A scuba divemaster has many functions and roles, the most important is to provide a safe and enjoyable diving experience for others.
Ted Boehler in “The Divemaster Manual 2” states that a scuba divemaster is “the person who sees to it that everyone under his (or her) jurisdiction has a safe dive.”
He further defines safety as having three components:
- Control Of Hazzards
A scuba divemaster should not be confused with a scuba instructor. The instructor is concerned with teaching scuba diver theory and skills; while the divemaster assists divers to achieve the most from their diving experience in the areas of safety and enjoyment.
Scuba Divemaster Must Be Well Trained
A divemaster must be trained in Rescue Diving, First Aid, and other specialties, as required. For example, a divemaster may not own an underwater camera, but should have enough knowledge of cameras to be able to offer some assistance.
Scuba Divemaster Must Have Good Diving Skills
A divemaster must be skilled and experienced underwater and be aware of what is going on, such that he or she almost has a ”sixth sense”. A divemaster must anticipate potential problems and be prepared to take quick decisions to avert a problem from escalating. This is like a good footballer knowing the next three or four moves.
A Scuba Divemaster Must Have Good People Skills
People skills is one of the most important attributes for a divemaster. They need to be an excellent judge of character, as they could be about to embark on a dangerous activity with people they have only just met. The divemaster’s own safety, and the safety of those entrusted to his or her care, could be in the hands of a complete stranger.
A divemaster will deal with a wide range of people from the incompetent egotist who may need to be pulled into line for his or her (or others) safety. To the anxious diver who may just need some support and encouragement to get over a particular problem in their diving career.
Scuba Divemaster Assessing Scuba Diving Experience
One of the challenges for a divemaster is judging a scuba diver’s capability.
This can be difficult as the Dive Certification Card is usually the only indication of person’s diving ability. Occasionally a diver may have a scuba logbook to back up their claim of diving experience.
Scuba Divemaster As An Underwater Guide
A dive resort or dive shop will usually employ scuba divemasters as dive guides to take visitors on scuba dives at the location. In this role, the divemaster becomes an important component of the dive operation’s marketing.
Many divers on a scuba holiday come to a resort or dive shop from diverse areas of the world and training. The divemaster needs to give them all a unique dive at the resort or dive location.
The divemaster needs to make the dive experience memorable so the diver will come back for further diving, or at least recommend the resort or dive shop to friends.
Progression To Assistant Instructor
In many situations, a scuba divemaster is in training to become a scuba diving instructor.
In this role, the divemaster assists the scuba instructor with activities during the theory sessions in the classroom, mastering basic skills in the pool and helps with new students on their first dives in open water.
When working in the role of Scuba Assistant Instructor, the divemaster must give instructions in accordance with the instructor’s methods and preferred way of operating to reduce the possibility of confusion and mixed message to the students.
A divemaster has many other roles and functions in their role assisting scuba divers have a safe and enjoyable dive.