It is very common to be mislead by the term divemaster training. When you hear the term divemaster you probably get an image of a scuba guru in your mind. However, when you actually begin your divemaster training you discover that you are really being prepped to become a dive professional. There is some focus on developing personal dive skills, but the main focus of recreational divemaster training falls heavily on assisting courses, helping student divers underwater, leading dives and learning the ins and outs of a dive centre. Many divemaster training programs devote more time to these things rather than developing personal dive skills or exploring dive theory more in-depth. This is where you need to ask yourself what do you want to get out of a divemaster training?
Technical Training as an Alternative to Divemaster Training
If you are not looking to work in the dive industry but you want to develop new skill sets and explore a lot more dive theory then technical dive training is a better option for you.
You no longer have to focus on organising for your mentor or holding the back of tanks for students as they practice their skills. Instead you can actually focus on mastering your buoyancy so you can do all your skills in a horizontal position without even moving one centimetre in the water column. You can learn new types of equipment configurations and become so comfortable with your equipment that you can handle it blind underwater. Technical dive training introduces and refines skill sets that you may have never known existed.
In addition to the practical side of a technical dive training course, you will also have to learn and understand a lot more about dive theory. Topics included in an introductory technical dive course include dive physics, dive physiology, decompression models, dive planning and the history of diving. Unlike many of the recreational courses you have taken, these topics are discussed in full so you gain a comprehensive understanding of why things developed in diving as we know today.
After taking a technical dive training you will walk away from the course feeling that you learned the art of diving all over again and finally understand the numbers of your dive table or the calculations your dive computer make. You will know exactly how much gas you will need to do any dive and be able to determine the best mix for any depth. You will become very close to what you thought was a ‘divemaster’.
The Next Step
If becoming a dive instructor is your long term dive goal then of course signing up for a recreational divemaster training is the appropriate step. However, if you are like many keen divers out there with a normal job and have absolutely no interest in teaching for a living, then it’s less likely to deliver all your needs. Today, technical dive training is widely available and the equipment is making a mainstream appearance. It’s giving regular divers the challenge they missed out on during recreational open water and advanced trainings.
Just as recreational diving has undergone many changes over the last decade, so has technical diving. If you are scared of all the heavy equipment, for example, feel relief in knowing there are more options to completing courses without the traditional double-tank set-up. Sidemount and rebreathers are getting as much attention nowadays and cut back on all the heavy things you need to move around at dive sites. More dive gear manufacturers are offering equipment like backplates & wings, sidemount harnesses, and even user-friendly rebreathers. The equipment no longer should be a factor holding you back from taking on a new challenge.
In conclusion, being a committed diver will more than likely have you doing a new course at some point or another. Before you sign up for a recreational divemaster training because you have been told that’s the next step ask yourself how you want to develop as a diver? Do you want to be a dive professional or do you want to finally master skills and wrap your head around dive theory? If you answered the latter then technical diving is your next logical step.