Becoming a Divemaster (DM) is one of the best things you can do as a diver. Challenging? Absolutely. Hard work? For sure. But if you pick the right course, you’ll not only leave as a fantastic diver, you’ll have great memories that will last a lifetime.
You only get to do your Divemaster course once, so choose wisely. To help make things easier, we’ve used our experience of working in the dive industry to detail 6 ways in which you can complete your DM course (with pros and cons for each). Do you want to do the course quickly, or take your time with an internship? Perhaps you want the hustle and bustle of a busy dive shop, or fancy a more relaxed pace? Do you want real-life dive tourist problems to solve, or would you rather have the option to learn about marine life and how to spot it? Remember, the right way to become a Divemaster, is whatever way suits you.
Part-time Divemaster Course
DM training doesn’t have to be done all in one go. While many people choose to go abroad to become a Divemaster, you can do it at home around your normal working hours. Find out who your local dive centre is and talk to them about your situation. Most will be able to come up with a schedule that will work for both parties.
- No need to take time off work.
- Don’t get fully immersed in the diving world.
Divemaster Course (around 12 days+)
If you’d prefer to finish the course in one go, but don’t have a lot of time to spare, then search for a dive centre that offers the DM course, rather than an internship. You’ll get to cover everything in the divemaster course and get a taste of what it’s like working in a dive shop.
However, with such a lot to learn, it’s likely you won’t get a lot of – if any – experience with real-life customers.
There are ways to maximise your dive time, such as reading the theory work before starting the course. However, if you’re looking to actually work in the dive industry, it might be better to find the time and complete a longer internship in order to gain more experience.
- Allows you to complete the course quickly.
- Little hands-on experience.
- Too intensive for some.
Free Divemaster Internship (1-6 months+)
It is possible to complete your Divemaster and pay nothing. Many of the really busy dive shops let DMTs work for free in exchange for certification which means they don’t have to employ extra staff.
The length of the internship is decided between you and the dive shop (but can be up to 6 months or more). During that time, you’ll be treated as a staff member, and your DM training will be interspersed with helping guests. From carrying tanks and preparing kit bags to washing gear and giving dive briefings, you’ll get hands-on experience that covers all aspects of working in a dive shop.
If you think this might be the option for you, make sure you talk to the dive centre before signing up. Ask questions like:
- What does the dive centre expect of you?
- What’s your daily routine? What are the hours? Do you get a day off?
- What happens if you have to go home early and can’t complete the training?
- Are there any pre-requirements such as languages, having your own equipment, or a minimum number of dives before you begin?
Remember, free doesn’t necessarily mean free. You may have to pay for your certification or training manuals. If accommodation isn’t included, then find out how much it will cost? Some remote dive areas have limited accommodation options, so you won’t be able to shop around for a bargain. If your internship is for several months, you may end up spending a lot more in the long run.
- Minimising training costs.
- Lots of diving.
- Lots of real life experience and problem solving.
- Learn the local dive sites and marine life.
- Takes longer to complete the course.
- You could be working for money, rather than for free.
- You might be taking away a job from a local person.
Full-time Divemaster Internship (4 weeks+)
This is the most popular option for Divemaster Trainees (DMTs). Most dive schools will take on DMTs for around 4 week stints, giving you enough time to go through the DM course, gain hands-on experience with real-life customers and even get in a few cheeky fun dives.
Furthermore, if you’d like to spend longer doing your DM, most dive centres will allow you to extend when you’re there. Sea Fans always recommends signing up for the minimum amount of time and then extending when on the course. That way, if you get injured, or you’re not enjoying your time, you won’t be stuck haggling for a refund.
- Time with instructor.
- Time to develop skills.
- Hands on experience.
- Minimal marine life training.
Green Divemaster Internship
If you love diving because of the marine life, then a green DM internship may be your perfect option. Recently there’s been a rise in the number of green DM internships available. This option allows you to complete your Divemaster training and gain some extra experience in marine conservation. Now, more than ever, dive centres are looking to employ dive professionals who have a greater understanding of the underwater world, and can pass on this knowledge to their guests.
So, what makes a DM internship green? Well, it’s the full DM course with one or two extras thrown in. These extras depend on the individual dive centre, but could include things like:
- Lectures on the underwater world.
- Project Aware specialities.
- Marine life monitoring.
- Coral reef surveying.
- Coral nursery maintenance.
- Artificial reef building.
- Reef and beach clean ups.
Most green DM internships are run by centres who have great green credentials. If there’s an aspect of marine conservation that you really want to get involved in, it’s worth hunting for a dive centre that specialises in just that. If they don’t offer a ‘green DM internship’, then ask if they could do a tailor-made package. You’ll find most dive centres are pretty flexible.
- A greater appreciation of marine life.
- Become more marketable in the dive industry.
- Green Divemaster internships are not widely available.
Divemaster Internship with conservation NGO
Did you know that you can complete your DM (or any diving course for that matter) whilst volunteering on a marine conservation project? Many projects – such as coral reef surveying – require volunteers to be Open Water or Advanced before surveying can take place, and as such the projects have on-site scuba instructors to carry out the dive training.
In addition, doing your DM through a marine conservation organisation is generally a more relaxed way of completing the course. Instead of dealing with random tourists, you are learning whilst helping your fellow conservationists. You also spend more time with your instructor
The main bonus of completing your course through an NGO is the marine conservation experience. Not only will you be a divemaster, you’ll be a Divemaster with a huge knowledge of the underwater world – and maybe some qualifications too. This knowledge is invaluable when working in the dive industry. It allows you to educate your guests and be better able to find and identify creatures.
Every marine conservation project requires volunteers to pay a fee to join. This money directly funds the running of the project. On top of this, you pay an additional fee to complete your DM. Often it turns out you can get a lot more for your money, than if you paid a dive shop directly.
- The course itself is often cheaper than going through a dive centre.
- Gain great marine conservation experience and qualifications.
- A student-mentor relationship with your instructor.
- Less busy than a dive centre.
- Less busy than a dive centre.
- Fewer real-life guests.
So, that was 6 ways to complete your Divemaster course. Each option has different pros and cons which work for some, and not for others. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Once you’ve decided on the type of Divemaster course you want, the next step is to choose the right dive centre. Browse all Divemaster options on Sea Fans and see what comes up. Remember, every dive centre on Sea Fans is there because they have green credentials and are playing their part in conserving the ocean. After all, isn’t that the most important thing?