The Divemaster course

For some the ticket to overseas employment is found in taking a course in teaching English.  However, more adventurous souls will find that the life of an English teacher abroad isn’t particularly fun or exciting and won’t provide you with many anecdotes which will impress your friends.  It’s certainly not something for someone who enjoys hard work, the outdoors and beach life. 

Thankfully, there is an alternative, as qualified dive instructors are in demand the world over.  The first step on the professional diver ladder is attaining Divemaster status.  Prior to taking your Divemaster course you will have to have taken Advanced Open Water, Rescue & first aid courses plus have completed 20 logged dives (60 logged dives are required before certification can be granted). 

The knowledge and skills required to achieve Divemaster certification can be taught in a 2 or 3 week course but are best learnt by spending time working as an intern in a dive school. All dive schools on Koh Chang offer a Divemaster course/internship, but what exactly will you learn about?  Exact content may vary from school to school but the overview below will give you an idea of what to expect:

Divemaster Course Overview

A. Watermanship and Skill Assessment

1. Watermanship and Stamina
Must score 100%, i.e.12 out of 12 points

  • 400 yard swim (366 m)
  • 15 minute tread (hands out of water for last 2 minutes)
  • 800 yard snorkel swim (732 m)
  • 100 yard Inert Diver Tow (91 m)

2. General Diving Skills
Must score 60%, i.e. 36 out of possible 60 points.  Each of 12 skills must be performed to a level of 3 out of 5.

  • 12 basic skills are learned and performed in open water training

3. Problem Solving Assessment
Must score minimum of a 3 out of 5

  • Equipment exchange involving buddy breathing

4. Diver-Rescue Skill Assessment

  • Simulated Rescue of an unconscious diver

B. Knowledge Development

Must score 75% in each of 8 tests covering the following:

  • Dive Planning
  • Dive Management and Control
  • Supervising Students in Training
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Equipment
  • Skills and Environment
  • Recreational Dive Planner

Required / Useful Reference Materials

  • PADI Open Water Manual
  • PADI’s Adventure in Diving
  • PADI Rescue Diver Manual
  • PADI Divemaster Manual
  • Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving
  • PADI’s Diving Knowledge Workbook
  • The Wheel Instructions for Use and Study Guide

Additional Assignments

  • Emergency Assistance Plan for diving emergencies in local area
  • Map of shoreline and underwater terrain of a local open water training site selected by the instructor

C. Practical Application

1. Underwater mapmaking

2. Pool-Skills Overview

  • Demonstrate critical skills in PADI Modular Scuba Course
  • Demonstrate common problems and solutions

3. Role of  Divemaster in Confined-Water Training

  • Student control
  • Recognize and respond correctly to common problems
  • Conduct acceptable demonstration of skill performed by student

4. Role of Divemaster in Open-Water Training

  • Functioning as in instructional assistant

5. Role of Divemaster in Non-training Activities

  • Environmental and diver assessment
  • Conduct dive briefing
  • Diver supervision
  • PADI Environmental Orientation Dive

Remember that although your Divemaster training teaches you the skills outlined above, other practical skills and knowledge – such as running a dive shop, maintaining equipment, handling customers etc are better learnt through experience rather than taught formally.