You want to take the Divemaster challenge? With the PADI Divemaster course it is your first rung on the ladder to becoming a professional diver. With so many options out there you have to really research your options well, and look at what is the best fit for you.
Here on the pacific coast of Costa Rica I pride myself on the quality of the Divemaster program that we offer. We have extremely comprehensive training including self reliant and equipment maintenance. I want to make sure that as a Divemaster you are ready for anything. So, I will admit that we don’t have the best conditions all year. But that is what makes it more of a Divemaster challenge! By training in trickier conditions your skills as a Divemaster are really polished. So, here are my reasons for taking up more of a challenge when you complete your Divemaster.
1. Your Navigation is the bomb
One of the most important skills as a PADI Divemaster is that you physically have to lead divers around underwater. Divemaster challenge: You have to know your way around. Maybe you have to find a boat or a mooring line. So, first up is honing your compass skills. Divemaster challenge: Can you read a heading on the compass, follow it and return? In the Caribbean that is super easy and I have seen many students pretend they were following the compass when they were just heading to a marker they could see in the distance.
Here in the Pacific you may have low viz which means you REALLY have to follow your compass and know how to naturally navigate. What are the currents doing? The surge? By learning all of that you can get a really good sense of direction and practice it before you start leading. Once out in the waters around the world, everything else you can take in your stride.
2. Control, control, control
Control of your group that you are scuba diving with is super important. Sometimes you do this from the boat, sometimes from in the water. I remember when I learnt in the Caribbean, I could count 12 sets of bubbles just by looking around. Not the case when I moved to Costa Rica. You swim backwards, check consistently and I am always watching the tide and water movement. Now, yes, I checked my divers before, but now even more. Obviously as an instructor but as a Divemaster also. Divemaster challenge: Look at where they are moving, what the water is doing, really keeping track. I know, that training our guys to do that and have control of a group in these conditions, means it will be safer and more secure in any conditions for whoever is diving with them. Thats the goal right?!
My briefings have always been comprehensive but with things like surface currents and surge to deal with at different times of year, it’s important to cover this with your divers. You need to plan ahead for any of the unlikely things that the ocean may throw at you as well as your divers. Some divers aren’t used to tougher conditions so you may see slightly heightened stress which you want to eliminate immediately.
As a Divemaster you learn how to brief and when training in these conditions you will get real life experience to brief for many different scenarios as well as dealing with them. Sudden surge, drop in visibility. All can be planned for so it is important to be as organized as possible for this. You can be organized by prepping your brief and having all of your equipment ready to go. You will practice this and your organization of your dive group will be better for it.
4.Get down and dirty with the local reef life
I always remember when you scuba dive in clear water you just kinda float along. You look around in all directions and things swim past. Once you have been there for a while, you start to look closer at the reef. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but i always love more of a challenge.When we get divers here we have to explain that when the viz drops, obviously not all year, they can’t just bob along hoping a turtle will pop up in front of them. You have to get down and dirty and really explore the reef and its life. You start to notice a lot of the macro residents and relationships that maybe you would’ve glided past. How cool is that? As you get to appreciate the reef life more you can pass that information to your divers so they get a whole new appreciation as well. Fun dives and ocean love here we come!