Michel Wouterse – Caribbean Dive College, St.Maarten
If you’d like to take your Instructor Development Course in a laid back, but real world environment, Caribbean Dive College in St. Maarten may just be the place for you!
PADI Course Director Michel Wouterse has been diving for nearly 15 years and too many dives to put a real number to it though it must be over 5000 by now. Michel often dives multiple dives a day and manages to still have fun doing it. Michel has been Silver, Gold and Platinum over the last 6 years of being active as a PADI Course Director.
Michel has a good variety of Specialty Instructor Trainer ratings, including several distinctive specialties and taught all of them many times. To keep up with everything happening in the industry, Michel makes it a point to keep teaching everything. From Discover Scuba Diving all the way up to the higher instructor levels and TEC Diving. This also reflects in the quality of the PADI IDC.
Emergency first Response Instructor Trainer, TEC Deep Instructor Trainer and Handicapped Association Instructor and SNUBA Program Coordinator make the curriculum more than complete.
Having dived in Holland, England, Germany, France, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Honduras, Curacao and St. Maarten and in many of these in the role of either PADI instructor or Instructor Trainer and with having owned an IDC Center in Holland and managed one in Honduras and now managing the diving and all dive courses at PADI IDC Resort; Caribbean Dive College, it is almost needless to say Michel can deliver a quality IDC that is not that easy to match. This reflects also from the awesome passing rate of his PADI Instructor Candidates during the IEs.
- 15 years experience
- Teaches recreational PADI courses
- TEC Instructor
- Handicapped Association Instructor
- Over 5,000 dives
I did my first few trial dives in 1997 on vacation in Spain. Was fun, but at that time didn’t think much of it yet. Then on a business trip to Malaysia, I booked a vacation to the Perhentian Islands for a week, since I “was there anyway”. I had no idea this tropical paradise was so gorgeous, but there would be so little to do other than diving. So I ended up in a dive shop and did my PADI Open Water Diver Course. This was in May 2000. At that time I was also in the middle of getting my Private Pilot License and therefore really had no cash to support a second hobby. However, after having PPL in the pocket and again being on vacation in Spain, I became interested in Diving again and did my PADI Advanced Open Water Course in August 2002. This time the virus hit. I went back to Holland, booked MFA (the older version of EFR) and Rescue, bought a personal set of dive equipment and dove every day after work as means to relax from a rather stressful IT job. By the time November came around I had over 60 dives and did my PADI DiveMaster Course and in February 2003 I became a PADI Instructor with 5 specialty instructor ratings.
I started making a little money on the side rather quickly and bought a building and converted it to a dive shop. I became MSDT in June 2003, IDC Staff Instructor in 2004, Master Instructor in 2005 and Course Director in March 2006 in Borneo, Malaysia. During this time I also got a lot more Specialty Instructor Ratings in the pocket.
After running some IDC’s, (now my own IDC‘s), I decided to move to Honduras. Taught many IDC’s there and then left again. This time I spent time in New Jersey and in the Bahama’s and finally got a job as CD for a centre in St. Maarten. After a year working for this former IDC centre, I quit and got together with a friend and set up Caribbean Dive College. Caribbean Dive College took off right from the bat as we also the only certified SNUBA centre. We got several Cruise ship contracts for SNUBA and SCUBA diving, which allows us to develop just the slightest bit faster than a “fresh” shop would.
What are you facilities like?
Separate IDC boat, AC multimedia classroom, Pool, confined and Open water less than 5 minutes from diveshop, showers, 3 min from supermarket and boardwalk, 10 minutes from appartments/hotels
Has anything funny happened during your IDC courses?
During a Knowledge Development session where I was scoring a candidate, she used the projector to project a PLG on the big screen. Then she “interacted” with her “students” by asking out loud, the question that was on the screen. Then she quickly jumped in front of the screen in order to hide the answer. One of the other students then answered really quickly. “Yes, she said… but how do you know that?” He said: “well, it says right there”.
She then turned around and was all confused when, of course, she saw nothing on the screen. 14 Candidates under the table from laughing. I’m still chuckling myself thinking of this one.
During another IDC, I had one of the candidates teach the bowline. All went well and then of course it’s time for the other candidates to make their mistakes. I remember the one candidate; I told him to just “not know” how to do the knot. So he messes up badly, like three times and the instructor re-demonstrates the bowline twice. The student then grabs the two ends of the rope, swings his leg over it and does a butt-floss. Mask clearing skills were practised by the rest of the group. I think I actually laughed out loud. Never a dull moment.
What is the reason Divemasters and Assistant Instructors should take their IDC with you?
Great Location, Great Facilities, Great Instruction.
What else do you like non Diving?
Playing guitar, php-website-coding, studying math and physics, driving boats, weightlifting, facebook, remote controlled helicopter and planes, being on vacation and exploring the rest of the world.
What are your personal diving obsessions?
I would not really say I am obsessed with anything, but I am definitely interested in some of the deeper wrecks, so I will have to descend more and more and train up to the greater depths. Cave Diving is also high on my list. If only I had more time.
What type of diving do you like the best?
Drifting over beautiful reefs with little equipment or descending deep onto and into a wreck with several tanks just for the kick. I enjoy the extra planning and procedures involved to make these dives happen.
Why do you love being a PADI Course Director?
Seriously? Because at the recreational branch of diving the PADI IDC is the most intense, fun and rewarding course there is to teach and all candidates become Instructors I can be proud of. It is fun to be the grandfather of that new Open Water Diver.
What does the future hold for you?
I can only dream and work towards the dreams come true. So I’ll just keep working on whatever gets my positive attention when it crosses my path.
What do his IDC students think of Michel?
I met Mitch at another dive shop on the island. Mitch educated me in the ways of being a dive instructor. If you’re looking at discovering the amazing world of diving and you’re on the island tack this man down! He has an amazing ability to pass on his dive knowledge weather you’re doing a discover scuba or your instructor training. Mitch and his highly trained staff are the best! Track them down and join the dive community, you won’t be disappointed!
Want to see what goes on during our IDC classes ?
Click on the photo to the right to view a photo gallery from a recent IDC class
Where are we?
Caribbean Dive College
J. Yrasquin Blvd
St. Maarten, N.A.
Phone: +599 587 0024