I did my PADI Divemaster training at PERI PERI Divers in Tofo in Mozambique. PADI has pretty strict guidelines on how to run the course. Nevertheless, it also depends on the respective dive shop how your course is designed and what schedule it follows. You can do the Divemaster in four to six weeks or, like me, take the time to learn all the important skills in three months . You get the chance to play through all eventualities that arise on a diving day.
I’ll be completely honest: the first week of my Divemaster training was the hardship. Carrying countless tanks through the area six days a week, going diving two or three times and sifting through entire books was a real challenge for me. With Tofo in Mozambique I had chosen a not very easy diving destination . Demanding dives, strong currents and so-called “negative entries” were part of the drill.
Still, my Divemaster training was the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. I learned important lessons about life that I could never have learned in boring office jobs: I had to calm down panic divers, save lives, mother, make vital decisions and always keep a cool head, whatever you do during your divemaster training expected, you read here.
A. Open Water Skills Demonstration
One of the most important parts of the Divemaster training is the 24 Open Water Skills that you should do while you sleep. The processes have to be right, because as a divemaster you will sit in a pool in front of a semicircle of students during the so-called scuba review and have to be able to unwind the skills from the inside out.
✓ My tip: It is important to demonstrate the skills slowly and theatrically, even if you
feel pretty stupid at the beginning . The order is clearly specified so that the student is not confused.
For each skill you will receive a maximum of 5 points, 3 is the minimum number. In total, you have to come to a total of 82 points.
You will have to demonstrate the following 24 skills in the pool:
1.Screwing together the diving equipment
2. Predive safety check (BWRAF)
3. Deep-water entry
4. Buoyancy check on the surface of the water
5. Snorkel – regulator / regulator – snorkel exchange
6. Five points descent
7. Take the regulator out of the mouth and reinsert it and clearing
8. Remove mask underwater, put it back on and clear
9. Out of Air Scenario: Use your buddy’s regulator 10. Get
to the surface of the water with the alternative air supply
11. Free-flow regulator breathing
12. Neutral buoyancy
13. Five-point ascent (CESA)
14. Controlled emergency swimming ascent (CESA)
15. 30 seconds of motionless hover
16. Underwater swimming without a mask
17. Removing and taking on the weight belt underwater
18. Removing and taking on the diving equipment underwater
19. Removing and taking on the diving equipment above water
20. Removing and taking on the weight belt over water
21. Vertical skin dive with head first
22. Swim at least 15 meters underwater in one breath
23. Blow water out of the snorkel
24. Clear the snorkel using the displacement method
B. The practical exercises
In addition to technical skills, you must also be able to swim comfortably in the water and have the necessary endurance. This includes five exercises in which a total of 15 points must be achieved. We built these exercises in between dives, during the surface interval time when the other divers were resting.
- Swim 400 meters without mask, snorkel and
flippers : ✓ Less than 6:30 min = 5 points
✓ 6:30 – 8:40 min = 4 points
✓ 8:40 – 11 min = 3 points
✓ 11 – 13 min = 2 Points
✓ More than 13 minutes = 1 point
- Swim 800 meters with a mask and
flippers without using your arms: ✓ Less than 14 min = 5 points
✓ 14 – 16:30 min = 4 points
✓ 16:30 – 18:30 min = 3 points
✓ 18:30 – 21 min = 2 points
✓ More than 21 min = 1 point
- Tow a tired diver 100 meters away. Both divers are in full diving equipment:
✓ Less than 2:10 min = 5 points
✓ 2:10 – 3:15 min = 4 points
✓ 3:15 – 4:20 min = 3 points
✓ 4:20 – 5:30 min = 2 points
✓ More than 5:30 min = 1 point
- Float in the water for 15 minutes – without a wetsuit, so that you don’t have any extra buoyancy. You can then stretch your arms in the air for the last three minutes. That is more exhausting than expected!
- Swap your diving equipment with your buddy underwater. You only use a regulator. This exercise took me a long time to get the hang of.
C. Assisting courses
During the Divemaster training you have to assist various courses. On the one hand, there are the courses that you had to go through on the way to becoming a diver: Open Water, Advanced, Emergency First Respond (EFR) , and the Rescue Diver. On the other hand, you will assist Scuba Review and Skin Diver courses , which you will also give yourself as a completed Divemaster in the future.
You will also learn to take certified divers on so-called Discover Local Diving tours and to take inexperienced divers on Discover Scuba Diving excursions .
There is no order for the courses. Rather, it depends on the bookings made by the guests. My first Discover Scuba Diving course was on the very last day of my three-month training, as there was simply no newcomer during that time.
D. Customer service for Divemaster training
From the beginning you have to familiarize yourself with the work processes of the dive center during your Divemaster training. Customer service and logistics are an important part of the diving center. The dive shop expects you to greet and support customers, help them choose their equipment, and make sure they fill out the paperwork correctly. You have to screw all the diving equipment together and stow it on the boat and make sure that nothing and nobody is forgotten.
Sitting around does not apply and most of the time you will dive or snorkel in the dive shop as well as make sure that the guests fill out their logbooks, during the briefing and debriefing, educate the divers about the animals underwater and help them to identify the marine life.
E. Demonstrate rescue scenarios
You must be able to respond to a non-reactive and non-breathing diver and demonstrate the following skills:
✓ Search and find the diver who is about 25 meters away
✓ Turn the diver around so that you can ventilate him and
adjust the buoyancy ✓ Remove the diving mask and the regulator, open the airways and check the breathing
✓ Call for help
✓ Two initial ones Rescue
breaths and then ventilation every five seconds without interruptions while you tow the diver towards the boat and unbuckle the equipment ✓ Leave the water with the diver
F.1. Practical divemaster mapping
During your Divemaster training there will always be small milestones and after a few weeks you will get the hang of it and will lead groups independently. You will also become more and more familiar with the diving spots. You will learn to associate their names with various topographical features and you will be able to orientate yourself in an underground labyrinth.
In Tofo , Mozambique, the whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays are the main attractions. At the diving spot Praia da Rocha you can almost always see whale sharks and manta rays on the surface of the water. Manta Reef is famous for its cleaning station and there are often manta rays, stingrays and many colorful schools of fish. On the other hand, Salon is a good spot for beginners and there are some very cool Mantis Shrimps and the beautiful Harlequin Shrimps. Giants lives by its name and there you can often see the really big fish, but the currents there are extremely strong and only recommended for experienced divers.
When it’s time to map a dive spot, you will already know some places inside out. Mapping is about measuring the dive spots – with fins and your safety line – and drawing in characteristic features.
F.2. Practical Divemaster – Emergency Plan
It is equally important to prepare a plan for an emergency situation. This is important in order to be prepared in extreme cases and to know exactly which steps to take. This includes the emergency numbers, a script that specifies exactly what has to be said and done and a few scenarios of how you should behave if a diver is lost or if someone suddenly stops breathing.
F3. Practical Divemaster – Search and Recovery / Deep Dive Scenario
In order to check with students and guests that they do not suffer from the deep intoxication at great depth, we use small arithmetic tasks to check the performance of first-time divers. I also had to dive about 30 meters deep in the Deep Dive Scenario and play with the compass and find different directions. In addition, during Search and Recovery I counted the kick cycles with my fins to get an exact distance and to swim different patterns. To find items that may have been lost.
Requirements for your Divemaster training
You need at least 40 logged dives to begin the Divemaster course. In order for you to receive the certification at the end you need a total of 60 dives. Further requirements are:
✓ Proof of participation in the Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care (EFR) within the last 24 months plus Rescue Diver.
✓ Medical certificate attesting to your health and not older than 12 months.
✓ Minimum age: 18 years.
Costs for your Divemaster course
I didn’t have to pay a lot for my Divemaster course because I worked for three months for free at my dive shop. In the end, all I had to do was pay the PADI fees.
✓ Cost: € 115.20
PLUS: Then there is the theory. Nine chapters that are pretty theoretical and physics-heavy towards the end. In this article you will read more about my difficulties with the theory.