3 Things to consider when choosing your Divemaster Training Facility
Divemaster Diary from our DMT Maggie..
Choosing to become a professional diver and turn scuba diving into a career is easy: it’s a passion that you either have or you don’t. Choosing the facility where you’ll do your divemaster training is less so. This is something that can be confusing and often lead to an undesirable training experience.
I firmly believe that you have the power to steer your life in any direction you choose: if you don’t like where you are – move. You are not a tree. So that is exactly what I did. After working in journalism, digital marketing and advertising, I left my old life behind. I launched a website aimed at empowering women and encouraging marine conservation, packed my diving gear, and boarded a plane to Quepos, Costa Rica. Here are the three factors that helped me make this decision:
What is the focus of the facility?
When searching for divemaster training facilities, you’ll find that many dive centres focus less on quality training and more on churning out as many batches of professionals as possible. (More batches = more revenue.) One way to spot this is getting copy-and-paste replies to your emails with little to no personal communication or incomplete answers to questions. At the end of the day, you aren’t just another number, so you don’t want to be treated as such. You want to be confident enough in your training and knowledge to be able to effectively relay this to your students.
Why Go Pro Costa Rica:
Georgia, the PADI Platinum Course Director here, made a conscious effort to explain everything my training will entail and what I can expect from both the dive centre as well as the lifestyle in Costa Rica. In addition, their website has many first-hand accounts of previous students and their Facebook page boasts great reviews of the training. If there isn’t much of this available, it’s a red flag.
Who will be training you?
You also need to look for more information on who your instructors will be and what level of experience they have. If a training facility doesn’t provide this, it’s likely their turnover rate is high and you’ll need to question why. Be wary of places that don’t have someone older and more experienced in charge. Not only does experience come from, well, experience, but you’ll need an older mentor to guide you through challenges as well as plan courses efficiently.
Why GoPro Costa Rica:
A female tech instructor, a retired army sergeant and a former marine patrol instructor/diver aren’t too bad, don’t you say? You can easily read more about the Oceans Unlimited staff on their website, and each of them has made massive (you could say giant) strides in their respective careers.
Is this really what you want?
If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re looking to further your scuba diving training. However, it’s important to know that a professional diving career won’t always be all moonshine and roses. Especially once you’re not a client anymore. Expect hard work, heavy lifting, and lots of clients accidentally punching you with their flailing arms underwater. You’re not even guaranteed the best marine life sightings or conditions and, in these cases, you need to do everything in your power to make the dive enjoyable for your clients. It’s not about you anymore.
Why GoPro Costa Rica:
I’ve had a bit of a bumpy start to my professional training. As a result, I knew what I was looking for. On their end, the training facility managed my expectations. I knew how many off days I’ll have, what the hours will be, what they expect of me and even what the diving is like.
Living in Costa Rica
I have been living in Costa Rica for almost two weeks now and my training has developed at a responsible and enjoyable pace. Even though my ultimate goal is to become a technical instructor just like Georgia, JT – the lead instructor on the divemaster course – always says not to worry about the sharks in the distance when there are piranhas at your feet.
So I’ll be starting with the piranhas first: my divemaster certification. During the next three months, I’ll progress from Open Water to Divemaster. The course of the progression is Open Water – Advanced – Emergency First Response – Rescue Diver – Divemaster. Follow my DM diary to see whether my optimism holds up!