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The nature of the business is that of the old ski-bum, golf-bum, or surfer dude who lives out of his car and works at the local shop so he can play his sport unencombered by real life. Many DM for the boat ride and the free fills so they can dive, dive, dive.
Divemasters are the backbone of the industry, but as a job it does not offer a living pay.
Salary? Doesn't that presume money is somehow involved? Hahahaaaa!!!!!! Actually, there used to be a time when you could make a couple bucks, but those days are over (in my humble opinion). Divemasters, forget about making a dime there.
Not an easy question to answer. There are so many factors to consider - and many steps to increase pay. Location is a big factor for one. Being a DM or instructor on the mainland is much different than in Hawaii for example. Here in the islands it can be a full time job without question. The ole stale response of "Ya don't do it for the money" hold true and it isnt easy to make a lot of money at times - but like anything - if you are good at what you do and have the passion and drive...
Anyway, I know many people who make a good living doing it here in the islands. Instructor rating is a must here though. Adding videography, photography, or certainly a Captains ticket help a lot. On the mainland I believe that most DM's/instructors make it a part time job unless they are managing or owning.
Being located in a resort/dive destination you also greatly increase your set earnings with gratuities.
All that being said it is possible here to make $40 in a day - and it is also possible to make $250+ in summer months. Usually it's somewhere in the middle. As I said B4 lots of factors determining which happens.
Maybe a moderator could post a DM/instructor salary survey request to the double secret instructors only board and then somehow transfer the info to the unwashed proletariate in the public space without identiying the respondents?
The threads are already there. As a rule DM's work at best for free fills and kick backs. In resort locations they live from tips and other sources of income.
Professional instructors in big resort locations like Cancun can make up to about 20k a year give or take. A few make more but they're really the exceptions.
Instructors and DM's like many on Scubaboard who treat teaching as a hobby-job generally don't make enough to get ahead. The odd one has to lay-in for the honor and most more-or-less break even.
How do you live off $80 dollars a month?? How do people make enough money to live? Do you HAVE to own your own scuba shop to make any money in this business? I can understand having 2 jobs, I have that right now, that doesn't bother me. I guess I just assumed they would make more than .50 an hour. What about instructors? No one has mentioned anything about them. If me and my husband want to make a living off this sport someday how do we do that? Is it possible?
Gary is a police diver. The $80 is just for the diving part. He probably gets paid more for the police part.
To "live" is to buy food, pay rent and all your bills and have enough to spend on occasion.
To "live" as a DM is to avoid bills and rent. You don't buy food either.... you hang around with your clients after the dive and act entertaining until they give you beer and let you eat a few of their french fries. If that doesn't work then you skulk around the alley ways and steal from dogs.
.... Or, you could do what a lot of professional DM's do, which is to DM during the day, wait tables at night and learn how to live on 6 hours of sleep.