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  1. #1
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    Sensible No. of dives before Padi Divemaster?

    Hi everyone.

    Just got back from another dive trip and am looking at the next steps.

    I am and obviously still consider myself to be very much a learner, but I've now logged my 70th dive and have done my OW/AOW and Rescue courses with some particularly good dive schools. This trip was focussed on getting my technique and buoyancy absolutely on point (which we did) as well as refreshing my rescue skills and re-doing my EFR. Circumstances let me also do an emergency oxygen course.

    So, from the PADI standpoint this means that I can start DM training...

    In terms of what I'm looking to get out of DM training, I'm a little (a lot) older than most DM Trainees and I'm in quite a lucky position in that I now work part time completely remotely. This means that I can do one or two days per week in my main job from anywhere in the world and have the rest of the week to myself. Which lends itself perfectly to basing myself somewhere sunny where the DM element of my working becomes something of a paid hobby. This would be sustainable in the long term and could take me right through, and past, formal retirement.

    However, without getting into any form of PADI bashing (their organisation has been good to me as a consumer) - I'm obviously very aware that there is quite a $-focussed business model and that some do question the pace at which you can gain certifications. Again, as a consumer, I know that I would not feel comfortable being led by a DM with 'just' 60 dives under their belt.

    So, putting the formal requirements aside I would be curious if any other forum users (I'd be pitching this question towards PADI/SSI/BSAC/etc professionals here) had a rule of thumb as to a sensible number of dives that should be considered a prerequisite for someone looking to start DM training? I do appreciate that no two people are the same and that some are naturals after minimal experience and others are still iffy after extensive experience so I'll try and explain where I think I fit.

    A few notes:
    1) I've only ever dived in warm water, only ever will dive in warm water and wouldn't expect that training done in the tropics would prepare me to work in low-vis/cold climates - so I wouldn't take a DM ticket and expect to work, for example, in the UK. I would be careful to know my limits in that regard.
    2) I have dived in lots of different (albeit, warm) environments - mainly around wrecks, walls and reefs with some caves and some, but not enough, in currents and drifts as well as night dives.
    3) I listen carefully and learn as much as possible during training (I don't collect cards) and have been told by a couple of centres that my buoyancy and skills are particularly good (obviously, for a novice).
    4) I would look to do a paid-for DM course over a sensible duration (perhaps a full season) at a very, very good training centre (I have one in Europe in mind) so I would not do an internship meaning I can focus on the training and would obviously avoid some of the 'PADI factories' that are well known in some parts of the world.
    5) I appreciate that there are a number of agencies on the scene, but I'd like to stay with PADI - simply as its a learning process I'm comfortable with and most of the dive centres I might want to work with are PADI.

    My gut feel is that I should try and double my logged-dives - somewhere closer to 130-150 before even considering starting DM training. But I am open to feedback if anyone has any opinions?

    Thank you for your help.
    Last edited by gasket; 17-10-2022 at 02:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Team Starburst Ian@1904's Avatar
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    You are going to be supervising other divers. So your dive skills need to be second nature. As someone on here once explained there are four stages of a skill competency.
    1 Consciously incompetent
    2 Consciously competent
    3 Unconsciously incompetent. Most divers go through this stage.
    4 Unconsciously competent. This is where you want to be.

    We all go through these stages but at different speeds. (I have seen divers at stage three after 12 dives, basically refusing to do any form of buddy check)
    The number of dives is not important, more about how good you are in the water. Plus have a wide range of dive experiences is very helpful.

    FWIW I decided not to start instructor training until I had three hundred dives.

  3. #3
    Tofu eating wokerato Chrisch's Avatar
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    PADI DM is a bit of halfway house if I am honest. Based on your post I would say start as soon as you like - your concern over experience shows you have the right attitude and probably will be good once you get certified. In order to make a little money as a sort of part time thing it is helpful to have boat handling, gas blending/compressor and other skills and especially language skills.

    Have a long hard think over whether you might not benefit from doing it in the UK - you will need a drysuit but it will be easier logistically. It will also widen your experience. Or even some of it here and some in another venue. You can do the RYA powerboat in the UK as well and this will cetainly be in your favour (go for the PB2 with commercial endorsement). Gas blending is not dependent on weather either.

    Obviously the more dives the better but if they are all in the same conditions you are not really gaining much experience, just repeating the same thing. A lot of internships see you as unpaid labour and dump you when they are through with you. Very dependent on the centre of course.
    There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and Tory corruption and I am not sure about the universe.
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  4. #4
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    Well done for asking the question. Are you in a hurry to leave the country? If you aren't then I''d suggest not only doing the courses that Chris has suggested but also gain some experience of UK diving. I know you have said that you wish to continue the PADI route but please do consider finding a BSAC club and try to do some diving with them - the experience will broaden your experience and could/should enhance your value to a dive centre overseas. I'm sure it will help with your progression to DM.

  5. #5
    Established TDF Member Paulo's Avatar
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    I think I had about 400 dives when I started a DM course.

    Others had far far less and struggled more with some of the bits
    If my post doesnt have a typo, then I have probably been hacked!

  6. #6
    Nicotine, valium, vicodin... notdeadyet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulo View Post
    I think I had about 400 dives when I started a DM course.

    Others had far far less and struggled more with some of the bits
    I think I had about that and I'd been working in a dive shop/school part time for a couple of years as well.

    Passing the course is (or at least was) a piece of pish. I found rescue far harder (and far more useful). It doesn't in any way qualify you to do the job other than on paper. Measurable diving skills are the easy bit. If you just do what your told, read the books and put in the work you pass. Like everything, your personal skill, attitude and experience are really important.

    And start learning languages.

    And learn to service and fix outboards. I think I've had more dives on holiday canned because the boat shit the bed than weather or anything else.
    Caliph Hamish Aw-Michty Ay-Ya-Bastard, Spiritual leader of Scottish State in England

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulo View Post
    I think I had about 400 dives when I started a DM course.

    Others had far far less and struggled more with some of the bits
    Still a tramp pushing a trolly at that stage 🤣 how many dives till you lost the trolly?

  8. #8
    Established TDF Member Paulo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graham_hk View Post
    Still a tramp pushing a trolly at that stage �� how many dives till you lost the trolly?
    Fuck knows. 1000 ??

    In fairness it was one of McGill's better one liners
    If my post doesnt have a typo, then I have probably been hacked!

  9. #9
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    A good attitude, life experience, maturity, and communication skills are something that you will have more of than the young DM candidates, if you stick to warm water only guiding then 130-150 dives before starting the course should be OK, but get some experience in the areas that you have identified as lacking - night and currents.

  10. #10
    Tofu eating wokerato Chrisch's Avatar
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    Something I remembered after I left the office that might have been useful is to look at the EFR instructor course. This can be a revenue generator and is independent of dive experience. Again something that can be done in the UK in the cold misery of winter.
    There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and Tory corruption and I am not sure about the universe.
    With apologies to Albert Einstein.


 
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