This is a commonly asked question as these two PADI dive certifications sound very similar, but in actual fact they have some distinct differences.
Both dive certifications indicate highly experienced and capable scuba divers.
A PADI Master Scuba Diver is the black belt of recreational diving and is the highest level a recreational diver can achieve. As few as 2% of recreational divers ever achieve this elite certification level.
A PADI Divemaster is the first step into the world of professional diving, as a divemaster you get the opportunity to turn a passion into a profession.
Let’s take a look at these dive certifications in greater detail.
PADI Master Scuba Diver Certification
As a recreational diver who has achieved the PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced Open Water and even the PADI Rescue Diver certifications, you may wonder where or what you can do to improve your diving skills?
Step forward the PADI Master Scuba Diver certification. In order to join this elite club for recreational divers, certain pre-requisites must be met. As a minimum, a diver must meet the following criteria.
- At least 12 years old.
- 50 logged dives.
- PADI Open Water Diver.
- PADI Advanced Water Diver.
- PADI Rescue Diver.
- 5 PADI Specialties.
Why train to become A Master Scuba Diver?
- Gain invaluable diving experience
This may seem fairly obvious, but the more dives you have under your belt the more experienced you will become.
Along the journey of becoming a PADI Master Scuba Diver, you will gain experience in a number of different scenarios and situations, diving with various different dive buddies and possibly even diving in various different places around the world.
- Develop additional skills and practice safety
Being able to handle yourself & your dive buddies is vital for anyone wanting to become a master.
This is exactly why one of the prerequisites of the PADI Master Scuba Diver certification is to be at least a PADI Rescue Diver.
The skills you learn during your EFR (Emergency first response) and rescue diver course will ensure you are trained and ready to identify potential problems before they happen and be calm and collected when dealing with them.
- Choose Your Own Goals
After you have completed all the prerequisite courses required to become a rescue diver, it may start to get a little tedious after a while if you are diving the same dive sites every day, without a real purpose.
This is why scuba diving is so good, there is always something new and exciting you can try to keep things fresh.
Improve yourself further and try some PADI specialty courses or ‘specs’ as divers like to call them for short.
Choosing which specs to take can be a little overwhelming, however, Koh Tao enjoys the perfect conditions and superb facilities for a whole variety of different diver specialties.
Let’s take a look at some of the different specs were lucky enough to have available on Koh Tao.
What Specialties you can take to become a Master Scuba Diver
- PADI Wreck Specialty
There is something magical about wreck diving as it’s an opportunity to take a look into our history and past.
All over the world there are many different wreck dive sites waiting to be explored, these are not just ship wrecks, but they can vary from cars, airplanes, tanks and other weird and wonderful objects.
We are blessed to have a number of different wrecks around Koh Tao, however the most popular by a long way is the spectacular HTMS Sattakut.
The Sattakut was a WWII US Navy built vessel, that was donated to the Thai Navy in 1947. Decommissioned by the Thai Navy in 2007, it was then sunk in 2011 for the purpose of an artificial dive site.
HTMS Sattakut is extremely accessible to any recreational diver who is at least advanced certified, due to the fact it rests at a maximum depth of 30m. It is an ideal dive site for the PADI Wreck Diver specialty.
During the wreck specialty dives you will learn how to map and survey the site, learn how to use lines and reels to penetrate the wreck safely.
Additional benefits include learning some advanced finning techniques that will help with reducing the likelihood of kicking up silt and significantly reducing visibility.
- PADI Deep Specialty
Who does not enjoy going deep? There has always been a sense of mystery about the deep oceans of the world.
On Koh Tao we are very lucky to have some beautiful deep dive sites such as Chumphon pinnacle, Southwest pinnacles and also Sail Rock, which is just over an hour away by dive boat.
Large pelagic fish such as whale sharks are more commonly found roaming around the deeper dive sites of Koh Tao.
During the PADI deep specialty course you will learn about gas narcosis and experience how this affects you while diving at depth. You will also fine tune your gas management skills.
Once you have successfully completed the course, you will be newly certified to dive to a maximum depth of 40metres, which will expand the number of dive sites available to you around the world.
- PADI Nitrox Specialty
Have you ever been on a deep dive, having a great time but you are forced to end the dive due to low decompression limits? Many of us have been in this sometimes frustrating situation.
Step forward Nitrox. A regular tank of air has a gas blend of 21% oxygen and 79% Nitrox, the term Nitrox refers to any blend with a higher oxygen percentage of 21%.
This has many benefits for a diver. In short, while diving using nitrox, the reduced nitrogen percentage in the tank means less nitrogen is being absorbed into your body during the dive.
This will extend your bottom time significantly and reducing the probabilities of decompression sickness.
One of the cool things about this unique specialty course is that it can be combined with other specialty courses for a discounted price. If you are short for time this is also a great option. Imagine doing your wreck specialty course while using Nitrox, so much more time to explore.
- PADI Navigation Diver Specialty
Navigating on land can be hard enough sometimes, navigating under water is a whole different kettle of fish (excuse the pun). Why not try the PADI navigation specialty course?
Things you will learn during this course include, techniques to estimate your distance underwater and master some more complex search patterns underwater. You will certainly be the master of the compass after taking this specialty.
- PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty
Ever wanted to look like a professional diver under water without actually becoming one, this can be easily achieved by choosing the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty course.
The PPB specialty gives you the opportunity to master hovering in several different positions. You also have the chance to learn how to manoeuver yourself a lot more efficiently in the water, learning advanced manoeuvers such as helicopter turns and back finning.
These newly mastered skills will not only make you look like a pro but will also improve your air consumption, which in turn will extend your dive time dramatically.
- PADI Night Diver Specialty
Diving the underwater world at night is almost like floating around in space. Dive sites you have dived many times during the day will almost become unrecognizable in the dark.
A variety of nocturnal creatures come out to play after the sun sets, giving a whole different perspective to your regular dive experience.
As part of the course, you will learn how to navigate correctly at night, along with the safest entry and exit techniques. If you are curious to see what lurks beneath the water in the dark, then the night diving specialty is for you.
Summary of Master Scuba Diver
After gaining all the required diver certifications, you will have attained an invaluable amount of experience, knowledge and confidence allowing you to finally call yourself a true PADI Master Scuba Diver.
What it takes to become a PADI Divemaster
We have established what it takes to become a Master Scuba Diver, but what does it take to become a PADI professional divemaster. Let’s take a closer look.
Taking your first step on the professional diving ladder can be a little daunting at first.
Before you take that first step it’s important to consider the prerequisites.
As a minimum, a diver must meet the following criteria before working your way towards that dream job.
- At least 18 years old
- PADI Open and Advanced Open Water Diver
- PADI Rescue Diver
- EFR Primary and Secondary Care completed within the past two years
- Medically cleared to dive by a certified physician
- 40 logged dives before starting the course
- 60 logged dives when finishing the course
Why become a PADI Divemaster?
The PADI Divemaster course is possibly one of the most rewarding certifications you can complete.
It will most likely be the most time-consuming dive course you will ever do, but it will teach you invaluable skills and you will have some unforgettable experiences that will stay with you for life.
Not all who participate in the divemaster program plan on pursuing a career as a professional diver.
Some candidates simply do it for the experience and the lifelong friends you will make along the way. Either way, the divemaster course promises to be challenging but very rewarding.
What can a PADI Divemaster do?
Put simply, being a divemaster allows you to work professionally as a diver and pursue a career out of what started as a hobby.
The day to day life of a divemaster will vary significantly.
If you are not leading a group of certified divers around a beautiful deep pinnacle such as Chumphon, you may be in the swimming pool conducting a PADI scuba review, refreshing the skills of divers who have simply not dived for 6 months or longer.
Some dive centers will employ a divemaster for their front of house or retail operations, having the extra knowledge acquired from the divemaster course will make you a fine asset for these types of roles.
You will also have the adequate skills to enable you to assist on PADI courses such as the Open Water course and Discover Scuba Dives. Assisting the diving instructor in a supervisory role and acting as an extra pair of eyes.
The PADI Divemaster Course at Crystal Dive
Choosing your divemaster course at Crystal Dive Koh Tao has many benefits and you will receive many extras included in the Divemaster lifestyle program.
Once you have been successfully orientated for your Divemaster course at Crystal Dive, you will receive your Divemaster ‘care package’ that consists of many useful items including:
- Surface Marker Buoy (SMB)
- U/W Slate & Pencil
- Koh Tao Dive Guide
- Crystal Dry Bag (15 litres)
- Crystal Dive T-Shirt
- CPR Pocket Mask
- Dive Knife
- Suunto SK-7 Compass
Emergency O2 Provider & Equipment Specialist
Included in the lifestyle package are two free PADI specialty courses, both of which may contribute towards your Master Scuba Diver rating, these are the Emergency O2 Provider and the Equipment Specialist courses.
PADI Basic Freediving Introduction
If exploring the underwater world without a tank is of interest to you then you will have an opportunity to try this through the Intro to Basic Freediving course that Crystal Dive provides as part of the lifestyle program.
Professional Dive Insurance & PADI Membership
As a divemaster at Crystal you will receive one whole year of professional dive insurance through InDepths.
Additionally, Crystal will also pay for your first year of professional membership with PADI, through which you will receive multiple benefits.
Optional Working Internship
Once you have successfully become a PADI Divemaster, Crystal provides you with the opportunity of gaining valuable experience through a 10-day working internship.
You will have the opportunity to experience what it is really like to work as a professional Divemaster while working alongside Crystal Dive’s very own full time Divemaster team.
The experience gained can prove essential in securing that dream job you have always wanted.
A Summary of the PADI Divemaster Certification
Becoming a PADI Divemaster is a life changing and truly rewarding experience, sign up today and take your first step to becoming a professional diver.
PADI MSDT #418252