So after a recent discussion with some PADI Divemaster candidates I was inspired to write an article about "why it is good" to become a Divemaster and why, in my humble opinion, it is a bad idea to complete your divemaster training. Not that it is a bad thing per se, more that there are some good reasons to complete the training and there are some bad reasons.
So let’s start with what we know about the course for starters and what it entails. The PADI Divemaster program is designed to train you to work as a Dive professional, the first certification to work as an underwater guide. The whole program is a pretty intense one at that, with stamina tests, academic examinations, practical workshops, and lots of time to practice skills and working with students and divers alike. Here at Go Pro we tend to run the program as an internship, allowing the students to get as much dive experience as possible, really learn about the industry and every aspect of working within it. This can then be a great stepping stone to becoming an instructor or an opportunity to travel and work as I have seen many people do. Now, the majority of students that come through the doors here love every aspect of what they are doing and what they are learning, enthusiastic to get out there and work, and hone their dive skills to a good level, so they feel confident in what they are doing. Over the years though I have noticed a few students that come through the program for what I feel is the "wrong reason". This became more apparent after a recent conversation with one of our students. Their questions raised alarm bells with me so I thought I would pass on the information to anyone looking to become a Divemaster. Have a real think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Do you really want the skills and commitment that come with a Divemaster certification or are you doing it for the title and the chance to get "lots of dives for free?" Yes really, that was a comment by a former student who was then rather annoyed that they had to assist with students and help brief, prep equipment etc. It is clearly explained what the course involves and what they can expect to do during a Divemaster, but to them, it was just an opportunity to complete lots of diving for a cheaper price than just fun diving. If that is something running through your mind then maybe you should look at completing specialty diving, focusing on the things that interest you specifically, or getting a package of dives, because truthfully, if you heart is not in it for the right reasons, then you won’t be focused underwater and as a Divemaster you need to be focused on your clients and students.
So, what other things should you think about before signing up for a Divemaster program. First up, a big thought here, time frame. If you are asking the questions, "how quickly can I finish this?" or "how fast for me to complete this part?" then I don’t think it is for you. Completing the Divemaster program is not about flying through it as fast as possible, it’s about becoming a Dive professional. You are responsible for people underwater, that is not something to be rushed or taken lightly.
So, don’t get me wrong with this, there are many awesome reasons to take the PADI Divemaster or any divemaster program. It is a great way to gain confidence with you diving, learn some valuable skills, and you end with a professional certification at the end. With the Divemaster certification you can travel and work, scuba dive at your local dive center on weekends or just dive for fun but it will for sure boost the fun levels. It certainly did for me as I felt more relaxed and happy in the water (not that that was possible).
So before making that big decision, have a good think about your personal reasoning and why you are looking at making that step. It’s a fun one for sure and a challenge so grab that challenge with both hands and take a leap!