IDC Guide

Malta – Martin Stanhope

Buddies Malta




Buddies Dive Cove, 24/2 Pioneer Road, Bugibba, SPB 2808, Malta

IDC’s at Buddies Dive Cove, Malta with Course Directors Martin Stanhope and Rachel E. Watts

Looking for an IDC that will realise your full potential while being fun & career focused? Then look no further! Buddies Dive Cove in Malta is a PADI Career Development Centre with 2 in-house Course Directors & a hugely experienced dive team, who will provide you with all the necessary training & support to successfully complete the IDC and IE.

About Martin and Rachel

PADI Course Director Martin Stanhope has been diving since 1993 and became an Instructor in 2004 in the less than tropical waters of the UK!

Following a move to Malta in 2007, Martin furthered his career by not only becoming the owner of Buddies Dive Cove, but also joining the ranks of PADI Course Director.

Martin is also an Instructor Trainer in 15 Specialties, an Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer, a PADI Tec Deep Instructor Trainer, a PADI Tec Trimix Instructor and a PADI Tec Trimix Gas Blender Instructor Trainer.

Martin’s is committed to professionalism whilst incorporating the ‘fun factor’ into the IDC’s giving each individual the opportunity to shine whilst enjoying their IDC.

PADI Course Director Rachel E. Watts wanted to try scuba diving since the age of 8 after watching an underwater documentary. In 2000 this finally happened, and Rachel began her diving journey. In 2005, Rachel took the plunge into Maltese waters becoming a PADI Instructor and embarking down a new career path.

Rachel made the move from the UK to Malta in 2013 and continued on her diving journey becoming a PADI Course Director in 2017.

Rachel is also an Instructor Trainer in 12 Specialties, an Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer, and a PADI Tec Rec Gas Blender Instructor Trainer.

Rachel is passionate about the underwater environment and is continually encouraging all divers and candidates to become involved in Buddies Dive Cove’s 100% AWARE commitment by promoting Dive Against Debris at their Adopted Dive Site.

  • 2 English Course Directors
  • Staff of 5 including 2 Master Instructors & 3 IDC Staff Instructors
  • 3 IDCs per year
  • 45 years of combined diving experience
  • 1000 + PADI certifications
  • 10 + PADI Instructor Specialties
  • 100% IE success rate

What is the philosophy of your company?

Buddies Dive Cove is a Career Development Centre with a focus on career development. Buddies is committed to offering the best IDC experience, whilst preparing the candidate for not only working in the diving industry, but also excelling in it.

Buddies Dive Cove have an exceptional team, who are there to advise and encourage all candidates, ensuring they reach their full potential and successfully complete the IE.

Buddies Dive Cove consistently strives to exceed customer expectations through role model behaviour and leading by example. The consistent repeat customers along with continuing education students are proof alone that Buddies Dive Cove is a customer focused centre offering highly sought-after services that are looked for in all areas of the diving industry.

Write something funny that happened during your IDCs

The funniest IDC related incident at Buddies Dive Cove to date was during the filming of Martin teaching a knowledge development presentation. The idea was to give a role model presentation in real time, showing the IDC candidates exactly what was expected.

This 5 minute presentation took an entire day to film due to the fact that Martin, the cameraman and Rachel couldn’t keep a straight face at all. Things only got worse after Elka and Dean also joined the filming. There is blooper reel on YouTube, showing the issues and obstacles experienced (mainly Martin’s giggling)

What is the reason people should take their IDC with you

Simply put, Buddies Dive Cove aims for their IDC candidates to be the best. Buddies Dive Cove don’t teach to get passing scores, Martin & Rachel push the IDC candidates hard to get maximum marks, so when they attend the IE they are excited to show the examiners just how good they really are.

Martin & Rachel teach in a different way to most Course Directors and work hard to ensure that they are teaching in the most up to date fashion. PADI evolves and both Martin & Rachel believe that as Instructor Trainers their IDC candidates should be taught in a way that allows for them to evolve too.


Becoming a diving instructor is an exciting step in anyone’s diving career and the facilities provided should make that step a smooth and enjoyable one. At Buddies Dive Cove, candidates enjoy a dedicated classroom during the whole of the IDC, with a comfortable layout ensuring the presentations are easily seen on the large wall mounted tv. All the latest PADI products are available for use during the IDC and the very latest of methods for knowledge development presentations are incorporated into the training.

Buddies Dive Cove carries out all water training at the IE locations, so candidates are familiar with the sites and can be as relaxed as possible during their IE.

What type of diving do you like the best?

Martin: My favourite dives are ones with lots of fish, although having said that my favourite dive in Malta is the wreck of the Um el Faroud, it’s simply breath-taking.

Rachel: I don’t really have any particular favourite type of dives – for me every dive has something to offer and I love the fact that you just never know what you may see! I would like to look more into the realms of cave diving though, one day!

What else do you like (non diving)

Martin: My dogs! I have 2 rottweilers Cliff and Soska and they are known as the Buddies complaints Managers. My 2 other passions are PS4, I play Destiny 2 all the time and Luton Town Football Club.

Rachel: I love all things nature, and enjoy being part of the Wildlife Rescue Team here in Malta. It has led to some unusual animals staying with me from time to time though, including hedgehogs, chameleons and more recently some rather naughty tortoises!

Why do you love being a PADI Course Director?

Martin: I love the fact that at this level, I may well be asked something that I haven’t been before or shown a method of teaching that I haven’t seen before. You never stop learning, so I always gain something new from every IDC. I love being able to watch Divemasters develop into fully fledged instructors in the time they are with us.

Rachel: I’m as happy teaching instructor level students as I am teaching DSD’s. I love to be able to pass on knowledge to students at all levels and watch them progress though their diving adventures. The satisfaction you feel when you see a student overcome and progress is the reason I continued my career to become a Course Director, enabling me to share the candidates excitement at becoming an Instructor and having a helping hand in their new career.

What does the future hold for you?

Martin: As the owner of Buddies, my future will be to continue to develop the dive centre. I am also the training Director for a new product called Snorkel Plus, which will be launched at DEMA in 2019.

Rachel: Does anyone really know?! I’d like to think that I’ll still be actively diving and teaching all levels from DSD to Instructor alongside Martin at Buddies Dive Cove.

Previous Student – Elka Borucka

I came to Buddies as a qualified Divemaster in August 2011, I wanted to learn from the best and become a scuba instructor to share my passion for diving with other people. I spent over 3 months working as a Divemaster, assisting instructors during courses and getting ready for the IDC. Sometimes it was a hard work to get my skills perfect and sometimes it was very easy, the more time I spent practicing the easier the skills become.

After the summer i was ready to start the IDC. The 9 days of the course were a mix of serious studying, preparing presentations and fun in the classroom and in the water. By the time of the exams I wasn’t nervous, I couldn’t wait to show the examiners how good I was! I passed everything with high scores, and I was the happiest new instructor in the whole universe! After I became an open water scuba instructor I left Malta and Buddies and started to work in green and cold waters of Poland and Netherlands.

It was so different than the warm, clear, and blue waters I was used to. It gave me lots of opportunities to see working as an instructor from different angle. I then went to Greece, Thailand and finally I came back to Buddies in 2014 to work as an instructor.

At the end of that year I did my Staff Instructor course to deepen my instructor knowledge. I chose to come back to Buddies because with Martin being Course Director I knew I could improve my skills to the very highest level. In 2017 I got to Master Instructor level. I am still at Buddies as the deputy Director of Diving. I am Martin’s right hand person and run the centre when he is away. I not only teach diving courses, I supervise day to day activities and teach new instructors and divemasters by sharing little tips that helped me to be one of the best.

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