This US agency has its roots in a club-type environment and is still run as a not-for-profit membership training agency organised solely to support and promote diving safety through education. NAUI describes itself as the worlds oldest training agency of this kind, though it was formed seven years after the BSAC. Whatever, it has been around for decades but has yet to make any inroads into the UK.NAUI c/o Prosplash 0161 432 6667, www.naui.org
The new UK representative of NAUI intends to run it not as a club but as a not-for-profit agency that allows its courses to be run as commercial ventures. Perhaps this is the route the BSAC wanted to go down several years ago, when it appeared to lean towards running the club as a business
I was sent a video, manual and lesson plans for the entry-level course for recreational divers, Scuba Diver.
The instructions that lead off the manual describe it as a reference book and advise that the instructor will let you know the order in which to work through the programme. Reference undersells the book, which is well laid out and would form part of an integrated approach to self-guided learning.
Plentiful icons help the reader know what is required for the exam, and assist in completing the workbook (which I didnt have) for safety and responsible diving practices. Through each chapter, questions help trainees review learning.
Objectives for the chapters are just an overview of the contents, but in the lesson-plans for the instructors, each lesson linked to the chapters has specific and measurable learning objectives.
The questions at the end of each chapter are linked with these objectives, so trainees progress can be assessed.
The video is described as something that will supplement the programme, which it does very effectively. Like every other agencys video its a Caribbean experience, but most of it consists of skills demonstrations. This is a good example of how video can supplement learning. NAUI has grasped that the idea of multi-media training is not to repeat everything in the manual and the lecture so that the video becomes boring.
The manual walks the talk of the organisation, in that it has several pages on rescue and first-aid skills, and recommends that the trainee should pursue a Rescue Diver course at the earliest opportunity. The NAUI Scuba Diver course costs £349.
ENRICHED AIR NITROX
The authors of the manual for this course have the credentials: Dr Bill Hamilton and Joel Silverstein are two of the worlds most respected technical divers. The book is set out similarly to the Scuba Diver manual and contains clear instructions on how the course will be run - eight hours of academics and three dives. Course objectives are clear and measurable. The course is on special offer at £45.
Its early days in the UK, but in the States NAUI offers a vast range of courses all the way to instructor standard, including unusual ones such as Ice Diving, Spearfishing Diver and Industrial Orientation.
If the quality of its products is anything to go by, NAUI could finally establish itself as a contender in the UK. It all depends on how well it is run and promoted.