Jun 2015

Divemaster. The First Step to Professional Diving

By Mike Waddington

The school and university year has come to an end. At this very moment, people from all over the world are packing their backpacks and booking tickets to travel all over the world. For many, the gap year is a way of improving oneself, gaining life skills and experience that will help them later in their work life. If you are one of these people and you are an avid diver, why not consider taking a Divemaster program or internship? You will gain professional qualifications, life experience and some great memories too! This also applies to anyone wishing to take a sabbatical from work, or even those who are wishing to change their careers and their lives!

By becoming a Divemaster you are joining the ranks of professional diving. You will be certified to guide certified divers, conducts Divemaster programs and even teach some courses. This certification is essential for you if you eventually want to become an instructor or assistant instructor. However the Divemaster program is not just for those who wish to peruse a career in scuba diving, and actually most who become a certified Divemaster will not end up working in the diving industry. For many passionate divers, it is an achievement that increases knowledge and experience of their favourite sport, or for others, it may be a personal goal, such as running a marathon. To be fair it is pretty awesome to be able to say you are a sports professional!

The Divemaster program is unlike other dive courses, which usually have a ridged layout. Like other dive courses, there is a theory section to complete, but most of this will be done through independent study, rather than the traditional classroom sessions, although there will be a small element of this. Completing this in the candidates own time shows discipline and enthusiasm, two very important personality traits of a dive professional.

Of course, the bulk of the course will be spent in the water. During the program, the candidate must complete many in-water tasks under the supervision of an instructor, such as performing demonstration quality skills, or being able to complete a quick and efficient rescue exercise. The candidate will also get real-life experience by assisting instructors on entry-level dive courses and programs, such as the Open Water or Discover Scuba Diver, as well as continuing education courses like the Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver. The candidate will do this a few times, each time learning a different aspect of diver supervision which is essential to be able to safely supervise divers when they are certified. The best way is to assist many different instructors as everyone has their own unique teaching style, and you can pick and mix the best bits from everyone you worked with to develop your own teaching style.

Your relationship with your instructor will also change during the program. During the previous courses, you would have probably had a student/teacher relationship, however as you will be joining the ranks of professional diving, your instructor will be more like a mentor, guiding you to where to need to be instead of simply telling you what to do. Again this is important because after certification you may be in charge of a group of divers and you will be expected to know what to do, and not have to be told.

You can take the program almost anywhere in the world. Most choose to fly to faraway countries in the tropics like Thailand, Indonesia, and Honduras etc. If you are going to complete a bunch of dives and start your life in diving, why not do it where the waters are warm, clear and full of life?! But if you are restricted to somewhere like Europe or North America then you can still do it, it may just take a little longer. On the plus side, diving in tougher conditions will teach you skills that your warm water counterparts may not have to master.

I personally took mine on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand. Although many consider this world famous diver stronghold to be a factory (therefore should be avoided) I think it is an ideal location for this very reason. By choosing any popular dive location, such as Koh Tao, Utila, The Great Barrier Reef or Bali etc. You will get the chance to assist many more divers than you would in the UK for instance, and standards are kept high for all agencies because there is such a large dive presence. You will also get the chance to meet people from all over the world, practise (or learn) language skills and spend your evening lazing by the water’s edge. I loved every minute of my course, and all my dive buddies loved theirs too!

If this is something that you want to do then you should start to compare dive schools, reading reviews and testimonials from previous customers, and think about what you want to get out of diving. Does technical diving interest you? If so why not go for a school that offers technical diving courses and add it to your Divemaster course. The same applies to freediving, underwater videography/photography and conservation. By learning more skills you will show a keener interest in the industry and be a more valuable employee. Check out some schools today, and begin your own scuba diving career!

‘Divemaster. The First Step to Professional Diving’ was written by Mike

Photo Credit: divemasterscuba.com

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Mike Waddington

I first discovered diving in 2008 after going snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. After trying diving at a flooded quarry in England I decided to head out to warmer more interesting waters in Thailand where I ended on the Island of Koh Tao completing my Open Water course. Instantly addicted with money to spend and plenty of time on my hands I decided to continue until I became a Divemaster so I could live what seemed as the perfect life.

After that I headed to the Caribbean to an island called Utila to complete my instructor course, I spent several months out there completing the MSDT internship, teaching students and leading dives. This is also where I discovered my interest in the technical side of diving, taking part in equipment repair courses and learning about blending gasses and running compressors.

With all my new qualifications it was time to head back to where it had all started, Back to Koh Tao where I intended on living the dream. Once I arrived I quickly found a job and started teaching straight away. During my time on Koh Tao I took part in all many technical diving courses, learning how to dive with re-breathers, in caves and even going down to 90m/300ft!

Qualifications:

PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
PADI/DSAT Tech Deep Instructor
PADI/DSAT Gas Trimix Gas Blender
PADI/DSAT Trimix Diver
TDI Intro to Cave Diver
TDI Advanced Wreck Diver
TDI Inspiration rebreather Decompression Procedures
PADI Professional Videographer
BSAC Compressor Operator
TDI Equipment Service Technician

Dream Dive Locations:

Silfra, Iceland
Cenotes, Mexico
Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia
Ice Diving in Russia