Let’s hear marketing expert Ornella Ditel’s opinion, after she completed her PADI Rescue Course!
Tell us something about yourself?
My name is Ornella Ditel and I am responsible for Sales & Marketing at Camel Dive Club & Hotel, the historical scuba diving hub in the heart of Sharm El Sheikh.
I started working at Camel five years ago, but I moved to Sharm in 2007, after my Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Communication and after having worked in different parts of the world in the diving tourism related field. In Sardinia (Italy) I’ve worked as a counter girl for a popular diving centre; in Thailand, I worked as a snorkeling guide and as a diving boat hostess; and in Australia I worked both on diving safari boats and land based.
My passion for scuba diving started thanks to my ex-partner who is a PADI Instructor and underwater photographer. He struggled to convince me to try diving, as in the beginning I was scared to death and firmly declined his many attempts to even making me try breathing through a regulator on the surface!
What is your diving background?
I did the PADI DSD experience in 2004 and then repeated it in 2005 twice before I finally signed up for the PADI Open Water Course the same year. As many beginners, I’ve been one of my instructor’s worst nightmares as I truly struggled in some of the skills, like clearing the mask or performing the CESA. I have very clear memories of myself in the Camel Dive Club swimming pool thinking of aborting the course and just stick to snorkeling! At that time I was a guest at Camel. I think that if it wasn’t for the patience of my partner and the bubbling atmosphere that you experience at Camel, I would have never realized that scuba diving was what I love the most.
A few months later, I signed up for the PADI Advanced Course and Nitrox Specialty, which I thought would have remained my final diving certifications for life. Although many of my diving friends used to encourage me in continuing my training up to a professional level, I have never been interested in it. I love scuba diving, but thinking of being responsible for teaching diving skills to horrible students as I was or guiding inexperienced divers is not really “my thing”.
What made you decide to enroll in the PADI Rescue Course?
Although I have never been interested in becoming a diving professional, during every dive I always keep an eye on other divers, and somehow feel I should have an active role in making every dive a pleasant and safe experience for the group I am in.
In various occasions, especially in diving destinations with poor visibility and strong currents, I faced some problems and helped other divers to calm down or to fix small issues with their equipment, and mine, both underwater and on the surface. It also happened that I could feel that some divers I was with were not feeling relaxed about the next dive, because of the potential sightings or difficult weather conditions, for example. In those cases, I thought that improvising or ignoring certain issues could not have a happy ending all the times, so I clearly felt the need to develop my knowledge and learn the adequate techniques to assist other divers in need. That’s why in 2014 I signed up for the PADI Emergency First Responder Course, which is a pre-requisite for the PADI Rescue Course. I did the Course with the tuition of my fantastic colleague Beth Sanders along with my former boss at Camel who was also a PADI Instructor that wanted to refresh her EFR skills. I loved the course and I decided right away that after a few years of being a fun diver it was time for me to commit to something more serious and potentially beneficial not only for myself but also for my diving buddies.
Do you believe is a useful course?
I now believe that the PADI Rescue Course and the EFR Course are the most challenging yet most useful and rewarding milestones of my qualifications in general, not only within the scuba diving field.
Whilst my training was kicking in, moment-by-moment I was surprised and happy to realize that I knew what the next step should have been. I truly loved the fact that performing rescue skills provide instant feedback and that the challenge and the skills are somehow in balance.
Was it challenging?
The Rescue Course for me was quite tiring but also very good fun! It needs concentration and commitment and sometimes the thought that the scenarios I was getting trained in could have been real life situations was about to put me off. However, in other occasions like transporting the unconscious diver on the surface, I could not stop laughing with my buddy student after we completed the skills! He had eaten some quite spicy stuff, so the simulated rescue breaths had a smelly addition which I am sure I’d have never noticed in a real emergency, but which was hilarious in that circumstance, whilst definitely also worked as a good hook to remember the techniques we were learning!
What did you like most?
The aspect of the Course which I enjoyed the most was the feeling of usefulness that pervaded me when I stopped being paranoid and realized that if any of the scenarios would have happened, my presence as a EFR and Rescue Diver could have saved someone’s life. This is priceless, in my opinion.
Will you recommend the PADI Rescue Course to other divers?
I definitely recommend this Course to fellow divers, and not only to those who plan to become Divemasters or Instructors. Certified Rescue divers are probably the best buddies any diver could dream for. Wouldn’t we all feel safer if we’d know that all our diving buddies would be ready to assist in case of need? I definitely would! And I am not necessarily referring to dreadful and serious situations… sometimes divers can face small issues which may lead to surface earlier only because of the lack of knowledge of the proper ways to handle a non-standard situation.
With this Course I expanded upon the knowledge I had already acquired in previous scuba training. When I passed the final exam after the amazing tuition of Camel Instructor Francesco Pipino, I truly felt I took a giant step forward by taking everything that I already knew to a whole new level, and becoming a more confident diver who knows how to react in the event of an emergency.
In any learning situation, there is an old adage saying that to teach something is to really understand it. This thinking applies here as well. I believe that to feel comfortable helping others is to really feel comfortable with yourself in the water. Non-professional divers could achieve this comfort level over time with hundreds of dives, but taking a PADI Rescue Diver course will get you there much sooner.
The PADI Rescue Diver taught me transforming a threat into a challenge. With the Rescue Course, I did not become like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider but this Course definitely challenged me, forced me to push my limits forward and rewarded me immensely both on a scuba diving level and as a general personal achievement.