Getting started as a Dive Instructor in Australia
Date: 2022-08-01 · Word Count: 688 · Reading Time: 4 minutes
I recently moved back to Australia and there have been a few surprises in getting into dive instructing. Here’s what I’ve learned. Note that I got my SCUBA instructors certificate in the Caribbean, so these differences are specific to that experience.
- You need an AS2299 medical.
- You need a first aid/CPR training certificate complying with HLTAID011, which EFR does not unless given by someone with a certificate 4.
- Oxygen provider is required, HLTAID015
- DAN does not provide professional insurance in Australia.
- DAN World is the local Divers Alert Network. They only provide coverage for trips out of Australia.
- Be familiar with the Worksafe codes of practice for diving in your state
- Cylinders need a hydrostatic test annually
When I was diving in the Caribbean, and USA I used Divers Alert Network for both my medical and professional insurance. DAN (the US arm) does not cover Australia and you will need to switch when your insurance term ends.
DAN World provides medical insurance, but not professional insurance.
If you are in Queensland, chamber and ambulance coverage is provided by the state for everyone. There may be small costs associated with the chamber, see the medicare rebate information on page 14 of the Public Benefit Trust Review. Despite that, I still recommend getting DAN coverage as they provide excellent information in the case of emergencies and membership also provides access to their reports which should be mandatory reading for all instructors.
As my instructors certification is through PADI, I switched to PADI Insurance for my professional insurance.
Dive medicals for professionals are mandatory. You need a AS2299 medical by a certified doctor.
SPUMS for a list of doctors who can do these. Note that the state needs to be the abbreviation (QLD, not Queensland).
It takes about 2 hours and will cost $150-$250. Doctor availability is also limited, for instance there’s no one in the Bundaberg region and some doctors are booked weeks in advance, as it’s a two week residential course so it’s quite the investment from the doctors side.
- Medical history questionnaire
- Vision test
- Sharpened Romberg test, with arms raised
- Hearing test
- Ear clearing tests (valsalva while the doctor watches with a scope)
- Vitals (blood pressure, heart rate etc)
Note that there is also the AS4005 which is required for recreational SCUBA divers. In Queensland, this is only required for students who mark YES on the medical questionnaire. Instructors and other professionals require AS2299, which supersedes AS4005.
EFR is not recognised unless it’s taught by someone with a certificate 4 in assessment and training (TAE40116). You can do it to meet your PADI course requirements, but you’ll want to be mindful of the limitation that it won’t be recognised for other purposes. As a teacher, it’s worth considering getting the certificate 4. PADI have a write up on EFR in Australia (although the certificate identifiers are now out of date, HLTAID011 has replaced HLTAID003).
For the certificate, the current (2021) identifier is HLTAID011. This includes:
For oxygen provider, you’ll need HLTAID015.
Technicians Qualification System is required for serving SCUBA equipment in Australia. There are two places which do this training:
- All About SCUBA in VIC
- First Stage in NSW
In order to be employable on a boat, you’ll need Survival At Sea, MARF030 and/or General Purpose Hand, MAR10220. General Purpose Hand includes Survival At Sea.
Many jobs also require a coxswain grade 1 certificate, MAR20318. And there are other maritime certificates, such as the Master 4, which may also be worth considering.
Codes of Practice
There are state codes of practice to be aware of for recreational and non-commercial technical diving. It’s worth keeping up to date on the relevant diving and snorkelling laws, the link is to Queensland Worksafe, but other states have similar pages.
Cylinder Filling and Testing
Australian Standards 2030.1-2009 and 2030.5-2009 dictate the filling and maintenance of gas cylinders. For diving, this requires hydrostatic testing every year (which can be a shock to those who are used to the 5 years of Europe and the USA.