Once new divers gain experience, hanging out with seasoned divers and shop staff divers, they start thinking about the next diving course they will take. The next step after open water certification, advanced open water, give divers lots of ideas since it exposes divers to different types of diving, such as wreck, boat, underwater photography, all of which have a correlating specialty course. Some divers want to challenge themselves with the rescue diver course, or even desire to work toward a professional level certification. One thing that I often get questions about, though, is the difference between a Divemaster and a Master Diver, so I would like to clear this up once and for all.
The PADI Master Scuba Diver program is not a course, per se, but rather a rating, given to a diver with significant training and experience in a variety of diving environments. In order to earn the rating of PADI Master Diver, the candidate must have his open water, advanced open water and rescue diver certifications. In addition, they must earn 5 specialty certifications and have at least 50 logged dives. It’s kind of like advanced open water, except that the diver does not stop at just one adventure dive, but instead goes on to earn the full certification in the specialty. A Master Diver has earned the highest level a nonprofessional diver can achieve. Anyone who earns the Master Diver rating deserves the respect of fellow divers for not only the number and types of dives he has done, but for also for the depth of knowledge that the Master Diver has accumulated in during his journey to the rating.
|What a wreck! A Master Diver might have the Wreck Diver Speciality!|
|Divemasters help other divers prepare to get wet!|
In order to be admitted into the divemaster program, a diver must have earned open water, advanced open water and rescue diver certifications. In addition, they must have current Emergency First Response training. Finally, they must have a minimum of 40 dives logged at the time they enroll, and have 60 by the time they complete the course. Even when a diver meets these prerequisites, however, most dive instructors will look carefully at Divemaster candidates’ habits as a diver, experience to date and attitude to decide whether to invest the time and energy to mentor them.
So which is better? Since both rankings require superior diving skills and a breadth of diving experience, which is “better” is really more a matter of what your goals are as a diver. It is sort of the difference between learning first aid to be better prepared and able to respond in some emergency situations and going to school to become an EMT. If your goal is to really stretch your knowledge and ability in diving, but you really do not want to make it a career or you do not want to be responsible for others, then the Master Diver program is your best bet. However, if you are passionate about diving, love to share your experiences with others and are looking perhaps to becoming a dive instructor, then Divemaster is your ticket!
With that in mind, when I look at divers who are interested in becoming a Divemaster, the ones who are already Master Divers or are working toward that goal go directly to the top of the list. The fact that they have invested time, energy and money into specialty courses says loud and clear, “I am passionate about diving, I love to expand my knowledge of diving, I value the expertise of my dive instructor, and I love to share my experiences with others.” In addition, having taken many courses with an instructor, they clearly know what will be expected of them in the Divemaster program.
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