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PADI Divemaster Course – Beginnings January 1, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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Every Wednesday night for a couple of months we went through the Divemaster academics, which are based on two books, the PADI Divemaster Workbook and the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving (which comes with a workbook with questions and problems to answer). I take the train to work each day so the commute was a good opportunity to go through all the material and as a result I had no trouble with the tests, of which there were several. The most difficult one was on Divemaster conducted programs, because the materials had to be taken from the CDROM or the PADI web site and I hadn’t done that. In addition, many of the questions were of the type “What is the maximum Divemaster to student ratio for the PADI Skin Diver Course?”, which are really difficult to guess correctly.

The first in-water activity was a skill circuit review in Newmarket’s Main Street pool. We went through each of the PADI Open Water skills. I remember having trouble with the fin pivot, putting too much air in my BC. I’d only ever done fin pivots in a well weighted dry suit (they weren’t an element of my original NASDS course).

My first experience with students was in the pool on March 31st, 2007. We prepared the gear and loaded it in the truck and headed out to the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex, where they have a nice 25 metre pool with an extra section called “the well” which is about 15 feet deep and about 5 metres square. I recall not feeling all that useful on that day. Len the instructor just told the DMCs (Divemaster Candidates) to keep the students close together so we positioned ourselves at either end of the line so they wouldn’t drift away.

Pool sessions move quickly because it is the most expensive resource on the course. Having lots of Divemasters around to keep things organized helps greatly to keep things moving, which is why the shop enthusiastically gets Divemasters in training to work a full 10 weekends of internship. Mine was the biggest Divemaster class in PADI Canada history – about 15 people. To this day not all have finished – although most have.

Brian, for instance, who was also enrolled in the Technical Diver Course with me as well sprained his ankle badly playing paintball (you’d think after being shot in the hand in Afghanistan whilst boarding a helicopter he would have had enough bang-bang to last a lifetime) and didn’t complete either course, although he still hopes to some day.

Len gave me a passing grade for the weekend, which I appreciated. I’d heard war stories from a few years back of instructors failing Divemaster candidates for being a bit late and so on, and I was up for that. The amount of time I had to put in for the course was plenty without having to do some of it again. I didn’t have any problems with that, although I heard one or two others did.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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