We Teach the Same Way We Dive – Why Freestyle Divers Moved to RAID
We are just reaching our first-year anniversary as a RAID Instructor Development Center and we thought we’d write about why we changed over and what our experience has been over the last year.
Well, it was 2020, need I say more?
Interestingly though, 2020 brought out some of the best and worst behavior across the world.
The RAID management were absolute rock stars.
They made all their courses free to read on www.diveraid.com so that people could broaden their knowledge. For the RAID dive centers it meant that we had customers interested in the in-water training as soon as lockdown eased up. The courses are still available for free and you can do all the quizzes too; you only pay for the education when you want to get the certification.
RAID then made another bold move and extended the deadline for their membership renewals by three months. So many divers and instructors were struggling financially across the world, RAID stepped up and gave them three months free to help them out.
But who exactly is RAID?
The Rebreather Association of International Divers was founded in 2007 in Sweden to support the training required to launch the Poseidon Mk IV Discovery rebreather. It all started with training that was more for technical divers. Then, over the last seven years, a full recreational diving training system was created.
Because RAID has created its whole training system in the last seven years, everything is modern. All the courses are on-line. In fact, RAID is a 100% online agency – there are no out of date training manuals gathering dust at the dive center, no long delays for corrections or updates to be made and all the standards reflect the latest in scientific research on diving.
RAID is a member of the WRSTC, along with PADI, SSI, NAUI, IANTD, SNI, PDIC International, SNSI and NASE. The WRSTC is the central international body that defines core global standards for scuba diving. The Training Agencies that are members enjoy international recognition of their certifications anywhere in the world.
Our Progress in the First Year
So, now that we are all caught up on who RAID is, what have we achieved with them so far? Darryl is a RAID Instructor Trainer and Marine is a RAID Regional Examiner. All of our staff instructors are RAID qualified and a number of our regular freelance instructors have crossed over to RAID, with more in process as we speak. We have the ability to run complete professional development programs in-house.
RAID also has very strong marine ecology education. We are using the Ecological Diver program as the base for our own marine conservation program and James, our resident marine biologist, has built additional materials to support online Zoom classes as well as a full internship program for marine biologists interested in conservation.
Darryl has written the new RAID Basic and Advanced Diver Propulsion Vehicle course, which will be released very shortly. If you have always dreamed about whizzing around underwater like in the old James Bond movies, this is a chance for you to learn how to drive a DPV from the author of the course.
We had Gary Dallas visit us for ten days. Gary is a RAID Examiner based out of the UK and has a global reputation for being one of the top sidemount instructors in the industry. He spent some time working with our staff and running a sidemount instructor class, he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the UAE and will be back in 2021!
Our whole staff has embraced the RAID approach to teaching. We teach everything in neutral buoyancy from the Open Water 20 course onwards. If you would prefer to learn using a backplate and wing with a long hose configuration, that is also supported by RAID across all courses. We firmly believe in producing great divers, not just selling certification cards – RAID provides us with a very robust platform to do just that. RAID has given us the ability to teach the same way we like to dive.
Our customers are loving the detailed course materials as well as the RAID pricing – the Open Water 20 course is only USD 65.00, which is a third of the price of other training agencies’ e-learning materials!
All in all, after the first year, we feel we made the right decision to move to RAID. Check out our website for more info on our RAID courses and activities at www.freestyledivers.me, we have a lot of interesting projects in the pipeline!