What is a Scuba Instructor?

Article Details
  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
External Resources

Scuba instructors pass along their knowledge and expertise to others interested in learning underwater diving at recreational or professional levels. The word "scuba" originated as an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. This kind of underwater diving allows the diver to breath underwater via a mouthpiece attached to a tank filled with compressed air.

A broad range of topics are taught by scuba instructors. Areas they teach can include selecting and maintaining the proper equipment, safety and learning proper underwater diving techniques. Scuba instructors teach classes ranging from beginner to advanced, with the skills needed and the associated risks increasing with each level.

Scuba equipment is a diver’s lifeline, and a good scuba instructor understands the proper selection and maintenance of equipment. Being able to identify malfunctioning equipment is important as well. The scuba unit, for example, regulates how the diver descends, ascends and floats. Undetected problems with the scuba unit could result in serious injury to a diver.

Generally, it is best to take lessons from a scuba instructor who is certified by a scuba training agency. These agencies can operate on country-wide or international levels. Among the largest scuba certification agencies are the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Scuba Schools International and the National Association of Underwater Instructors.


A quality scuba instructor is trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). First aid skills are essential to have in case a fellow diver is injured. A scuba instructor also knows how to guide another diver back to safety if the diver becomes disoriented or panicky.

Among the most common injuries associated with scuba diving are cuts and scrapes from coral or other rough underwater surfaces. Decompression sickness is a more serious concern. This happens when a diver ascends to the surface too quickly, causing bubbles to form in the bloodstream. The most severe cases can affect functioning of the brain, lungs or spinal cord.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, serious injuries during scuba diving are uncommon. Roughly 90 scuba divers die worldwide each year, in comparison to the millions of dives that take place around the world. Also, fewer than 1,000 divers each year require treatment related to decompression sickness.

An interest in scuba diving can lead to a lucrative career. Aside from being a scuba instructor, jobs are available in public safety rescue work, commercial diving and underwater welding. Depending on the position and conditions, work as a professional scuba diver can be dangerous because of rough waters, poor visibility and predators such as sharks.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?