PADI Sidemount Diving Instructor
Sidemount diving provides a very streamlined way of carrying 2 or more tanks for recreational or technical diving purposes. Sidemount diving is fast becoming popular with tec and recreational divers who want a balanced, streamlined rig that maximises safety, comfort and flexibility.
For recreational divers, Sidemount Diving (perhaps using smaller cylinders) offers some great benefits, including:
- Streamlining - properly configured sidemount equipment provides a very streamlined profile in the water
- Ease of equipment transport - equipment can be carried more easily to the boat or entry point, either as separate components, or worn as a simple package that maintains a normal centre of gravity
- Versatility - sidemount harnesses like the Hollis SMS100 are capable of being used for both traditional single tank backmount and double tank sidemount setups. Sidemount can be used for most recreational diving purposes.
- Increased gas supply - for people who "like their air", sidemount is a great way of having more gas available for a dive.
- Accessibility - in the event of a problem, tank valves and regulator first stages are visible and easily accessed.
- Adjustability - most sidemount kits can be adjusted "on the fly" during the dive to fine tune trim and making swimming easier
- Problem solving - with true gas redundancy, it is easier to deal with problems as and when they occur underwater. Time solves most problems, and gas supply helps provide time.
The PADI Sidemount Diver course provides a focused program for recreational divers wanting to enjoy the benefits of sidemount diving. As a standardised PADI specialty, this new PADI Sidemount Diver course heralds the introduction of a Sidemount Adventure Dive, bringing a sidemount experience into the Adventures in Diving program. Only (standardised) PADI Sidemount Instructors are able to offer this adventure dive.
PADI has also released the PADI Tec Sidemount Diver and PADI Tec Sidemount Instructor programs for those divers and instructors who wish to use Sidemount in Tec Diving applications.
PADI Sidemount Instructor Course Prerequisites
- Be a renewed PADI Instructor or have completed an IDC within the past 12 months. (To be certified as a PADI Sidemount Specialty Instructor the candidate must first be certified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor or higher)
- Be certified as a PADI Sidemount Diver or hold another qualifying certification, or complete the PADI Sidemount Diver course in conjunction with the PADI Sidemount Specialty Instructor course
PADI Sidemount Equipment Requirements
Each PADI Sidemount Instructor Candidate is required to have a full set of dive equipment as detailed in the PADI Sidemount Diver Instructor Guide. This includes the following items:
- BCD and harness configured for Sidemount Diving. We recommend the Hollis SMS100 or Hollis SMS50 units. Other units may be acceptable, but please consult with the Course Director prior to the course.
- Two independent cylinders. We suggest that one of the cylinders have a left handed valve.
- 2 cam band with stainless steel buckle
- 4 stainless steel sliding gate clips (butterfly clips)
- 2 stainless steel weight retainers
- Two regulators, each with a single second stage and SPG
- At least one second stage must be on a longer hose for gas sharing (1m minimum, 1.5-2m recommended).
- We recommend the use of Omni Swivels for each second stage
- At least one regulator must be equipped with a low pressure inflator hose to supply the BCD (15" hose for SMS100, 6" hose for SMS50).
- We recommend the SPGs be on 6" hoses
- Other dive equipment as required by General Standards and Procedures.
We may be able to provide a BCD for use during the course by prior arrangement. Please liaise with the Course Director early.
Cylinders can generally be provided by arrangement.
Preparing for Your Sidemount Instructor Course
The Sidemount Diving video by Jill Heinerth and Jeff Loflin is a fantastic resource to help you to prepare for your own sidemount diver training, and as a tool for you to use in your teaching. I recommend you purchase a copy (download is the easiest).
If you already have your Sidemount equipment, watch this video, and use it as a guide to setting up your gear. Bring your gear along on the first day of your training, and assemble it as you learnt in the video. We will then work together to fine tune and personalise your rig for you.