DiveMaster or Master Diver – why would you do them?By Gary Ward
Following on from our post regarding the changes we see to a diver’s style as they transition from a recreational diver to a dive professional, we have pulled together this piece reviewing the options available to someone contemplating their PADI Divemaster course.
You’re a PADI Rescue Diver and have logged somewhere in the region of 50 dives or more. You’re in love with the sport of diving and spend all you waking hours thinking about your next dive trip. Does this sound familiar?
For many divers in this position the assumption is that the PADI Divemaster is the next natural step in their diving progression. After all, they have had plenty of exposure to DM’s around the dive centres they have visited, seen them working and enjoying their diving. They probably have not had a great deal of exposure to PADI Master Scuba Divers though.
The PADI Divemaster certification course is the first level of professional training that you can embark on. It is the gateway to working in or having a career in scuba diving. The skills that an Instructor is trying to develop with you through the PADI Divemaster program centre around your organisational, leadership and risk management skills. They will also assist in honing your dive skills to demonstration standard. If you are considering working in the dive industry or simply want to learn more about the background of a dive operation, then this is the course for you. We will cover the content of the course in more detail below.
If you’re settled in your chosen career or have decided that whilst you love diving its better kept as a hobby, there is another alternative that you can aim for. The PADI Master Scuba Diver rating places you in an elite group of respected divers who have earned this rating through both significant experience and scuba training. Fewer than two percent of divers ever achieve this rating. When you flash your Master Scuba Diver card, people know that you’ve spent time underwater in a variety of environments and had your share of dive adventures. The Master Scuba Diver rating is based on broadening your experiences underwater with the use of PADI speciality courses.
PADI have been offering speciality dive training courses for years. These are short activity based diving courses with the intention being to expand your knowledge of the different things you can do whilst diving in a safe and instructional manner. On completion of the courses you will be classed as a specialist in that area and certified to dive that way again in the future. Speciality courses can include everything from diving and penetrating wrecks and caverns, learning to dive to the maximum depths for recreational divers (40m/130ft), learning about new equipment configurations including sidemount or rebreathers, becoming an equipment specialist or learning to dive with enriched air blends (Nitrox). The PADI Master Scuba Diver challenge, which results on the MSD rating is for you as a PADI Rescue Diver to complete at least five different speciality courses and log more than 50 dives. It says that you have a broader understanding of the marine environment and have made the commitment to experiencing it in different ways.
The content of the Divemaster course is challenging, yet at the same time rewarding. There is a significant emphasis on personal fitness and comfort in the water which are demonstrated through a series of five waterskills development activities. The levels of dive theory are increased to include much more information on diving physics and physiology, our ocean planet, equipment and of course the Recreational Dive Planner (do you remember those from your Open Water course?). At the end of the theory there is a two-part 120 question exam to sit too. There are also a series of practical assessments on planning and managing a dive, briefing divers, search and recovery and the courses that a Divemaster would be able to assist and teach on. Finally your instructor will work with you to improve the quality and repeatability of the key 24 dive skills which are taught at open water. The expectation is that you will move closer to being comfortable and capable of performing these skills to ‘demonstration quality’, which means that a person new to diving would be able to watch you perform the skill and appreciate/understand what they would need to do to complete and that it looks easy.
Whether your path takes you to PADI Divemaster or PADI Master Scuba Diver, you will find both courses challenging and rewarding and in their different ways, both will set you apart from other recreational divers. More importantly though, the key to taking the maximum level of benefit from either of these two courses, or any other that you care to take, is to ensure that you keep diving…
If you are interested in completing your PADI Divemaster certification course or the PADI Master Scuba Diver challenge in the warm and inviting waters of the Caribbean, then please check out www.deeferdiving.com for more details of the courses and activities which can be undertaken in Carriacou, the warmest island in the Grenadines!