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wannabe snorkeling instructor

Lil Dragonfly

New Member
Jun 14, 2009
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Florida, USA
Teaching people how to snorkel has always been a huge dream of mine. (My other dream is teaching people how to swim but, I don't think this is the right forum for that)

I am located in Boca Raton, Florida.

Trying to decide what qualifications to get. The lifeguarding and water safety courses in my area have a long waiting list. I have a scuba instructor friend who wants to turn me into a NAUI snorkeling instructor, but since the course is over $1,000, realistically it will never happen.

If anyone has any reasonably-priced instructor courses (or anything else that would qualify me) to offer me, hit me up!

(Or, if anyone has any friends who want to learn how to snorkel, PM me.)
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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Madison, Wisconsin
If you want to become certified to do it right you have a couple of options, but none are cheap.

You could go the purely freediving route and certify through PFI, FII, or Apnea Academy. These are all organizations that specialize in freediving and snorkeling. Your other option is to get certified as a scuba instructor and have the snorkeling instructor part wrapped up into it. The snorkeling programs are all pretty basic, but you have the option to write your own course IF you have the proper experience if you want to teach something more. If you decide to go this route you could find more teaching opportunities as you could also teach scuba. To go this route you need to look at PADI, NAUI, IANTD, SDI, SSI, or one of the others that are still out there. Some agencies will allow you to teach snorkeling without going to the full openwater instructor level, but all will require you to certify in a number of lower level scuba certifications before they allow you to teach snorkeling. None of it is cheap and the dive industry is in a bit of a downward spiral these days- 4 dive shops have gone out of business in my home state already this year and even the bigger stores are having trouble filling their trips/classes.

Once you get the certification you will also have to pay yearly dues to maintain your ratings. If you actually want to TEACH any of these courses you will need to carry additional insurance- even the Freediving only agencies, like PFI, require this. You can expect your yearly dues to run $125-$150 and your insurance to be somewhere over $600. These are yearly costs and not just the one-time fees that your initial instructors course will run you.

Any way you look at it it's not cheap. I've been a scuba instructor for 26 years and I'm sure I could have bought myself a decent car for what I've paid in dues and insurance premiums alone. :head

All of that being said, if you go the SCUBA option IANTD seems to have the best range of freediving/snorkeling courses out there- as they should since they were all written by Kirk Krack. The other option is the freediving specific route- which may be more interesting to you since you are already posting to this forum.

One last way that I just thought of was to look into the Red Cross swimming programs. I was a WSI once upon a time and snorkeling was part of it. Now days I'm not sure how their rating systems work, but it could be a cheaper way to get into it and allow you to teach swimming as well. Some swimming instructors I know end up making more money than the scuba instructors I know because they don't need all the gear, costly certifications, and insurance. They also have a larger pool of clients to pull from. IF you taught at a YMCA they would probably cover your insurance for you with this type of a program. Don't expect it to be a very in-depth course, but it would get you teaching.

Good luck,

Jon
 
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Lil Dragonfly

Lil Dragonfly

New Member
Jun 14, 2009
381
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Florida, USA
Thanks everyone for the replies so far :)

I'm thinking of just putting up signs around the neighborhood that say "snorkeling lessons: $10/hour, first hour free".

My instructor friends tell me that that is a horrible idea because with no qualifications, I could easily get sued. But just how likely is this?

I have no interest in teaching freediving or scuba. My reason for wanting to teach people how to swim or snorkel is because it intoduces them to the underwater world for the first time :)
 

kelp princess

depthfinder
Jul 15, 2003
694
249
133
california
hi lil',

you can offer people an experience with snorkeling - there are NO performance requirements with basic snorkeling. even with most of the big "agencies" snorkeling experiences do not count as any type of certification level.

if you want to provide advice to newbies i might suggest you market your help as or yourself as a "snorkel guide" or "snorkeling 101"
you may want to focus on getting people comfortable in the water - and the best credential for this may be for you to have LIFEGUARD or swim instructor status.

IF you want to learn more your self so you are better prepared then you should also try taking an AIDA, FII or PFI class - just to broaden your understanding.

The technical difference btwn "snorkeling" and "skin diving" is that snorkelers stay on the surface. Skin divers obviously dive down - even if just a little bit. In order to offer guidnace on "skin diving" you will need to be trained yourself.

good luck,

kp
 

nostres

because stress is no good
Oct 4, 2006
728
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Chicago
www.youtube.com
Guys, her financials are little rough at the moment as she stated in another post: "I can't afford toilet paper" so PFI, FII etc are out of the question now

Lil, it looks like working for local dive shop might be good solution for You especially since You live in good diving spot. If they hire You, they would take care of Your cert.
That way You get to dive a lot and make some money while You gain experience!
 

demasoni

New Member
Feb 3, 2005
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Maui
mauiobserver.blogspot.com
Hi Lil,

I can tell you what I did to become a snorkeling instructor. I'm not an independent contractor as I work for a dive shop on their snorkel boats. I'm boat crew and an in water guide (which comprises of lifeguard, snorkel instructor, and dropped gear picker-upper rolled into one). :)

My dive shop is affiliated with SSI and I am SCUBA certified through them. SSI actually has a "snorkel instructor" course which I took to get the job. Not sure how much it costs as my work paid for most of mine, but I'm sure you can check with SSI.

I also had to get insurance with a $3,000,000 liability policy, and again, as the insurance is through the dive shop, I didn't have to pay. I can only imagine the premiums you would have to pay by yourself. BTW, I really don't suggest starting without insurance. You'll lose your house! In this business, I can't tell you how many times dive shops and boat operators have been sued, so it's not a matter of if, but when you get in some kind of legal hot water.

I was required to get a CPR/First Aid with AED certification which was taught to us from our own in-house SCUBA instructors. You can take these courses fairly cheaply through agencies like your local YMCA.

Oh yeah, I also highly recommend getting DAN insurance if anything were to happen to YOU.

As far as the snorkel instructor course itself, the material was pretty basic, but I had to read a book and take a written test administered by one of the SCUBA instructors. There was also an open-water test simulating rescue scenarios.

Where do you want to instruct, pool or ocean? If I'm assuming correctly and you say ocean, I have tons of experience taking people who have literally told me to my face before boarding the boat that "I have never been in water past my knees" in a certain west-Asian, subcontinental accent, and by the end of the trip, they were snorkeling solo and enjoying all the wildlife.

The point is that this would not have been possible without the use of floatation belts and boogie boards for them to hold on to and gain confidence. Everyone here on DB take things like BASIC water comfort for granted, but I assure you, the majority of people out there would drown within 10 minutes of being dropped into the open ocean without guidance.

People panic, have nervous breakdowns, heart attacks, psyche themselves out, cramp up, hyperventilate, and generally just try to imitate swimming bricks. I definitely don't see ANY aquatic ape-theory material on our boats!

We (the boat) provide boogie boards, flotation belts, and wetsuit jackets free of charge and the dive shop rents out masks, little rubber fins, and Impulse 3 snorkels for everyone to use on the trip if they don't have their own gear.

Best of luck! I hope it works out. Teaching snorkeling and introducing someone to the underwater world can be very gratifying and rewarding.
 
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devondave

New Member
Oct 5, 2007
1,463
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Bromley UK
Josh, you sound very knowledgeable about this subject, so perhaps you can answer a question for me?
The Italian snorkel instructors in Sharm el sheikh, who take tourists out on boats for a days snorkeling, they tell the shapely ladies 'it is much more efficient to snorkel with your backside sticking out of the water.'
I'm sure as an instructor you will know the reason for this.:)
Guess it must be for hydrodynamic purposes.
But what is confusing it's only the Italians who say this, and only to the pretty girls. :confused:
So, if you can clear this matter up and enlighten us?

Regards,
Dave.
 

demasoni

New Member
Feb 3, 2005
324
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40
Maui
mauiobserver.blogspot.com
Dave,

Actually, the universal rule regardless of nationality is that the snorkel instructor needs to follow the shapely female customers from behind the entire time to ensure the "backside" is loading at the proper angle for optimum hydrodynamic efficiency.

Furthermore, when said customers ask the snorkel instructor what the the water temp is to ask for a wetsuit jacket, the S.I. must reply "the water is like the jacuzzi at your hotel, and the jacket will only restrict your breathing." If the customer insists to wear a jacket (zip-up kind), the S.I. will provide one 2 sizes too small to ensure the zipper only goes up 3/4 of the way to the top!

So many honeymooners in Maui, and lately, recent university graduates on summer break...

Frankly, I love getting Euros on the boat, nice to mix it up. However, my favorite will always be the ladies from a country in S. America that starts with a B and ends with RAZIL. :)
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
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Sunny Britain
...if you really are a sexy underwater girl. you will have no problems. in fact, i can probaly get you a job in key west as a mate. ... if this is really your dream, do it. you only live once. to be blunt: the company i am referring to is ALWAYS looking for girls to crew the boats, especially hot ones, so if you fit the mold, and you want it , it can be yours. PM me if you are interested. the crew members share rental houses , so often time you can find a spot to live as well. its a cool job. think about it
:DSo much for decades worth of effort, legislation and political correctness to promote sex equality and eliminate sexual harassment. Bet they get the best tips (check out old news stories on Bob Chin's seafood restaurant in Chicago for the possible downside of hiring "hot chicks" and/or being hired as a "hot chick").
 
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Lil Dragonfly

Lil Dragonfly

New Member
Jun 14, 2009
381
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Florida, USA
Jtkwest are you back from your trip yet? I have some questions about the job:

- Will the people on the boat be smoking? (If smoking is allowed on the boat I don't want the job, period. I am terrified of smoke)

- It involves cleaning the boat, right? Do you think they will let me wear a gas mask? (I don't do well with chemical fumes. I once lived with roommates who cleaned the kitchen table with non-health food store cleaning solutions, every time they did I barfed and my throat closed up. My allergist tells me I should not be exposed to it, period.)
 

jtkwest

recreational user
Dec 2, 2007
808
142
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key west
I AM STILL HERE IN CONNECTICUT, UNFORTUNATELY. i will call my buddy today in key west to see if he can hook it up. as far as smoking, it is a 65ft long, 33 ft wide catamaran. they only allow smoking on the back of the boat. you can simply, not go back there. as far as gas masks, it would be up to you, but all we ever scrub the boat with, is enviro friendly detergent and water at the end of the night.
 

jtkwest

recreational user
Dec 2, 2007
808
142
0
key west
:DSo much for decades worth of effort, legislation and political correctness to promote sex equality and eliminate sexual harassment. Bet they get the best tips (check out old news stories on Bob Chin's seafood restaurant in Chicago for the possible downside of hiring "hot chicks" and/or being hired as a "hot chick").
i think you are wrong
 
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Don Paul

Well-Known Member
Oct 14, 2009
1,189
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Newport Beach
(Closes eyes and tries to picture how long 65 feet is)

Wondering if I would still be able to smell it at all from the front of the boat.
At sea I doubt it, if you do go can always do breath holds...that's what I do
around smokers.:crutch

Sounds like a great job.
Are you still using the Mangosteen ? I need to buy a new bottle...
Cheers, Don Paul
 
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Lil Dragonfly

Lil Dragonfly

New Member
Jun 14, 2009
381
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Florida, USA
Breathholding around smokers doesn't work for me. Being in an area with smoke makes me freak out, even if I am safely holding my breath and plugging my nose. Irrational yes, since breathholding underwater never makes me panic. But since when were phobias rational?

I haven't been diving since March because I've been sick. But I'm finally not sick anymore, yay! (A generous friend is paying for my medical care.)
 
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Lil Dragonfly

Lil Dragonfly

New Member
Jun 14, 2009
381
21
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Florida, USA
Thank you Don Paul :)

I talked to my mom, and she says that 65 feet is not very far at all. She says that if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction there would be smoke smell at the front of the boat as well :waterwork

(Also keep in mind that I have a nose like a tracker dog. I can smell smoke even when no one else can)

Maybe this job isn't such a good idea...