How has everyone been doing? Missing the blue? 😉
So.. Let’s say you have some free time and you want to be a PADI Divemaster. From my personal experience I would like to share a little insight on what you should consider before starting a DIvemaster training course.
1. Internship Vs. Paying for a course.
Some places around the world offer Divemaster training for free in exchange for working a certain length of time at the dive centre (organizing boats, sitting at the office, doing paper work, greeting guest, filling tanks, cleaning equipment etc.) This is generally not offered here in Gili Trawangan, as the working visa rules do not permit foreigners to work without a special visa but other countries have different rules. A free can Internship can be perceived as cheaper but it means less time focusing on the actual training aspects of the course, and less time spent diving and in the water. This method of training can also take longer which could work out more expensive in the long run when food and accommodation costs are considered. Paying for your training might seem a bit more expensive at first, but it is generally more fun and means more time is focused on the skills you need to be a good Divemaster. It also means you might be in a position to gain paid employment sooner, and thus get rewarded for your newly gained professional qualification, as opposed to working for free.
Give it enough time! The more time you put into your training course, the more you can gain and learn from it. Give a chance to work with multiple instructors to see different styles of working and to get a variety of feedback on your performance as a trainee. Even every instructor learns something new on every dive they do. I’m not saying that people who do their Divemaster course in two weeks will be less good, different people need different lengths of time to gain confidence, build skills and practice all the required tasks and putting more time into it is never a bad thing. Here at Blue Marlin Dive in Gili Trawangan, we encourage our divemaster trainees to do everything pADI requires several times before finishing your training to get the most out of the learning. It’s just going to be more fun if you can put more time to it and you’ll practice more, and hopefully be a more knowledgeable, skilled and confident divemaster at the end of the training.
You want to do your divemaster course in a place where diving is an everyday occurrence. Not one dive trip every five days. Check the place where you are going to be staying as well. Hows the island life? The security? If by any chance I have an ear infection, cannot dive and not doing anything, will I be bored to death or will there be something else to do? What are the Emergency medical facilities like, and how close is the nearest hyperbaric chamber? Also go for a dive shop that can give you extra training and more knowledge. Let’s say during your training you see people diving with Twin Tanks, Sidemount, Rebreather, going deeper with Trimix, etc. It’s always good to have more options to improve and build further skills. Even if you’re not immediately planning on doing these courses yourself, talking to all of these people and seeing new things helps build your understanding and knowledge more on how things work and the further diving possibilities available. Luckily, here at Blue Marlin Dive we have a Technical dive division where all of these further courses are possible….
High season means there are more courses and a greater variety of courses for you to assist on it; low season means less courses but you will have the instructors undivided attention. Also think of the weather conditions at the time you are going to be staying, you don’t want to find yourself somewhere where boats are cancelled regularly during your training due to rough conditions. Luckily, here in the Gili islands, we have a 12 months diving season, so divemasters are welcome all year round and there is always something to do, we dive every single day 365 days a year!
5. Should I buy my own equipment?
YES! YES! YES! I strongly suggest that you at least have the basics. A Dive computer is pretty essential. As you are going to be diving everyday, you don’t really want to use a rental computer, or if you do use one, you should make sure that you use the same one every time you dive. The other basics I would highly recommend are at least a Wetsuit, a Mask and Snorkel, a Surface Marker Buoy and Fins. If you can squeeze out more go get your own BCD and Regs, invest on a nice one. It means you will dive more if you have your own equipment that you are comfortable with. Ask around, read reviews on what to buy. Look for reviews from customers points of view. Don’t just read what the manufacturers say or blindly listen to the sales person at the dive shop (you can always ask me as well 😉 Equipment is my special area of expertise!!!
6. The Instructor!
You want your instructor to be knowledgeable about diving, apply safe diving practices, follow the PADI standards, but above all you want your instructor to be the person to talk to in case you need some help in your program. They should be able to dedicate some good time with you and talk about your program. If you think that you can’t connect well with your Instructor; address this problem to them and if it still persist it is no problem to get another mentor! Don’t wait! (especially if you’re paying)
7. Have fun!
This is the most important part of doing your Divemaster program 😉