A Day in the Life of a SNUBA® Guide

The Night Before Work

life_01
Check the weather for the next day. If you are working on a boat, call your captain and find out how many pre-booked reservations you have for the day. If you are working a beach operation call your SRC/SNUBA Manager and find out the same information. Avoid rushing around in the morning and prepare all of your personal gear the night before work.
life_02

The Workday

Get up early. Give yourself time to prepare everything you need for work and ample time to get there. Don’t forget: food, water and your dive gear if it is not already on the boat or at the beach waiting for you. Remember to be prepared for your guests’ needs too. Little things like a fish identification card, fish food, sunscreen, and petroleum jelly for participants who have a moustache are always helpful. Plan to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early.

Gear Preparation

Guide’s Gear

Always
Prepare
Gear
Before
Guests
Arrive.

Upon your arrival at the worksite re-check expected conditions, including: water visibility, surface conditions and anticipated number of guests. Set up your dive gear FIRST. Place your gear in an easily accessible spot so when it is time to start you can do so with minimal time and effort.

Rafts

Inspect and prepare SNUBA® rafts for use. Look the rafts over carefully and make sure there are no leaks or tears. If rafts need additional air, add it using the power inflator. Load air cylinders into rafts taking care to make sure that they are secured by the safety straps in the raft center section. Turn on the air and check air pressure. NEVER use a partially filled scuba cylinder for a SNUBA tour. Once checked, TURN AIR OFF until you arrive at the dive site (or just before starting your beach tour).
life_06life_07

Other Equipment

life_09 Prepare all your associated equipment. Make sure you have ample masks, fins and snorkels and that they are rinsed, in good condition, easily adjustable and ready to go. Check all regulators for condition of mouthpieces. Make sure bite tabs are in good shape and mouthpieces are firmly attached to regulator with a zip-tie.
ALWAYS keep a stash of spare parts including mouthpieces, quick disconnect fittings, hoses, belt buckles and the necessary tools for change outs on hand. Later, when in the water, try to inspect the 1st stage Pressure Relief Valves at least weekly to make sure they are functioning properly. If you see any trickling bubbles this may indicate the 1st stage is outputting above the 140-PSI level and may need an adjustment or rebuild.
life_11

Weight Belts

Prepare your weight belts. It’s unlikely you will know the sizes of your guests but it’s best to load as many as a dozen weight belts in advance of guest arrival to save time later. Mix up the weight amounts as appropriate to the size of the belt. Throw a couple extra soft weights into your BCD in the event you need to re-weight a participant during the dive.

Customer Paperwork

life_131
Once the sign-in process begins, you will be very occupied answering questions. Be prepared, stay on track, and help get everyone through this process. Make sure you have the proper paperwork and supplies ready to be completed when the guests start arriving.
• SNUBA Liability Waivers

• Pens

• Clipboards

• SNUBA Guest Roster

• Accident/Incident Report forms – should the need arise.

All SNUBA participants, including pre-booked guests, must sign and date both sides of the SNUBA Waiver form. Remind guests that the complete words “YES” or “NO” must be written beside each question. As you collect these forms, carefully look them over. Focus on the participants who should not participate in this activity for health reasons stated on the form. If a medical condition is checked and the participant has confirmed

that their physician has approved their participation it is your discretion to make the final call, always erring on the side of safety. As a SNUBA guide it’s your responsibility; always be on the safe side. For more details regarding decision-making, consult your SNUBA Textbook.

Preparing Guests for the Tour

Timeliness

Time
Management
is Critical.

On snorkel/SNUBA boats, time management is critical. The ability to complete work on time will keep you on the boat crew’s good side.

Every aspect of the SNUBA tour has an approximate time allowance. When working on a boat operation, timing is critical. Guests should be grouped according to the number of tours and participants you can conduct in an allotted amount of time.

Upon arrival at the snorkel site the air cylinders should be turned on and the rafts placed in the water. Remember, each boat operates differently. You may have a deckhand to help you with getting the rafts into the water and with gearing up the 2nd and 3rd groups. If you don’t have assistance, get the rafts into the water and then gear up your clients. You must utilize proper time management in order to provide the best experience for your clients, and to make the tour run smoothly and efficiently.

Evalute Your Clients

Always assess the skill level of your guests and place individuals who you believe to be strongest in the first group going in the water. This initial, excited and smiling group will instill confidence in the participants to follow. Try to keep families and relatives together.

The key and greatest challenge in SNUBA Guiding is being able to equally balance the amount of time you have among the entire group. Every guest must feel his or her tour is special and significant. Also keep in mind that each participant has his or her own fear threshold, discomfort and excitement. Once you are comfortable with the tour routine, your SNUBA Guide 6th sense will help you judge how your guests are doing underwater. As a tour guide, you must be able to cater to both the aggressive and confident divers, as well as the divers that require more care and assurance.

SNUBA Guiding is a challenging job, but one that is most rewarding. Excited and grinning guests will be all the feedback you need to realize the success of your tour. As a SNUBA Guide you should feel proud to share the underwater wonders you reveal to guests each and every day. You really are an essential part of this breakthrough business, offering vacationers this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the diving world.

life_131

SNUBA® Boat Operations

When working on a SNUBA boat, space is usually limited. It is important to accomplish tasks (briefing and gearing up) in an efficient and expedient manner without occupying a lot of space. This is often challenging. It is recommended that you start staging your first group prior to arrival at the initial dive spot. Upon arrival, your guests will be prepared to immediately enter the water. Make sure your second group understands that they must be on stand-by, ready to start their tour when the first group returns. When gearing up, remind participants that the soft weight belts may feel heavy out of the water, but once in the water this weight will almost completely disappear.

SNUBA® Sales and Safety Briefing

This is your daily 5 minutes of fame! Your SNUBA presentation should be energetic, informative and most of all FUN! Humor and originality always helps, but make sure you address all the key points! See the SNUBA Sales and Safety Briefing for a detailed description of the necessary points to be covered. Here is a basic outline of what will be discussed.
SNUBA Sales Briefing
Intro to the Raft and System
Describe the Snuba Experience

SNUBA Safety Briefing
Mask
Mask Squeeze
Equalize

Harness & Regulator/Mouthpiece

Hose Line

Weightbelt
Fins
Body Attitude
Reef Alliance conservation message
Hand Signals
Summary

life_131
life_16
life_131
life_131
life_131

Water Entry

  • Before entry, whenever possible, seat participants at the stern of the boat on the swim step or bottom of the ladder and connect their air-lines. At this time they should be properly fitted with their mask and fins.
  • CAUTION GUESTS ABOUT WALKING IN THEIR FINS ON DECK! Fins should be fitted when they are in a seated position just before entry.
  • Make sure all masks and regulators have been disinfected, rinsed and defogged. Have guests put their regulators in their mouth, stress that they keep them in their mouths throughout the dive and have them practice breathing BEFORE they get in the water. Try to put your most confident or experienced participants at the front of the line to set an example for the others. Remember: RELAX AND BREATHE NORMALLY!
  • Bring them into the water one at a time and have them hold onto the raft handles taking care to put the person with the yellow hose on the proper side of the raft and vice-versa. This procedure will be duplicated for all participants.

Remind
Guests
to
Relax and
Breathe
Normally.

  • Once in the water, have them place their face beneath the surface and look around, relax and get acclimated to the breathing process. For many people this first moment of just hanging there, breathing and looking around at the underwater beauty is their most exciting moment (anxiety may be at its peak). Move about beneath them and give them the “are you OK?” hand signal. Take a moment to make clear and exaggerated eye-to-eye contact with each participant. This will give them confidence and prompt them to do the same with you as the tour progresses.
  • Once all guests are acclimated, one-by-one hand them approximately 2 feet of hose from the bow of the raft. This allows participants to descend only this far when their other hand lets go of the raft.
  • Next, work with each guest on proper pressure equalization. Point to their ears, give them the “Are you OK?” hand signal, and exaggerate the “pinch and blow” method to remind them. At this point, you will begin to understand the comfort level and the experience of each of your divers. If you have 6 guests in the water you should anticipate dealing with at least 1-2 “aquatically challenged” individuals.

Touring Tips

life_15 Try to swim backwards during various times of the tour. Make real, almost exaggerated eye contact with every individual participant. When using hand signals, make them as clear as possible. Have a Sub-Alert method to get their attention (ie. Clanking on your air tank, or pneumatic signaling device). Tighten weight belts and adjust weights when necessary. Try to keep rafts separated enough to prevent people from crossing over each other’s hose line (this can require attention).
Try to make guests aware of where they are from time to time by pointing to the raft and hose lines at the surface. Be sure to check the tank air-levels frequently. Always remove twists and loops from their hoses by simply rotating the hose at the quick-disconnect when you are at the surface checking air. Try to point out as much marine life as possible and if you have a fish ID card, use it to identify species.

Returning to the Boat or Shore

When you are nearing the end of the tour (approximately 20-25 minutes under normal conditions) give your group the TIME IS UP hand signal by pointing to your watch. Be sure to have ample air for the swim back to the boat or shore (if necessary). Although protocols are different for the shore and boat excursions, make sure you take the weight belts off participants who might struggle with the exit (be it a ladder or a walk onto the shore). Remember to purge air through the 2nd stage regulator before breaking down the air line components, to disconnect the 1st stage regulator from the cylinder. If you are running a subsequent tour, be sure to replace air tanks and rinse the SNUBA harness and regulators in disinfectant and fresh water. It is important that this be done in view of the guests to reassure the sanitary condition of the mouthpieces.

Debriefing

Take a few moments to converse with your guests following the tour. Listen to their reactions, and share and support their success in this underwater adventure. This is crucial to the completion of the tour—bringing their experience full circle. Congratulate participants on how well they did and answer any questions they may have regarding the tour and the marine life encountered. Be sure to remind guests that SNUBA pictures, t-shirts and especially a second tour are all available to them (if applicable).

End of Day Equipment Maintenance

Inspect and rinse all equipment thoroughly with fresh water and let dry before stowing. Check the SNUBA harnesses and the mouthpieces, especially for tears in the bite tabs. Replace the mouthpieces as necessary and secure them properly with a zip-tie. 2nd stage regulators, which exhibit minor free-flow problems, should be checked and adjusted using a Sherwood 1st stage regulator (which is outputting the proper intermediate pressure of 140-PSI). Extreme free-flow usually indicates that the 1st stage needs an overhaul or replacement. Harness straps that are twisted should be corrected before next use.
life_131