Eddie Ibarra Awarded Gold Status

This month Panamanian Course Director, Eddie Ibarra, reached PADI Course Director Gold Status. This means that this year alone he has certified over fifty Dive Professionals.

This is a huge achievement, adding to the prestige of BDC (Bocas Dive Center) being only 5-Star IDC Technical and Freediving Center in Panama, with Eddie as the only Panamanian to hold Gold status.

Eddie started diving in year 2000 in Panama, and in his last six years as a Course Director, has completed around 2000 certifications.

“Eddie is always pushing everyone to further their diving and learn about everything dive related. The shop offers loads of specialities, there’s ones I didn’t even know about before working at BDC. Now I want to study them all!”—Sarah, a BDC intern.

Eddie places a strong emphasis on training Panamanians, sharing his knowledge to help other locals advance in their diving. Most of the staff at BDC have been certified by Eddie, as well as other instructors on the island. Eddie believes it is important that everyone has a safe and rewarding experience underwater.

Eddie Ibarra

“He strives to maintain the highest learning principles at the Center. His commitment to PADI standards and high level scuba training demonstrates his focus and determination for making BDC a destination for first-class scuba education in Central America.” Tereza, manager at BDC.

Last week another IDC course came to an end. Carlos, from Costa Rica who took part in the course commented:

“Eddie is a fantastic teacher. I had heard about him through multiple sources in Latin America, which is why I chose to do my IDC at Bocas Dive Center. His IDC course has an interactive atmosphere, where one has freedom to ask questions. He is a professional, with a fountain of knowledge, and even more, he is a wonderful person with a good heart.”

Eddie and the team is working hard towards opening Diver’s Paradise in Bocas del Toro. With state of the art classrooms and facilities he can continue to inspire and motivate divers of all levels.

Written by: Sarah Avery

Tec Diving Camp – April 2017

Bocas Dive Center is pleased to announce that Jeff Loflin will present a week of  Tech seminars on sidemount diving and other topics, during April 10 to 20 at Bocas Dive Center.  You will be fascinated by Jeff’s account of how sidemount diving first originated in Cave Diving, then progressed into Technical Open Water Diving and is now making its way into the recreational scuba diving community.  Jeff has developed an accredited course, recognized by the major certification agencies, for the application of Sidemount Diving in Recreational Open Water Diving. The September Tech Week will have the following seminars:

  • April 10 – Class Tec sidemount
  • April 11 – Tec sidemount
  • April 12 – Class Tec 40
  • April 13 – Class Tec 40
  • April 14 – Class Tec 45
  • April 15 – Class Tec 45
  • April 16 – Class Tec Instructor
  • April 17 – N/C class in morning Tec Instructor
  • April 18 – Tec 50
  • April 19 – Tec 50

This is a great opportunity to see Jeff Loflin in person and learn all about the advantages of Sidemount diving. Register by Clicking Here. 

Jeff Loflin is the Technical Diver’s Technical Diver. He is a PADI and DSAT Course Director and can teach all technical classes from Tec 1 to Trimix along with all of the accompanying instructor level programs.  Jeff has close to 30 years of Instructor experience and certifies through PADI, DSAT, NSS-CDS, TDI, SDI, ERDI AND IANTD.  He is a certified repair technician, an adjunct faculty member with the University of Tampa and a certified bridge inspector with the Florida Department of Transportation. Jeff has literally written the book on Sidemount Diving.  See more of Jeff and the courses he offers at http://www.JeffLoflin.com

Bocas Dive Center IDC Students get Certified as PADI Instructors

This week our first Instructor Development Course (IDC) of 2017 came to an end. Five passionate divers from around the world arrived on the island two weeks ago and embarked on a journey, filled with hard work and dedication-and of course, scuba!

The IDC course is available to all experienced Divemasters who not only want to advance their own personal diving, but who want to help others experience the amazing underwater world. Being able to instruct scuba divers means being able to work anywhere in the world sharing your passion with others.

Before jet setting off they had to cover a range of topics both on land and in water. Over the past week we’ve had the students pass through the shop in waves: Quick lunch breaks, presentations, in water assessments, or finally winding down and listening to music in the shop after a long day.

Topics ranged from physics, first aid, understanding PADI standards and procedures, and of course lots of scuba diving. This all accumulated in two days of exams at the end, which everyone passed with flying colors!

After watching the students work hard for two weeks, we witnessed frustration, focus, motivation, and finally perseverance. Seeing their smiling, relieved faces when they finally received their diplomas was the highlight of 2017. The PADI examiner who came for the IE stated that everyone was very prepared, so our students collected their diplomas and are on their way to being PADI instructors!
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be taught by them soon!

Here is what the IDC students said about their experience:
“The fact that the teaching was in two languages simultaneously was amazing. I was able to learn at the same pace in my native language. The Spanish speaking assistant instructor was very well prepared and motivated to assist Eddie.” – Carlos from Costa Rica

“When I arrived I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be an instructor. I knew I was a good diver, but I didn’t know if I had the knowledge to teach. But the course was so well structured that I was able to progress. Now I feel ready to teach others my passion.” –Thom from Sweden

“I have found an amazing family atmosphere, with good staff and It was very easy to feel integrated. In this course it is very important to feel relaxed, focused, and comfortable to ask questions. Bocas Dive Center definitely has an environment that permits that. I felt at ease and able to ask any questions to the Course Director or even the experienced instructors around the Center. It is a family environment.” – Carlos from Costa Rica

Thom, from Sweden, re-iterated this sentiment:

“Bocas Dive Center has really nice group of people and such a cool atmosphere” – Thom

“Meeting and working with the other stude
nts and course directors has been really fun. Every new diver you meet has a different
story and it’s great to spend so much time with these guys.” – Manou, a french IDC student

“I am sad that it is over, because it was really fun to share passion of diving with everyone. We have become a great group of friends, learning from each other. It was very professional and we have become pro because of the standards. We all passed with high scores, around 4.8 (out of 5) which is evidence that we received high standards of training.” – Renate from the Netherlands

We asked the Course Director, Eddie why he loves training new instructors:
“I can influence a lot on the way people receive high quality standard instruction in scuba. I put a lot of effort making these instructors advance to a higher level, with the highest standards so they can take their knowledge around the world and teach in a professional capacity.”

We haven’t gotten rid of all our new instructors yet! Many love Bocas so much that they are sticking around, Eddie continues to work with them on furthering their education with Specialty, Tech-MSDT, and Freediving Ratings. Some students will stick around and train with instructors at Bocas Dive Center, refining their teaching skills.