One of the most nerve-wracking experiences as a parent teaching your teenager how to drive a car is when you have them drive out of a safe parking lot area out into real “live” traffic. No matter how stressful this transition is, it is one that has to be made, in order for the driver student to learn how to adapt to everyday traffic situations.
This is very similar when upgrading a PADI Divemaster to a PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) Leader. During the PADI Divemaster course many, if not most exercises, can be conducted in role-playing simulations. However, for the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Leader internship the PADI DSD Leader candidate must conduct four separate real (not simulated) PADI Discover Scuba Diving programs in confined water under the direct supervision of a PADI Instructor. PADI DSD Leader interns must show their ability to conduct effective briefings, in-water supervision and debriefings with non-certified divers.
Sometimes the performance requirements for the PADI DSD Leader rating get overlooked as they are not located within the PADI Divemaster Course Instructor Guide itself; instead the instructor has to locate them in the PADI Professional Ratings section of the Professional Membership Guide in the Instructor Manual. There is also a separate Discover Scuba Diving Internship Completion Form #10151, available on the PADI Pros Site. This form also doubles up as the application form, once the four PADI DSD program requirements have been met along with successful completion of the PADI DSD Leader assessment.
The knowledge assessment for this internship, called the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Leader Assessment, can be found on the PADI Pros Site along with the answer key.
As a PADI Instructor conducting PADI Divemaster courses, it is very important to offer your candidates the PADI DSD Leader Internship option, as many of them will be interested in being able to take non-divers for their first breath underwater, which we all know is a life-changing experience. In resort environments, the PADI DSD Leader rating is a prerequisite for some positions at busy dive centres and can significantly boost a dive pro’s income. Prospective PADI DSD Leaders are often so enthusiastic about their job, it has to be very clearly explained to them about the maximum ratios of 4:1 in the pool and 2:1 in confined water and that their PADI DSD participants are NOT qualified to undertake a subsequent open water dive, as their initial skills introduction was not with a PADI Instructor.