How to Get Your PADI Open Water Divemaster Certification

This is a guide by our friends Sarah Dowdall and Andy Phillips at the Utila Dive Centre. If you’ve ever wanted to become a PADI divemaster, this will help you do exactly that. 

Have you ever sat behind a desk on a Monday morning dreaming of an escape to a sun-kissed island with crystal clear water and white sand beaches? Have you ever snorkeled and seen a glimpse of an underwater world you long to be closer to? That world is easily within your reach and learning to scuba dive can be the key to a whole new dream.

For most, the adventure starts with the PADI Open Water Diver certification. This license is the most recognized in the dive industry and will allow you to dive anywhere in the world, independent of professional supervision, to a maximum depth of 18 metres/60 feet. The Open Water Diver course is comprised of 5 academic modules, 5 confined water training sessions and 4 open water dives. At Utila Dive Centre you can choose to do the course in either 3 ½ or 4 ½ days and it requires no previous diving experience. This license allows you to dive anywhere in the world to a maximum depth of 30 metres/100 feet without professional supervision (where local laws allow). You will be amazed how far you come over the few days of the course, from the first tentative breaths underwater to feeling confident out diving amongst the myriad of fantastical fish and creatures that make the stunning reef their homes.

Fallen in love with diving? Of course, you have! So what is the next step? That would be the Advanced Open Water course. Two of these dives are mandatory (Deep and Navigation) and the remaining 3 are yours to choose from a whole range. They include things like Night, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Drift, Wreck and Fish ID. This course allows you to expand your diving experience and to try new things under the expert guidance and care of an Instructor.

If you’ve always wanted to tour underwater wrecks, enjoy spotting lobster and octopus on night dives and see schools of pelagic fish or learn how to identify the hundreds of different creatures that live on a Caribbean reef system then this course is for you. You will be amazed how far your diving will progress over the 2 days ~ and how much fun you have at the same time!

At this stage you have a couple of options. Maybe you want to build your confidence and abilities as a PADI Rescue Diver with this 4-day program which improves your diving skills and is serious fun. This course is a favorite among dive leaders. Most dive professionals say that it is the best course they ever enrolled in and most Instructors cite the class as their favourite to teach. At Utila Dive Centre we conduct our rescue classes over 4 days, and the course comprises of 4 academic class sessions, supported by independent study, and 10 in-water training exercises, which are evaluated with 2 scenarios on the final day of training. Using their extensive experience and support personnel, your instructors make every rescue course taught here memorable for every student. Family, friends and other divers will always feel more assured knowing their diving with a PADI Rescue Diver. This course is required as a prerequisite to begin professional training as a PADI Dive Master, so if you are planning to “go pro,” then this is your first step.

Otherwise, maybe the Advanced course has awoken a new passion that you want to pursue further. Choose from things like cavern, deep, equipment, night, research, search and recovery, research, navigator, photographer, wreck, boat, drift, dry suit, multilevel, naturalist, peak performance buoyancy, videography, enriched air, diver propulsion vehicle, Oxygen provider, Project Aware specialty, aware fish identification and many more.

Specialty programs can be conducted in 1-2 days and can credit with the Advanced certification. Your instructors are trained to teach every specialty you could ever want. Perhaps this will actually lead you to a new career or just allow you to enjoy an underwater activity that you love.

Take the first step in your dive career and become a PADI Divemaster. Working closely with a PADI Instructor, you’ll expand your dive knowledge and hone your skills as you become a dive professional. PADI Divemaster internships help develop your leadership abilities by training you to supervise dive activities and assist instructors with student divers.

What can PADI Divemasters do?

  • Work at local dive centers, on live-aboard dive boats, yachts and at exotic resort locations.
  • Assist PADI Instructors with students, and at Utila Dive Centre we have classes starting on a daily basis with plenty of opportunity for you to gain experience
  • Lead PADI Scuba Divers on guided dive tours, and we have several boat trips per day, with full service, taking you to the best dive sites in comfort
  • Teach and certify PADI Skin Divers
  • Teach PADI Discover Snorkeling programs
  • Conduct PADI Scuba Review programs for certified divers
  • Lead certified divers on Discover Local Diving experiences; Utila has fringing reef systems, North side walls, drop off’s, caverns, sea mounts, and Whale sharks, from just a 5 to 30-minute boat ride away, enjoy the commute with Dolphins to some of the best reefs in the Caribbean! With 5 large, fast boats, and a PADI training course internship option from 4-8 weeks you’ll be amazed with the diving opportunities and experience you get beyond the standard with Utila Dive Centre’s Divemaster course. Imagine the customer satisfaction you’ll get from your divers when you lead them on these kind of trips at the Utila Dive Centre.
  • Teach Emergency First Response, Emergency O2 and Digital Photography programs after successful completion of the relevant EFR/Specialty Instructor course.

This program welcomes you to the ranks of a PADI dive professional. The PADI Divemaster rating is the most sought after professional qualification in the dive industry and Divemaster training can be conducted in 2 different options, the Practical Application method which can take 12 days or the internships which can take 3-4 weeks.

Under our direct supervision and with guidance and counseling from our experienced instructors at the Utila Dive Centre, you’ll soon develop into a true dive professional. In fact, many of our Divemasters go on to successfully complete PADI Instructor training and gain employment throughout Central America and the Caribbean. The waterman ship module will develop your strength and skills in the water and develop your confidence to a strong level of comfort. If you dream of working in exotic environments, beautiful dive experiences and meeting people from all walks of life then the PADI Divemaster course could give you the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. So what are you waiting for? Start Diving!

If you enjoyed this article, check out Utila Dive Center on Facebook and videos on their YouTube Channel. Photos courtesy of Utila Dive Center.

Joel Runyon

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