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.