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GO PRO! Why you should consider becoming a Scuba Diving Professional

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a dive professional? To work full-time in the dive industry? Patrick Hammer is a PADI Platinum Course Director who has been diving and teaching for more than 30 years. We asked him some of the reasons becoming a dive professional is so appealing AND some of the benefits that can be realized. His responses follow – enjoy this unique look “behind the scenes” of the dive industry.

CHANGE MY LIFE
You might be 18 or 20 and think you do not have a life or I do not need a change, not so. Imagine turning 18 and earning your PADI Instructor rating, then hooking up with a cruise ship and travel the Caribbean and in each port take tourists out diving. A few years of this and you’re ready for college and will have money in the bank. You may even earn college credit recommendations during your PADI programs.

Been at the same old job for years and need a change, or have you moved and looking for something else to do. As more people move in to the retirement years they are looking for something else to do. Well, diving as a PADI Pro could be that. Can you imagine going into retirement in Hawaii and doing enough dives every week so you will not have to tap into your retirement account?

Maybe it is just time – the same thing every day and you need an escape. Go Pro and change your life. I see this every time I teach a PADI Instructor course in Illinois, Arizona or the Islands. Once you earn that Professional rating you feel like a new person. Now, you have a new challenge. When I put new instructors into the Resort Training Course (RTC) I see them light up and just go all out while learning sales and boat handling techniques. Divers that never operated a boat are now docking one, or leading divers from one.

Going Pro is a life-changing experience. It was for me and that was back in 1974 when I opened my first store. I was only 19 when I got into the business and by 21 I was running my store. A lot has happened in the last 36 years but my love for diving and teaching has not declined, I still love it. I might need to slow down but teaching, or working in the dive community is something I want to do as long as I can. Take that step, Go Pro, I assure you it is worth it

MAKE A LIVING DOING WHAT I LOVE
Face it, we all have to work. I remember my nephew calling me about ten years ago and asking me “Uncle Patrick, what are you doing at this time and how are you dressed?” I found it an odd question, Ryan has been certified for years. But I explained to him I was pulling into the Parking lot at Pearl Lake and was in shorts and a SCUBA EMPORIUM T shirt. He asked “and on the feet” I told him you know there are no shoes. He said I thought so, it was just about 8 AM and he was in a suit and tie going to the law firm. He loved my life and was not happy with his. He has since changed jobs and I think one day will be kicking those shoes off.

I get up every day and think it is a great day to be alive and what can I do today to better the company. Then I head into the office and go to work. Sometimes I am in the pool. That is why I like having my own indoor pool it is 88 degrees so I do not mind being there. I might be selling a $2,000.00 package or a $5,000.00 career development course. I may need to clean the pool or start on e mails. My job is all over the road. But that is why we do not burn out. I get paid to do a lot of different jobs and I love them all.

I have always said “It is not how much one makes it is how much one keeps or, how much you enjoy your life, and mine is a gem”

DIVE A LOT MORE AND GET PAID FOR IT
OK, so this is not the best reason, but hear me out on this one. I sometimes look at the world we live in today and the jobs we all have. I get to dive Lake Michigan and I can go to Pearl Lake Resort 70 mile north of my store and visit with great friends and do some nice dives. Then I could head to Florida for caves and the Keys for fun and wrecks. I have dived all over the Caribbean, California, Mexico, Hawaii, the South Pacific and Australia. So yes, I get to dive a lot more and of course I run Specialties on all the trips so I am getting paid to be diving. Face it we all have to work it is just my job is better than yours.
A friend once told me, “I love Mondays, it gives me the whole week to accomplish something”

SEA THE WORLD

As a dive pro, you have the opportunity to explore a whole new world. I remember my first dive in Lake Pleasant in Phoenix Arizona-I found it odd to swim around cactus. We saw fish and dove a wall. Then on another dive we explored the old Dam – not that this was odd being down 70 feet and landing on top of an old dam. Door County has many wrecks and clear water, I always find it interesting to go back in history and dive these historic wrecks. Then we have some interesting dives underground in the Mines at Bonne Terre in Missouri. I have been in Lake Mead in Las Vegas and that is one of the most interesting dives I have been on. The strange fish in the river still are in my mind. You can explore the caves in Northern Florida and then you can move down either coast and enjoy the great dives that the Florida coast offers. Florida also has some fun night life to go along with those dives. Don’t get me started on the South Pacific and the many opportunities there. If you want to explore and have a desire to travel, becoming a dive professional allows you to “sea” the (underwater) world as often as you’d like.

HELP OUT AT MY LOCAL DIVE CENTER
To be a dive shop groupie has always interested me. I have always had people hang out at my store and we would just talk about the great dives we have done. I love it. I am busy taking care of a customer or fitting customers in their new equipment. Next thing you know we are swamped and the divers hanging out start talking about their dive experience. Now this can be bad too, so I have always told them please do not tell stories that might scare off a potential customer.
After all these years I still have our divers meet and hang out at the dive center. We love it and they do so much for us. I have learned my best sales tool is a happy customer. So I invite the groupies and ask them to bring their pictures with as well.

Experience counts and I bring in a lot of experience when I teach a class. I enjoy during an IDC (Instructor Development Course) when I can talk about some of the life changing events I have had as the result of scuba diving. Today the best part of my job is after I complete a PADI Instructor course and I see the huge smile the new Instructors have. You can see they are off on a new career. That’s very satisfying for me AND it’s very motivating for these new dive professionals.

www.scubaemporium.com, under the leadership of Patrick and Sherry Hammer has been training divers in the Midwest and the Caribbean for nearly three decades. Patrick is PADI Platinum Course Director (one of 60 worldwide) and may have trained more Instructors than any other PADI Course Director in the world. Whether you are taking classes in the USA or Caribbean from Patrick you not only will have a lot of fun you will learn the tools needed to succeed in the dive industry. Contact Patrick at Patrick@scubaemporium.com

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