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Working as a Dive Master on Koh Tao.

And so it is time for me to pack the dive bag again, the regs and tanks are serviced the masks and wetsuits are cleaned and the dive shop has had a fresh lick of paint.  There is no better feeling than looking forward to returning to what you just love to do.  With the people you love to do it with.

One asset to Master Divers is that it uses the Monsoon month (November) to have a good spring clean, while it appears the Island gets the same treatment from the weather.  Similarly a chance (from us anyway) to give the local reefs a break for there is only ever so much these fragile ecosystems can take.  A chance for everyone to rest, to relax and, to prepare for putting even more smiles on people’s faces under the surface.

After I completed my Divemaster course I set out on the path of freelancing.   This gives you a great chance to explore the realms of your new career, working with lots of different people, in a variety of dive centres, schools and facilities.  I would highly recommend it.  There is a very useful analogy when completing your Divemaster course in that it is similar to passing your driving test.  You only really learn to drive once you are on the road.  The same applies here, budding and full of enthusiasm I went to try out my new skills with big schools, little centres and some in the middle.  I learnt a hell of a lot in those first few weeks and was able to gain valuable experience in how people manage their dive crews differently and most importantly of all just what kind of career I wanted to make for myself.

I was itching to keep going with the photography however, and something inside was convincing me this is where I should take my career.

Likewise I really enjoyed training and working with the Master Divers crew.  Their professionalism, enthusiasm for diving and general training and skill levels are second to none.  Tripadvisor can boast this also, but it’s just that feeling you get in the dive centre itself.

So with by making myself useful, helpful and on hand for any task I managed to land a full time position as the centres Divemaster, and Assistant Photographer.  I’ll never forget that day, the rush of excitement, no longer was this a far-fetched dream, working in a tropical paradise holiday destination, doing a job I really loved, mainly wearing board shorts as formal business attire, this was now my reality.  I better make sure I could live up to the task…

Since then it has only been a pleasure, I have taken to learning a few more specialties to add to my quiver of skills and constantly increase my responsibilities as the team becomes more satisfied with my performance.  Once your confidence grows in the role, tasks like managing a boat full of excited customers, and staff, or ensuring all equipment is maintained and cared for becomes second nature.  There is no better reward than a bunch of excited bouncing divers reveling in the day’s dives.  Sharing stories and pictures, and eagerly filling in those log books.   This is real customer satisfaction, and job satisfaction.

For sure you can never stop learning in this role, every day will throw new challenges into your path but it is with your training, with a solid team effort, and with a love for making diving happen that will see you handle these challenges and grow from them.  If you are ever stuck for something, and certainly at a dive centre like Master Divers, the team has the time and expertise to go through it with you and make sure you learn it to handle for the next time.  From then it is no longer a challenge, more a responsibility.

In my role I now run the majority of Scuba Reviews or Tune-Ups (a great way to keep the Open Water skills fresh, for both parties), It is my job to make sure the boat goes out, on time and with everything and everyone on it.  To check the divers back onto the boat, making sure no one is left behind, and to bring everyone back safely.

With the continued extra training I now help to manage and service all the equipment we have in house, and even customers own gear if we can.  I take responsibility with Wilco in blending the Nitrox tanks and distributing them to other dive centres.

Likewise assisting Ayesha in making sure we got reels of good photographs and video to use for our Daily Dive Reports and for our customers to purchase to remember their courses, or dives.

All in all no 2 days are the same in this job, you do work hard, but it is purely for the love of what you do.  If you like diving and are interested in doing it every day (apart from when you need to dry out), then there is no better career choice or training you can do.  Master Divers is one of the best facilities to offer this level of training for sure, and the learning never stops.

Just knowing that I am heading back sends shivers of excitement down my spine, I can’t wait to get back with the team and back underwater.  As the skilled, responsible Divemaster.  For this is my job.

This is the fifth of 6 posts which I have written about being a Dive Master, starting from why I became one and  how to choose the dive center at which to take your course, , what to expect and then how to expand your knowledge and finally this one, what its like to work as a dive master. Check back to get the next installment…

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