For most when starting your dive master it can feel like you have absolutely no clue. I was a fairly experienced diver, a confident diver, and keen to bring diving to the customers that came in. However with regards to the details of the training and then the role, there was a lot to learn. So with this in mind, at Master Divers the first port of call is having a chat with your mentor, filling in all the paperwork and taking a wander around the dive shop whilst working out your schedule. A 1 on 1 experience from the start reassured me that I was not going to disappear into a DMT puddle and left to figure it all out on my own. There is none of this approach here, everyone wants to get you going, get you wet and keep you working towards you goals.
The primary objective of the Divemaster course is to get you as comfortable as possible with the potential future and tasks that lay ahead, making sure you have the skills and experience to effectively undertake this role. It’s a little like going back to school, but more like the first day at ‘big’ school and ‘diving school’ all at once. That feeling of “Blimey this is all very mature isn’t it”,, you are training to be a dive master after all, the first step on the professional ladder admittedly, but you will have divers safety in your hands. Worth taking on responsibly and being proud of eh?. Well that’s how Master Divers quickly started to make me feel.
Under supervision, I was guided quite literally through the practical application of everything I was reading in the books and writing in the exams, Perfect. I would regularly hang out in the equipment room and pester one of the team for explanations of “how did that bit work”, or “what does this bit do?” My questions were always answered with patience – I will forever be grateful of that. At most centres the equipment maintenance area is off limits and this valuable experience cannot be accessed.
Then there was the theory side of it all, man theory sucks ! It definitely doesn’t involve being wet, but it is the only real way to prove it is sinking in. Handled with the utmost compassion there was the occasional afternoon where we would sack off diving for some extra washout time playing on the whiteboard. Dudes the theory is necessary, however in what is regularly a maximum 3 people group you definitely get plenty of opportunity to ask stupid questions. And have them answered. With diagrams. Phew.
All of a sudden towards the last few weeks it all started to become a little real. Under the watchful supervising eye of a free instructor I would be escorting fun divers around Koh Tao’s dive sites. Mainly 1 or 2 customers (the max group size at Master Divers is 4), it was sweet. I was cruising around all responsible and that, finding cool fish and giving people the energy and time they needed to have an amazing time . Talk about a confidence boost and a brilliant start to the future ahead.
By the time I was starting my mapping project usually the thing you leave until last (try not to by the way), I was pretty happy as a very soon to be certified dive master…I was regularly left responsible for my logistical tasks of preparing the dive trip and equipment. The ‘real’ Dive Master for the day would come and check. You know what the whole experience was tied up in this way, in such a professional, confident and creative team of experts I was being pushed to blossom and having a pretty much 1 on 1 experience, with everything being already in place and sorted. And more so with the constant personal support and guidance this was happening, my entire way of life was changing.
This is the third of 6 posts which I have written about being a Dive Master, starting from why I became one and how to choose the dive center at which to take your course, , what to expect and then followed by how to expand your knowledge and finally what its like to work as a dive master. Check back to get the next installment…