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The Knowledge and Skills of the Divemaster

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by 73diver, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. 73diver

    73diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    I was the typical casual scuba diver (<20 dives a year) until I retired. Then I kicked it into high gear (>100 dives a year). My goal now is to experience new adventures, new challenges and continuous training and improvement of skills. I now regularly solo dive (with the certification). I public safety dive and on occasion perform technical diving (with advanced nitrox/basic deco certification). I am cautiously learning wreck exploration from the experts.

    It seems like all the public safety divers and technical divers that I dive with are also dive masters. In most cases they were divemasters first. I suspect that my colleagues have fundamental skills from their DM training that I am missing. I would like to gain the knowledge and develop the watermanship sills of the dive master but I don't have interest in teaching basic scuba or running a dive shop, etc. I suspect that I could take the DM course without the internship elements (and obviously not get the DM certification). Would there be another way to obtain the knowledge and watermanship skills of the divemaster? I was thinking that the NAUI master diver course which involves written course work and several training dives might be close to what I am looking for. Suggestions? Thanks.
  2. grf88

    grf88 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Markham, Ontario
    I suspect the mentoring you appear to be already receiving would be of much greater value than anything you could get from a DM course. Diving with others with a greater skill-set is a great way to learn.
    DivemasterDennis and Remy B. like this.
  3. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    DM is more about leadership/professional skills/approach as opposed to personal in the water scuba skills. It also starts the skills to instruct others in an assisting role.
  4. captio2000

    captio2000 PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NJ
    You seem like an accomplished diver. If you are not going to work as a divemaster, why take the course? You can sign up for PADI elearning for Dive Theory Online and get a copy of the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving and those references would probably give you what you seek. A lot of the divemaster course is focused on working with students and being a diving professional, you may not need that. In addition, the insurance for divemasters is expensive, mine was over $400 this year.
  5. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    I am intrigued by what you suspect. Can you articulate what you suspect might be one of these fundamental skills?
  6. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    I took the DM course because I wanted to improve my dive skills, not because of any interest in teaching diving. I accomplished my objective, although not in exactly the way I anticipated. But, notwithstanding my 'no interest in teaching' mindset, things happened.

    I would not pursue the DM course with the intention of only doing part of it and not earning the certification. Frankly, i would suggest going through the entire DM course - including internships, and earning the certification, but that is just my perspective. You can learn a good deal through the internships that may help you as a diver. As I mentioned, I started out with NO plans to ever teach, or become an instructor. You might find that your perspective changes a bit in going through the DM course. I started technical dive training while in the middle of my DM course, and actually finished Tec Level 1 and Tec Deep before I finished DM. In terms of what helped me become a better diver, I have to say that tec training was a more substantial overall influence. Nonetheless, refining my basic skills through the watermanship portion of DM training also helped me be more successful in tec training. It helped me focus on the precision, the fluidity, the consistency of performing each skill, and that made a difference in my diving.

    However, like virtually everything else in dive training, the Instructor - in DM and in tec - made a big difference, for me. I think I could have gotten the certifications, and not learned a great deal. Fortunately, I had good instructors.

    The fact that you see a number of PSD and technical divers who are also divemasters, in fact who were divemaster-certified first, is not altogether surprising. I believe that is less a reflection of an optimal training sequence, and more a reflection of a personality type - the diver who wants to continually improve his / her skills and looks for as many opportunities to do so as possible.
  7. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    If you follow Ebay and wait a bit you can find the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving with CD and study guide for $20 plus or minus, I haven't looked lately since I purchased mine. I has all the information for DM you need to see if you missed anything you might want to know. Also there is the Master Diver book from NAUI, that covers the same material.

    Although I have been a mentor on occasion, in all my years diving I found no reason to be a "professional" as I would rather spend my time diving instead of teaching. It all depends on what you like to do, and my take is that if OP had wanted to be a DM it would be a done deal by now.

  8. darrenlowjq

    darrenlowjq Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
    I'm going to cut right to the chase and recommend GUE Fundamentals, if your goal is to improve fundamental skills. Can't comment on NAUI MSD since I've no experience with NAUI. I wouldn't recommend signing up for a DM course to further your skills because as previous posters have mentioned, its more about moving to an instructional role rather than furthering your own skills. I felt like the most benefit in terms of furthering my skills in the DM course I did came from getting lots of in-water time while helping out with classes, but there's nothing stopping you from getting more in-water time on your own.
  9. FinnMom

    FinnMom ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Finland
    I too think you would get much more from classes like fundies and intro to tech, as well as other intro-level tech courses. Doing the free labor and learning to teach and handle students is not what you are looking for just now, seek a class that better meets your desires.
  10. CuracaoJ

    CuracaoJ Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Curacao
    I would agree with Darren, as well as many of the others. DMs (and especially good DMs) will have good skills for a variety of reasons. Lots of water time, probably lots of remediation and endless drills through their skill circuit to get to demo quality, personality types etc. etc. Most, if not all of that you can gain on your own just through practice and spending time in the water. While I have never taken fundies I dive with a lot of people that have and every single one of them has great skills, most better than an "Average" DM imo. Certainly worth checking out.

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