For a diving instructor, there is no substitute for teaching in the real environment of the sport that you love.

At the second level of instructor training with BSAC, an Open Water Instructor Course takes your practical instructing skills from the pool to open water, building on what was learned on the Instructor Foundation Course (IFC). Mixing with other aspiring instructors from far and wide, you will also get the chance to see how others do things.

The one-day Open Water Instructor Course extends an Assistant Diving Instructor’s practical teaching skills to the open-water environment, with the opportunity to see and plan an open-water lesson and practise everything that you learn.

To enrol you must have already successfully completed an IFC and be a BSAC Dive Leader (or have equivalent certification from another recognised training agency). You must also be at least 16 years old.

The main focus of the Open Water Instructor Course is on preparing and delivering practical skills lessons in open water. During in-water practical sessions, you will develop your personal instructing skills and you’ll get plenty of feedback as course instructors will give you advice and guidance on your personal progression.

You will develop your practical instructing skills including:

  • How to break down open water diving skills into easy steps.
  • How to safely develop the skills of a trainee in open water.
  • How to give constructive feedback to trainees.
  • Practising your instructing skills.

The action-packed day includes a demonstration lesson and the chance to deliver your own open-water lesson to a small group of two or three fellow attendees. Other responsibilities that apply to instructors are also considered.

After attending an Open Water Instructor Course you will become an Assistant Open Water Instructor. You can then teach diving in open water at your club with on-site guidance from qualified instructors.

Exactly what you will be able to teach depends on your personal diving qualification. In essence you will be able to teach open-water lessons up to the level of your personal diving qualification, under the supervision of a BSAC Open Water Instructor.

To become a qualified Open Water Instructor yourself, and teach without supervision, you need to attend the Open Water Instructor Course and then pass two national examinations: the Theory Instructor Exam and the Practical Instructor Exam.

Book your place on a scheduled OWI online now

Not a BSAC member? You can do this course by joining BSAC directly or joining via a local club. Find a club.

Students will be given a pack of supporting learning materials. You will need dive kit suitable for use in open water, including a single cylinder and a demand valve with an alternative source, thermal protection suitable for the local conditions and weights. You will also need writing materials and a slate or wetnotes.

Your next steps – assessment

As an Assistant Open Water Instructor you will be able to practise your open-water instructing skills in your BSAC club, with the help of qualified instructors.

Having consolidated your skills, you can become a qualified Open Water Instructor by passing two national exams.

  • The half-day Theory Instructor Exam (TIE) includes taking a theory knowledge paper and giving a 10-minute classroom presentation to a small group of fellow exam candidates. You will be given the topic of your lesson before the exam to give you time to prepare visual aids. On passing you will become a Theory Instructor. 
  • The half-day Practical Instructor Exam (PIE) involves giving a 45-minute open-water lesson to a small group of fellow exam candidates. You will be briefed on the topic of your lesson on the day of the exam, but it will be from the standard diver training programme. On passing you will become a Practical Instructor. 
  • When you have passed both the Theory Instructor and Practical Instructor exams, you will be a fully-qualified BSAC Open Water Instructor
  • BSAC regions run preparation events to help you give of your best at Theory and Practical Instructor exams.  For information and dates, contact your Regional Coach.

Your next steps – developing your skills

You could also develop specific skills to expand your personal diving interests. Imagine learning to drive a dive boat or becoming an underwater photographer. Check out the Skill Development Courses (SDCs) you can get involved in.

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