First North American SDI Staff Instructors trained in Newfoundland!

In late December 2008, SDI/TDI Instructor Ian Carter and PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer Sean ‘Fitz’  Fitzpatrick became the first candidates in North America to graduate SDI’s brand new leadership level course, IT Staff Instructor.  Ian and Sean, both instructors for Ocean Quest Adventure Resort – a TDI/SDI 5 Star Professional Development Center in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, Canada – are now qualified to conduct the SDI Instructor Development Course (IDC) and SDI specialty ratings for Instructors and Assistant Instructors

HQ Training Department Instructor Trainer Steve Moore, who conducted the training for Ocean Quest said “The course was a great success and it was a pleasure to be involved in the first one in North America (it was trialed in the Czech Republic earlier in the year).  

The candidates worked enthusiastically and extremely hard to meet the high demands of the course and they’ll be great assets to the agency and their facilities as ITS Instructors.”  Completing the open water element of the course was a challenge for the candidates due to the extreme weather conditions which always come with the onset of a Canadian Winter… especially in Newfoundland which is situated on the most easterly point of North America, and quite far north.

After postponing the OW session due to high winds, dive sites blocked with ice up to 50 metres from the shore, rough sea and air temperatures in the minus 20s celcius, they were eventually rewarded with a nice warm day – only minus 11 degrees and just perfect for diving and rescue demonstrations (with an extra layer of thermals under the dry suit, of course)!

(photo above: Sean ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick, Ian Carter and HQ staff member Steve Moore.)

Similar in content to the current Instructor Trainer Workshop (for TDI, SDI and ERDI candidates) subjects covered during training include SDI standards and Procedures, History of SDI, Risk Management, Methods of Instruction and Evaluation Techniques along with an evaluation of candidates’ own SCUBA and instructional skills in the classroom and confined & open water environments.

As a brand new SDI member crossing over from another agency, the course was Fitz’s very first experience of SDI training.  “I found the SDI IT Staff course to be both challenging and rewarding,” he said after graduation.  “The knowledge and skills I gained were presented in a well ordered professional manner and I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how much more is out there to learn – even for the veteran SCUBA instructor.  I’m looking forward to this new chapter in dive education.”

Ian, a ‘home grown’ SDI/TDI instructor and one of Newfoundland’s most active diving educators saidThe newly introduced SDI IT Staff course is comprehensive and well put together.   As one of the first graduates, I am very excited to be part of a new wave of Instructor Trainers created to meet the rising demand for SDI Instructors."

(photo: Portugal Cove Beach, Newfoundland – OW Site… and yes that is sea ice on the rocks.  L to R:  Sean ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick, Steve Moore, Ian Carter.)

Diving Instructors interested in qualifying at the new SDI IT Staff Instructor level, which is comparable to some other agencies’ Course Director rating, must meet the following course pre-requisites:

  • Be a minimum age of twenty one (21)
  • Be an active teaching status Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor for a minimum of one year with no quality assurance issues for the past 12 months
  • Have certified at least fifty (50) divers with a minimum of the following levels:
    • Open Water Scuba Diver, twenty (20)
    • Rescue Diver, five (5)
    • Divemaster or Assistant Instructor, two (2)
    • Specialty Diver, ten (10)
  • Have current CPROX and CPR1st or CPROX1stAED certification or equivalent
  • Have a current medical examination for diving


Note: Graduates cannot conduct IECs or TDI/ERDI instructor courses. This is an SDI rating only


This new level of SDI leadership may be taught by any active SDI Instructor Trainer who has attended an ITW conducted by World HQ Staff and has been approved by the Training Department.  Final approval to teach ITS will be based on the Instructor Trainer’s own certification activity which will include a minimum of five OW Instructors (IDC or IEC level) and 15 Specialty Instructors


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