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On the job.


Paul M. Bazinet

Scuba diving instructor, Inland Divers, Leicester

Age: 57

Family: one daughter

Native of: Tiverton, R.I.

Current residence: Shrewsbury

Time in current job: 6 years

What do you do?

"I teach NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) scuba courses. I teach all the way up to master's scuba class, for those who already took basic and advanced classes. Our number one goal is safety. I try to impart the safety element. I teach basic skills, so no matter what problem they may encounter under the water, they can solve it under the water rather than coming to the surface.

"What we try to do is impart our passion for the ocean and the underwater world to the students so they have the capability, when they finish, that they are confident in their skills that they can go out and enjoy it at a very high level. Here we do 24 hours of instruction for the basic scuba class - 12 hours in the classroom and 12 hours in the pool. After that we go to the ocean to do their open-water dives before they get a certification."

Is there as much interest in diving now as when you started?

"I believe the interest is still there, though the extra money may not be there. This is an extra. It's a luxury. If people have the extra money, they're going to go away on vacations frequently. A lot of times they'd like to learn to scuba dive so they can enjoy that while they're on the island. But if they don't have the money, that kind of gets put on the back burner.

What really helps is people who get certified and continue to dive. A lot of them will continue to educate themselves about it, whether it's the advanced class, rescue or master diver class."

How did you get into this job?

"I grew up with the Lloyd Bridges TV series "Sea Hunt," and Jacques Cousteau was doing underwater videography, so you could see for the first time some of the creatures that live under water. That planted a seed, but at the time I was growing up there were no shops in my area teaching scuba certification. It just got put on the back burner.

"I was snorkeling in Aruba in 1985 on a shipwreck of a German freighter. It went down about 60 feet. The water was nice and clear, and I tried to get down to see it with snorkeling gear. But after going down about 15 feet, with the ear pressure, I knew I wouldn't have enough air to come back up. Going down to that wreck brought it back. In 1988 I took classes at Inland Divers. The next time I went there I could not only snorkel, but dive. I kept taking courses and became an instructor."

Do you see mostly younger people in your classes?

"The clientele I have now is mostly older. A lot of them are in their 40s, they're married and their children have grown up. Some have time shares, and they want to do it. It's a great family sport. You adapt to the class. You don't know who you'll get.

"You have to be 12 in order to start. The oldest I've had certified was 69. Another had a double knee transplant. They're here because they want to. There are safety aspects that you have to pound into them. But it's also a social atmosphere. The goal is to help them become successful. As long as there aren't any health or medical contraindications, there's no reason they shouldn't be able to succeed."

What's the most unusual experience you've had with a student?

"I had one lady who had a heart attack. She had been cleared by her physician. She had already completed her first open-water dive on a Saturday. On Sunday she came out of the water coughing and spitting blood. We gave her oxygen. She was in the hospital for a few days before they knew she had a mild heart attack. That was probably the scariest situation I've ever been in, especially with her getting medical clearance."

What's the best part of your job?

"The best part is to teach. I was born to be a teacher. Seeing them succeed is the fun part. The other stuff is secondary. It's almost like I'm another person. That's when you get to see the glow in people's faces."

What's the worst part?

"The slow time of year. The summer is busy with classes and sales and repairs. The fall is the slow part. Very few people are diving. After Thanksgiving people will start to buy gift stuff. But there are days when we should bring a cribbage board in."

What have you learned from this job?

"I would say that everyone who takes classes here has the same basic love of the water that I do. I have to adjust my teaching to their learning capabilities. Patience becomes a big factor in teaching, whether it's a younger person or someone older. The people who come in here have that love of the ocean, and want to explore it, and they pick our brains on what they're going to see when they get into the ocean.

"I've learned to treat everybody the way I'd like to be treated. When people come in, try to make them feel wanted and warm. The people they meet here could end up being their next best friend. If you make it enjoyable, people will learn easier. If you can accomplish that, you've done your job."

Compiled by: Business reporter Martin Luttrell

To be featured in or to suggest a job profile, send information to Dave Greenslit, Telegram & Gazette, Box 15012, Worcester, MA 01615-0012, or send an e-mail to


CUTLINE: Instructor Paul M. Bazinet says scuba diving is a great family sport (one must be age 12 to start).

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Title Annotation:WORKPLACE
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 8, 2008
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