So you Wanna Become a Divemaster?

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Do you love being in the water? Can you never get enough of the weightless sensation of being suspended in the big blue? Do you sometimes wish you could make friends with the fishies?

If your answer is YES, and you are one of these die hard scuba divers, it may be time to take your lifestyle of scuba diving to a professional level.

Becoming a Divemaster

I’ve always been one of those people that can never get enough of the underwater world. I got my open water scuba certification when I was 17; I left my home town to undertake a University degree in Marine Biology and now I am traveling the world checking out some of the strangest and most exotic underwater environments.

I had been scuba diving for the better part of 8 years before I finally decided to become a divemaster. To be perfectly honest, when I first got open water certified I never thought I would take my scuba diving to a PADI professional level. In the 8 years leading up to my divemaster I built up my diving resume dipping into freshwater lakes, glacial waters, warm tropics, perfecting my buoyancy and even doing some aquarium diving…

Divemaster Prerequisites

Before enrolling for your divemaster certification it is important to make sure you have all the prerequisites to ensure success:

  • Must be Rescue Diver Certified
  • Must be at Least 18 years old
  • Must have Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care (CPR and First Aid) training within the past 24 months
  • Must have at least 40 logged dives at the beginning of the course and 60 logged dives to complete
  • Must have a medical statement signed by a physician within the last 12 months

Selecting a Dive Institution

PADI, NAUI, SSI… with so many options when it comes to diving, it can be a challenge to decide which institution to go with. While there are more than these three institutions that can certify you in all levels of scuba diving, by going with one of these three you are setting yourself up for success. PADI, NAUI and SSI are all well known and respected dive organizations that have a global appeal. Any dive shop will easily recognize their certification cards.

For my husband and I who have always been dive certified through PADI, it was a no brainer. PADI was our choice of dive institution.

Picking a Dive Shop/Instructor to Certify You

Contrary to many of the other scuba diving courses, the divemaster course is a long and intensive program. You will be spending countless hours under the supervision of your instructor and the bulk of your time watching, learning and shadowing them.

Scuba divers in open water

Having a top notch instructor that you know and trust can make or break your experience. Do your research online and ensure that you make an informed decision. Stick with a scuba shop you know and love, or if you are new to an area talk to other scuba divers and find out what shops/instructors they recommend for a divemaster course.

When it came to our PADI divemaster certification, Joey and I really lucked out. I have had a close colleague who is a PADI instructor and she was more than willing to certify us. Because we know each other so well she was able to make the experience a fun and memorable one and I was very confident in her teaching abilities.

Duration of the Divemaster Course

A typical divemaster course can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks. Anything shorter and you need to ask yourself if you are losing out on learning opportunities and fine tuning your dive skills. There is just so much information to absorb I can’t imagine cramming that into a smaller time frame.

My course lasted approximately 5 months. Because I was close with the instructor we were able to take our time and spent the entire summer completing our divemaster certification. Five months was the perfect amount of time to complete all of PADI’s requirements. I never felt rushed and had lots of time to absorb the course material.

Over the summer Joey and I assisted a PADI open water course, PADI rescue course and PADI advanced open water course. We watched and learned as the instructor worked with some of the students teaching them tips and tricks to become successful divers. For me it was so rewarding to watch firsthand the joy in people’s faces as they learned to scuba dive for the first time.

Joey and Ali in their drysuits.

Because Joey and I were the only divemasters being certified, we had the opportunity to get some great one-on-one time with the instructor. She catered the whole divemaster course to our needs, ensuring that we focused our time and energy on the weaker tasks. It felt great to truly perfect everything on the divemaster checklist.

Divemaster Course Cost

It’s no secret that scuba diving is not easy on the bank account. As an amateur diver you will quickly realize that the further you climb up the scuba diving ladder the more expensive your courses become. A divemaster course can cost anywhere from $600 to well over $1000 depending on dive locations and equipment.

When it came to the financial aspect of our divemaster course Joey and I were able to do it fairly cheaply for two big reasons.

1. Our Equipment:

Over the years Joey and I have collected and expanded on our diving equipment. It was really handy to have our own stuff because with that came gear familiarity and comfort. It also helped break down the course cost significantly. The only thing we had to worry about was making sure we refilled our tanks.

2. Instructor Connections:

I am so very lucky to have an instructor friend and colleague that was kind enough to certify Joey and I. What started off as a discounted divemaster certification eventually turned into an early wedding gift. It was absolutely heartwarming that the only thing we had to take care of was the cost of the crew pack (approximately $300) and our PADI fee’s (about $30). In our crew pack we were decked out with several dive manuals, waterproof cue cards, a dive briefing slate, a heavy duty log book, stickers, a decal and dive briefcase.

Undertaking my PADI divemaster certification has been one of the highlights of my scuba diving career thus far. The experience enabled me to essentially relive my open water, advanced open water and rescue diver certifications all the while perfecting my skills and meeting new faces. It has also opened up the door for us to tentatively earn a little extra cash while we travel the world. For a more detailed account of our divemaster adventures check out our article: Making the jump from passion to pro.

Next stop PADI Instructor Development Course!

Would you want to become a divemaster?

About Alisha Postma of Dive Buddies 4 Life: From staring down a 300 lb sand tiger shark to currently being a certified PADI divemaster, Alisha Postma’s resume is pretty jam packed with extreme water hobbies. A scuba diver, photographer and ocean activist with a background in marine biology, Alisha loves being underwater and the only thing she’s missing is a tail. Alisha and her husband Joey are plunging into as many strange and exotic waters as possible and share their adventures on their scuba diving blog, Dive Buddies 4 Life.  Together, they hope to promote ocean conservation and help the world understand what a beautiful place the aquatic realm can be. Connect with Alisha and Joey from Dive Buddies 4 Life on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram.

Is becoming a divemaster on your scuba bucket list? Here's what you need to know.