DADI scuba instructor Casey Piper teaches a student to kick coral Thursday at Blacktip Island’s Hammerhead Reef. The new training agency is dedicated to training students to dive as poorly as possible. (photo courtesy of Alexdiver)
A group of Blacktip Island scuba instructors has formed a new certifying agency focused on training scuba students to dive badly, the group announced Friday.
“Most guests dive like they’ve disconnected their brains,” said Eagle Ray Divers instructor Casey Piper. “They don’t check their air pressure before jumping in, they kick the coral, they crowd the boarding ladders. We thought, ‘if they’re going to dive badly, they should do it well.’”
“The agency’s Dumb Ass Dive Instructors,” Piper said. “Our motto is ‘Deep Down, You Want To Be A Dumbass.’ Basic open water’s a three-day course. It can take less time, obviously, but agency standards call for a full three days.”
Industry professionals hailed the agency.
“It’s brilliant,” said Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner. “If you’re going to dive poorly, don’t half-ass it. Casey’s people are training guests to dive overweighted, to ignore their buddies and to use zero navigation skills.
“DADI divers are required to frog-hop in without a glance at their gauges,” Latner said. “And they’re warned never to read their dive computer’s instruction manual. Or look at the computer during a dive.”
Resort owners said the agency has been a boon to business.
“If we can’t stop guests from diving like yahoos, we can at least make money off it,” said Eagle Ray Cove owner Rich Skerritt. “With DADI, they’re taught to have as much crap as possible dangling off their BCs. Every D-ring chock-a-block full of crap. Then we sell them all the crap.
“The Harassing Wildlife module’s super popular,” Skerritt said. “We’re teaching folks how to properly chase a stingray, turtle or shark. Then we sell them cameras, and give prizes for blurry photos of the critters’ butts.”
Local dive staff were unimpressed.
“We don’t really see any difference,” Eagle Ray Divers divemaster Alison Diesel said. “It’s job security for us, I guess, keeping them alive.”
Students raved about the course.
“I always felt so guilty not doing everything they told me to do in my open water class,” Suzy Souccup said. “The Dumbass class was liberating. It simplifies diving and lets me just having fun, guilt free.”
“I mean, instead of figuring out my profile, or listening to a boring briefing, I can just hop in with everyone else, then come up with everyone else,” she added.
DADI officials stressed the class doesn’t neglect safety.
“We require all Dumbass-certified divers to carry dive accident insurance,” Piper said. “It gives them, and us, peace of mind. If nothing else, we accomplished that.”
DADI plans to add more Dumbass courses in the future.
“We have plans for an Advanced Dumbass Diving course, and lots of Dumbass specialties,” Piper said. “We were going to do a Dumbass Rescue course, but didn’t really see the point.
“We’re training all our staff to teach the course, too,” Piper said. “We’ll all be proud to say we’re Dumbass instructors.”