Training as a PADI Divemaster will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever undertake, you will be learning and living in paradise. Before you can start you will need to have certified at all previous levels. It will depend on your agency as to what these are called but generally, you will need to have completed the following (or an equivalent):
– Open Water Diver (OWD)
– Advanced Open Water Diver (AOW)
– Emergency First Responder
– Rescue Diver
You will also need 40 logged dives and a clean bill of health. All of these can be completed at your chosen dive school in around 10 days, alternatively, you can complete them before you arrive so you are ready to hit the ground running. Even if your Divemaster training feels like it could be a long way in your future it can be worthwhile gaining all experience possible before you begin.
In New Zealand diving is typically viewed as an extension of our hunting and gathering way of life so we can enjoy delicacies like scallops and crayfish. Once certified as an OWD we have the skills required to put a meal on the table so it isn’t imperative that we qualify any further. Until you complete the more advanced courses it can be hard to truly see the value they bring to your diving experience.
Open Water will cover all the basics and allow you to dive to a maximum of 18 metres. Completing AOW will extend that to 30 metres and focus on 5 specialist dives, you will choose the dives from a range depending on where you train and these might include navigation, buoyancy, computer use, wreck diving and deep diving. Advanced is a fun course and the 30-metre limit will be very useful if you ever intend to dive on holiday. You are more likely to be taken to the interesting dive sites and may have a smaller group if you are certified to a higher level.
Emergency First Responder is an in-depth first aid course with a focus on diving-related injuries and illness. This could be the most important thing you ever do in your diving career, it really could save a life. For an adventure sport, scuba diving is incredibly safe, but there is always a chance that things could go wrong. This course equips you to deal with any situation.
Rescue Diver is a practical extension of your first aid skills and involves rescuing a drowning person, bringing an unconscious diver to the surface and treating them once onboard. You will also be subjected to what is sometimes called a ‘hell dive’ where your instructor will interfere with you and your gear to ensure you can remain calm in an emergency.
Regardless of whether your Divemaster is 10 days or 10 years away, it’s always valuable to continue your training beyond OWD. You will be more competent and confident, your new skills will allow you to explore further afield and feel completely at ease in any situation.
If you would like to know more about Divemaster training in Thailand then check out this post.