I officially became a Dive Master in training yesterday when I completed my 40 required dives to enter the program. It was easy for me to get all of the various certifications through Rescue Diver because there was a formal class and I set aside blocks of time to study. I amassed a number of additional dives but I was still 25 short. I think that this is a common problem for dive master candidates.
How Do You Get Additional Dives
It was hard for me to get the dives, in a way because it is just turning spring in Texas and it is cold. On the other hand, I have a boat so I can take diving friends along to get dives in. I went out over the weekend but the water was really cold and I only got five dives in. I was really anxious to get my underwater time taken care of so I could officially start the program. People who live on the ocean have a big advantage over people who live inland because the ocean is right there. I ultimately found a warm water spring where I could live underwater for about six combined hours over the past couple days. i was so happy when i saw dive #40 in my log book!
Start DM Training
I start my training full-throttle tomorrow. I will be assisting with a class of open water and certified scuba divers. There are many required learning skills that must be completed in order to take the dive master test and complete the program. I set my sights on finishing the program in a month so I will be working hard. During the training I will be working side by side with my instructor’s dive master. They work together really closely and I feel like I am getting two teachers for the price of one. I understand that a lot of instructors teach solo.
I am really looking forward to working on my program and gaining a lot of experience each week as I assist in class. I look at my Dive Master friend Jason. He handles so much for the instructor. It is interesting to observe the different roles in scuba diving. A class really moves really smooth with a good DM. They handle so many problems underwater, which frees up the instructors time to teach and lead dives in the training area. Students have a lot of questions and it is hard for an instructor to be there to answer them all. That is where a good DM comes in. An instructor can teach a beggar class with the assistance of a DM and that is also a plus.
Dive Master Pay Sucks
Dive Masters are a bit underpaid in the industry, from what I have seen. There is the ability to teach Emergency First Aid and CPR classes and they can also become an instructor for underwater photography to earn money. Otherwise a DM works for tips. The industry standard is $10 per tank of air used, but that seems low to me. A lot of time is spent, when you calculate the time that a DM takes out of his schedule to commute to class, teach, answer questions after and then go to lunch to do log books. DM’s often work more than anyone at the dive spot. Who do you think hauls all of the tanks and equipment around?
My advice for scuba students is to look to the dive master as a resource and pick their brain. They are very knowledgable and helpful. You’ll get more out of your learning experience.