Dive Acronyms – Getting Down With the Lingo!

 

The world of SCUBA is full of abbreviations and acronyms, and it can sometimes be difficult for new divers to remember everything. Like any new sport or passion, the knowledge comes slowly with time as you gain more experience and take more courses – and of course through lots of repetition! Here’s a fairly comprehensive list of 45 to get you started. Do you know all of these? How many did you get correct and can you think of any extra’s that we have missed?…

As a handy guide to your current knowledge retention, we’ve developed this handy rating system:

1-10 – Nothing an Open Water Course wont fix!

11-20 – Time for a Scuba Review!

21-30 – Getting there!

31-40 – Down with the Lingo!

40-45 – Scuba Geektastic!

AAS – Alternate Air Source
ABCABS – Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Airway, Breathing, Serious Bleeding, Spinal Injury & Shock (you’ll learn to deal with all of these and more in your Emergency First Response course.
ACD – Automatic Closing Device (commonplace on higher end regulators, thus avoiding the need for a dust cap)
AED- Automated External Defibrillator (another staple in the Emergency First Response course)
AGE -Arterial Gas Embolism (learn more in your Rescue Diver course and in the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving that comes in your Divemaster Crewpack!)
AWARE – Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility & Education. This is PADI’s flagship environmental awareness project, with correcsponding specialties, PADI AWARE Fish Identification, and PADI AWARE Specialist.
BCD – Buoyancy Control Device/ Buoyancy Compensation Device
BWRAF – Buoyancy/BDC, Weights, Releases, Air, Final OK (the mantra of buddy checks for every certified diver)
CCR – Closed Circuit Rebreather
CESA – Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (you learn this emergency ascent in your open water course)
CNS – Central Nervous System
CPR – Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation
DAN – Divers Alert Network
DCI – Decompression Illness
DCS – Decompression Sickness
DIN – Deutsche Industry Norm (all modern regulator fittings are either DIN or yoke valves)
DM – Divemaster
DMC Divemaster Candidate
DPV – Diver Propulsion Vehicle
DSAT – Dive Science and Technology
DSD – Discover Scuba Diving
DSO – Dive Safety Officer
DUP – Digital Underwater Photography
EANX – Enriched Air Nitrox
EFR – Emergency First Response
EMS – Emergency Medical Services
ERDPML – Electronic Recreational Dive Planner Multi Level
IDC – Instructor Development Course
IE – Instructor Exams
MSD – Master Scuba Diver
NOAA – National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association
PADI – Professional Association of Diving Instructors
PPB – Peak Performance Buoyancy (learn more in your Advanced open water course, or as a specialty in its own right)
RDP – Recreational Dive Planner
RNT – Residual Nitrogen Time
RSTC – Recreational Scuba Training Council
SAFE Diver – Safely Ascend From Every dive
SAMPLE – Signs & Symptoms, Allergies, Medication, Pre-existing medical conditions, Last meal & Events (used to track & record illness in your EFR course)
SCR – Semi Closed Rebreather
SCUBA – Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
SORTED – Signal, Orientate, Regulator, Time, Extend & Equalise, and Descend (PADI’s 5 star descent)
SPG – Submersible Pressure Guage
SSS – Scuba Safety Services
STARS – Signal, Time, Air (release), Reach & Rotate, Swim (PADI’s 5 star ascent)
VENTID – Visual disturbances, Ears ringing, Nausea, Twitching, Irritability, Dizziness (the signs and symptoms of CNS Oxygen toxicity)

So how did you do? Are you a scuba nerd or in need of a tune up?!

Feel free to leave your scores and any you think we’ve missed in the comments section!

How to make the most out of your Divemaster course

 

The PADI Divemaster is probably the most important course within recreational diving. As a Divemaster Candidate (DMC), you will not only summarise and improve upon all previous dive related knowledge and skills, but truly develop into the divemaster you wish to become in the future. It’s best recommended to take the Divemaster course over 4 – 6 weeks to complete all performance requirements, workshops, and assists, and develop yourself as a PADI Professional. You only plan on doing it once, so best make the most of it! Here are our top tips on how:

1. First and foremost, choose the right dive centre. All PADI dive centres will give you the same certification, however not all dive centres will provide the same training and experience. Training methods, safety standards, equipment quality, instructors, expectations and overall atmosphere will be different depending on where you complete your Divemaster course, so make sure you invest in your future with the right dive centre for you.

All Aboard!

2. Dive dive dive, and dive again. There really is no substitute for practice. The more you dive, the more you will learn, and the better you will become. This is true for not only personal ability in and under the water, but also for other important Divemaster skills such as; boat briefings, dive briefings, skill demonstrations, supervising divers, boat organisation and logistics. The more you put in, the more you will get out. Upon certification you will be responsible for your own group of divers both on and under the water, so best to get comfortable and confident in what is expected of a smiling diving ninja guru, a PADI Divemaster.

DMC Crew!

3. Try to work with multiple instructors and divemasters throughout the DMC workshops and course assists. Each individual PADI Pro will have different tips, tricks and niche expertise for you to learn from, but everyone will also have an individual personality and flare. Try to experience the different teaching styles and methods of different instructors, or the different leading styles of divemasters. You will learn something new from everyone, and the variety and diversity of styles will help you build your very own for the future.

4. Develop good dive habits. Habits are far easier to learn than to forget, so make sure you’re putting into practice the best procedures from the very start. Not only will this make you a better and safer diver, but it will also set an example of role model behaviour to others around you. The PADI Divemaster is a title that inspires confidence and many divers will look to you to set the tone; make sure it’s a good one!

Day At The Office

5. Take this opportunity as a DMC to learn the local dive sites well, and also to educate yourself on the local marine life. Navigation can be tricky, but it comes with hard work and practice, so stick at it. If you intend to work in the same area you completed your Divemaster course, you’ll be expected to know your way around the dive sites. Learning about the local marine life is equally important; knowledge is power! That way you can point out all the amazing and interesting fish to your divers, and answer any questions they may have about what they’re seeing. It’s important to show your love and passion for the oceans to inspire other divers and to enjoy the dive yourself!

6. Submerge yourself in opportunity. There is so so much that goes into operating a dive centre, and this is your opportunity to soak up all of it! Ask questions about everything, lend a hand whenever possible, and say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way. By fully integrating yourself into the dive team, you’ll gain invaluable experience in the dive industry and prove that you have the drive and ability to work as a Divemaster upon certification.

7. Enjoy it. Throughout the PADI Divemaster course, you will be working very closely with the dive centre staff, instructors, divemasters, and even customers. You’ll make friends as close as family and remember your experience forever, so enjoy it!

MD Team Supreme!

 

Underwater Communication

Effective communication underwater is crucial throughout a dive to keep a dive group together and to ensure everyone is safe, comfortable and still has plenty of air. Dive leaders will communicate their instructions and intentions to other divers, and will often point out and name many marine life species to a dive group so that everyone knows what amazing creatures they are seeing. However, for obvious reasons communication underwater has to be slightly adapted to communication on land. Firstly, we are unable to speak whilst diving because of our regulator and the limited frequency and amplitude of our voices. Another problem is that water actually increases the transmission of acoustic sound due to its density and elasticity meaning sound waves hit both our ear drums at such a speed, the time difference between right and left (or vice versa) is too small for our brains to determine its direction.

Therefore, the easiest and simplest way to communicate whilst diving is by using hand signals. These are easily learnt and understood within the diving community to convey essential messages whilst underwater. From okay, to not okay, asking and responding to air, instructions to ascend or descent, these can immediately be both sent and received at the flick of the wrist. Most dive professionals will also have home grown signals specific to their style and environment, so keep an eye out and listen to the dive briefing on every dive!

UnderwaterSignals

Hand signals are adequate for diving, as good buddies and dive groups stay within visual distance of each other, are attentive to others actions, and are recreationally in very safe conditions. However, how can underwater communication be more effective and improved, and what new technologies are being developed?

Our main source of land-based communication is through radio waves, water prevents the propagation and transmission of radio waves unless at very low frequencies, which then limits the power of data transmission and communication. Submarines can use extremely low-frequency radio waves at shallow depths to receive communication (but not transmit), however this is not very applicable to divers who wish to communicate to one another on a dive. To develop more effective underwater communications systems, science looked to nature and found that by harnessing the use of acoustic sound waves as whales and dolphins do, we can begin to send and receive data over greater distances and to greater depths. Special communication systems called hydrophones have now been developed that have the power to convert speech into an ultrasound wave that is emitted in high-frequency vibrations too acute for the human ear. These ultrasounds travel through the water very effectively and are detected and decoded by another diver’s receiver which converts it back into sound. This system clearly has many benefits for recreational divers in buddy teams, but even more so for high-risk tech diving and commercial diving where divers are able to communicate clearly with both each other and any surface support

UnderwaterComs

This technology is great for safety, and there are already products in development to allow simplistic communication through buddy devices that don’t rely on voice communications. So although many divers may not feel the need for open voice communication channels underwater, an additional ‘buddy bracelet’ may become common in recreational diving in the future and allow instant communication at the touch of a button. As the technology advances further, researchers hope to make vast improvements to tsunami detection, pollution monitoring and offshore oil and natural gas exploration.

DART II System Schematic

 

Is Scuba Diving Safe?

2

Visiting the fascinating underwater world is an amazing experience, and also very safe provided that you follow some simple rules.

Diving is relatively easy to learn, but do make sure you are trained by a reputable school with experienced staff. Proper training will also make you aware of the most common problems that you could encounter underwater.

Make sure that you are medically and physically fit to dive as certain medical conditions are not compatible with diving. Aside from physiological factors, it also helps to be physically fit. You should be able to walk at least 1.6km in under 12 minutes as a minimum, and as part of your open water course you will be asked to swim 200m and float for 10 minutes. So if you’ve been a couch potato get some exercise before your next dive trip – the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your dives!

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

If you have your own dive equipment, then check it all thoroughly and get anything serviced if necessary.

Have any necessary immunisation jabs required to travel.

Make sure you are fit to dive and have had a medical if required. Students are required to self-certify their fitness to dive using the form below. If any of the answers to the questions listed is a ‘Yes’, it’s important to get a medical sign off prior to departure:

http://www.master-divers.com/medical_statement.pdf

Make sure you have adequate travel and dive insurance. At Master Divers we offer our customers dive insurance for just 100THB for the duration of  your stay with us, but we also have weekly, monthly and yearly policies for more active divers, as well as some recommendations for general travel insurance:

https://www.indepths.org/public-member/policies/

http://www.worldnomads.com/

 

BEFORE YOU DIVE

Check all your equipment to ensure nothing was damaged in transit.

Make sure you are properly rehydrated after your journey. If you’re not feeling 100% then don’t dive, and in particular don’t dive if you have a cold or hangover! Leave the party night until the end of your diving trip…

If you haven’t dived for a while just sign up for  a couple of easy, shallow dives to begin with in order to get back in the swing of things. Remember if you haven’t dived for six months or longer then you may need to do a scuba review first just to recap on all your skills…

Skills Practice In The Shallows
Skills Practice In The Shallows

ON THE BOAT

Remember to drink plenty of water, and bring your sunscreen and seasickness tablets (if required, although the water here is generally very calm). If you suffer from seasickness make sure you have something light to eat and always take your tablets before the boat journey – don’t wait until you actually feel sick!

Set up your equipment in the allocated area making sure it’s all together in the one place. Attaching your mask to your BCD and putting your fins inside it are good tips for keeping all of your gear together.  Take your time double checking everything is in working order, and if you’re not sure of anything then ask just your Dive Master or Instructor. Never be embarrassed to ask for help – safety is always more important than speed!

 

Equipment setup!
Equipment setup!

Store your bag and weight belt under the bench to keep the walkways free, and try to make sure you return to the same place after the dive. A tidy boat is a safe boat!!!

Be careful walking around on the boat when it is choppy, especially going to the back of the boat and upstairs – make sure you have three points of contact at all times. Do not jump off the top deck and/or over the side after the ladders have been pulled up, as this means the engine is about to start!

Listen carefully to your dive briefing – no matter how experienced a diver you are! The Instructor/Dive Master know the dive sites intricately and will tell you what to look for along with any potential hazards you should be aware of.  They will tell you the dive plan including the maximum depth and time, making sure that you are familiar with all the relevant hand signals.

Once kitted up make sure you do a proper buddy check with your allocated dive buddy and do not enter the water until you are told it is safe to do so.

 

Buddy Check
Buddy Check

THE DIVE

Make sure you are properly weighted and adjust your buoyancy accordingly so that you are streamlined throughout the dive.  Proper buoyancy control not only reduces fatigue and makes your dive more enjoyable but it also improves your safety and prevents you from damaging the coral.

Buoyancy Fun
Buoyancy Fun

Regularly check your air, your buddy and the environment around you. Make sure you follow your dive guide and don’t go off in the opposite direction…

Listen to your inner voice – if you do not feel right while underwater, or you feel that you have exceeded your comfort level, let your dive guide know that you want to abort the dive. If you become low on air let your guide know immediately and follow his/her instructions.

Don’t touch anything – the golden rule is “You take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but bubbles!”

At the end of your dive make sure you ascend slowly never exceeding an ascent rate of 18m/minute and make a safety stop for 3 minutes at 5 metres.

White Rock

AFTER THE DIVE

White Rock

If you are doing a second or third dive make sure you have an adequate surface interval. Be sure to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. Avoid any strenuous exercise straight after a dive as it could increase the risk of decompression sickness.

DO NOT free-dive, do any cardiovascular exercise, have a Thai massage, or take an excessively hot shower after scuba diving. After a dive you will have increased levels of nitrogen in your body, and any of these activities can effect how efficiently your body off gases it, and in some instances it can be harmful to you.

Properly rinse all your equipment, hang it out to dry and remember to log your dives.  A record of your diving history is not only nice to look back on, but is also required should you ever need to prove your experience for higher levels of training.

FLYING AFTER DIVING
PADI recommended that you wait a minimum of 12 hours before flying after a single dive, and 18 hours after 2 or more dives.

 

Why Take Your Course at Master Divers?

We realise you have a lot of choice on Koh Tao, so why should you choose us to teach your recreational dive courses? Our high ranking on Trip Advisor supports the fact that hundreds of other divers have been happy with their choice. But it’s not just that….

  • We operate a strict policy of 4 divers maximum to any of our divemasters or instructors, regardless of whether fun diving, on courses, or snorkelling. For introductory courses like the Discover Scuba Diving program, we try to limit this even further to 2-3 students.
  • Private tuition as a single, couple or family unit is always available on request
One on One Tuition Available
One on One Tuition with Head Instructor, Danny

 

  • We do not share boats or rent boat space from other companies. We own our own boats, air compressors, and all of our own equipment (not as common as you’d think!), so we have complete control over the safety and standards of our operation.
  • We access our dive boats directly from the beach on our longtail, so we have no need for taxi’s, and you won’t need to climb over many other boats at the busy main pier to get to our vessels.
Longtail Boat
Our longtail boat full of happy divers heading back to shore

 

One of our fully equipped dive vessels
One of our fully equipped dive vessels

 

  • All of our equipment is serviced/maintained/replaced to the highest specifications by our on-site equipment technicians.
  • We provide all of our divers with dive booties and open heeled fins as standard, so no squeezes or blisters to worry about from our footwear!
Open heeled fins for optimal comfort and fit
Open heeled fins for optimal comfort and fit

 

  • Our courses run over a slightly longer schedule – eg 3.5 days for Open Water and 3-4 for EFR/Rescue rather than being crammed into 2.5 or 2-3 days respectively like at many other schools. This allows for more thorough learning, and complete adherence to PADI standards (again, not as common as you’d think!)
  • We can offer you the opportunity to save homework time on Koh Tao by sending you electronic materials ahead of time for most of the courses available. We also offer PADI eLearning and Touch products directly through our centre, so you can save both homework and classroom time, meaning more opportunities to relax and enjoy the island when you arrive.
PADI Digital Learning Materials
PADI Digital Learning Materials Available Here!

 

  • Our Advanced Open Water Course includes a free dive on Enriched Air Nitrox (Eanx) so you can see and feel the benefits. We also offer the opportunity to get certified as a Nitrox diver along with your advanced course at a reduced rate. The cost of the full specialty is 6500THB, but if you take it as a combination with your advanced course, we offer it for just 4500THB (no additional days are required).
Enriched AIr Nitrox (Eanx)
Enriched Air Nitrox (Eanx)

 

  • There are no financial penalties if your learning curve is longer than other students in your group. We will teach you how to be a competent and confident diver, and if we have to spend extra time doing this, then we will do just that.
  • We are currently the only dive centre on Koh Tao offering training and development in all four sectors of diving – recreational courses, pro level courses, freediving courses and Tec courses. So whatever direction you would like to go in, we can help you get there!
All prepped and ready to go on a PADI Sidemount course
All prepped and ready to go on a PADI Sidemount course

 

  • We are a fully registered, licensed and insured dive centre, which unfortunately many on the island are not, hence why many can offer their course at a cheaper price.
  • To ensure all of our divers are safe, we offer coverage on our comprehensive AIG dive insurance policy (officially recommended and endorsed by the Thai government) for any customers without their own dive coverage. This is just 100THB for the entirety of your stay when training with us at Master Divers.
  • We give you full disclosure on what to expect prior to arrival, including payment details and any swimming or medical requirements. We also give our full assistance if you have any problems with this, and are happy to research and/or recommend dive medics both in Thailand and overseas should you need a consult.
Your safety and enjoyment are our top priorities
Your safety and enjoyment are our top priorities.

 

  • We care deeply about our environment and work hard to do what we can, not only to mitigate our impact but help preserve and nurture what we have. We do regular land and sea ‘clean ups’, have a coral nursery and help out with many other artificial reef projects. We have a dedicated conservation instructor on staff, and are also involved in reef monitoring and surveying for a number of bodies too. We actively promote recycling and the reduction of plastic consumption and waste, and in April 2016 we were the organisers behind the biggest island wide dive site clean up in Koh Tao history for World Earth Day.
Divers on one of our 'Dive against Debris' days, removing trash from the coral reef.
Divers on one of our ‘Dive against Debris’ days, removing trash from the coral reef.

 

  • We are a 5 Star PADI IDC centre, meaning that we excel in using the PADI system of diver education to introduce people to scuba diving, and then provide the continuing education, support and mentoring that allows individuals to progress. Even if you have no intention of going as far as pro level (yet!), our 5 start status means we maintain a very high calibre of instructors to teach you your courses.
  • We have developed a reputation based on the high quality and safety of our facilities, our equipment and the thoroughness of our teaching. We are well known for our professionalism, and for our adherence to PADI standards and industry protocols.
  • We have very experienced trainers with backgrounds in various specialties and lots of knowledge and experience from all over the world…have you had a look through the team?
PADI 5* IDC Centre Certificate
PADI 5* IDC Centre Certificate

 

Frequently asked Questions

Q – Do you offer discounts for group/family bookings?

Q – Do you include accommodation with courses?

A – We’re afraid not. We’re very proud of our high standards and reputation for professionalism and safety, and we provide the best quality services, facilities and equipment. We cannot do this if we offer discounts and freebies. Our ethos is simply to be the best we can be and uphold the very high standards that we have become known for.

Q – Why are your courses more expensive than some other centres?

A – On Koh Tao, just as anywhere, you get what you pay for. There are schools that are cheaper than us and there are also some that are more expensive. We are a mid-range priced school who offer many benefits (as listed above) that most other centres don’t/can’t, hence the difference in price. The best way to think about it is by equating learning to dive to learning other adventure activities. If you were looking to learn to sky dive, become a white water rafter or train as a pilot for example, you wouldn’t really shop around for the cheapest possible option. You’d choose the centre with the best safety, standards and reputation. Learning to dive should be no different…especially when the price differences are generally pretty negligible in the grand scheme of things anyway.

Another team of newly certified divers celebrate with a photo alongside their instructor
Another team of newly certified divers celebrate with a photo alongside their instructor

 

We hope this answers any questions you may have had about taking dive courses with us. However if you do have any further questions or require details on any of our courses, please do contact us and we will be only too happy to assist you 🙂

The super scuba society

 

There are many wonderful things about scuba diving such as the oceans, the marine life, the exploration, the weightlessness, and the education. However, there is an incredible part of scuba diving and being a diver that is often overlooked; the amazing, hilarious, experienced and openhearted diving community. Scuba is an activity and experience that brings people together from all over the world, from all walks of life, for one love of the underwater world.

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Throughout the Open Water course and upon passing, new divers are welcomed into the diving community as a member of a likeminded secret society that have the passion and ability to breath underwater. Diving as an incredible experience to share with friends, but it is also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Once the boat leaves for the dive site, everyone is quite literally ‘on the same boat’! There’s always a community atmosphere on board where everyone is happy to get to know each other and lend a helping hand. By the time you’ve shared a cup of tea and gone through your equipment and buddy checks, there will be a bond of familiarity and trust within the group whereby everyone is comfortable together and excited to get in the water! This is also beneficial to overall safety as all divers rely on their buddies and diving group should anything go wrong.

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It’s true that there are no better experiences than shared experiences. Seeing a turtle is great, but what’s better is being able to see the mutual wonder in other dives eyes, to relive that experience by talking about it after the dive, and to remember not only the dive site and the marine life, but also the friends you met and spent the day with underwater. Besides, diving is an indescribable experience that can only truly be understood by other divers. As much as we try to explain a dive to non-divers, they will never understand it in the same way as someone who was there or has similar diving experiences. You may also experience this when describing an incredibly cool fish to a non-diver who thinks it’s ‘just a fish’… IT’S A TRIGGER FISH, AND IT’S INCREDIBLY COOL AND EXCITING!

Collectively, divers tend to be exceptionally relaxed and open minded individuals. It aids to be relaxed and calm when diving to avoid potential anxiety, but also to increase buoyancy control and reduce air consumption. Breathing should be deep, slow, and controlled, which helps calm both the mind and body and allows you to better relax and enjoy the dive. Experiencing the underwater world is undeniably eye opening, and will often change many first time divers’ perspectives on our world and their place in it. Seeing the ocean environment first hand and discovering its beauty also leads divers to think more critically towards their environment at large and their impact towards it. Overall, this means the majority of divers you’ll meet both on land and at sea will be pleasant, welcoming, warm hearted people who care about the environment and its inhabitants, and who are happy to share their stories and dives with likeminded people.

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So welcome to the scuba society! We hope you’re ready to make some memories with lots of new buddies!

We have a New PADI Master Scuba Diver in the House!

Congratulations to Brian Leighton, now officially a PADI Master Scuba Diver! This PADI course gives recognition to the most dedicated, knowledgeable and well trained recreational divers. To attain this certification, students are required to complete 5 PADI specialty courses, and log 50 dives. That’s a whole lot of underwater time!

Brian started his dive addiction at Master Divers in 2014 completing his PADI Open Water and Advanced Open water with Rob. He returned in 2015 to take Emergency First Response, Enriched Air Speciality, Deep Speciality and Wreck Speciality with Tony.

Brian came back in 2016 on the PADI Rescue Diver Course, enhancing his skills to avoid emergency situations before they arise, and to manage real emergency situations should they occur.

During the course Brian managed a very impressive rescue on Dive Master Candidate Bo.

Bo, who can only be described as “a big lad”, was a tremendous asset during the training, but at 100kgs dripping wet, took a very determined effort from Brian to carry him up the dive boat ladder.

Course Director Gaz, sizing up next to Bo
Course Director Gaz, sizing up next to Bo

Brian then stayed with us to complete his Navigation and Search and Recovery specialties with JC. The Underwater Navigator Speciality was a real challenge in poor viz, but the training kicked in and Brian looked only mildly surprised to bump into the starting point after a hexagon shaped compass course.

During the Search & Recovery Speciality, Brian and JC had lots of fun with compass, lift bag and rope – the rabbit comes out of the hole, round the back of the tree, then down the hole again Brian!

On the 27th February 2016 Brian completed his 50th dive with Mike, and so joins the best of the best in recreational scuba diving as a PADI Master Scuba Diver – very well done Sir!

Final Specialty Dives of Brian's Master Scuba Diver
Final Specialty Dives of Brian’s Master Scuba Diver

 

Why Take a Divemaster Internship?

You’ve finished your Divemaster training, so now what? You have been assisting on courses, taken workshops,  skill circuits, and been out diving with other DMT’s, but are you really ready to be out there on your own to lead customers or to conduct scuba reviews? Do you actually know what else is going on in a dive shop and what is expected of you as a full time Divemaster other than being in the water?

This is where the Divemaster internship comes in handy. Here’s why….

Fundivers and Scuba Reviews

During your internship you will take customers out in the water under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor or divemaster.

The main task as a divemaster will be taking customers out in the open water. Either you will lead them on a fundive or you will be conducting scuba reviews. During your divemaster training you might have simulated taking customers out with your fellow divemaster trainees. Maybe you solved a few assigned “problems” left or right. But in the end you have always been diving with “good” divers.

In the real world customers can be really unpredictable. Think about a customer that wants to keep diving after he/she reached 50 bar and simply refuses to go up. Think about a customer that freaks out every time he/she has to do a mask skill. Or even worse, panics every time he/she sees a 2cm big cleaner wrasse (this is a true story!).

During your internship you get to deal with such customers. In case you have a hard time handling the situation there will be an experienced instructor or divemaster nearby to assist you. Hopefully they don’t have to assist, but even then these instructors or divemaster can give you valuable feedback on how you handled the situation and how you might have done it differently!

Scuba Review

Assists

During your internship you will yet again assist on another open water course and a rescue course. As a certified divemaster you are now qualified to demonstrate every skill done in these courses, rather than just sitting there and watching how an instructor does all the work or being used as the victim for a rescue scenario.

Did you master all your skills yet?? It is very convenient to have an experienced instructor by your side to help you when a customer looks clueless after your (not so) perfect demonstration. And yet again the instructors can give you valuable feedback on how you demonstrate your skills.

Surface Marker Buoy

You will also assist on a EFR course. Are you interested in talking about medical stuff? This is your moment to find out.

The EFR course is the only non-diving related course that every dive pro has to do. Therefor it is possible to become an EFR instructor without becoming a diving instructor. As an EFR instructor you will be a great added value to a divecentre because you can take the pressure of other instructors in busy periods.

Gear/Technician Days

During your internship you will spend a day with one of the full time divemasters to clean equipment.

A good divecentre looks after its rental equipment. All gear will be washed after a daysof diving. But it is hard to clean diving equipment from the inside. Most divecentres will therefore periodically wash all equipment themselves. Most likely you as a divemaster will be responsible for this. During this cleaning process the gear will be partially disassembled so it can be inspected and cleaned from the inside in places that are normally hard to reach.

Also during your training to become a divemaster you will most likely have noticed that a lot of rental equipment has minor failures (small bubbles leaking from somewhere?!?). If not looked after this might cause a major problem. During your internship you will spend a day with one of the shops equipment technicians to see how they repair gear. This does not only give you a better inside in how diving equipment works, but maybe you might actually like tinkering with equipment.

If you do like tinkering with equipment you might look at doing your Equipment Specialist Course. Doing this course will be a major career boost! After this course you will much more valuable for a divecentre, because you can now repair and maintain the equipment!

Equipment Maintenance

Office

During your internship you will work in the office for a day. Most divemasters like to be in the water and don’t want to worry about paperwork. But unfortunately with diving comes a lot of paperwork.

If you work in a big divecentre most likely there will be a fulltime member of staff to handle most of the administration for you. If you work at a smaller divecentre, most likely you will have to do the paperwork yourself. Either way it is good to know how the administration is done. Or you will have to do it yourself or you know how to help your co-workers in the office as efficiently as possible. It’s always good to be loved by the office people, in the end they make your schedule and they pay your salary!

Social Media

During your internship you will spend half a day to see how social media works at a professional level and how this can get more customers into you divecentre.

These days social media is the most powerful tool to get customers to you divecentre. These days 99% of the customers will look at google, tripadvisor, facebook, twitter etc., before they walk into a divecentre. If you are not on there and your neighbour is, guess what divecentre they will walk in first. Therefore understanding social media is very useful for you as a divemaster.

If you are interested in social media or have some experience with using it, this may add value your CV over that of another CV because you know how to get the customers into the shop!

Social Media

Conservation

During your internship you will organize a clean-up day. This can either be a beach clean-up or a dive clean-up.

There are many articles already written about conservation, but it can’t be said enough, ocean pollution is a major issue! For some of us it’s hard to imagine, but in most countries in the world waste is either burned locally or being flooded into the ocean by streams and rivers. Plastic and glass especially are a major problem since it takes nature 100-1000 years to break these products down into reusable material.

You might not be able to solve this issue by yourself, but if you are aware of it, you can make the people around you and your customers aware of it. And then hopefully one day we can solve this problem together!!

Beach Clean Up
Beach Clean Up

 

My conclusion? A Divemaster Internship is a great way to extend your experience as a divemaster while getting useful feedback from experienced instructors and divemasters. Beside it gives you a good overview of what is expected of you when you start working as a fulltime divemaster.

Last but not least, it’s a great added value to your (still empty) CV as a new Divemaster!

 

2015 Round Up – A Year in Pictures

2015 has been a big year for Master Divers, and one in which we’ve seen a fair amount of change. But rather than bore you with a bunch of wordiness, let’s review the highlights in pictures!

We reinvented our ecological programmes. As well as our regular land and sea clean ups and weekly eco nights, we now offer Green Package options on our Open Water & Advanced Open Water courses. We also offer bespoke courses dedicated to conservation. These are run by David, our dedicated conservation instructor.

The Eco Team

We were, as in several previous years, accepted as a registered Shark Guardian Dive Centre, with whom we collaborate on marine conservation and research projects.

Shark Guardian

 

We waved goodbye to ex shareholders Ayesha and Wilco and also to manager Charlotte.

Ayesha & Wilco

Charlotte

But said hello to new business partner and manager Linzi.

 Linzi

We got a bit more into Tec, with several Sidemount Diver, Self Reliant Diver, Gas Blender, Tec 40 and Tec 45 courses.

Sidemount

We launched our new website, which you probably already know, since you’re reading it right now!

Master Divers Homepage

Be became the first dive centre on the island to begin teaching the new PADI Freediver courses.

Freedive

We became an Aqualung partner centre.

partner-center

We opened Coconut Monkey, our chilled out beachside café, right over the road from the dive centre.

Coconut Monkey

So wow, what a year it’s been – and that’s just the highlights! A big heartfelt thank you to all of our amazing staff, customers, business partners and friends who have made it such a fantastic year. We couldn’t have done it without you. Bring on more Master Divers success as we head into 2016! Happy New Year Everyone!

Night Diving – The Good, The Bad and the Alien!

When taking the Advanced Open Water Course, it’s the night dive that most people are, quite naturally, a bit wary of. Most people end up loving it, although if the correct procedures aren’t followed it can be nerve wracking. Dive Master Candidate Eain wrote a blog for us about his range of night diving experiences – the good, the bad and the alien!…

Waiting for Sunset
Waiting for Sunset

“There’s something about a night dive that makes everyone a little nervous the first time.  My experience was no different. Sitting on the edge of the boat geared up, ready to back roll into the darkness below you, nerves start to kick in. I was not sure what to expect from the dive.

For myself and my buddy, we were travelling around Indonesia and had not been under the water in around 10 months. So we were a bit rusty on our skills and wanted to get in the water before we started our PADI Advanced Open Water Certification. We chose to do a night dive as we had not had a chance to experience one before. On reflection, we should have asked – or been asked by the dive centre – to take a refresher or a shallow day dive first. Hello captain hindsight!

Going Down at Dusk!
Going Down at Dusk!

As I entered the water I was full of nerves, and it was not until we descended and got our bearings before they started to settle. Not being able to see the bottom or any topography around you, and only being able to see the spot of light from your torch can be unsettling. As the dive continued I began to relax and get a feel for the experience, although I did not manage to see a lot of marine life. The bio-luminescence from the plankton amazed me though, and when we all turned our torches to face our chests, slight movements from our hands lit up the water around us, sort of like fireworks underwater. As the dive continued with poor visibility (as our torches were not the brightest) my buddy and I managed to cause some problems.  Our lack of night dive experience coupled with time out of the water caused us to become very disorientated. Somehow we managed to ask each other for our air, and answered both thinking the other was our dive leader! Needless to say we were both low on air (50bar). Simultaneously we both signalled to go up, and then continued to the surface. Upon reaching the surface we both realised our mistake, made worse by both forgetting to perform a safety stop.

Following this the assistant surfaced, and was not too pleased with us. I can’t remember his exact words but they were not kind, and at some point he told us we should not even be certified divers, which was not a comment we were pleased to hear! Following this experience I can safely say that I was not overly keen on night diving, and did not believe it was an experience worthwhile doing. However this mentality was soon to change…

After completing my Advanced Open Water on Gili Trawangan I continued my travels to Thailand, where I decided to complete my Divemaster training with Master Divers on Koh Tao. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made as it has been a great experience. During this time, I’ve made several night dives and grown to love them. The schedule was tight for the course and the time constraints I had, so it became practical to make up dives and increase my logged dives by night diving. As I have become more experienced, I have been able to get more out of night diving, including navigation of dives sites at night, and knowing where and how to look for elusive marine life, which in some cases is far more active at night, or in some cases the opposite.  It really is an amazing experience when you do it properly – it’s a bit like being in space, and so interesting to see more marine life and note how the species and behaviour changes from what you see during the day.

Pufferfish at Night

All this led to my final dive on Koh Tao (for the time being), being a night dive at Pottery, which is a site I know well. Along with this being the best night dive I have ever been on, I would put it very close to being one of the most interesting and diverse dives I have ever done.  Perhaps symbolically, on this dive I was once again with the same buddy from my first ever night dive back in Indonesia. We managed to find 2 different species of puffer fish, some flat worms, blue spotted stingrays, several species of moray eel – some of which we need to look into as we are unsure of exactly which type they were! We also spotted the most intriguing organism which appeared at first glance to be some sort of jellyfish, only it was sitting on a small piece of coral, and it was still. Could it be some sort of star fish crossed with a jellyfish? Or perhaps it was an alien?! I did not have a camera with me so couldn’t get any pictures, but so far I am struggling to find any images or info on this organism. My research into this will have to continue, but being unable to find it makes me want to get back into the water to discover more!”

Puffer Fish

Eain’s experience is actually a pretty great case study for night diving. Can you pin point all the areas where things should/could have been done differently? It is important that you are well prepared for your first night dive, which includes having dived recently through the day, having the correct equipment, and being under the direct supervision of a PADI pro. If you’d like to learn more about night diving you can take the PADI Night Diver specialty course. Or for an altogether different experience join one of our UV Night Dives. It’s a whole different world down there at night – and it’s awesome!