Sunday, 27 May 2007

Join the angels of the sea

Something happened to me during 1997 that changed my life forever. I learnt to do something that I could turn to for the rest of my life, knowing that it would bring me the greatest relaxation and sense of freedom I could probably ever expect to experience. It sounds like a wonder drug, and in some sense it is... So, what is it? Well it's scuba diving of course!!



During 2003, I decided to quit the rat race and pursue a career in scuba diving. It was one of the most worthwhile ventures of my life to date, and so within this blog I'd like to share the knowledge I have already accumulated so that you too can experience the meditational beauty of scuba diving - and what's more - get paid for it too... My life scuba diving - has by no means come to end, and so as my knowledge of working within this field grows - so it will be shared with you...

Scuba diving offers all of us the opportunity to travel around the world, experiencing different cultures, enjoying the beauty of the underwater world, and receiving some income too. The level of income you receive depends on the route that you take - and there are of course advantages and disadvantges related to each route.

Working as a PADI divemaster is your first step into earning an income from diving.
As a divemaster you basically act as an underwater tour guide for people that are already qualified to dive. You may also support instructors when they are training.

Now I would generally recommend that you spend some time working as a divemaster before you become an instructor, whilst the training will provide you with all of the knowledge you need, there is no replacement for experience and time under the water. But aside from this, there are a number of benefits to working just as a divemaster and not as an instructor.

1. As a divemaster you are not really responsible for the people that you are leading around a dive site. Sure you will need to act responsibly and look out for your guests, but as qualified divers they really should be able to look after themselves to some extent. Your job as a divemaster will be to show them all the wonderful critters on a dive site, and lead them around the site ensuring their safe return to the boat.

2. As you are taking already qualified divers fun diving, you will usually be taking your guests to the best dive sites within your locality. This means that you also get to see all the best of the underwater world. Once you start working as an instructor, you may well end up at the worst sites fairly regularly, and instead of focussing on what there is to see out there - you will be focussing on doing practical expercises in the sand with your students.

3. As a qualified divemaster you will be able to earn a small income, and if you live your life very carefully - it may well sustain you. It really depends where abouts in the world you are as to whether you can work, and what your potential earnings will be. More posts coming later will explore the different countries and what the reality of working as a divemaster is, but certainly in Thailand and Malaysia - you may well just be able to make ends meet. I know people who manage to do it. It is very tight, and you would be wise to have some financial back up. For that reason, I would suggest that it is a temporary career, or even a means to scuba diving and travelling in a far more economic way, than actually paying to dive. Indeed there is no greater buzz than leading 4 cool, qualified divers around a dive site, and enjoying the dances of the angels of the sea - Manta Rays. It is an amazing buzz in itself, and when you remember that someone is actually paying you to do it as well - well - that is just awesome and in fact quite surreal...

4. Another benefit to spending some time working as a divemaster, is the number of transferable skills you will develop. There are key skills that you will need to develop such as leading a group of people, presenting the dive plan to your group, and generally ensuring that they have a great time from beginning to end, whilst maintaining their safety and confidence in your ability and knowledge... These skills will stand you in good stead for whatever future career you may move into, whilst simultaneiously doing wonders for your confidence and self esteem.

5. The majority of the people you will be leading will be on a holiday, or an extended travelling trip - this means that in some cases (depending on locality), they will be wanting to party in the evenings. The social aspect that comes with working in the dive industry is ideal for those of you that love to party. If you prefer a quieter, perhaps more mature social scene - then just be more selective in the area you choose you to dive, and the dive operation you work for... There is a place and a dive operation for the greates partiers - to the quietest introverts - just do your homework first...

That concludes my brief introduction to working as a divemaster. There is a lot more information to consider, and I also have recommendations on where you can train and work. These will all come over time - but in the meantime if you have any questions please feel free to comment below. Equally - if you have any personal experiences of working as a divemaster - please also contribute here...

Check out the PADI website www.padi.com - for more information on the PADI diving career ladder....

1 comment:

Ruby in Bury said...

I went scuba diving in about 10 years ago now in Mombasa, Kenya. It was an experience I've never forgotten - it was amazing! Great article - it's reminded me how much I enjoyed it and made me want to have another go when I get the chance!