It was all fun and serious learning for the 51 participants of the Scuba Schools International (SSI) snorkelling instructor course done in Balicasag island!
The Department of Tourism through Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving got the help of SSI where FREEDIVE+ is part of and held a five-day workshop. The candidates learned essential skills to become an effective snorkelling instructor – teaching students how to snorkel as well as how to use the equipment, water safety and rescue, first aid, marine ecology, and basic freediving.
Safety was stressed so that the guides will be best-equipped if the need arises.
Introducing freediving in Balicasag, Bohol
As there are instances guests drop items such as gopros in the water, the applicants were also taught Basic freediving – how to breathe-up properly and how to equalize so they can recover the dropped items in deeper parts of their snorkelling area. They were also taught how to do safety and rescue in case their guests were freedivers who might have Loss of Motor Control (LMC) or blackout (BO).
All of the fifty-one candidates passed after their exams on the last day. Again the lessons and safety were reviewed as SSI believes repetition helps in knowledge retention. They were all certified in SSI programs: Snorkelling instructors, Marine Ecology, and Basic Freediving, as well as Basic Life Support.
This is awesome! For so long now Balicasag has needed properly trained snorkel guides. As I Scuba Diving instructor working in Panglao, I always kept control of our guests; briefing them well and correcting any bad behaviour underwater like watching that their fins didn’t damage the coal and they were not touching things. Whenever we had snorkelers on the boat they would always come back upset at how many tourists they saw treading on the coral and picking things up like sea stars! No one would brief them not to or correct their behaviour. I’m so pleased to see that snorkel guides have now been trained and especially happy that Freedive+ has been involved, as I know that these guys are serious about protecting the underwater world they love to be free in.