the traffic! We are there longggg before this, setting up the boat, making sure everything is working correctly, checking the equipment, paperwork and loading everything up to have a smooth, well planned day when you get here. Oh, and as for the 2pm finish. I wish! Over the summer months you will usually find us here until late at night, if we aren’t out doing late afternoon dives, we will be there cleaning the equipment from the day… filling tanks… and making sure everything is ready for the following day.

Next. What else do you not see us doing on the PADI adverts? Cleaning? The centres aren’t exactly small and take a lot of work for us all to maintain… you know what it is like when you are on holiday and get sand in your shoes and it takes ages to finally get rid of it all? Well times that by 100 and you have an idea! 

But it’s not just about the cleaning and preparation parts of the job. There is also a lot of training. From risk assessment training, to scenario days with the staff, we plan monthly training sessions to make sure everyone is up to date with policies and procedures, any training updates and run emergency scenarios to make sure everyone is safe and prepared. 

Last but not least, the actual courses and guiding that you see us doing. The fun part… and what we all live for. Taking you all into the water whether it is to take your first breaths or to learn how to become an instructor. This is what we do all of the rest of the work for. And, I most definitely would not change this for the world. 

So, all jobs have negatives, and in the grand scheme of things, I can cope with filling some cylinders late at night for a career of exploration and seeing the most amazing sites I could ever wish to see. What are the positives and negatives of your job? If they’re nothing like this… why not become a dive instructor?! 


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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