The Divemaster course is a challenge as you dive deeper into dive theory, work to improve your demonstration quality skills to a professional level and learn how to organise and conduct a whole host of diving activities.
The Divemaster course is also immense fun in which your overall scuba skills and knowledge will increase to a much higher level so that you can earn a living from the hobby that you love.
What To Look For – A Modern & Flexible Diving Internship Program
When you look for a dive center to take your Divemaster program be sure to have a look around at what best suites your needs. Scuba Diving Internship packages are a modern and flexible way to gain the experience and skills necessary to become a PADI Professional.
These packages will usually include extras that will further enhance your scuba skill set and knowledge making you a more employable prospect to dive centres looking for dynamic and highly skilled employees.
They often feature a ‘rolling’ style flexible scheduling system with dedicated Master Instructors coordinating the program. Old school Divemaster schedules with set start and finish dates can be inflexible and may limit the amount of experience you can gain whilst assisting courses and building up dives.
The Divemaster Course – Becoming an effective Instructional Assistant
Ideally a good Divemaster course will take 4 to 6 weeks to complete, based on a schedule that is middle of the road with regards to its intensity (2 dives a day). An open and flexible schedule tends to be the preferred schedule for dive centers that focus more on quality training and your individual learning curve and progress, as opposed to ticking boxes and meeting minimum requirements.
The first thing you’ll need to do before you get started is get your dives up to the minimum forty required to start the Divemaster course. Once that is done, get the Divemaster Manual read, complete the knowledge reviews and get the first exam passed. Then you can get stuck into the best bits of the course; the water-work!
You’ll get to assist PADI Discover Scuba, Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver courses. The goal is to teach you to become an effective in water assistant, helping PADI Instructors with student divers in training, an important role that PADI Divemasters fulfill.
You will learn how to identify, anticipate and prevent problems that may occur and also organise student flow so the course runs smoothly. It’s also easy for student divers to relate to you as a Divemaster candidate; not that long ago you were where they are now so you can share your experiences with them, help them relax and mentor them through their course.
It’s fantastically rewarding to work with student divers, helping them progress, and grow into certified divers, and watch their transformation as they discover a new world.
During the course you will complete knowledge reviews and sit two exams, broadening your scuba diving theory knowledge. You’ll be introduced to the 20 basic scuba skills you mastered on your open water course, as well as the 4 skin diving skills and you’ll learn how to perfect these skills so they are of demonstration quality.
As a Divemaster you will be required to use these skills when conducting a scuba review with divers who need to take a refresher after a period of inactivity.
You will also spend some time with the Divemaster team, organising general diving activities for certified divers, setting up the dive boat, organising a dive roster, shadowing a fun dive and preparing emergency equipment such as the O2 kit. You will also have a ‘dry day’ on land that acts as an introduction, and a behind the scenes look at how logistics operate at a busy dive centre.
Your watermanship skills will be tested in a series of swimming and diving skills tests that include performing a rescue assessment, an equipment exchange and a series of swims. One of the final assessments you will complete is actually leading a dive with customers on a dive excursion where your briefing, control and problem management will be all be scored.
It’s highly advisable to look for an Internship style program that includes useful extras such as the Emergency Oxygen provider and Equipment Specialist courses that I completed as part of my Diving internship program. These courses gave me a broader knowledge base and made me more employable too.
It is also advisable to complete your Divemaster at a dive school that takes marine conservation and the preservation of the underwater environment seriously. Learning about the underwater world and how to protect it is essential as a dive pro.
Look for a dive centre that includes marine conservation projects as part of its day-to-day activities that are included within its Pro level Internships. Clarify that this involves more than a monthly dive site or beach clean up and instead look for something a bit more in-depth. This helps you become a more knowledgeable and skilled advocate for the marine environment.
Put Your Skills Into Practice – A Real Working Internship
At the end of your Divemaster training, you may wish to do a ‘real’ working internship, allowing you to put into practice the skills and knowledge what you have learnt during the previous 6 weeks, applying them to real situations and gaining valuable real experience.
During a ‘working internship’ you get to lead certified divers around local dive sites, conduct scuba reviewsand assist with logistical tasks that help build your confidence and further increase your skills as a PADI professional.
Lots and Lots of Fun
One thing is guaranteed. Your Divemaster training will be hugely rewarding and you will have so much fun on your journey to become a scuba diving professional. Whether your diving with your fellow Divemaster candidates through silver walls of schooling Barracudas, stumbling upon a cool Turtle chilling on a rock formation or the experience of a diver’s lifetime and swimming with a Whaleshark.
Completing your Divemaster Internship on Koh Tao is a guarantee to have the time of your life.
You meet likeminded and amazing people, from all over the world, all brought together because of a common love for diving. Sharing amazing scuba diving experiences, and fun times together all against an amazing backdrop of incredible beauty and ambience that is Koh Tao.
Developing into an Instructor
If you are truly passionate for diving then the ultimate goal is become a PADI instructor and to teach new divers so they can start to enjoy the underwater world just as much as you do.
Most Instructor Development Courses (IDC for short) are run over a 2-week period in which you will spend time in the classroom learning and discussing a wide range of subjects and in the water completing presentations.
During the classroom sessions you will study much further into the theory behind diving physiology, decompression theory, equipment, environmental factors and dive planning.
You will also be introduced into the marketing and business side of how dive shops operate that will help you in the future when starting a job at a dive center. You will spend many hours completing homework exams to ensure your knowledge of PADI Standards and diving theory is of a very high level.
Workshops in the swimming pool or out in the open water will help teach you how to prevent or identify possible mistakes that students may perform when conducting a skill, ways on how to brief and de brief students and how to control novice divers.
You complete classroom presentations to build up your confidence when speaking in front of people and learn how to use teaching aids and equipment to help get your point across when teaching. Classroom presentations are scored by your course director who debriefs you on the areas that you have done well and the areas that you can improve.
The Final Test
At the end of the 2 weeks on your IDC you will be ready to sit the Instructor Examination (IE) in which PADI examiners will assess you on your suitability and skill level on becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.
For the exam you complete a written exam that will be broken down into sections – General standards, Physics, physiology, equipment, environment and dive planning. You are also given presentations to conduct for the classroom, confined water and open water sections.
After you have completed the IE it is time for a well-earned drink!! You have made it to your goal of becoming a PADI Instructor and after you recover from your hangover you can now travel the world and live the dream.
Author: Marie Killinger (PADI MSDT #389090)
Marie is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. She completed a ‘Diving Lifestyle’ Divemaster Internship program at Crystal Dive before working as a Divemaster. Several months later she completed her IDC before enrolling on the MSDT Prep & Internship program.