• Laszlo Cseh and Emőke Wagner

GUE’s new Recreational Diver 1 Program

Recreational scuba diving is the most common type of scuba diving activity what people participate in our sport. This particular part of the industry is growing in a very fast pace, because many instructors or dive shop owners have seen the financial benefit of pushing more and more not-so-demanding diving classes. On the first look this seems to be okay, as of course the dive educators would also like to have a compensation for their time and curious people would like to expereince what lies below the surface of our planet’s waters. However, the „industry problem” came to surface when all the passion of the instructors for the underwater realm has been replaced by just making more and more profit out of training divers. Sadly, also some agencies even contributed to this as they pushed the individual requirements for their classes lower, so even more of their programs could be sold in a shorter time. This process resulted then in today’s situation, where we have a general misconseption about recreational and diving in general: dive training is easy, requires not much commitment, it is cheap and for everyone. And actually it doesn’t really matter what participants have done during training, once they have taken care of all course fees, they will be certified anyway at the end with a big smile. If this really is the sad truth, and if this really happens day-by-day, why isn’t anyone (or at least not many) taking action against it, or where are the advantages in this process for the divers who have been trained this way?

Global Underwater Explorers has a very unique and important place in the diving industry. Although when GUE was founded, the organization only offered high quality technical and cave training in the beginning, since this was the type of dive what our founders did in their long year exploration projects. However, despite of this we could not turn of course our backs towards the situation what was happening in the recreational diving industry so a GUE recreational class was needed. It was a very important step for the organization, not just to make a difference with a comprehensive and high quality open water class, but also with the possible growth of such a program people could be introduced and trained in a „GUE-way” right from the very start. These divers could become one day the most efficient divers in the world as our standardized procedures lead them easily through any higher level training later as well. The first complete recreational class from GUE was introduced in 2008. Back then, the GUE Recreational Diver 1 course was an 8-10 days program with approximately 20 dives. It is needless to mention that in an industry filled with easy opportunities, not many were interested to take an entry level scuba class with such high requirements and costs. With the passing years the program has been modified, and despite how robust and productive the course itself was, we struggled to encourage people to take it. Now, with a new, completely revised Rec 1 program GUE would like to change this…

And this brings us back to the beginning. Why should people now start to look for GUE for their recreational dive training? There are so many and easier options, why would being trained with GUE be a better choice? What is the difference compared to other agencies with similar classes?

First of all we would like to give interested individuals a better access to entry level GUE recreational classes. The recently published, our facebook site and soon an own recreational GUE website will help people to get in touch with GUE training. Also, the new splitted version of the complete GUE Recreational Diver 1 class, will allow divers to progress in smaller steps, or they can just try diving for the very first time in a GUE methodology! Thanks to this, the pressure and associated costs of a complete Rec 1 class has been reduced, and maybe more people will realize GUE as an efficent and safe entry into scuba diving. Of course „splitted” does not mean that we put our standards lower just so we can welcome more divers to our agency. We still continue to envision and share the same values as with any other of our trainings: to offer the highest quality and the most robust and solid diver training on the planet. GUE Rec 1 should be from now on just more accessible to anyone, and continue to provide a solid foundation to divers in a different training time schedule. A very high percentage of newly certified open water divers from different agencies tend to never go diving again, because the solid foundation of basic diving skills has not been developed properly during training, and of course if a diver is inefficient, unstable and uncomfortable underwater, that person will never dive again because there is no enjoyment in the activity for him/her. Thanks to our teaching style and approach with a comprehensive dive theory, dry land drills, instructor demonstration and feedbacking, video debriefing and in-water work participants will be challenged, but greatly rewarded after completing their training and remain active, passionate scuba divers.

Mainly the new Rec 1 program structure contains three steps:

GUE Discover Diving: Is a one day program with one comprehensive theory lesson and one aquatic confined water session. After this it is possible to conduct one optional open water dive to maximum depth of 9 meters. The idea behind the program is to introduce a basic level of diving to individuals without the requirements of a complete scuba certification class.

GUE Recreational Supervised Diver: Is a three days program with two theory modules, eight confined aquatic sessions and two open water dives. This training qualifies the diver to dive to a maximum depth of 12 meters with a GUE Dive Leader, GUE Instructor Assistant or GUE Instructor. The program is ment for divers who are yet unsure to make a commitment to diving or does not desire to dive independently.

GUE Recreational Diver 1: Is a three days program in addition to to GUE Recreational Supervised Diver. It is possible to combine both programs with an extended series of training. It contains one additional theory module, two confined aquatic sessions and four open water dives. After completion divers can dive to a maximum depth of 21 meters in a team of divers. This part of the program is for students who want to become the industry’s most competent and safe entry level divers.

The last but not least benefit about becoming a GUE diver already at a recreational level is not only that someone can be sure that s/he has received the best training available and will enjoy a lifetime of safe and fun diving, but also that these divers become a very valuable and active part of the organization. Since GUE’ s goal is not only to redefine the quality of training divers, we also have very productive and inspiring underwater conservation and exploration projects around the world. Every GUE diver can become a part on it’s own level in differrent documentation, reef conservation and mapping diving projects. This way they can stay active and passionate as scuba divers, can really contribute to the activity they love so much and can help to conserve and protect the underwater realm for future generations.