Dive Careers' PADI Course Director Ben Meerhaeghe teaches all levels of diving in Dutch, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. Ben is based in the Philippines where he runs our IDC Programmes in Malapascua

Travelling the world as a surfer before, Ben's passion for diving was sparked in Ibiza. Living there working as an entertainer, he got into diving little by little and made the decision to become a dive professional. He worked in Spain, Indonesia and Australia as a divemaster. As an instructor and freedive instructor he has worked in Lanzarote and many places in Thailand, finally ending up in the Philippines. Now, as the manager of a 5 Star dive center on Bohol for the past three years he is also a Course Director and teaching freediving. He's also an aikido black belt and his hobbies are muay thai, English boxing and studying marine biology.

"Ben Says...

As soon as I did the DSD I knew I wanted to do the job my instructor was doing, even though I only saw a 4m deep sandy bottom, some algae and a cuttlefish. That dive, straight away changed the direction my life was heading in.

I held it off for a little while though and started training in Japan to become an Aikido instructor before I went back to Ibiza 3 years later. There I picked up on my old passion and went pro. Doing my divemaster really opened my eyes for a whole new world. Especially the theory thrilled me. Sitting in the beach bar late night with my crewpack studying the encyclopedia of diving and trying to understand the many hidden aspects modern diving was developed out of, those were the most enticing times while I was still hoping and dreaming I was gonna be able to make a living as a professional diver.

Having a background as a high school sports teacher and guide in extreme sports like skydiving, surfing, ocean-kayaking and canyoning as well as skiing and snowboarding, diving is what really fascinated me most. There are no ends to the depths of knowledge and experiences that can be acquired in the diving industry. Ranging from learning about equipment, marine life taxonomy, reef ecology, pedagogy until topics like freedive physiology or underwater physics, there is always something new to learn,

Throughout my dive career learning about corals, reef creatures and fish families was a fixed part of my job until I started thinking little by little there wasn't much new to learn. Having lived on a liveaboard for half a year I thought I 've seen it all but becoming a manager of a busy dive center made me realize I still had much left to learn. Dive logistics and customer care, as well as forecasting weather, organizing a center, commanding a team and doing marketing, there is no end to the skills working in the dive industry holds.

After finishing my course director training course I thought it would be hard to find new enticing brain food but just a week ago I participated in a 3-day scientific conference of hyperbaric and dive medicine to understand better how to respond in the unlikely event of a dive injury or accident. What amazes me most is how well diving can be linked to so many different other fields, medicine in this case.

SCUBA diving as an activity is great but a lot of interlinked skills can be developed while working as a dive professional. Managing a dive center, dealing with divers from different countries and backgrounds, exploring cultures of the countries you work, discovering new underwater environments, learning new languages in order to be able to teach and interact with various nationalities... these are all common fields dive instructors around the world need to deal with.

Becoming a dive instructor fast-tracked my life and was a catalyst to a whole new array of experiences that I never even dreamed would be part of my life. I promise you that immediately upon starting to work as an instructor you become able to meet a lot more people and see places of the world you have only seen in magazines or on television. It opened up my mind beyond imagination and the same will happen to you and anyone else who takes this magnificent step.

Hopefully I can be part of the fantastic journey you have ahead of you also..."



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