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Becoming a Better Diver on my PADI Divemaster Course – by Katie Woodroffe


It has been seven weeks since I arrived on Koh Tao and an amazing six weeks of PADI Divemaster training. Each day I feel as though I am a step closer to becoming an instructor, something that was nothing more than a dream just a year ago. Not only am I realising this, along with growing as a more competent and safer diver, I am realising that this training is only increasing my passion to share the underwater experiences with others. The courses I have been able to assist with and observe instructors teach has been unforgettable, fun and exciting. Seeing a nervous PADI Open Water Diver progress through the course to the final dives of the course, approaching them in a confident manner and seeing the big grins on their faces whenever a fish passes them is quite a humbling experience.

Because of Master Divers role model environmental stewardship, every student and fun diver that walks away from Master Divers is that little bit more connected to the underwater world, its intricate ecosystems and its fragile state. It is thanks to this, often life changing experience, that as divers they feel empowered to spread the message of the importance of protecting the oceans. I always knew that being a professional scuba diver would put me in the perfect position to educate and empower, and now I am realising how special this actually is.



My first week of the PADI Divemaster Course consisted of a pretty intense seven days reading the PADI Divemaster Manual and attending academic reviews where we would discuss what we learnt. We also attended a fair few in-water workshops and assessments such as search and recovery, skin diver courses, timed swims and treads, PADI Discover Scuba Diving, PADI Discover Local Diving, Deep Dive Scenario and Dive Site Set up and Management, including acting as Boat Master and delivering dive briefings.

Since then, I have spent some time assisting on courses such as PADI Open Water and PADI Continuing Education (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and PADI Specialty Courses) as well as spending a lot of time practicing leading dives and navigating around the local dive sites. Let’s just say, I think all Divemaster Candidates can agree with me there’s nothing more satisfying than looking up and seeing you’ve found the right boat at the end of a fun dive!!



We have also been lucky enough to attend regular Eco talks with conservation instructor Hayley, and workshops led by our PADI Course Director Gaz, on adaptive teaching techniques. We have also joined some customers on a Conservation dive where we collected data for Coral Watch and took water samples.



During my PADI Open Water course last year, I remember thinking that the way PADI develops its training material and runs the courses is very clever. The PADI student manuals assist and guide the learning, providing a mental framework to each, well divided, chapter. These chapters have Study Objectives throughout, and are often phrased as questions, which are great to answer upon reading each chapter. The self-assessments at the end of each chapter help transfer what you have learnt from your short term to long term memory. Along with the chapter scenarios, case studies and PADI videos, this learning framework remains the same throughout any PADI course, therefore you can jump straight into a course and already be familiar with the set up and the learning method. The Divemaster training has been set up exactly like this. Much of what we are learning links back to our PADI Open Water and PADI Rescue Diver courses, just in a lot more detail and geared towards the business of diving. Thanks to the familiarity of the set up and learning methods, it is easy to connect courses together and build a strong foundation on top of the previous course.

To begin training for the PADI Divemaster Course, divers need at least 40 logged dives, be PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced Open Water and PADI Rescue Diver certified, at least 18 years of age and have a recently gained or refreshed Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care. It is a course that covers everything you need to know about diving, how it effects your physiology, how to be a great leader, how diving businesses work and how the role of a Divemaster can help the business grow. Yet it doesn’t have to be a course that is only taken by people looking to work within the diving industry. It is a great course for any divers that are looking for a challenge. It is a course with a lot to offer. It helps create confidence and competence involving yourself and fellow divers, developing knowledge that will help handle yourself in all situations. These fellow divers become part of your family, you work as a team in every sense and they help you discover a whole new aspect to SCUBA diving, whilst also exploring a whole new location underwater. Oh, and I forgot to mention, we dive every day. What diver would not want that?!



The PADI Divemaster course can be completed in as little as a month, but a little longer is preferable. The longer time spent assisting instructors and perfecting leading and navigation skills, the better prepared you will be for the PADI Instructor Development Course. I will soon be looking at drawing a close on my Divemaster training, with the closing week being just as intense and assessed as the first week – I still have a little way to go. This course is much more than a qualification. It provides people with key skills that can be used elsewhere in life as well as unique life experiences and the chance to meet new people everyday that share a love for the ocean.




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