We, the members of the Long Island diving community, have a serious problem. Diving instruction has become a disgrace. Instructional standards are being ignored. Unsuspecting people are taking courses that do not adequately prepare them for diving. We have seen the number of hours in courses drop and the ratio of students to instructors climb. We are seeing people teaching diving who just a few months ago started diving. All this has led to a situation that means that people taking a diving course don't realize that not all courses are the same. Most people thinking about taking a course will ask a friend. If you are such a friend and someone should ask you please keep a few things in mind...
The programs that are taught by Tiedemann's Diving Center have always been and always will be the best courses possible. Learning to dive is fun and simple but it takes time and effort. Some dive courses are more interested in their students purchasing equipment than in teaching them to dive safely. As you think about your friends and becoming a diver here are few facts that you might like to consider.
How long is the course? How long is each class session? A short course sounds nice but students are learning to use a life support system. Students need the time to become comfortable with the equipment and being underwater. Do students want to be rushed to complete a lecture and then a pool session all in one evening? At Tiedemann's our courses are a full 30 hours. Five three hour pool sessions (on one evening) and five three hour lecture sessions (on another evening).
How many students are there to each instructor? If a student is part of a class with twenty students, how much attention are they going to receive? At Tiedemann's we have ratios of three dive teams (six divers) to one instructor in the pool. During our open water training we have two dive teams (four divers) to one instructor. Our Instructors are highly qualified with years of diving and teaching experience.
Are the "assistants" teaching the class? Becoming a certified SCUBA instructor takes time and experience. Some instructors are using "assistants" as if they are instructors and letting them teach almost the entire class. Besides being out of "standards" what kind of instruction are students going to get. At Tiedemann's we use "assistants" but only as "assistants". Usually each instructor will have an assistant working with him or her during our pool class and open water sessions.
Buying equipment? Is the class one long sales pitch? If valuable lecture time is spent trying to sell students equipment what happens to the material that students need to know to be a safe diver? At Tiedemann's students do not have to purchase ANY equipment to take the pool/lecture course. This gives students the chance to see how they like diving before they commit to purchasing equipment. When students are ready for the open water certification we do require everyone to have their own mask, fins, snorkel, boots and gloves.
Space does not allow us to list everything but even little things like pool depth, rental equipment or transporting equipment can be important. At Tiedemann's we have the privilege of teaching at some of the best pool facilities in the country. All our pools allow students to get a full sensation of diving by being deep enough and large enough. All our rental equipment is replaced every year. Students will be learning on state-of-the-art gear. All the equipment for class is at the pool (no matter which class students are in) ready to go. The list goes on and on.
At Tiedemann's, we are committed to teaching the best course possible. Our programs (which date back to 1968 when we started at Hofstra University) give students the chance to enjoy diving from the start. Taking the time to learn to dive correctly will give students the skills and confidence that will let them enjoy everything that diving has to offer. If your family or friends are thinking about learning to dive we hope that you will think about what you have just read. You want the people that you dive with to be the best. Let them know about the programs at Tiedemann's so that they can do just that.