My New Life Running a Dive School

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It was never a particular ambition of mine to own a dive school. In fact, I was quite happy helping out at my Local Dive Centre (LDC) on evenings and weekends, without any responsibility for it. However, last year that all changed. The owner of my LDC announced that the building the centre was located in was to be sold and that he was going to take the opportunity to retire and close the business. Unless any of the staff wanted to take it on…..

Victoria Spencer - Running a Dive School

After many meetings, with various people coming in and out of the process, four of us came up with a proposal to take over the training side of the business. This was accepted and, on 1st September 2022, our new company was formed.

As we were not taking on the shop this meant that we quickly had to find premises to store the large amount of dive kit we now owned, as well as sort out all the admin that comes with running a business. It was a massive learning curve! There were also the challenges of having four people trying to work together, who had very different ideas about how things should be done.

Victoria Spencer - Running a Dive School

Slowly, we learnt how to work together. Utilising the particular strengths each individual has. In some cases we got it wrong….assigning me website development was one. I am the least techy person there is! But generally we muddled along ok. Our core business comes from marine biology, film & media, and engineering students from the local university. The previous owner had put together two diving courses specific to their needs, which involved learning to dive and then moving on to speciality courses related to their degree.This meant that once the students were back in October it was a nonstop round of pool and open water sessions each weekend. Sometimes we would go weeks without a day off, as we’re not yet at a point where we can quit the day jobs.

Victoria Spencer - Running a Dive School

Since the start of the year we have managed to complete all the speciality courses as well, and are very proud of all of our students. Some of whom have overcome great challenges in getting to this point. That’s not forgetting the Discover Scuba Diving sessions, Skills Review programmes, Advanced Open Water courses, and try dives for a local school we have conducted, including one recent session where we had some fun ‘mermaiding’!

Victoria Spencer - Running a Dive School

Are we still learning how to do all of this? Yes, we are. Is it going to make our fortune?Most definitely not. Is it all worth it? Emphatically yes. There are some days when you don’t want to get out of bed at 5 on a cold winter’s day, to go and dive in the same quarry for the umpteenth time. But when you see the joy on the face of a student who he’s finally ‘got it’ it’s all worthwhile.

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About Author

Hi. I’m Victoria Spencer and am a PADI Divemaster and dive school owner based on the South Coast of the UK. I was always a bit of a water baby but didn’t discover scuba diving until 2008. What started with a try dive quickly became an all encompassing hobby, resulting in me qualifying as a Divemaster in 2012. Somehow, that led 10 years later to me and a few others taking over the training side of my local dive centre when the owner decided to retire. Having dived all over the world, including Belize, Mexico, and the Philippines, I still think the UK has some of the most enjoyable dive sites. From the seals at Lundy, to the fantastic wrecks of Portland and Plymouth, and everything in between. It is the most amazing privilege to be able to enjoy the underwater world and to be able to pass that on to others.

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