OUR DIVING PROGRAM
Program participants help conduct scientific work underwater, we need to be able to place confidence in their abilities both as divers and as accurate and methodical citizen scientists. Because of this we consider the training of each diver an investment in our research, and we go the extra mile. As a volunteer at Marine Conservation Philippines, you will find our PADI dive courses are more intense and take longer than they would at a typical recreational dive facility.
We offer many courses that you can participate in during your stay with us. We allow participating volunteers to do one scuba course for each started four week segment they are with us. However, if you are already a certified diver and prefer to jump straight into the conservation work, that’s great! After a day or two of “diver bootcamp,” you can begin your scientific diver survey training.
Our Diving Courses
Everyone learns at different speeds, but generally speaking we spend more time teaching the courses than in most recreational diveshops. This is because our work is important, and the task-loading of scientific diving is more taxing than normal recreational SCUBA diving. While a three or four day course may be enough for entry level recreational diving, we take our time to educate capable, competent and safe divers. As such we set aside the whole first week for the Open Water Course and a number of extra excursion dives for additional buoyancy training and safety drills. Even if you cannot stay and volunteer very long with us, you’ll appreciate the extra effort that goes into your training.
If you start as a non-diver, then after your initial dive training, you’ll start participating in the various projects we run, where you will receive on-the-job training for the particular skill set needed for the job. One of the more demanding tasks is doing manual survey diving, where you record your observations on an underwater slate. For this job, you’ll need a good knowledge of marine biology, so you can accurately record your findings.
The longer you stay, the more dive training you can enroll in and take advantage of. Through your volunteer fee you have already paid for the instruction, but you will need to pay for the manuals the certification fee which goes to PADI. After the open water course, you can progress to Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver. Our policy is that you can enroll in one PADI scuba course for each four week segment (or start of one) you volunteer with MCP. If you’re a non diver and stay with us for six weeks for example, you could do both the Open Water and the Advanced Open Water Course. The cost of materials and certification for scuba courses can be found here.
For divers who consider working in the recreational SCUBA diving business or in the field as diving safety officers in NGOs and academe, we offer PADI Divemaster training. We recommend you set at least two months aside for this, partly because a lot of your time will be spent with conservation efforts and partly because we think it’s prudent to teach to a very high level, to acknowledge the fact that as a divemaster you’re in charge in other people’s safety.