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Jul 30, 2007

Four dive masters certified as instructors

Story PictureBelize has gained a reputation as one of the top diving spots in the world, drawing an increasing number of tourists to our waters. That boom has spurred the need for more professionals in that field, which is why for the last two weeks four Belizean dive masters have been immersed in books as well as seawater, to become certified as SCUBA instructors. According to Sea Sports Belize owner, John Searle, one of the course facilitators, the men worked hard for the certificates they received today.

John Searle, PADI Course Director
“During the twelve days we teach them how to make knowledge development presentations, we teach them how to do presentations in the water and also they have a few exams, very intense standards exams and also some theory exams. So the stress level was quite high for the last ten days, and I’m sure today stress levels gonna be a lot lower.”

Juan Carlos Vasquez, Certified Dive Instructor
“It was really challenging especially the physics, standards and procedures. There’s a lot of things you gotta know and the book was not a small book, it was a thick book, so you gotta really go through that. I was up till late at night, studying, studying and trying to get through this course.”

Kendra Griffith
“You’re eager to put your new skills to use?”

Juan Carlos Vasquez
“Not only to use, but to get other people into it. I hope to get some of my relatives into diving.”

Mervin Reyes, Certified Dive Instructor
“We have a very beautiful country and a lot of us take it for granted. Some of us don’t even think about it, so that’s what I enjoy from day to day, taking foreigners, showing them the country and hopefully that instils something in them that they could want to return, bring friends here.”

John Searle
“The PADI organisation has what they call a quality assurance programme and randomly they send questionnaires to all the students that we certify and based on the answers on the surveys if there’s a problem that’s arisen, then obviously you’re gonna get a letter from PADI asking what’s going on and ask you to explain yourself. It’s a self-policing system.”

Kendra Griffith
“It works?”

John Searle
“It sure does work because if the surveys come back and they indicate a problem and you’re not able to defend yourself properly they can actually pull your certification and you wouldn’t be able to certify anybody else.”

Juan Carlos Vasquez works aboard the Belize Aggressor while Mervin Reyes is employed by Ambergris Divers in San Pedro. The other successful graduates are Carlos Oviedo of Tobacco Caye and Eli Rodriguez from Sea Sports Belize. The Dive Instructor course costs approximately four thousand dollars per person. The Belize Tourism Board absorbs some of that expense by providing partial scholarships to participants. The certification is overseen by PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.

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