Ask 10 scuba professionals why they do what they do and you’ll get a range of answers usually along the same lines: I enjoy diving and I want to share it with others. ‘Guess what I saw last time I dived in…’, ‘Have a look at these pictures of…’ – these phrases have been said some way in probably every dive centre in the world. The experiences that divers have, the aquatic life that is seen, photographed and remembered is sometimes beyond the realms of imagination to a non-diver.
I recently had my neighbours visit and, while talking, they were looking at some of the pictures I have on my lounge wall of things I’ve seen in Egypt. A moray eel, blue-spotted ray and a parrot fish – not particularly rare sightings or even creatures that I end a dive and immediately shout and cheer about that they’ve been spotted. However, it dawned on me that for somebody who has never been underwater, perhaps never even thought about exploring underwater, the only opportunity to see something like this is on television! Needless to say, the next part of the conversation revolved around them completing a Discover Scuba Diving experience.
In 2012 I became a PADI Divemaster, I had quite a few reasons as to why I enrolled on the course but thinking about all of them now, essentially, they all come back to the first point I made – I wanted to share my experience with others. The Divemaster course is the first rung on the PADI Pro ladder; it’s when you consolidate all the dive experience you’ve built up, learn supervision techniques, refine rescue skills and become a leader and role-model. As a Divemaster, you get to enjoy watching other people achieve something; knowing that you had a part to play in that process, for me, is really rewarding.
As an Instructor, I get to watch not only the student develop, but the Divemasters as well. At the start of every course we have an orientation session. This begins with introductions from everyone to include why they have signed up for the course - in this session, attitude is absolutely key and even though candidates are just starting their professional journey, this is the point when we hear responses like I mentioned above – ‘I want to share my experience…’.
If you’ve read this far and are following along thinking ‘Ha, this sounds interesting and yes, I’ve got quite a bit of dive experience’ then you are probably the right sort of person who should be contacting us to find out more.
‘It seems like a big responsibility, I’m not sure yet’ – that’s absolutely fine. The Divemaster course is exactly that – a course! One of the prerequisites is to be a rescue diver, obviously this makes sense if you are putting yourself in a position of responsibility, but can we expect you to be fully confident in rescuing another diver as well as trying to do a million other things…of course not! Throughout the Divemaster course you’ll fine-tune your rescue skills and problem-solving abilities, you’ll gain dive knowledge, management and supervision skills. All of these elements help shape you into the role-model and leader that a Divemaster should be.
It’s the first step on the PADI Professional rating list; it’s definitely a big step but probably one of the most rewarding and you could gain employment anywhere in the world. Divemasters can assist and supervise diver training, conduct the PADI Skin Diver, Discover Snorkelling and ReActivate Programmes, amongst many other things to aid the smooth running of a dive centre. To start the course, you need 40 dives, First Aid certification and Rescue diver rating.
Next month I’ll be exploring what options are available after your Divemaster course and how you can further develop yourself as a PADI Professional.