Andy Phillips – Caribbean IDC in Honduras with Go Pro Utila
Take your PADI IDC in the Caribbean with Go Pro Utila and PADI Platinum Course Director Andy Phillips. He has been awarded Platinum status every year consecutively since 2005, an unmatched record in the region and not many Course Directors in the world can match this record for Platinum status.
In addition to being a PADI Course Director & Trimix Instructor Trainer, Andy Phillips is also a DAN Instructor Trainer, IANTD Technical Instructor Trainer, Rebreather Instructor Trainer, Beautiful Oceans’ Science Instructor Trainer, IAHD (Handicapped Divers) Instructor Trainer and also an Instructor Trainer for International Yacht Training.
Andy started snorkeling at the age of 10 years old in the Mediterranean and scuba dived at 18 years old. He has been working as a dive professional full time since qualifying as a PADI Divemaster in Thailand in 1997, and as a PADI Instructor in the Caribbean in 1998. His diving career has taken him all over the world diving and Instructing, Thailand, Australia, Mediterranean, South Africa, Mozambique, Mexico, USA, Canada, Honduras, Costa Rica, The Galapagos and the Red Sea.
To date Andy has issued over 2000 diver level certifications and 2000 professional level certifications at various levels, from PADI OWSI to Trimix and Rebreather Instructor. His quality of instruction, patience, empathy, and innovation, has earned him countless certificates and awards from PADI.
In addition to instructing Andy also is an avid explorer and spends part of his year exploring the Mexican cave systems, wreck dives in the colder waters of Canada, and leads rebreather expeditions to the Galapagos Islands. Andy has also been invited as a speaker to PADI and ecological seminars, and has consulted with PADI on training and marketing areas within recreational diving.
Andy also holds a Masters degree in e-commerce, and uses his business background, network of professional contacts and proven track record within the dive industry, to help his candidates get the best start to their careers as dive professionals, educators and business people.
Utila is less commercial than the other Bay Islands and most islands in the Caribbean and you won’t find deludes of cruise ships, motor traffic, condominium developers or mass tourism, instead the island is reminiscent of the traditional Caribbean way of living. Whilst there is not an international airport on the island, this has protected the island from over development and allowed it to retain its natural charm and beauty, and Utila is still within easy reach of the mainland. Utila Island is surrounded by a reef system that is diverse in species and topography, from fringing reef to sheer walls, caverns, and offshore seamounts, and frequented by Dolphins and Whale sharks. In addition to offering great diving and training Utila is a well-known recreational dive training destination worldwide and attracts thousands of students every year which makes it the perfect environment for you to intern and assist on courses and gain experience with students from many different cultures.
The island is English/Spanish speaking, very friendly, and you won’t need to take taxis or shuttles to get around the island, or waste time communicating, and most people get around by bicycle, and you have easy access to supermarkets, apartments, all close to our dive center.
What is the philosophy of your company?
To teach in a fun and professional manner is my benchmark, but every course I aim to improve on my last course, make it better, more thorough, easier to assimilate for the students, but also I make an effort, especially in each IDC, to role model the attribute that our candidates will need to display when they themselves are working in the industry, such as; empathy, humour, adaptability and flexibility, open-minded, culturally aware and being knowledgeable.
I believe we are all blessed work in the dive industry and to be able to share this passion with others, and we have a vessel with which to help make a positive difference, regardless of how small it is, to both the environment and individual’s education and esteem. I also believe Instructors should keep diving themselves and advance their own education in their preferred specialty areas whether it be technical, cave, videography/photography, boat handling, wreck diving or marine ecology, which is why we offer such a diverse range of specialized training programs.
Has anything funny happened during your IDC courses?
I once sent a female candidate to get her medical and came back with news she was pregnant, she found it funny the Doctor and her Course Director found out before the husband. I had one candidate before a boat trip for an Open Water teaching presentation, sign up on the earlier boat and miss the session. We also had a Manta ray circle us once as well during a presentation in Open Water which was very impressive. Each course is always a lot of fun for me, the staff and the candidates.
What is the reason Divemasters should take their IDC with you?
We provide all the regular benefits you see every Course Director and IDC facility offering, small group sizes, reduced rates on equipment sales, course packages, quality instruction, accommodation, language support, job placements, etc….. However I really believe our experience and commitment to mentoring our candidates, business teachings, and sharing of our philosophies is what helps our candidates excel in their careers not just on the course and at the exams. We don’t measure our success by the number of candidates we train, or how successful they are at the exams; we measure our success by our candidate’s success and standing within the industry years down the line and we pride ourselves on the lifetime support and service we offer to all our candidates.
We’ve trained over 2000+ Instructors over the years, many now working as Course Directors, dive resort managers, yacht Captains, and have an extensive global network of dive professionals working throughout the dive industry to help. As an Instructor Development team and facility, and as dive professionals we are all constantly learning and evolving, and I like to continually pass on our knowledge and insights to every candidates, before, during and after their training with us, we don’t just offer a standard IDC/MSDT program, but also rebreather training, IYT boat handling courses, side mount diving, IAHD adaptive teaching and technical diving.
The Utila Dive Centre is the official exclusive International Association of Handicapped Divers (IAHD) training facility in the Bay Islands of Honduras, offering both training for disabled divers, and also for dive professionals who want to give back and increase their employment prospects and rewards of working with disabled divers. The IAHD Pro-Training is a valuable addition and qualification for Divemasters and Instructors which consists of two days of classroom, pool and optional open water training. We include the Adaptive Instructor rating for all candidates enrolled on our IDC/MSDT program and this course will not just expand your employment opportunities but also advance and increase your teaching skills for all divers and teach you creative techniques for safe scuba instruction for divers with physical and cognitive challenges.
Throughout the dive industry many Instructors also work as boat Captains, or drive tender craft on super yachts, or as crew on live-aboard vessels, and the International Yacht Training programs are designed to meet the needs of the dive industry for dive professionals that can also work as boat crew and towards their Captains certifications. These programs will enhance your employment prospects and open up more opportunities for you as a PADI Instructor when you can show you have experience driving boats and the qualifications to match. Our IYT programs at Utila Dive Center will train and certify you as either a DiveBoat Mate or a Coxswains, and you’ll be working alongside our Instructors and Captains driving our dive boats, docking, mooring and reviewing basic maintenance. At the end of the DiveBoat Mate training you’ll receive certifications that qualify you in VHF radio operations and also to drive tender craft to 10 meters/30 feet in length, this will really help your CV/resume and increase your chances of employment on super yachts and live aboard vessels. The Coxswains shows you are certified to independently drive boats up to 24 mt in length and close to shore. Give your career as a PADI Instructor a head start and increase your employment potential and earnings.
What are your personal diving obsessions?
Exploration, destinations and ecology. I qualified as a full cave diver in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico to discover an entire new world, environment and eco-system and spend time each year cave diving and exploring. Each year I try to explore a new destination or take a trip to a remote location, and my fascination with sharks has taken me on rebreather expeditions to Cocos Island and the Galapagos. I try to get something out of every dive, and qualified as a ‘Beautiful Oceans’ Science Instructor Trainer, to better educator our candidates about coral reefs and ecology systems, which we’re fortunate to have in Utila. I continually advance my own education each year as I love learning and innovation within diving.
What type of diving do you like the best?
I love to explore new places, or sites at deeper depth. When I’m not busy working around Utila, I like to take my rebreather and explore new sites or at deeper depths, and each year make an effort to travel to a new destination. I’m a passionate cave diver and spend time each year exploring the caves in Mexico. In recent years I’ve been fortunate to dive virgins reefs off the coast of Sudan on the Southern Red Sea, and get buzzed by Hammer head sharks whilst on my rebreather in the Galapagos and have also dived the infamous shipwreck the ‘Andrea Doria’ and many of the wrecks in Canada’s St Lawrence seaway on my rebreather.
What else do you like (non diving)?
Anything with travel and the ocean. I am also a passionate kite boarder, and enjoy new foods and cultures.
Why do you love being a PADI Course Director?
The people I get to meet and work with, they take this training because they want to, not because they have to, and their passion and commitment is second to none. No two IDC’s are ever the same as the people are always different, and the dynamics change. I know the time we have on this planet is miniscule in the grand scheme of things, but I take comfort when the time comes to move on to the next life, I’ll probably have one of the biggest smiles on my face because of the people I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with.
What does the future hold for you?
In addition to my role and duties at Utila Dive Centre, I am working on more conservation projects and training courses on the island and hoping to help more people share and enjoy this amazing lifestyle.
A great choice for your PADI IDC in the Caribbean and Central America
There’s a few other amazing reasons why Utila is one of the best training destinations in the Americas, and worldwide, for your dive career training. Whilst many locations have a handful of dive sites, that you often only get out to a few times a week, you’ll find on Utila our diving is comprised of amazing reef systems, and our diving is a little more diverse than most warm water destinations and we send several boats out a day offering you more diving, which you won’t find in many other areas and we have over 80 buoyed sites around the island. Whilst other centers offer training programs that result in a certification, there’s no other facility in the Americas that includes so much diving with your training and in such a convenient package, and ultimately this additional diving makes you better in the water and more comfortable as an Instructor.
Also on the North side of Utila we have sheer walls and drop offs that go several hundred meters, obviously we don’t go that deep! This is where we find the gentile and majestic Whale shark and on the South side of Utila we have a fringing reef system with spur and groove formations where you’ll find some of the more diverse creatures in the Caribbean, the REEF group that publish the ‘Caribbean Fish ID’ series of books have voted the Bay Islands the most diverse region in the Caribbean for aquatic life. There are Eels, turtles, Spotted Drums, Stonefish, Frogfish and a plethora of other inhabitants of the reef. The visibility here averages 20-30 m / 60-100 ft and water temp averages 26-28c / 84-88f. (IDC Guide Comment: that’s just about perfect)
The photo below is Andy Phillips at Go Pro Utila, Honduras with one of his IDC classes after they all successfully completed their IE with a 100% pass rate. Well done to all the new PADI Scuba Instructors – Have a safe and happy dive career.
What do his IDC students think of Andy?
Have a look at Andy’s Student comments
Want to see what goes on during our IDC classes ?
Where are we?
PADI IDC Address
Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras, 34201