Become a PADI Divemaster – How do I get there…
Becoming a PADI Divemaster is a task that takes dedication and the attitude of someone that has caught the SCUBA bug. If you are someone that has charged through your PADI Open Water course and tag along to the dive site every chance you get then the Divemaster Program might be something for you.
What is the difference between a Master Scuba Diver and a Divemaster? The PADI Divemaster rating is the first level of Professional Diving. It differs in many ways for the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating which is the highest non professional rating out there. Although it is not necessary, many Divemasters are also Master Divers and even if not before becoming a Divemaster, most Divemasters will go on to get that rating as well as they progress through the range of Specialty programs.
So, how to get there. The process for Open Water Divers to become certified as Divemasters consists of 4 steps.
Step 1: Become Advanced Open Water certified. The Adventures in Diving program leads to the certification of Advanced Open Water. This program exposes you to a variety of new skills including deep diving and navigation diving. During this part of the program ensure that you tell your instructor that you are interested in becoming a PADI Divemaster and wish to complete the Search and Recovery Adventure Dive as part of your Advanced Open Water Diver course. This will be useful later on while taking Divemaster specific training.
Step 2: Rescue Diver. Rescue Diver training is your next step on your journey to becoming a professional level diver. During the Rescue Diver part of the program you will gain the skill and knowledge to manage situation that do not go as the dive plan intended. During the Rescue Diver program you will enhance your self rescue skills acquired during your Open Water course as well as learning new techniques for managing emergency situations underwater. You will need to be certified in CPR and First Aid for this course. If you are not, consider doing Emergency First response (EFR) training as part of your Rescue Diver program. You can even take a program in Oxygen First Aid that integrates into your Rescue Diver Course. At Hamden Scuba the integration of Rescue Diver, EFR CPR and First Aid and Oxygen First Aid into a single integrated program leading to 3 certifications is called our Rescue Plus Program.
Step 3: As you have been progressing through your programs you will have been logging many dives along the way. Remember how in your open Water course you were told how important it is to log those dives. This is where it pays off. To start the Divemaster training you need to demonstrate at least 40 logged dives. You will also need to get a dive clearance from a physician. You may have already received one of these if you had any “yes” answers on your medical questionnaire. The signoff must be still valid (less than one year old with no new changes in health status since signature) at the time of certification as a PADI Divemaster. Take this step as an opportunity to get some experience deep, navigation and night diving. These are great specialty certifications to take at this stage. Experience in all three areas is also a certification requirement.
Step 4: You have planned for it, and now you are ready for you Divemaster training to begin. There are several different options for accomplishing all of the tasks involved in Divemaster Training. You will complete a significant amount of knowledge development. This can be accomplished by completing the self-study portions in the book as assigned and reviewing the videos and/or taking the Divemaster Theory Online. You will attend lectures as well as in water training to include a wide range of topics and activities including leading dives, Divemaster conducted programs, demonstration quality skills and of course, acting as a certified assistant with the other dive staff. You will finish all of this off with a final exam. All of this can be accomplished in one of 2 ways – in a class forum where you work through the different steps in an incremental manner. Taking the program this way, Divemaster training may be accomplished in 4 days. Another approach is to spread your training out over a number of weekends and checking off all of the tasks to be accomplished along the way until your training is complete.
Overall, the progression from Open Water diver to Divemaster can be a direct one or take many different steps with dive centers and instructors from all over the world. It takes a lot of work, but hey, its diving and that work is rewarding in its own right.
At Hamden Scuba we would love to assist you in achieving your dive goals including becoming a Divemaster contact us at Divers@HamdenScuba.com to set up a meeting to discuss your options.
Happy diving from all at Hamden Scuba.