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Should I get PADI Dive Master?

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by Kirk Bauer, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Kirk Bauer

    Kirk Bauer Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    I would like to learn more skills for when my daughter is old enough to SCUBA (in 2 years). I also have Dive Instructor as a possible future early retirement job for myself. Certainly it sounds like I'd learn quite a bit.

    I have heard about liability insurance requirements for Dive Masters. What if I get the Dive Master rating but don't use it professionally for 5 or even 10 years? Do I need to pay insurance or do other items to keep it current? Can I let it go dormant and resume down the Dive Instructor path in the future when I'm ready?
  2. GetDownScuba

    GetDownScuba Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Virginia
    Pretty sure you only need it if you are acting as a DM as opposed to just having the DM cert
    Wildbill likes this.
  3. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    With PADI you can have the DM cert. and be (or become after working a while) an inactive DM. You pay no PADI membership and need no insurance since you're not working. To then become active (or active again) you have to pay for those 2 things and I believe do something easy online to bring yourself back to working status.
    Insurance is a lot less if you are covered for only assisting on courses as opposed to also teaching courses that a DM can lead or DMing on charters.
    People will chime in and say there are better ways to go to improve your diving other than the (costly) DM course. What the PADI DM course does most for you as far as your own diving goes is require you to perform the (24) skills up to demonstration quality. Good practice, but not necessary and perhaps better to wait the 5-10 years and do DM closer to when you want to do the instructor course. Good idea to do a fair bit of assisting in between DM and instructor, though many do not.
    Blueringocto_73 and ScubaRob0311 like this.
  4. NothingClever

    NothingClever Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    Kirk, rather than falling in on the PADI progression model (“join the elite and become an instructor”), why not simply spend the money on increasing the frequency and number of dives under your belt?

    You’re very likely to pay someone else (you trust) to train your daughter in her JOW course but that doesn’t diminish or degrade your value as a role model. Me thinks it’s better to have some proven skills on various dive profiles and the experience gained from those dives to share with her rather than getting certified to be a chlorine commando.

    I did an Atlantic side drift dive in Florida back in March and there were three of us....a seasoned guide from Palau, myself and a PADI instructor who somewhat boasted of his 1000(+) dives. We lost him on the second dive. When he got back on the boat, he concluded his number of dives in the pool with JOW students probably weren’t as big of an accomplishment as he had thought. Yet, PADI led him to believe he was part of the elite.

    I simply encourage you to explore definitions of success beyond the confines of the PADI solar system.
  5. NothingClever

    NothingClever Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    Slight correction to last...

    Meant to write, “....his number of dives in the pool with OW students....”

    Didn’t mean to imply any correlation between the JOW course your daughter will take and the OWSI who got lost after talking up his thousand(+) dives.
  6. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Hi @Kirk Bauer

    You don't say what your current training level is, you do list just 25-49 dives. You also don't say under what conditions you have and plan to dive. Unless you intend on trying to work as a DM, I would postpone that plan for now. AOW/Rescue would put you in a better position regarding assisting your daughter when she starts diving. Additional dive experience, under a variety of conditions will do the same.
  7. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    ***Edited to disclose that I am largely writing about PADI in my post below. I have no experence with other divemaster courses/certifications, but I am a NAUI MD and a PADI DM.***

    DIvemaster training/certification does not make you a better diver. It is not structured to teach you diving skills, nor should it...when you decide to engage in this course of training you are making a statement about your skillset in that you believe your skills are good enough to be considered a professional. What the training does is ensure your skills meet the standards to be considered "demonstration" quality. The training scenarios for the course are designed to test/evaluate your abilities to do things like deliver a dive brief, react to issues underwater, to effectively lead a group, respond to an emergency, etc. The classroom/online portion is a review of expectations of a divemaster (roles and responsibilities), organizational standards, and to some degree liability issues.

    Divemaster is the gateway to work as a professional in the recreational diving industry, it is not a course that is designed to make you a better all around diver. There is nothing, for example, in the coursework that explains or works on improving your buoyancy, and there is nothing in the coursework that really explains how to convey/teach better buoyancy to another diver(s)...the expectation is that you have good buoyancy and your diving style/technique will serve as the example for the students you assist and the clients you are hired to serve.

    If you do not plan to work as a divemaster then I would strongly recommend not paying the time and money to obtain the certification. You potentially increase your liability....for instance, as an advanced open water diver, you find yourself diving with a friend who is struggling yo maintain neutral buoyancy, so after pointing and signaling you instinctively take hold of their inflator and injectsome air, your friend a moment later rises in the water column and doesn't purge the air so they rise faster and have an uncontrolled ascent to the surface where they find themself injured due to dcs/dci...while you may have regrets there is not much liability, as an AOW, diver in the fact that your partner could not manage their buoyancy. If you were do the same holding a divemaster cert, the moment you touch and control your partner's equipment underwater you just changed your liability scenario significantly. In the former you are just buddies....in the latter, when you physically take control of their equipment you have injected yourself as a professional from a legal/liability standpoint. Be sure you are aware of issues like this before earning the cert...and be sure if you want to introduce that paradigm into your diving.

    IF you are not planning to work as a DM for 5-10years then wait until you are closer to being ready to work as a professional, after a period of inactivity I believe orgs like PADI make you repeat some or all of your DM training before they will accept you as an "active" professional again.

    Good luck whatever you choose to do.

  8. Scraps

    Scraps ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Florida

    Another perspective on the PADI DM course from someone who is in the middle of it.

    Like you, I'm not planning to make a living in diving. I retired early, I enjoy diving, and it would be nice if DM'ing or teaching defrayed some of the costs of this expensive hobby. But my primary motivation is to become a better, safer, and more knowledgeable diver.

    Practicing the skills to demonstration quality has been useful, but as Zef pointed out, it's not designed to make you a better diver.

    What does seem to be helping me become a better diver has been helping out with as many OW and AOW classes as possible. (As a DM candidate who has completed the on-line learning portion of the course, I am allowed to help with classes, but my presence does not affect the student:teacher ratios the way the presence of a real DM would.)

    This also reduces the effective cost of the course because I get a lot of free diving in--the shop provides my tanks when I'm helping with a class and I don't have to pay entry fees at the dive sites. I get a lot of practice watching students to prevent and address their problems, and a lot of practice with my own diving, navigation, in-water communication, and general awareness as I try to set a good example. And the instructors give positive feedback after each class. I feel like I'm learning and improving every time I help with a class--enough so that I'm helping with a lot more than the required number of sessions.

    I agree with those who say the DM course isn't specifically designed to make you a better diver, but if you make it your goal, you can use the course to become a better diver.

    Best wishes,
    Trailboss123, bmorescuba and Hoyden like this.
  9. Sh0rtBus

    Sh0rtBus BUBBLLLLLLES! My Bubbles ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denton, TX
    As a current DM for another agency, I'll add in my two cents for consideration. Short answer....unless you plan on working as a DM or assisting instructors with classes, skip the DM training and spend your money on something more worthwhile if you're looking to hone your skills better. If you're not planning to be a working DM, either go a Master Scuba Diver (MSD) class, which is nearly the same thing without the liability and a little less of the business side of things. Either that or consider a GUE Fundamentals (Fundies) class. If you really want to dial in your skills, that's the way to do it. And just dive as often as you can.

    As someone else mentioned, Rescue is a great class for you to take to prepare you for when your daughter is ready to dive. It teaches more than just how to rescue someone. Not sure what PADI's Rescue Diver course entails, but the two I took (NASE and NAUI Advanced) focused a lot on diver awareness. Not so much yourself, but your buddy and other divers. It teaches you how to recognize potential issues in other divers at all stages of a dive (both in and out of water) to prevent incidents/accidents from occurring. And it's a lot of fun!

    I'm not certain how old your daughter is, but judging from your initial post, I'm assuming she'll get certified at 10? That being the case, after you've taken Rescue, consider taking a Solo Diver course. It's actually the next course I'll be taking myself and here's why. No, not so I can do dive by myself. As a working DM, I sometimes do that anyway. Maybe I'm swimming down to a training platform and tying off a float, or maybe I'm looking for a student's dropped mask/fin/etc. My reasoning is more important than that. As a DM, and this applies to diving with your daughter and me with my 10 yr old son who finished up his open water two weeks from now, I'm usually essentially diving solo. If you think about it, I'm constantly diving with new students that really probably wouldn't be able to assist me in an emergency situation. Same with diving with my son. Yes he'll be a certified diver and will have done air share drills, etc. but can I really feasibly count on him to help me if the SHTF? I want to say yes, but realistically, better to err on the side of caution and say No. It's my understanding that the Solo Diver course teaches lots of redundancy and how to be self-reliant above all else. So for that reason, it's almost imperative that I have that training.

    So again, the short answer to your question is No. Unless you actually plan on working as a DM, your money and efforts are better spent on other training.
  10. NothingClever

    NothingClever Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean

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