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  • 1. SDIInstructor Manual Part 1 Introduction All Rights Reserved, 1999© By Scuba Diving International (SDI)
  • 2. Copyright 1999© by Scuba Diving International (SDI).All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976,no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Scuba Diving International 18 Elm Street, Topsham, ME 04086 Phone: 207-729-4201 Toll Free: 888-778-9073 Fax: 207-729-4453 Web site: www.tdisdi.com E-mail: worldhq@tdisdi.com Business hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern time
  • 3. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 Table of Contents1. SDI Instructor Package .................................................................................. 12. A Brief History ................................................................................................ 23. SDI Code of Ethics And Conduct .................................................................. 44. Introduction..................................................................................................... 5 4.1 You and SDI ................................................................................................................................ 55. SDI Diver Programs........................................................................................ 66. Using Your Instructor Manual ....................................................................... 7 6.1 Purpose ....................................................................................................................................... 7 6.2 How to Use This Manual ............................................................................................................. 77. SDI - Professional Dive Instruction............................................................... 9 7.1 The Need For Standardized Instruction ...................................................................................... 9 7.2 The Role of Instructor................................................................................................................ 10 7.3 Becoming a Great Instructor ..................................................................................................... 10 7.4 Risk Management ..................................................................................................................... 12 7.5 Understanding Risk Management - An Overview, by Bret Gilliam ........................................... 12 7.5.1 Teaching Defensively........................................................................................................ 13 7.5.2 Using Waivers & Releases ............................................................................................... 15 7.5.3 Assumption of risk............................................................................................................. 15 7.5.4 Sign on the Dotted Line, Please ....................................................................................... 168. SDI General Membership Standards........................................................... 18 8.1 General...................................................................................................................................... 18 8.2 Active Teaching Status ............................................................................................................. 18 8.3 Probation Status........................................................................................................................ 19 8.4 Non-Teaching Status ................................................................................................................ 19 8.5 Suspended Status..................................................................................................................... 20 8.6 Expelled Status ......................................................................................................................... 20 8.7 Required Subject Area For All SDI Instructor Courses............................................................. 21 SDI Instructor Manual - Part Index i of ii 1.doc
  • 4. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 Revision History Revision Number Date Sections Changed2.0 05/27/01 The Manual has been completely restructured and updated to reflect latest changes and additions.2.1 10/10/02 Updated with latest Training Updates3.0 8/15/03 Updated with latest Training Updates3.1 12/19/03 Editorial changes and minor updates.5.0 11/19/04 Minor updatesSDI Instructor Manual - Part Index ii of ii1.doc
  • 5. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.01. SDI Instructor Package This package contains all pertinent information necessary to do business as a SDI Instructor. Please retain this package as a handy reference guide. Forms may be copied as needed to process orders,register students, etc. We recommended that you keep the originals intact and use them as master copies when youneed them. Our insurance is a twelve (12) month policy, effective the date of purchase. Our policy is quite broad, aswe have officially sanctioned most of the traditional sport programs such as NAUI, PADI, SSI, AUSI, ACUC etc.as well as ANDI, IANTD, PSA, NACD, NSS-CDS etc. This allows you to purchase one insurance policy and becovered for all of your regular entry-level training and technical training including cave diving. A completeinformation section on insurance is contained in this binder.World Headquarters: Scuba Diving International 18 Elm Street, Topsham, ME 04086 Phone: 207-729-4201 Toll Free: 888-778-9073 Fax: 207-729-4453 E-mail: worldhq@tdisdi.com Web site: www.tdisdi.com Orders or registrations can be faxed 24 hours a day. Business hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern time Our staff of dive professionals will be happy to handle your business needs, questions, or concerns. Weappreciate your business and look forward to giving you the best service we possibly can!SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 1 of 211.doc
  • 6. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.02. A Brief History In April of 1994, Bret Gilliam and Mitch Skaggs formed Technical Diving International (TDI) as the thirdtraining agency dedicated to programs outside the traditional sport diving envelope. Gilliam had previously been involved as Vice President of IANTD and is considered one of the pioneers oftechnical diving. He is a twenty eight-year veteran of the professional diving industry with over 15,000 loggeddives. Additionally, he is former CEO of UWATEC USA Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of divinginstruments, past Chairman of NAUI and internationally published author / photographer of ten books and over 400articles on diving. Skaggs was owner of one of Florida’s largest and most successful dive centers, H2O Scuba inNorth Miami Beach. This was one of the first Nitrox facilities on the East Coast and a showcase for tech training.Both men are active divers and have been responsible for developing many of TDI’s training materials, manuals andstandards. Initially the company was located in Key Largo, Florida but moved to its current offices in Topsham,Maine in response to spectacular growth. Now, it is the largest tech training agency world wide with over 7500active instructors. From its humble beginning, TDI has now expanded to have regional offices in over 45 countries. Since our beginning with TDI in 1994 we have been known for our no nonsense approach to providingdive facilities and instructors with good service, sound advice and superior teaching materials provided at anexcellent value. Our phenomenal growth and success as the largest technical training agency in the world speaks foritself. Change in the diving instruction business has traditionally been a slow process with few of the establishedagencies willing to be “first” with any departure form the “old way of doing things”. TDI led the acceptance ofmodern technical programs and we are prepared to do the same now in traditional scuba training. Over the years we were continuously asked to consider developing an entry level scuba training curriculumby store owners and instructors who felt they were not getting all they needed from other agencies such as NAUI,PADI, SSI, NASDS etc. That demand had reached a level that compelled us to research and develop an entry-levelprogram geared to the needs of stores, instructors and divers. Our new agency, called Scuba Diving International or simply SDI for short, was created. Obviously, thecore curriculum of all scuba programs will be essentially the same and SDI’s standards and procedures will meet orexceed all requirements currently in place for membership in the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC).However, SDI offers marked differences in the way that material is presented.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 2 of 211.doc
  • 7. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 Almost any professional knows that “diver dropout” is the single largest obstacle to growth in the divingindustry. There are many reasons that people choose to leave the sport after training but the majority of surveysconfirm that customers think that the courses are too long, too difficult, contain a lot of useless academics and don’tprovide them with enough confidence to dive on their own. There are many ways that we can make training more accessible, more flexible, and more focused toconcentrate on what divers really need to know in order to participate safely and with confidence. We have examined every aspect of how diving topics are presented to cut to the heart of the material. Wehave also decided to be the first to stand up and say that teaching dive tables is out-dated. Virtually all-active diversnow use a personal dive computer because it makes their diving experience easier, safer, and more fun. Whyshouldn’t students be afforded the same benefit? In the SDI program, dive tables are presented as a historical reference on the way we used to plan dives.Students are shown how tables work but are provided a computer as part of their basic gear from the outset. Thiswill not only provide a positive influence for retail sales, it greatly enhances the satisfaction for the student. Otherinnovations include letting Divemasters handle and supervise additional training dives beyond the core four openwater divers required as a minimum. This allows stores more flexibility in handling extra dives to reinforceexperience and confidence building for students. We have produced a state-of-the-art full color training text along with the best instructor manual in thebusiness. Support videos are also available to bolster the learning process. All materials are priced to compete with any agency. In some cases, SDI texts, videos, c-cards etc. are asmuch as 35% less than our competitors. You save money on course costs, you make more profit, and you will sellmore gear. And most importantly, you will deliver a program that is fun for you to teach and for your students toparticipate in. Diving should be a sport that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. That’s how to grow this industry.At SDI and TDI we are taking the steps to bring dive training into the 21st century!SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 3 of 211.doc
  • 8. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.03. SDI Code of Ethics And Conduct o Recreational diving is recognized as carrying a degree of risk and responsibility not normally associated with other recreational sports. o We believe an individual should not be qualified as a SDI Diver unless those empowered to qualify the person would allow them to buddy or teach their loved ones recreational diving. o The SDI Professional always maintains their personal, physical and mental fitness as they relate to diving. o The SDI Professional always maintains their equipment and never begins a dive with defective equipment. o The SDI Professional strives to maintain an attitude of professionalism and objectivity, and supports the concept of safety in recreational diving. o The SDI Professional will not encourage or recruit other individuals to dive recreational if unqualified. o The SDI Professional will make every effort to pass on their knowledge to novice recreational divers and diving community if requested to do so, whether through formal instruction, answering questions or via appropriate publication in books, journal and magazines. o The SDI Professional strives to encourage and practice an awareness of conservation of the underwater environment at all times. o The SDI Professional, by virtue of their voluntary membership in SDI, recognizes a responsibility and obligation to promote SDI and support the official decisions and adopted by SDI. In fulfilling this obligation to the organization, the SDI Divers and Instructors shall: Publicly support SDI as an organization Make every effort to bring about necessary changes in a professional manner by direct contact with those fellow SDI Members and Divers who are in positions of authority and responsibility. o Every SDI Member has an obligation to report violations of SDI Standards and of the Code of Ethics. o Every SDI Member should strive to set an example of professional behavior and ethical conduct in all activities including, public speaking, articles and books, and various forms of Internet style discourse. o Unwarranted critical comment and deliberate inflammatory statements of diving is inappropriate and undesirable.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 4 of 211.doc
  • 9. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.04. Introduction As an instructor for Scuba Diving International (SDI), you are part of the most progressive scuba divingagency in existence. Founded by Technical Diving International (TDI), the largest and most advanced technicaldive agency in the world, SDI has the unique advantage of seeing the recreational diving community through theexperienced eyes of technical diving. SDI was created with the philosophy that past practices should be re-evaluatedin the light of new technology and that recreational scuba instruction should reflect the actual needs of open waterdivers. Standards that ensure genuine diver safety while maximizing the pleasures of learning to dive are thefoundation of SDI’s diver training programs. SDI has re-examined limits that are arbitrary or based solely ontradition and developed new guidelines using scientific data and common sense. SDI believes divers should betrained from the beginning to take advantage of new technologies and enjoy the freedom to dive deeper or longer orboth - with greater safety. As skill and experience increase, SDI offers divers training that will allow them to advance beyond thetraditional limits of recreational diving to the level of skill they desire. Simply put, divers can progress throughSDI’s recreational levels, then transition smoothly into technical diving with TDI.4.1 You and SDI As an instructor, your role in the SDI-TDI family is the most important of all. You are the ambassador whowill deliver enlightened and innovative scuba instruction to divers. Your ideas and experiences are a vital part ofSDI’s growth and we value your input to help keep us on the leading edge. SDI also encourages you to continueyour career as an instructor by advancing into the technical diving field with TDI. SDI knows you are already a qualified diver or you wouldn’t be here. Our job is to provide you with thetools to transfer that knowledge to open water (OW) students. They would be overwhelmed if they tried to absorb,in one course, even a part of the knowledge you have gained throughout your diving career. Therefore, it is vitalthat we be selective and make sure that new divers receive the training they actually need. This open water body ofknowledge is so vital that SDI has focused a great amount of research and effort to determine which knowledge andskills are most important. SDI will help you select the information that is most vital to OW students and show youproven ways to teach them. It’s up to you to use your abilities as a diver and instructor to deliver this critical corepackage to the OW student. It’s a partnership between SDI and YOU.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 5 of 211.doc
  • 10. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.05. SDI Diver ProgramsSDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 6 of 211.doc
  • 11. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.06. Using Your Instructor Manual6.1 Purpose Your SDI Instructor Manual is intended to be your guide to providing safe and enjoyable training to diversfrom open water through Divemaster levels. It is your reference for the standards and procedures that SDIinstructors implement to achieve consistency and quality. It outlines the vital “core knowledge” that each of yourstudents needs to master to achieve SDI certification. Finally, but no less important, it is intended to help youeffectively deliver the skills and knowledge your students will actually need. Your SDI Instructor Manual is meant to be a “living manual” - updated on a regular basis, it is meant togrow and change with you throughout your diving career. From time to time you will receive updates for yourmanual and you should be sure to incorporate these updates promptly so that your manual is always up to date.6.2 How to Use This Manual Your manual has intentionally been kept brief but concise. In fact, you’re already reading the first section, the Introduction, which introduces you to the SDI-TDIconcept of dive instruction. The manual consists of several parts. These parts are: 1. Introduction 2. Diver Standards 3. Diver Specialties 4. Leadership Standards 5. AppendixPart 1, Introduction covers: • The Need for Standardized Instruction Explaining SDI’s progressive approach to consistency and excellence in instruction. • The Role of Instructor Emphasizes your important role in the SDI-TDI family.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 7 of 211.doc
  • 12. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 • Risk Management Directs you to further information to protect yourself against a problem that could consume your career. Of course, you want to be the best instructor possible, so, • Tips to Becoming a Great Instructor Tips that offers information that can help you be a better teacher and a respected professional in dive instruction. • How to Conduct the SDI Open Water Course Covers the general approach to scheduling an open water course and enrolling students. It focuses on the logistics and details (medical and legal) of scheduling your training sessions, organizing your students, collecting class fees and motivating your students to show up for all of the sessions.Part 2, Diver Standards covers: • The list of the current Diver Courses offered through SDI.Part 3, Specialties covers: • The list of the current Specialties offered through SDI.Part 4, Leadership Standards covers: • The list of the current Leadership Courses offered through SDI.Part 5, Appendix covers: • The list of the current Forms used by and required by SDI.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 8 of 211.doc
  • 13. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.07. SDI - Professional Dive Instruction7.1 The Need For Standardized Instruction Early in the history of scuba instruction, experienced divers simply took novice divers under their wing andtaught them what they felt they needed to know to be a “skin diver”. There were many accidents and diving gained areputation as a dangerous sport. Scuba diving “clubs” were organized and began to develop standards for safediving. Eventually, a large body of safe diving practices was developed as diving knowledge expanded. Professionaltraining agencies were created and they sanctioned instructors to “certify” the divers they trained. This was animprovement over the era of “no standards”, but, there was wide variation in what knowledge and skills instructorsthought their students should learn. Methods of instruction ranged from military style to “sink or swim”. If scuba was to become safer and appeal to the general public, further changes needed to be made. Scubaneeded to lose its macho image and punishing physical demands. A core of knowledge essential for safe andenjoyable diving had to be identified and standardized. Most difficult of all, uniform and consistent methods ofinstruction were needed so students could actually learn the real world knowledge and skills they needed to safelyenjoy diving. SDI’s recognition of the importance of uniform standards and consistent instruction forms thefoundation of this manual. If SDI instructors are to be successful in teaching students what they need to know, thenthey must know what to teach and, just as importantly, they must know how to teach it. Instructors are individuals, and as such, they will naturally have individual teaching styles. It is SDI’s goalto grant you the freedom to project your own style and personality into your teaching, provided your students areexposed to the same core knowledge and proven methods of instruction as all other SDI students. It is this conceptof a carefully chosen body of knowledge delivered consistently with a proven method of instruction that is reflectedin the SDI instructor certification course. Several benefits are obvious when you use a standardized course content and method of instruction. • Since the course structure is standardized, you can focus on more important things like individual student needs, etc. • You are less likely to be drawn into the trap of spending too much time on some topics at the expense of others. Naturally, students judge a topic’s importance by the amount of time you spend on it. • You are less likely to entirely omit teaching something important. • In the event of a lawsuit, your actions can be more successfully defended if you have instructed your students using a proven, standardized program developed by a respected international dive instruction agency.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 9 of 211.doc
  • 14. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 • Your presentations will look far more practiced and professional. • You will look more professional, and you will be.7.2 The Role of Instructor OK, so there are tremendous benefits to instructing using the SDI curriculum and methods of instruction,but what’s left for you the instructor to do? Plenty! Even the best program of instruction is only as good as thepeople who present it. Why? Because even though your curriculum may be efficient and predictable, your studentsand diving environment are not! You will be the only one in the course with the training, experience and judgmentto put it all together. As an instructor, only you can combine these three elements into a safe and enjoyable, highquality learning experience! Beginning with the decision to start an open water class, you must make a series of judgment calls: • How big will the class be and how much help will you need? • Who will be in your class and what mix of ages (12? - 72?)? • Are there health issues (heavy smoker needs release)? • Will relationships (controlling parent, hovering significant other) interfere? • What atmosphere will you teach best in? • Will you incorporate videos or primarily lecture? • Will you take them to water early and risk overwhelming someone or late and risk losing their interest? • How do you know who really understands and how can you help those who don’t? • Who’s likely to panic in open water and how will you protect them? • Do you certify the marginal student? It’s up to your judgment! It’s obvious that even with the solid base of SDI’s balanced curriculum andproven teaching methods, the most important factor in teaching open water students is you.7.3 Becoming a Great Instructor A great instructor is first of all a professional. Think about the people you most admire in almost anyaspect of life and it is likely that they share many highly professional characteristics. In dive instruction,professionalism is so vital to both our success and our safety that it is important that we each ask the question - whatare the hallmarks of a professional?SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 10 of 211.doc
  • 15. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 • A professional acquires the knowledge and skills necessary to offer and attract business - i.e. the business of scuba diving. • A professional keeps abreast of the latest technology and changes in his/her profession. • A professional charges a fee for services rendered. • A professional endeavors to be open-minded and fair. • A professional is a member of a self-policing organization. • A professional is a role model who a) Is physically fit b) Is ethical c) Has a positive attitude d) Shows consideration for others (i.e. is on time) No one is “born” a professional and it doesn’t usually “come naturally” either. For most of us, becoming aprofessional takes hard work and long term commitment to a set of quality goals. Just as important, remaining aprofessional means a career-long commitment to supporting the best principles of your profession - while remainingopen to new ideas and technology. The most challenging parts of being a professional instructor have little to dowith scuba diving. For most of us, the real challenges are more closely related to the personal aspects of humanrelations; patience, tolerance, self-control, a willingness to deal with our own feelings and the ability to embracechange. • Change is inevitable. It is sometimes fun, often painful and usually expensive. Since it will occur in our industry as in others, we must learn to make the very best of it. • If a new idea is good, then why not be a part of it. • If we believe a new idea is not good, then we should argue honestly and resist reasonably. If we are right, a poor idea will disprove itself and go away. • Count on change happening - that way you won’t be disappointed. • If you have a better idea – then act on it and make change happen yourself! Our own feelings can create a world of trouble for us. We won’t always like the people or situations wedeal with and that can affect our behavior in destructive ways. Sometimes we don’t even know it is happening!Therefore it is vital to try to recognize, be honest about and deal with, our own feelings. The goal is to emerge fromthe situation self-satisfied and productive. Self-control is essential to professionalism. We all have strong feelings and emotions about some issues,but your students will look to you for balance and common sense. Avoid extremes of behavior or opinion and donot publicly criticize your competitors or your students. You will harm yourself more than them.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 11 of 211.doc
  • 16. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 Tolerance is a sign of maturity and experience. Professionals are expected to deal with “all kinds” ofpeople. Many will not be as sensible or well rounded as you, but that’s one reason why you’re the instructor. Patience is a trait shared by the greatest teachers. People learn in different ways and at different speeds. Ifyou move too slowly, you may bore some of your students, but, if you move too fast, you will lose others altogether.More importantly, if you appear impatient with your students’ progress, you are likely to embarrass them. They maylose their ability to concentrate and ultimately resent you and scuba diving. If you are patient, most will becomecompetent divers, enjoy themselves and respect your professionalism.7.4 Risk Management The best reason to use standardized instruction is to become the most professional instructor possible. Theother best reason to use standardized instruction is to protect yourself from the nightmare of legal liability. It is vitalthat you do everything possible to protect yourself as well as your students. The following discussion by BretGilliam, CEO of SDI-TDI, offers real insight into the problems you can face without effective risk management.7.5 Understanding Risk Management - An Overview, by Bret Gilliam Did you ever tell someone that diving is a safe sport? Big mistake, you werent being accurate. Safe means"without risk". Nothing in life is safe. And ultimately it all comes down to dealing with the reality of risk inbusiness, sport, love and especially when ordering take-out food. There are few buzzwords to come into widespread use more important to professional instructors than "riskmanagement" in todays society of litigation. Lets face it, a jury recently gave almost ten million dollars to a womanwho was stupid enough to put a boiling cup of McDonalds coffee in her crotch and then was surprised that itburned her when it spilled. Jackpot! Its easier than winning the lottery. Luckily there are some relatively simple steps that instructors can take to help balance the odds in theirfavor. The obvious first step is to acquire professional instructor liability insurance. Insurance has been available tocover traditional sport diving training for over twenty years but only recently has coverage been available fortechnical diving. In todays society, where even a stubbed toe on a dive boat is an excuse for a lawsuit, the specter of anegligence claim from a accident in a diving training program is all to real. Without specific insurance coverage forour particular and very esoteric needs, our butts are swinging in the wind with no guarantee of defense costs.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 12 of 211.doc
  • 17. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0Indeed, the cost for a successful defense for an innocent instructor could very well bankrupt the individual or hisbusiness. Part of my business is legal consulting in precisely this arena. Ive been involved in nearly 200 cases, onboth defense and plaintiff sides, since 1972. One thing I can tell you for certain is that it doesnt make one bit ofdifference whether you are Sister Theresa and Jesus Christ himself appears as a character witness for you ... if youhavent got insurance you are going to be staring down the face of some serious bills. Even if you did nothingwrong. If you own a home or a business and teach diving you would have to be nuts not to want this insuranceprotection. Even if your total net worth consists of a 1975 Ford pickup truck, six sets of doubles, and a dog with abent tail, you are not immune to a lawsuit. Your future earnings and property can be attached for the rest of yourlife. And you will pay. I appeal to every instructor to sit down and consider the sobering circumstances for all of the techcommunity if we were to lose a lawsuit. Then consider your own personal loss if it happens to you. For about $600you can buy a million dollars of coverage that guarantees to defend you and pay out in the event of a plaintiffsverdict. How much justice can you afford on your own? Not much.7.5.1 Teaching Defensively It would be great if we could just buy insurance and then teach the best course we are capable of with theconfidence that even if an accident happened ... the insurance company would pay for a top notch defense and anyreasonable jury would be convinced that we did the best job of training that we could and then acquit us of anywrongdoing. Yeah, right. And the strongest drugs Keith Richards ever did were a couple of No-Doz and blackcoffee! Okay, time for Basic Personal Injury Law 101. Pay attention, there could be a real life quiz later that willreally empty your wallet. Four things basically have to happen to allow a plaintiff (the guy whos suing you) torecover money: • He must be able to show damages, either financial or physical or both. • He must be able to show that you had a duty to provide training in an atmosphere of reasonable safety and .... • That, by acts of commission or omission, you breached that duty. • Finally, that his damages were proximately caused by your negligent performance.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 13 of 211.doc
  • 18. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 I could make it sound a lot more complicated and throw in some flowery legalese that would send yourunning for a dictionary, but this pretty much sums things up. And remember another part of the personal injuryequation: you will be judged by what the community believes to be conduct that a reasonably prudent diveinstructor would display in similar circumstances. So lets take a practical example: Jack Smith signs up for a basic dive course. He has never dived beforeand wants to learn. Bob Jones accepts him as a student. A payment in the form of a course fee is exchanged. At thistime, a basic contract exists between these two persons that Jones will teach Smith to dive and look after his wellbeing and safety during all aspects of that course. However, Smith misses the class about the consequences of holding his breath on ascent and Jones nevercovers the material with him when he shows up for the first pool session. Sure enough, he holds his breath from thedeep end of the pool when he accidentally floods his mask and panics. Smith suffers a fatal arterial air embolismand his family sues Jones. Has Smith got damages? You bet, hes deader than the Bills chance at another Super Bowl. Did Jones have a duty to provide a reasonable environment of safety for the dive course? Bet your ass. Did Jones breach the duty? Right again, grasshopper. Smith never knew he shouldnt hold his breath whilebreathing from scuba because Jones never told him so. Did Smith die because of Jones negligence? Bingo! You win the personal injury lottery and collect amillion dollars. I used this example to hammer home a point. In entry-level scuba instruction, the students really dontknow anything at the onset. They are blissfully unaware of the hazards of diving until you, as the instructor, explainthings like bends, embolism, sea urchins, and hot coffee. They are, to draw an elemental analogy, a blank slate thatyou will fill in with information from which they can make decisions about how to conduct themselves whileenjoying the sport. Of course, you give them a waiver to sign in which they are asked to assume the risk for the activities theywill take part in. Are they capable of understanding and assuming that risk as neophytes? Arguably not in manysituations. Herein lies one of the fundamental differences between technical dive training and entry-level open watertraining. Tech students have already been certified and had the chance to acquire some experience. They understandthe consequences of breath holding on ascent, of decompression sickness, of running out of air and drowning. TheySDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 14 of 211.doc
  • 19. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0are legally capable of understanding and assuming the risk of the training they are signing up for. Thats why aproperly executed waiver and release form is absolutely vital as part of your risk management. Look at this tool as your first line of defense. Its a contract between you and your student that says "hey,diving is potentially dangerous, heres a nice list of all the ways you can kill or injure yourself, you understand theserisks and agree not to sue me even if I screw up and something nasty happens to you". Is it really that simple? Notquite, but were getting there. Now lets look at Dr. Gilliams recipe for waivers and how to make them work foryou.7.5.2 Using Waivers & Releases We have taken a look at the basic elements that make up a lawsuit. Now lets take a stroll through some ofthe front line risk management precautions that can help to nip a law suit before it ever gets into court or mitigatedamages later on down the line. Were talking pro-active use of the arsenal of waiver & release forms available tothe instructor. These will generally include at least a medical history form and a general release of liability andassumption of risk agreement. No instructor or dive vessel operator should conduct their activities without properuse of such documents. They will be vital to any successful defense should an accident occur. The whole idea of waivers and releases is to establish a contact between the student and instructor thatstipulates certain understandings as to the nature of the activities about to take place in training. However, its notenough to simply pass around a bunch of forms to be signed as the boat is pulling away from the dock and hope forthe best. In many states, asking a student to execute such a release without time for sufficient contemplation orunder threat of monetary loss will alone be grounds to deny applicability.7.5.3 Assumption of risk First and foremost, the student must be made aware of the inherent risks and hazards associated withdiving, particularly technical diving. This article is accompanied by the actual release form used by Scuba DivingInternational (SDI) for all its courses. You will note upon examining its content that this document contains avariety of information that specifically identifies assorted dangers that might reasonably be anticipated to crop up.And, in no uncertain terms, explains that these nasty things could very well happen to you if you decide toparticipate in this type of diving.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 15 of 211.doc
  • 20. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.07.5.4 Sign on the Dotted Line, Please Now lets get into the nuts and bolts of making a waiver & release valid. The student is entitled to areasonable atmosphere of reflection and thought before being asked to enter into such a serious contract. Theinstructor should advise all students at the time of enrollment that a waiver & release would be required as acondition of participation. Then the document should be offered well in advance of the actual diving day. Asking a class to sign waivers a few minutes before departing on the boat does not meet the spirit of therelease. Especially if it is implied that a student may forfeit any fees already paid if they refuse to sign. Duress ofany kind, whether emotional peer pressure or financial loss, will probably cause a judge to cast a less thansympathetic eye on the release should Joe Diver meet with a mishap on the dive that day. I handle execution of the waiver & release documents as one of the most important parts of my relationshipwith students. I explain at the outset that this is a formal contract that affects their legal rights and the rights of theirfamily. I re-affirm that this is a potentially hazardous activity and that accidents can happen - even if both thestudent and I perform to the best of our ability. I read the entire document out loud and after each paragraph ask forany questions. Then I have each student initial that section in the line provided. I remind them that this form requires them to be truthful and honest with regards to their health, medicalhistory and capabilities. I always make sure that a third party witnesses the form. And finally, I explain that if they have any reservations about participating they may withdraw without anyloss of face and with a full refund. I also encourage them to discuss their participation in detail with family membersso they are also fully apprised of the potential for injury or death. Its not a session that is particularly pleasant foreither student or instructor, but it is one that wont be forgotten. I do the briefing with all the students present as agroup so everyone is equally aware of the material Ive covered. In the event of an accident, they can confirm aswitnesses the extensive detail I covered in a thorough explanation of the releases. Its serious stuff. Its necessary to cover all aspects soberly and professionally without any distractions.Teach your programs in strict observation of the relevant agencys course standards and try to anticipate situationswhere accident scenarios will arise. Accidents can happen. They may be due to events beyond anyones control or ability to have foreseen. TheBritish have a wonderful legal term for the basic "Shit Happens" accident scenario. They refer to this as "death bymisadventure". This sounds even better with the proper accent. And in their legal system, its unusual for someoneto recover damages in such a case. But if youre counting on that to protect you in the U.S. where people sue each other in such nonsense asdog paternity actions, well, I suggest you take a reality pill and settle in for a grim introduction to the wonderfulSDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 16 of 211.doc
  • 21. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0world of personal injury litigation. Bring your lunch cause youre going to be awhile. And you better hope youpacked some properly executed waivers & releases. Otherwise its heartburn. Use the risk management tools available and teach defensively. You can take that advice to the bank.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 17 of 211.doc
  • 22. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.08. SDI General Membership Standards All the following refer to criteria apply to SDI Leadership positions, Assistant Instructor, Divemaster, Instructor, and Instructor Trainer8.1 General 1. Instructors and Instructor Trainers ( IT) must teach a course at their highest level every two (2) years from the date of their highest course taught at that level. 2. If a course is not taught within a two-year period at that level, their teaching status for that level will be Inactive and the Instructor or IT must attend an update to regain active status for that level. 3. All courses must be completed within 12 months unless otherwise stated. 4. Recommendation for all SDI courses- Any student must demonstrate skills required in previous courses to the new instructor 5. When an instructor is teaching an Open Water Diver course they must use open circuit gear. SCR/CCR Instructors are permitted to use an SCR/CCR while teaching any SDI course other than Open Water if they are carrying a stage/pony bottle with greater than 30 cubic feet (4 liters). If an instructor is teaching a student with a Semi – closed circuit rebreather (SCR), the instructor may use open circuit gear or a SCR/CCR. If an instructor is teaching a student with a closed-circuit rebreather (CCR), the instructor may use open circuit gear, a SCR or CCR.8.2 Active Teaching Status An Instructor given the designation of Active Teaching Status must agree to the following criteria: 1. Annual dues must be paid in full. 2. All account balances from previous year must be paid in full. 3. Submit proof of current liability insurance (unless living/teaching outside the United States). 4. Having taught or assisted in at least one Scuba Diver course. All instructors must hold Active Teaching Status to be authorized to teach SDI courses and to certify SDI divers.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 18 of 211.doc
  • 23. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.0 5. Ability to perform all the leadership skills.8.3 Probation Status An Instructor may be placed on Probation Status for any of the following reasons: 1. Account balance is 90 days or more. 2. Failed to meet the contractual obligations of Active Teaching Status. 3. Violated teaching standards. An Instructor placed on Probation Status is authorized to teach SDI courses and tocertify SDI divers. Further standards violations can result in an Instructor being movedfrom Probation Status to Suspended or even Expelled Status.8.4 Non-Teaching Status An Instructor can be placed on Non-Teaching Status for any of the following reasons: 1. Account balance is 90 days or more. 2. Temporarily placed on suspension. 3. Failed to meet the contractual obligations of Active Teaching Status. Instructors placed on Non-Teaching Status are not authorized to teach SDI coursesand to certify SDI divers.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 19 of 211.doc
  • 24. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.08.5 Suspended Status An Instructor can be placed on Suspended Status for any of the following reasons: 1. Account balance is 120 days or more with no attempt to rectify the situation. 2. Failed to meet the contractual obligations of Active Teaching Status. 3. Violated teaching standards. An Instructor placed on Suspended Status is not authorized to teach SDI courses orto certify SDI divers. Further standards violations can result in an Instructor being movedfrom Suspended Status to Expelled Status.8.6 Expelled Status An Instructor can be placed on Expelled Status for any of the following reasons: 1. Account balance is 120 days or more with no attempt to rectify the situation. 2. Placed on Suspended or Probation Status on more than one occasion. 3. Failed to meet the contractual obligations of Active Teaching Status. 4. Violated teaching standards. 5. Displayed conduct unbecoming a professional Instructor. An Instructor placed on Expelled Status is no longer authorized to teach SDIcourses or to certify SDI divers. An Instructor placed on Expelled Status is no longer amember of Scuba Diving International. NOTE: Scuba Diving International reserves the right to suspend, expel orterminate an individual based upon the determination that standards violations haveoccurred.SDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 20 of 211.doc
  • 25. SDI Instructor Manual Date: 11/19/2004 Part 1 – Introduction Revision: 5.08.7 Required Subject Area For All SDI Instructor Courses. 1. Review of the Instructor Package 2. History of SDI 3. Offices o Locations o Rules for teaching in other areas of the world. 4. SDI Code of Ethics and Conduct 5. Products & Procedures o How to place an order o How to fill out student registrations o Yearly renewals 6. Liability & Insurance o Risk Management o Waivers & Releases (a Waiver must be completed for every course taken even if courses are combined. (I.e.: Dry Suit and Wreck - 1 waiver for EACH course)) 7. Filling out an Accident ReportSDI Instructor Manual - Part Page 21 of 211.doc