The PADI Divemaster program is the first step on the PADI professional ladder. It is an intense program that ultimately teaches you to be an instructors assistant and certified dive guide. This process involves a number of exercises and tasks that you need to complete during your training process.  So that you have a better idea everything that will need to be covered, we have broken it all down for you here so you can be as prepared as possible if you are looking at starting a Divemaster program soon or in the future.  


Something to consider

Divemaster training can vary greatly in time commitment depending on what your experience level is entering the program. Even with your prerequiste certifications in place, I would recommend at least a month commitment to the program at a minimum. Check out our post on Divemaster course length to get a better idea.

scuba diving costa rica


So first up is prerequisite for the Divemaster course you will need to have your rescue diver, a current CPR certification, at least 40 dives. In addition, you will need  a medical signed off by a doctor indicating you are “fit to dive” . Even if you indicate “no” on the medical form you would need to get signed off by a doctor as it is a professional scuba course.

Watermanship tests

As a PADI Divemaster you need to demonstrate a certain level of fitness.  You will show this with 5 different watermanship tests through which you would get an accumulative score.  These are;

400m swim – any stroke but must be non-stop

800m snorkel – non-stop

100m tired diver tow

15 minute float or tread – of which the last three minutes are with your hands and wrists out of the water.

Equipment exchange – exchanging all equipment whilst sharing air. This includes BCD, regulator fins and masks. 

Best advice for these is to maintain a relatively good level of fitness. As a Divemaster you may need to rescue someone, swim a distance or tow someone in which case this will assist you. 

Your last test in this section will be your rescue, where you will have to rescue a certified diver, from a depth of at least 25ft, bring them to the surface, get them onboard the boat and rescued. Similar to your rescue certification.


teaching during a padi idc
PADI divemaster course


There are some base skills that you will be practicing over and over again during your training. One is in confined water. This may be a pool or it may be in a sheltered bay depending on where you are completing your training. You will practice and then get marked on demonstrating all of the scuba skills that you completed for your open water. This is so that you will be able to redemonstrate them to students and certified divers. These include mask remove and replace, regulator recovery, hovering and alternate air source. A total of 24 skills are what you will need to practice and then be able to do to instructor level standard.

Another skill includes dive briefing, where you will practice breifing clients about dive sites and safety briefings on boats.

Site Set up is another skill where you will be expeceted to completely set up a dive site. In our centre we go the step further and ask that you are in charge of the boat. Checking clients, instructors and more.

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As a PADI Divemasters job can be so varied, there are a number of training workshops that you will take part in to prepare for that.

Deep Diving

– The first of these is the Deep diving workshop. Where you will look at preparing deep dive equipment, simulating emergency decompression stops and some of the additional logistics for deep diving.

Search and Recovery

– During this workshop you will practice essential knots used in Search and recovery including the Bowline, two half hitches and the sheet bend. You will plan and execute underwater searches and practice lifting objects from the bottom.


– The scuba refresh program where you will practice demonstration skills and assisting divers who have been out of the water for a while to get them back in the water.

Advanced Snorkeler

– This was originally called the skin diver. Here you will practice teaching students advanced snorkeling techniques including duck diving and clearing a snorkel.

Mapping Project

– You will have to produce a map of a dive site during your training. This is normally done with other Divemaster trainees. You will dive on and then map out a dive site. It needs to be of a standard that other 

Practical Application

The last section of your Divemaster training is assisting instructor through different courses and guiding. Each of these will have to be completed a number of times to ensure that you have mastery and complete understanding of your role.

Open water course confined water

– Working with an instructor you will learn how to be the perfect assistant. Demonstrating to students and helping them through their problems.

Open water course open water

– Again assisting instructors on the open water program but this time during the open water dives.

Discover scuba diver Confined water

– Working with discover scuba participants you will learn how to present, teach and guide them through the program.

Discover Scuba Open water

– This involves a lot of control as you lead the participants on their second open water dive, showing them the underwater world.

Discover Local Diving and Leading certified divers

-To me, these both fall under the same category. You  will practice briefing, leading and guiding certified divers in your open water environment. There should be lots of times to practice these essential skills as you gain confidence underwater.

So in conclusion, what are the requirements to become a PADI Divemaster

You are looking at the following;


  • First step – online academics including 2 exams

  • Watermanship tests – swim, snorkel, float and tired diver tow

  • Equipment exchange and Diver Rescue

  • Mapping project and Skill circuit demonstrations

  • Divemaster workshops – Search and Recovery, Deep, ReActivate and Advanced Snorkeling, Discover Local Diving

  • Practical Applications – Assisting on Open water course in Confined, Open water course in Open water, Continuing education course, Leading certified divers and Discover scuba diving program in both confined and open water.

Ther is a lot to cover and you want to do it to the best of your ability so don’t rush your training. Find a center that is a good fit and slowly work your way through the program. 

Good Luck!